… the design and development of the battery-powered rammer. Michael Steffen has been working in design and development at Wacker Neuson for 30 years. He is a qualified electric engineer. As head of the specialist division, he is responsible for the areas of electric technology and electronics for construction equipment, from the idea to the series production support.
What led you and your team to the innovative battery-powered rammer?
Where did your motivation come from? We precisely analyzed the rammer market and its end users. In the process, we determined that the topic of exhaust fumes is continuously discussed by employer's liability insurance associations, but the requirements were also discussed and continuously tightened by decision-makers and end users in order to protect the operators of machines with gasoline engines from excessively high loads. In addition, we followed the design and development of new battery technologies for several years and were able to observe how the offered battery-powered tools and machines repeatedly moved upwards on the market and at the same time, lithium batteries became increasingly more competitively priced. As a logical consequence, as the world market leader of rammers we saw and still see it as our responsibility to optimize solutions for customers or to even think of entirely new solutions. That's how the battery-powered rammers came about.
Mr. Steffen, what was the biggest challenge during the design and development?
The biggest challenge is of course always designing and developing a product that truly fulfills our customers’ expectations and makes their everyday lives easier. We succeeded in this with this design and development. The battery technology is a challenge, but we managed to develop this technology according to our needs. We enriched our internal know-how about basic technologies, such as electric technology and electronics, in cooperation with experts from universities and battery manufacturers. We then applied this expertise accordingly and, for example, developed a special cooling system for the battery, since the correct handling of batteries is crucial.
In your perspective, what does the future of emission-free construction equipment look like?
With the rapid development of battery technology, electric drives will turn out to be more of an alternative over the years and ultimately as a replacement to conventional drives, such as combustion engines, due to their simplicity, freedom from emissions and the opportunities they provide in setup, function and performance. In addition to the pure battery energy sources, hybrid mixed forms will also emerge on the market, as can already be seen with cars and the first construction machines. With the ever-increasing energy density of conventional lithium batteries and only once new types of storage technologies have reached marketability will pure electric drives with battery energy storage dominate the market.