Tell me a bit about your role within the Digital Displacement team?
I’m a senior engineer and work in the systems team focusing on simulation and control. What we do is take the Digital Displacement Pump and apply it to different systems, trying to control it in an optimal manner to maximise efficiency and work output whilst minimising noise and vibration. Recently, I’ve been working mainly on the application of DDP on excavators which is an important focus for the Digital Displacement team as we expand in this market.
How did you get into engineering?
I wanted to be an engineer since I was very young. Initially, I think this stemmed from my father who was an excavator operator which I found interesting and then over time I found that I was skilled in maths and physics. I thought about studying physics at university but realised I wanted to pursue something more applied to reality and that would have an impact on a day-to-day basis. I studied mechanical engineering, firstly in Italy at the University of Parma before moving to the USA for postgraduate study at Purdue University, specialising in fluid power.
How did you fall into the role you are in now?
I knew about Digital Displacement before I started working with the team as the fluid power field at university was very niche, so we were aware of the big players in this field like Danfoss and Bosch and their emerging technologies. As well as this, the sector is quite stagnant so any new technologies in this area are really interesting and after university, I was keen to pursue a career in fluid power. I knew of the Digital Displacement team in Edinburgh, so I sent my CV and it so happened they were looking for a systems engineer. I really enjoy living and working in Edinburgh and Danfoss is a great company to work for – we’re working with a new technology that can really make a difference in the fluid power field.
What do you find the most interesting thing about Digital Displacement?
First of all, as an engineer I find the complexity of the technology compared to other machines quite fascinating – the principle is generally the same but how the operation is achieved is much more advanced than traditional units. Because of its complexity and control it also has several unmatched advantages over traditional units like faster response time and greater efficiency. Due to the digital nature of the pump control, you can achieve important advancements in hydraulic systems and open a lot of new scenarios that were not possible before.
What would you say to someone considering using Digital Displacement pumps within their technology/machinery?
I do understand that there is apprehension around initiating changes for well-established systems and unless you prove that what you can offer is clearly better, then no one is willing to undertake the change. However, we can demonstrate that we significantly improve the operation of machines and reduce fuel consumption. With our new system architecture, we can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30% on excavators – the numbers don’t lie!
It’s also important to understand that moving forward, as legislation around emissions get tighter, this technology will enable businesses to meet it. In terms of electrification, this is the first big step to enabling the goals that we will be required to meet in the next 5-10 years. Look at what we can do now and think about what this world will look like in 10 years – it’s a big step but we need to move forward and ultimately everyone will benefit.
What stream/focus of engineering do you see yourself being involved with in the future?
Everything changes so quickly nowadays it’s difficult to forecast more than a couple years ahead, but I do see myself staying within streams of engineering that aim at reducing emissions and improving efficiencies, whatever the new technologies may be.
Digital Displacement is one of these technologies and I really hope that it will be a huge breakthrough and we can keep working on it, coming up with new ideas and new products that will get better and better over the years. I can see myself working within Digital Displacement for as long as we can keep making impact.