classic | mobile



At the heart of regenerative braking
3rd Quarter 2017, Hydraulic systems & components

Lightning Systems is an innovative, forward thinking company that saw an opportunity a few years back to bring hydraulic hybrid technology to medium- and heavy-duty fleet vehicles like shuttle buses, delivery vehicles and work trucks. Starting small in 2014 with 25 systems sold, the company has grown its hydraulic hybrid business substantially in four years, and is on track to sell more than 1400 systems around the globe in 2018.

Its patented system works on the same basic principle as other parallel hybrid vehicle systems – capturing kinetic energy from braking, storing it and releasing it for acceleration during takeoff. But Lightning Systems does it with hydraulics, which is far better suited to heavy duty vehicle applications than electric hybrids.

With this design, Lightning Systems captures the kinetic braking energy, using it to pump hydraulic fluid from the low pressure to the high pressure tank, storing the energy as hydraulic pressure. It then uses that energy during acceleration to drive a hydraulic motor, delivering torque to the vehicle’s drive shaft, which saves fuel and reduces emissions.

The hydraulics in the system are controlled by two custom-designed Sun Hydraulics manifolds using a range of Sun cartridge valves, including flow control, directional and solenoid operated valves. The larger of the two manifolds handles the high pressure logic functions while the smaller one is used for clutch control for the Power Transfer Module (PTM). In addition, this Lightning Systems design employs Sun valves elsewhere in the system to control the low pressure accumulator.

Why Sun?

Working with the members of Sun’s team and with local distributor, Hydraulic Controls, was a natural fit for Lightning Systems. After meeting their requirements for small quantities and quick turnaround on the initial design, Sun continued to meet their needs and deliver a cost competitive solution through multiple updates of the system.

Ian Patterson, lead hydraulics engineer at the company, explains why they went with Sun: “We choose to work with Sun Hydraulics for our hydraulic manifold designs because, like us, they’re innovators and relentlessly pursue quality in all aspects of their business. Sun’s engineers are constantly raising the bar in valve performance and implementing new, exciting valve technologies. The lab technicians work diligently to test key performance characteristics of each valve accurately and provide excellent customer support. To top it off, the manifold design services offered by Sun are some of the best and most creative in the business. For Lightning Systems, Sun Hydraulics isn’t just a supplier, but a partner helping us to take our business to the next level.”

With Sun’s manifolds and cartridges, Lightning Systems is able to save up to 35% in vehicle fuel costs, reduce output of toxic emissions by a minimum of 30%, increase the life of the vehicles and create clean, regenerative energy. The end result is a system that offers multiple advantages over electric hybrid systems. In comparison to electric hybrids, these hydraulic systems last longer and are lighter, more efficient, safer, easier to maintain and less expensive – all positives for fleet owners and managers.

For more information contact Fritz Kern, Axiom Hydraulics, +27 (0)11 334 3068,,

Supplied By: Axiom Hydraulics
Tel: +27 11 334 3068
Fax: +27 11 334 4543
Share via email     Print this page  

Further reading:

  • Thirty years of innovation
    3rd Quarter 2017, The Hydraulic Centre, Hydraulic systems & components
    With the introduction of the third tier Dynamische range of hydraulic products, THC can also offer reasonably priced products with exceptional quality and performance – the best value in the industry. ...
  • High-performance mechanical flange system
    3rd Quarter 2017, Parker Hannifin (Africa), Hydraulic systems & components
    Parker Hannifin has launched the Parker HPF high-performance mechanical flange system for machines and installations with a working pressure up to 420 bar. This meets the increasing requirements of the ...
  • Valves for every eventuality
    3rd Quarter 2017, Bearing Man Group t/a BMG, Hydraulic systems & components
    BMG’s extensive range of components for fluid technology systems encompasses valves, hydraulic hoses and fittings, accumulators, cylinders, heat exchangers, pneumatics, hydraulic motors and hydraulic ...
  • Rotary unions for every need
    3rd Quarter 2017, Stone-Stamcor, Hydraulic systems & components
    Rotoflux supplies a range of rotary unions suited to any industry need. They can operate at speeds up to 20 000 rpm, pressures up to 400 bar and temperatures up to 340°C. The high speed range is available ...
  • Hyflo distributes Parker hose and fittings
    3rd Quarter 2017, Hyflo Southern Africa, Hydraulic systems & components
    Hyflo is now a distributor of high quality Parker hydraulic hose and fittings, which are available at all Hyflo branches in South Africa and Namibia. The core ranges include the 301TC (2SN), 421TC (1SN), ...
  • A new chapter for hydraulics
    2nd Quarter 2017, This Week's Editor's Pick, Hydraulic systems & components
    A new groundbreaking technology could change the face of hydraulics – digital displacement technology (DDT).
  • Freaky hydraulics
    2nd Quarter 2017, This Week's Editor's Pick, Hydraulic systems & components
    There is some great technology that can be developed by mimicking spiders.
  • Don’t play a game of chance
    2nd Quarter 2017, Axiom Hydraulics, Hydraulic systems & components
    Choosing the right load-holding valve shouldn’t be a game of chance and it shouldn’t be a project that takes hours. Now with Sun’s QuickSelect LoadHolding selection tool, you can narrow your options from ...
  • A guide for testing control valve positioners
    2nd Quarter 2017, Comtest, Hydraulic systems & components
    Valves, the actuators that move them and the electronic circuits that control them, are all subject to ageing soon after they are installed. Valve seats wear from repeated seatings and from the liquid ...
  • Avoid fatalities with Faster
    2nd Quarter 2017, Hydrasales, Hydraulic systems & components
    Site engineers need to be extremely careful when staff are connecting attachments to hydraulically powered vehicles. The slightest error or negligent action could be fatal and extremely costly. The Faster ...
  • Intelligent absolute position sensor
    2nd Quarter 2017, Parker Hannifin (Africa), Hydraulic systems & components
    Parker Hannifin has introduced a new integrated absolute position sensor that can provide improved application productivity while offering low installation and maintenance costs. Intellinder equipped ...
  • New seamless steel tube
    2nd Quarter 2017, Hydraulic & Automation Warehouse, Hydraulic systems & components
    Hydraulic and Automation Warehouse (HAW) has added a new range of seamless steel tubing to its already extensive stock – chrome 6 free (CR-6 free) hydraulic line tubing from Salzgitter Mannesmann. This ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.