Fluid power has become a vital component in our ability to perform work: it harvests our crops, takes our waste to the landfill, moves the landing gear, entertains and protects us, and all with a power density and flexibility that is unmatched in any other power transfer system. However, when it comes to efficiency, fluid power systems are not very high on the list.

Flow Means Go ... Well, not exactly

A recent study has shown an average efficiency in fluid power systems to be less than 30% with a cost of billions of dollars in wasted energy. A great deal of work has been done and continues to be done in developing more efficient components: cylinders with lower breakaway, pumps and motors with greater volumetric and mechanical efficiency, compressors driven with variable speeds, and digital variable-displacement pumps. These are all beneficial, but they often come at a substantial cost, which must be weighed against the potential energy saving […]

Here is a Pop Quiz.
Choose the best answer.
Torque describes:
a. Effort b. Work c. Power d. All of the aboveThe answer is “a.” Torque is simply rotational force or effort. Work is effort over distance. Power is effort over the distance in a specific time period. All of the above is, well, just another wrong answer. This distinction is important as we move forward in our understanding of energy usage with fluid power. […]

I know, I know… it’s a bad pun, but it actually helps me get the point across. If motors could torque, in other words, if fluid power motors could sense the torque needed and draw only the energy units needed to supply that torque, we could produce some very efficient systems. […]

It happened around 1982. A customer had an old bulldozer. He had bought a newer backhoe attachment but would not be operating both at the same time. He wanted to run both from the same hydraulic system. The problem was that the dozer system ran with 20 gpm at 1500 psi, while the newer backhoe required 10 gpm at 3000 psi. The solution […]

This article series will ask us to think differently about our fluid power systems. We will look at energy in a different way and discover ways to transform fluid power energy to make our systems more efficient, and then be able to make better use of the new and improved components available to us. […]

For many of us, the concept of using a Variable Displacement Transformer (VDT) is new and a little unsettling. In this article, we will set up a VDT circuit using a step-by-step process based on what we have already learned. […]

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