22 Mar

Fluid Power Basics | Hydraulics and Pneumatics

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Fluid power is a key contributor in the overall energy efficiency of various applications, such as hydraulic pumps with electric drives, intelligence-embedded valves, and even actuators and actuator controllers with electro-hydrostatic actuation (EHA) technology. Fluid power is known to have the highest power density when compared to other conventional power-transmission technologies.

There are two basic types of fluid power systems: hydraulic systems, which use liquids such as water and oil, and pneumatic systems, which utilize neutral gases such as air. Here are examples where fluid power systems are combined with advanced electronics for a more flexible and controlled system, may it be a hydraulic or pneumatic system.

    • Anti-stall control for hydrostatic drive
    • High control for a tractor
    • Paint spray system
    • Tension control for a paper web
    • Pneumatic torquer for engine bolts
    • Assembly, broaching and clamping for pneumatics automation
    • Drilling, facing, and loading, also for pneumatics automation

Below is a video demonstrating how fluid power, fluid motion and fluid mechanics work using the different laws of physics :

In fluid power engineering, experts use hydraulics to generate, control and transmit power using pressurized liquids. There have been recent developments integrated into pumps, valves, and actuators and more research is being done on two of the most common modern fluid power systems:

  • Switched inertance hydraulic system (SIHS), which is designed to control both the pressure and the flow of a hydraulic supply and;
  • Hydraulic quadruped robot, described as a fast, robust, and actively compliant robot usually equipped with hydraulic and electric actuation for diverse locomotion

Hydraulic systems are popular aboard bigger yachts; small boats use hydraulics in their steering systems and trim tabs. If you have just started getting acquainted with fluid power, consider downloading this fluid power e-book to learn more about fluid power in industrial applications, hydraulic fluids, and system and machine plumbing for creating the right fluid power circuit. The book also offers a glossary of ISO symbols for a clearer understanding of fluid power components and systems on conventional or schematic drawings.

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