Hot Air & Slippery Stuff – 102


Fluid Power is a $21.7 billion dollar industry in the United States and is the technological choice of dozens of industries and hundreds of applications.

Fluid Power applications are divided approximately thus: Hydraulics (75% and pneumatics (25%)

In hydraulics, the fluid is a liquid (usually oil) – In pneumatics, the fluid is a gas (usually compressed air). Both are used to transmit power from one place to another.

Hydraulic and pneumatic applications typically use pumps or compressors to provide the flow, valves to control direction – speed, force and torque, and actuators to do the work. The result is the ability to give more power in a smaller space than is possible with other technologies.

An estimated 862 companies employ 67,142 people in the manufacture of fluid power components such as – pumps, motors, valves, cylinders, filters, actuators, and hoses and fittings.

Industries that depend on fluid power represent an estimated 23,200 companies in the United States, employing 778,056 employees with an estimated payroll of approximately $48.5 billion dollars.

Advantages of Hydraulics:
 -High power-to-weight ratio
-High torque at low speed
-Ability to hold torque constant
-Ruggedness and reliability

Advantages of Pneumatics:
-Inexpensive & lightweight
-Simple control Systems
-Clean and non-reactive
-Speed and precision

Over 850 companies employ 67,000+ people manufacturing fluid power components such as – pumps, motors, valves, cylinders, actuators, filters, and hoses and fittings.

Industries that depend on fluid power represent an estimated 23,200 United States companies and 778,056 employees with an annual payroll of approximately $49.5 billion dollars.

What are users of fluid power looking for from this technology?
* Increased productivity – Enhanced performance – More up-time, less down-time.
* Lower total equipment costs-Easier, more predictable maintenance – Quieter, SAFER machines
* R & D goals for future fluid power systems and components:

+ Increased efficiency                                 + Reduced environmental impact
+ Increased reliability                                 + Energy storage devices
+ Reduced size                                             + Fast, accurate fluid power control
+ “Smart” capabilities

Because fluid power systems consume significant energy, the NFPA promotes the “best practices” to increase energy efficiency, and shows that these practices can cut energy use by nearly a third.

Hydraulic Best Practices:                              Pneumatic Best Practices:
+ Eliminate parasitic loses                            + Eliminate pressure drop
+ Effective flow control                                 + Repairing leaks
+ Effective use of accumulators                  + Reducing pressure
+ Pressure reducing valves                          + Evaluate plumbing and storage
+ Load sensing pumps                                 + Optimizing air blow
+ Pressure compensated pumps                 + Intermediate sized cylinders
+ Servo and proportional valves                 + Correctly sizing components
+ Hydraulic power units vs electric motors

The above is a synopsis of the fluid power industry – done by the NFPA and  takes into account the latest information available – 2017.

Also, the “Fluid Power Safety Institute” states in part – that:
“Most people who service, repair, and troubleshoot hydraulic systems are vulnerable to the possibility of high-pressure injection injuries, because they are not properly trained in hydraulics and pneumatics to recognize and prevent a potential hazard.”

Because fluid Power, and the industries it serves, depends upon a highly educated workforce, an investment in training and resources is paramount. An individual’s education, most often DOES NOT INCLUDE formal training in even the basic understanding of fluid power systems and components, its dangers, idiosyncrasies and advantages.

The ability to read symbols and interpret the circuitry, to understand the components and why they are positioned in the circuit where they are, what they do, and to increase their ability to troubleshoot high speed automated equipment and to do it SAFELY is our goal.

With over 45 years experience in the field and classroom – Spencer Technical Innovations fills the gap in their training with an affordable, adaptable and comprehensive training schedule that fulfills a need found grately lacking in the fluid power workplace.