Commercialization Opportunity: Estimation of Energy Rating Indices in Fluid Power Applications

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO


by Eric Lanke

The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) has sponsored more than 240 pre-competitive fluid power research projects in its 10-year history. Some prove to be promising candidates for commercialization by an engaged industry partner. The CCEFP’s Industry Engagement Committee recently reviewed the current projects and identified some that meet that test. Here’s one:


Estimation of Energy Rating Indices in Fluid Power Applications

Project Description: The motivation of this work stems from the need for having an acceptable standardized comparison method for measuring energy efficiency ratings of hydraulic and pneumatic systems and components. The main goals of the project include:

  • To design and build a simple reconfigurable 5kW test stand that can emulate scaled-down versions of various fluid power applications.
  • To develop representative duty cycles as used in common fluid power applications.
  • To review and evaluate a proposed ISO method for evaluation of an energy index rating of fluid power systems and or its components.

Value Proposition: This project addresses industry’s need for a common standard for energy consumption of fluid power components and systems. This project seeks to develop and experimentally validate a practical energy rating system for fluid power components and systems that would allow the customer (either OEM or end user) to compare and select based on the specific application need.

Key Personnel: Dr. Jose Garcia is chairing sub-committee 8 for the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG); this group reports to the International Standards Organization (under the name ISO Technical Committee 131). Dr. Garcia and two colleagues have proposed the development of an energy standard for hydraulic pumps. Such a standard would be very similar to the fuel rating for an internal combustion engine or for rating energy consumption of a whole vehicle.

Sources of Support: Internal funding support is being sought directly at Purdue. A graduate student will be hired in the fall using the PI’s startup funds. Advantage: no overhead. The project needs support from industry in the form of equipment donations (pump, actuators, valves, etc.) to build the proposed test stand. Small financial contributions (donations) are requested. They will be used towards acquisition of consumable materials and some miscellaneous components (hoses, fittings, oil, etc.). Additional funding through external federal agencies is being pursued and the project also needs industry support in the form of letters of interest and participation (bi-monthly meetings, industry advisors, collaboration).

Other Information:

  • Proposed plan is to build a flexible and simple test stand for recreating the most commonly used applications in the field.
  • The measurements collected from the test cell will be used for characterization of common duty cycles. Such duty cycles can be made available to the research community through a web portal.
  • The test stand would include a set of 4-6 linear actuators and 3-4 rotary actuators tied to an equal number of cylinders and motors that are restricted to move via flow restrictors or springs to simulate the work loads. These actuators would be connected to a valve manifold, which in turn is connected to a nearly variable pressure/flow source.


This opportunity is available to all companies in the fluid power industry. For more information, contact Mike Gust at 612-624-4956 or

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