Did You Know? Best Practices Maximize the Energy Efficiency of Fluid Power Systems

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO


by Eric Lanke

Well-designed and well-maintained fluid power systems can be very energy efficient. Unfortunately, many working fluid power systems are not well designed nor well maintained. Many technologies and best practices exist to maximize the energy efficiency of fluid power systems, including:

Hydraulic systems:

  • Eliminating parasitic losses
  • Effective flow control
  • Smart use of accumulators
  • Pressure reducing valves
  • Load sensing pumps
  • Pressure compensated pumps
  • Servo valves
  • Hydraulic power units vs. electric motors

Pneumatic systems:

  • Eliminating pressure drop
  • Repairing leaks
  • Reducing pressure
  • Evaluating plumbing and storage
  • Optimizing air blow
  • Employing intermediate bore-size cylinders
  • Correctly sizing all components

Several companies perform audits to identify and troubleshoot weaknesses in working fluid power systems. Data provided by one these companies indicate that when these technologies and best practices are implemented, average energy savings are 31%, and the cost of implementation is recouped within 4-5 months.

These and other facts about fluid power can be found in the 2014 Annual Report on the U.S. Fluid Power Industry published by the National Fluid Power Association. The report reviews both the size and economic impact of the industry, as well as explores the energy consumption, best practices and current R&D directions of fluid power technology. Copies of the report can be downloaded from the NFPA website at: https://www.nfpa.com/fluidpower/annual-report-on-fluidpower-industry.aspx


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