Using ISO Standards to Drive Energy Efficiency Improvements

This is the first article in a series being written in NFPA News to keep our members better informed about Standards development and to also report on the progress of this energy efficiency initiative as it relates to ISO Standards. In an effort to ensure a better design and maintenance in existing fluid power components and systems, John Berninger, TC 131 chairperson and Parker Hannifin retiree, has led a discussion group to suggest proposals.

Since last November, an ad hoc group of the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 131 for Fluid Power Systems has been meeting by teleconference to discuss the feasibility of creating Standards for determining power consumption of components within the fluid power industry. To date, the focus of this ad hoc committee has been to explore the possibility of adding such methods to current ISO fluid power standards.

Energy usage has become a higher consciousness since its cost and availability have made an impact on the world. The December 2012 report by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Dept. of Energy concluded that the average energy efficiency of fluid power systems was about 22%. This conclusion came from a study in which Oak Ridge collected data from NFPA members – some of whose participants include members of the ad hoc committee. The full report from DOE can be found here.

This average was determined from a macro point of view and may be subject to a question of accuracy. But, the study does beg an additional question – how can Standards be used to ensure consistent and systematic measurement of energy efficiency, or power consumption, at the system and component level? Our competitors in the electrical industry already have means to determine their energy consumption. They have power ratings on every motor, transformer and light bulb; other devices as well. The fluid power industry does not have such ratings, and we do not have standards by which to uniformly measure energy usage.

The objective of our ad hoc committee is to develop initial proposals for ISO standards that provide methods to measure the power consumption of fluid power components and systems. These will only be initial proposals because once transferred to the several ISO working groups, these groups will also want to contribute ideas that complete a method.

Standards development to measure power consumption is important.
If we conclude that the level of energy consumed by our components is too high, we will
inevitably make improvements to the products.

Standards development to measure power consumption is important. If we conclude that the level of energy consumed by our components is too high, we will inevitably make improvements to the products. But, how will we know if we are successful unless we have standards to measure the improvements? The work to develop standards is not always easy. But, we must try in order to advance the fluid power industry.

Please watch this space for regular updates on the progress of the ad hoc group. If you would like to become involved in this activity, please contact Denise Rockhill.


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