FluidFluid power systems consume between 2.25 and 3.0 quadrillion BTUs annually. That breaks down to roughly 1.2 quadrillion for mobile applications, 1.7 for industrial applications and 0.1 for aerospace applications. The average efficiency of these fluid power systems is 21%. Could fluid optimization reduce energy consumption and improve the efficiency of hydraulic systems?

Efficiency Basics

Hydraulic systems convert rotary mechanical power from engines and electric motors to fluid power by turning the input shaft of a pump. Hydraulic control valves direct the pump’s output to machine actuators that use cylinders and motors to convert fluid power back to mechanical power.

Hydraulic motors are like pumps that run backward; they convert fluid power to rotary mechanical power and can generate the high-power densities required by mobile machines. Hydraulic motors turn the drums on cement mixers, swing the booms on excavators, drive the cutting blades on rock-wheels, excite the eccentrics on paving machines and propel skid-steer loaders.

Unlike centrifugal pumps, in which flow depends on pressure, hydraulic systems use positive displacement pumps and motors in which flow is independent of pressure. No pump is 100% efficient, so pressure always influences flow to some extent.

Read more: Getting the Most Efficiency Out of Hydraulics