A proposal aimed at creating a radical transformation of fluid power has made the first cut in a highly competitive reviewing process at the National Science Foundation (NSF). At stake is a multi-million dollar, multi-year grant, with significant additional funding and facility support at the university level, that would bring many short-and long-term benefits to our industry. The proposal's writing team representing engineering faculty at the Univ. of Minnesota, Univ. of Illinois, Purdue, Vanderbilt, and Georgia Tech are at work meeting the next set of NSF requirements. The NFPA and its members, faculty at the Milwaukee School of Engineering and North Carolina A&T, and a panel of advisors representing US-based and international research leaders, will help, too.

The Center will be a network of research institutions whose faculty will cooperate in at least 14 distinct but related re-search projects clustered around three main thrust areas for fluid power research: efficiency; compactness; and the elimination of noise, vibration, and leakage.

Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and customers of the fluid power industry can play a key role in convincing NSF reviewers that an ERC for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power should receive this extraordinary grant.

NSF judges use indications of industry backing in their evaluation criteria. For more information about the proposal and to learn how your company can offer support, please contact Linda Western at (414) 778- 3356 or email lwestern@nfpa.com.

New pump and motor standard

The NFPA/T3.9 Pump and Motor Section has found that both technical documents NFPA/ T3.9.20- 1992 and SAE J745:1996-09 provide instruction for testing and presenting basic performance data for hydraulic positive displacement pumps. The T3.9 committee considered it important to have a standard format for testing and presenting typical or general hydraulic pump performance. Whether that goal should be achieved by maintaining NFPA/T3.9.20-1992 or withdrawing it in favor of an ISO standard or other more widely used standard was the subject of discussion. SAE J745:1996-09 (Hydraulic Power Pump Test Procedure) was presented as a possible replacement standard.

The NFPA standard applies only to open-loop, variable-displacement, pressure-compensated pumps, while the SAE standard covers both open-and closed-loop variable-displacement pumps, as well as fixed-displacement pumps. In addition to the broader scope in SAE J745:1996-09, it is believed, based on committee feedback, that the SAE standard is more frequently used in industry hydraulic testing laboratories. There was no evidence that SAE J745: 1996- 09 would not adequately replace the NFPA/T3.9.20-1992, so the committee recommended its withdrawal in favor of SAE J745:1996-09. The withdrawal was final on August 16, 2004.

NFPA training resources

Basic Hydraulics Interactive Training CD: This fully interactive tutorial and testing system is suitable for anyone needing to know basic hydraulic principles. From circuit diagrams to physics, each type of component is covered and its operation simulated and explained. The CD covers 12 units, and each unit contains its own test to help users track their progress. To order, visit www.nfpa.com and select "Online Store." The CD is free, but shipping charges apply.

Online pneumatics training: Fundamentals of Pneumatics is an online educational program designed to introduce the basics of pneumatics technology to students, industry novices, and others wanting to learn basic pneumatic principles. This free, online training introduces basic concepts, terminology, applications, and automation processes used throughout the pneumatics industry. All instructional materials have been designed to be vendor-neutral, making the program ideal for both academia and industry.

To view the program, go to www.nfpa.com and choose "About Fluid Power/Pneumatics."