The National Fluid Power Association is supporting fluid power education and research through its Education Fund, which is sustained by profits from the International Exposition for Power Transmission.

A number of projects underway hold the promise of providing breakthroughs in fluid power technology, while helping students learn about hydraulics and pneumatics. Some of these major projects include:
Engineering Research Center — This is a multi-university effort to create a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Engineering Research Center.

The lead institution in this program is the University of Minnesota. Core partner institutions are the Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Vanderbilt University. Affiliated outreach organizations are North Carolina A&T University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and NFPA.

The goal of this center is to create a new fluid power technology that is compact and efficient. Proposed projects include development of pumps with actively controlled tribological surfaces with improved efficiency; new control approaches and system configurations developed to replace the current inefficient valve throttling approaches; use of composite and functionally graded materials and integrating components into unified systems to minimize the weight and volume of fluid power systems; and reduction of noise and vibration, leakage, and awkward interfacesleading to wider and more efficient use of fluid power.

For more information, contact Sue Chase at (414) 778-3376 or schase@nfpa.com.

Cooperative Network for Research in Motion Control through Fluid Power — This NFPA member-supported consortium is designed as an industry-supported, non-proprietary research network. The program actively supports research in hydraulics and pneumatics in order to bring fluid power to new fields and applications.

Members of the Cooperative Network for Research (CNR)

Steering Committee have sent an invitation for a new round of CNR research projects to: Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Purdue University, University of Illinois, University of Missouri —Columbia, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin —Madison, and Vanderbilt University. Accepted research projects will begin in the fall of 2005 and extend through the spring of 2007. The targeted level of support per project will be $75,000 per year for each of two years, resulting in a total target proposal level of $150,000.

NFPA's CNR program was launched in 2004, and three projects were selected to receive funding. Work on these projects began last September.

50 years ago...

From the February 1955 issue of Applied Hydraulics (the original title of H&P).

The shape of things to come
Stretching foundation garment material by hand in order to flatten rolled seams was a difficult and tiring job. Because of the hard work, operators didn't like to stay on the job for long periods of time, and it was difficult to maintain uniformity. Knickerknick Inc., manufacturers of figure-flattering panty girdles, solved this problem by using air cylinders to operate a mechanical stretcher.

Operated by a foot control, retraction of the piston rod causes the stretching form to expand, and the seams automatically flatten. While the garment is in the stretched position, operators can inspect for sewing flaws. When the foot pedal is released, the stretching form closes and the garment is removed.

Using this method, operator fatigue vanished and production has more than tripled.

25 years ago ...

From the February 1980 issue of Hydraulics & Pneumatics.

Versatile undercarriage positions excavator in tough terrain
The all-hydraulic Muck excavator, built by Ernst Menzi AG, Widnau, Switzerland, operates on a four-point undercarriage that allows independent adjustment of each corner in three directions. This permits the excavator to work on steep slopes, in swamps and water, and in areas with limited accessibility and space.

Hydraulic cylinders can set the two rear wheels within a 4-ft vertical range and extend them an additional foot away from the excavator body. The horizontal wheel track can be adjusted from 6.5 to 11.5 ft. The unpowered wheels run freely for travel and are blocked by by special brakes while digging.