Fluid power is the transfer of motions and forces using a pressurized ?uid. In hydraulic ?uid power systems the ?uid used is oil and water whereas in pneumatic ?uid power systems the ?uid is air. Fluid power is best suited for high speed and high power applications. As compared to the other actuation technologies, ?uid power is unsurpassed for power density and force, and is capable of generating very high forces with comparatively lightweight cylinder actuators. Fluid power systems posses high bandwidth than electric motors and can be easily used in applications that demands fast start and stop. Since oil has a very high bulk modulus, hydraulic systems can be easily controlled for precision motion applications. Another advantage of ?uid power is flexibility and compactness. Fluid power cylinders are comparatively small and are light weight.
Fluid power systems are major contributors to the industry. Applications range from brute force required in heavy industry to the sensitive positioning of parts in precision machining operations. The systems are typically grouped under two broad classifications of hydraulic and pneumatic. Hydraulic systems use liquids generally oil while pneumatic systems use gas mostly air.
Fluid power is one of the three types of power transfer systems generally used today. Other two systems are electrical and mechanical. Each of the systems transmits power from a prime mover to an actuator that finishes the task required of the system. Fluid power systems utilize a prime mover to drive a pump that easily pressurizes a fluid, which is then transferred to an actuator. Mechanical systems transmit power from prime mover to the point through the means of gears, belts and shafts. Electrical systems also transfer power using electrical current flowing through the conductors.
The key function of the ?uid in a ?uid power system is to transmit power. There are other, applications that dictate the speci?c ?uids used in the real hydraulic systems. The ?uids must cool the system by dissipating heat in a reservoir, it helps the sealing to avoid leaks, it must lubricates rotating and sliding surfaces of motors and cylinders, it should not corrode components and must have a longer life.
Earlier, hydraulic system utilizes water as a ?uid. Although water is safe for the human beings and the environment, yet it is readily and cheaply available, it has certain disadvantages for the hydraulic applications. It provides no lubrication, has less viscosity and leaks by the seals, has a smaller temperature range between freezing and boiling, it can easily corrodes hydraulic components.
Advanced hydraulic system utilizes petroleum based oils with additives to inhibit corrosion and foaming. Petroleum oils are less costly and provide good lubricity with longer life. High efficiency and better reliability are some of the key drivers of the fluid power solutions market. However, huge cost required for the maintenance of the fluid power solutions can hamper the growth of the market. Ample amount of opportunities are there for the fluid power solutions market owing to the rapid industrialization especially in emerging economies such as India and China.
Some of the key companies in the business of fluid power solutions are Fluid Power Solutions Ltd, Stansted Fluid Power Ltd, FPS Fluid Power Solutions Inc., Fluid Power Solutions Wales Ltd., Furness Fluid Power Ltd, Sirus Fluid Power Ltd, Flowtech Fluidpower plc and Ernst Fluid Power Company among others.
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