Eaton Corp., a diversified industrial manufacturer, has joined National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) members, seven universities, and the National Science Foundation (NSF) to create a new engineering research center (ERC) for compact and efficient fluid power.In addition to $3 million in industry funding and $3 million from universities, the NSF recently announced a five-year, $15 million grant to support the center, which will pioneer energy-saving fluid power technology. The center will be based at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.
"Eaton is proud to be part of the engineering research center for compact and efficient fluid power," said Sohan Uppal, Eaton vice president of technology, fluid power group. "This collaboration of more than 50 industry members, seven U.S. universities, and the National Science Foundation is unprecedented in the fluid power industry in the United States."
Fluid power is used extensively in manufacturing, agricultural, and construction equipment. ERC researchers will study ways to use fluid power with less energy consumption. Research will also focus on innovative applications of fluid power, such as the development of a hydraulic-hybrid passenger car. Other research at the center may lead to new medical and rehabilitation devices, and robots to be used in rescue missions.
NSF-funded engineering research centers conduct research in emerging technologies and train the next generation of engineers to be leaders in innovation. Each center, while based at one university, is a collaborative partnership drawing together individuals and resources from other universities, industry partners, and pre-college teachers and students.