Parker Hannifin, Industry Stakeholders, NSF Establish Fluid Power Engineering Research Center

$21 million dollar center will be based at University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus

     Parker Hannifin, a provider of motion and control technologies, has collaborated with the National Science Foundation (NSF), several universities, and other leading industrial companies to establish a $21 million Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power.

     Major funding for the new research center comes from the National Science Foundation, which recently announced a $15 million, five-year grant to support the new Fluid Power Engineering Research Center. Parker and other industry partners, under the coordination of the National Fluid Power Association, will augment NSF funding with $3 million, and seven universities involved in the center will contribute an additional $3 million. The center will be based at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.

     "Fluid power is a key component of our product portfolio," said Don Washkewicz, Parker Chairman and CEO. "The new research center will help expand the already vast range of fluid power applications possible, ensuring real growth for our industry for years to come. We believe that by investing in innovation, we can turn today's concepts into tomorrow's realities, improving the quality of life everywhere in the world."

     "This center will advance fundamental knowledge, providing a platform for technology that will spawn new industries. We are impressed with the ambitious goals of the center for research and education and the strong partnership with industry," said Lynn Preston, leader of the Engineering Research Centers Program at NSF.

     Fluid-power technology encompasses most applications that use liquids or gases to transmit power in the form of pressurized fluid. The complexity of these systems ranges from a simple jack used to lift a car when replacing a tire to sophisticated airplane flight control actuators that rely on high- pressure hydraulic systems. 

     Fluid power is a $33 billion industry worldwide. Major industry areas include aerospace, agriculture, construction, health care, manufacturing, mining, and transportation.

     Researchers at the center will study ways to use fluid power more efficiently in manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining. Each 10% improvement in efficiency of current uses of fluid power in these
industries will save about $7 billion a year in U.S. energy costs. Researchers will also work to develop hydraulic-hybrid passenger cars that are less expensive and more efficient than current electric hybrids. A 10% improvement in efficiency in national passenger-car energy use will save about $10 billion a year.

     Another goal of the research center is to develop portable, wearable and autonomous fluid-power devices capable of operating for long periods of time without external energy sources. This technology could lead to new medical and rehabilitation devices and robots that could be used in rescue missions.

     In addition to research, the center will be involved in developing youth education programs, improving efforts to increase student diversity in engineering, designing internship and exchange programs for
undergraduate and graduate students, and offering short courses and labs for industry workers.

     Core universities involved in the center are the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University and Vanderbilt University.
Outreach universities include the Milwaukee School of Engineering and North Carolina A&T State University. Outreach institutions include the National Fluid Power Association, Project Lead the Way, and the Science Museum of Minnesota.

     Parker Hannifin,  with annual sales exceeding $8 billion, is a leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of
commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets.