The Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (aka CCEFP or “the Center”) is a network of fluid power research laboratories, academic faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at several U.S. universities. The Center’s vision is make fluid power the technology of choice for power generation, transmission, storage, and motion control applications. It pursues this vision by focusing on two key objectives:
- Driving a pre-competitive research strategy focused on industry needs that leverages fluid power’s inherent strengths and eliminates or substantially reduces its key technical barriers. The CCEFP seeks to transfer its research discoveries to industry so that they can be commercialized and bring transformational changes in fluid power’s current and future markets.
- Educating a growing pipeline of university students in fluid power, connecting many to positions in industry where their knowledge can be used to create new and better products, and connecting others to academia where they can educate the next generation of fluid power engineers.
To accomplish the first objective, the Center maintains a wide-ranging research strategy, based on input from multiple sources including the fluid power industry’s needs as expressed in the NFPA Technology Roadmap. In seeking to address fluid power’s key technical barriers, this research strategy calls for the CCEFP to support and coordinate pre-competitive research in three thrust areas:
- Efficiency ‒ addressing the technical barriers associated with increasing the energy efficiency of fluid power components and systems, as well as efficient control and energy management through fluid power.
- Compactness ‒ addressing the technical barriers associated with compacting or integrating power supplies, energy storage devices, and other components.
- Effectiveness ‒ addressing the technical barriers associated with making fluid power safer, easier-to-use, leak-free and quiet.
In order to encourage a systems-based approach to addressing these technical barriers, the CCEFP has historically supported a number of test beds, on which the results of its individual research projects can be validated in a systems environment, and where its student researchers can develop their skills using a systems-level approach to solving technical challenges.
As the Center transitions from a National Science Foundation-funded Engineering Research Center to a sustaining research center it will seek, through its partnerships with industry and mission-centric government agencies, to support three existing and two envisioned fluid power research Centers of Excellence:
- Hydraulics Research Center of Excellence at Purdue University (existing)
- Hydraulics Testing and Evaluation Center of Excellence at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (existing)
- Fluid Power Manufacturing Research Center of Excellence at Georgia Tech (existing)
- Hydraulics/Powertrain Research Center of Excellence at the University of Minnesota (envisioned)
- Pneumatics/Human Scale Research Center of Excellence at Vanderbilt University (envisioned)