In 2012, the NFPA Education and Technology Foundation awarded $100,000 to Western Michigan University to establish a fluid power laboratory. The lab is being developed in modules, and the first one is now complete. During the 2013 fall semester, 40 students in the IME3840 class used the new lab to study laminar and turbulent flow losses in hydraulic hose, pipes and coil. Now, instead of using manual gages and Excel for data analysis, students use modern sensors and programming to analyze process data.

In developing the new lab, Western Michigan University is working closely with a number of NFPA members—Alro Steel, Bimba Manufacturing, Parker Hannifin Corp., PARTsolutions—who provided equipment and software donations, as well as technical expertise.

Currently, two graduate students are working on detail design and development of the second module. The remaining two modules are planned to be completed by summer semester of 2014. It is anticipated that each year, 130 students will get hands-on training using the lab in five different undergraduate and graduate level classes. The experience will help them learn how to design energy efficient fluid power components and study the efficiency characteristics of pumps and motors in an application.

Your help is needed to continue to bring fluid power educated experiences like this to our nation's university and technical colleges.  Donate to the NFPA Foundation here.