Parker and fluid power industry stakeholders collaborate with the National Science Foundation to establish research center
Parker Hannifin has collaborated with the National Science Foundation (NSF), several universities, and other industrial companies to establish a new, $21 million Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. 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 range of fluid power applications possible, ensuring real growth for our industry for years to come.”
Major funding for the new research center comes from the NSF, which recently announced a $15 million, five-year grant for the project. 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.
“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.
Researchers at the center will study ways to use fluid power more efficiently in manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining. They will also work to develop hydraulic-hybrid passenger cars that are less expensive and more efficient than current electric hybrids. 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.