NSF announces five-year grant for a new Engineering Research Center for fluid power
June 15, 2006--Discovering ways to improve efficiency, developing more compact devices and reducing noise and vibration are just three of the goals of a new multimillion-dollar research center supported by Delta Computer Systems, Inc.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently announced a $15 million, five-year grant to support the new Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power. Industry partners 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.
With help from the National Fluid Power Association, more than 50 companies have agreed to provide support for the research center. Seven of those companies have annual sales of more than $500 million.
"As an innovator in fluid power motion control products, Delta believes the ERC is a great program that will advance industrial and mobile applications and benefit causes such as health care and the environment," stated Steve Nylund, Delta CEO. "We are very pleased to be a founding member of this unprecedented opportunity to provide support for fluid power research and education," Nylund added.
Researchers at the center will study ways to use fluid power more efficiently in manufacturing, agriculture, construction and mining. Each 10 percent 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 percent 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.
"Delta applauds the efforts by the ERC to promote fluid power-related education at multiple levels-from junior high school to workforce training-this will help keep U.S. industries competitive and foster new inventions with many benefits." Nylund concluded.
About Delta Computer Systems
For more than 20 years, Delta has been a supplier of motion controllers, color sensors, and other industrial products.
Contacts: Bill Savela, Delta Computer Systems Inc., (360) 254-8688
Josh Chamot, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-7730