Curricula & Classroom Content

Learn more about adding the fluid power content to your curriculum that experts in the industry have identified as fluid power core competencies and access resources to get started.

Prepare Your Students for a Job in Fluid Power

Whether you teach courses dedicated to fluid power or wish to incorporate fluid power into your mechanical engineering courses, you'll want to make sure your students are getting the skills they need to do well in their first jobs out of school. What's more, schools that teach these skills may be eligible to become a Power Partner university. Power Partner universities are eligible for NFPA funding, annual recognition and industry connection opportunities.

The fluid power industry has identified ten Fluid Power Core Competencies that they would like to see in newly graduated engineering students entering the fluid power industry:

  1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations
  2. Conceptual and theoretical understanding of fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency)
  3. Understand fluid power components and circuits
  4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e., fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.
  5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements
  6. Apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems
  7. Appropriately size components in fluid power systems
  8. Integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems
  9. Cite hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems
  10. Inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure

Additional Competencies

Industry experts have identified additional competencies that many fluid power professionals need today. These competencies may be taught in university or technical college programs. 

General Electrical/Electronics

  1. Understand electrical schematics
  2. Understand electrical signals come in different form factors
  3. Understand basic electrical components (Resistors, capacitors, etc.)
  4. Be able to setup and run test equipment (oscilloscopes, digital multi-meters, function generators, power supplies, data acquisition, etc.)
  5. Possess IPC-rated soldering skills
  6. Be able to design, document, and build test harnesses
  7. Be able to troubleshoot issues
  8. Be able to write test reports
  9. Be able to read industry standards and execute tests to ensure product meets them

Control Systems

  1. Understand how electronics and controls are integrated into fluid power systems, and the related benefits
  2. Possess basic understanding of C programming language
  3. Be able to diagnose vehicle wiring issues relevant to the controls
  4. Understand popular communication protocols (i.e., Ethernet, Wifi, CAN, Bluetooth, USB)
  5. Experienced in OPCUA protocol for industrial PLCs to communicate
  6. Be able to translate electrical signals into usable CAN parameters

Data Acquisition

  1. Understand high level vehicle system architecture diagrams to determine where data will come from
  2. Be able to translate data collected into meaningful information that users can use to solve problems
  3. Have knowledge of data storage architectures and when to use them (i.e., RAM, Flash, Databases)
  4. Understand benefits of how data collection, data storage and data presentation can improve vehicle safety, vehicle performance, operator performance and cost of ownership
  5. Know how to size data collected into compact data schemas

Available Curriculum

The resources available below have been developed by leading fluid power educators and researchers to be used to teach content that covers the core competencies.

This activity focuses on the fabrication, testing and modeling of a simple pneumatic actuator.

Competencies Covered

4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e. fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.

8. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY

Faculty at Lawrence Tech incorporated fluid power based modules into the mechanical engineering curriculum, aiming to teach students the basic theories and concepts in the area of fluid power and expose them to real-world hydraulic and pneumatic applications.

Competencies Covered

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD MATERIALS

In this case study, a hydraulic system connected to a two-degree-of-freedom robot linkage is presented. The methods presented here can be applied to a variety of hydraulically operated machines with similar characteristics such as cranes, excavators and others which use valve-controlled hydraulic cylinders to actuate linkages.

Competencies Covered

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

6. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD CASE STUDIES

"Fluid Power System Dynamics" covers fluid power components and circuits. It was created for inclusion in the standard undergraduate system dynamics course that typically covers fluid systems but not fluid power. It can also be used as a self-study introduction to fluid power for working engineers who are new to fluid power. It has been used in courses at several of the CCEFP universities.

Competencies Covered

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e. fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

6. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

ACCESS TEXTBOOK

Using Simumatik3D, Ohio University simulated hydraulic components in the five basic demonstration hydraulic circuits.

Competencies Covered

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

6. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD SIMULATION OVERVIEW | DOWNLOAD SUPPLEMENTAL DIAGRAM

These materials were used to further advance uses of fluid power in the MIT course “2.007 – Design and Manufacturing” and provided substantial new material related to fluids, thermodynamics, pneumatics, and related sensing and control in both lecture and lab sessions.

Competencies Covered

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e., fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD REPORT | DOWNLOAD LECTURE | DOWNLOAD EXAM

Syllabus for course covering basic fluid power concepts, standard hydraulic symbols, component design and
applications, fluid power system considerations, design and operation.

Competencies Covered

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

6. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

10. Can inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure.

DOWNLOAD SYLLABUS

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge strives to promote original thinking in a competitive setting by combining two technology platforms that are not normally associated with one another—human-powered vehicles and fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics). The Vehicle Challenge easily embeds into capstone design courses most mechanical engineering students take in their senior year and includes exclusive opportunities to connect with industry professionals.

Competencies Covered

  1. Understanding of fluid power benefits and limitations.
  2. Understanding of fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.
  3. Understanding of fluid power components and circuits.
  4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e., fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.
  5. Understanding of machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.
  6. Ability to apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.
  7. Ability to appropriately size components in fluid power systems.
  8. Ability to integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.
  9. Hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.
  10. Ability to inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure.

LEARN MORE

In this course, you will be introduced to the fundamental principles and analytical modeling of fluid power components, circuits, and systems. You will learn the benefits and limitations of fluid power compared with other power transmission technologies; the operation, use, and symbols of common hydraulic components; how to formulate and analyze models of hydraulic components and circuits; and how to design and predict the performance of fluid power circuits. This course is supported by the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, and is endorsed by the National Fluid Power Association.

Competencies Covered

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e., fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

6. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

7. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

9. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

10. Can inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure.

ACCESS COURSE

This activity focuses on improving the performance of an air engine composed of a single pneumatic cylinder attached to a flywheel.

Competencies Covered

2. Understand fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency) conceptually and theoretically.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

4. Understand the impact of fluid properties, i.e. fluid viscosity, on fluid power system efficiency and performance.

8. Have hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems.

DOWNLOAD ACTIVITY

These presentations focus on Electrohydraulic System Controls.

Competencies Covered

  1. Integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems
  2. Cite hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems

Download EH Valves in Electrohydraulic Systems Lecture

Download Open Loop EH Control System Lecture

Download PAC Network for EH Sequence Position Control Lecture

Download EH Closed Loop Control System Lecture

Competencies Covered

1.Integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems

2. Cite hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits

5. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements

6. Apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems

7. Appropriately size components in fluid power systems

8. Integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems

9. Cite hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems

10. Inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure

Open Loop Lab

Closed Loop Lab

Competencies Covered:

2. Conceptual and theoretical understanding of fluid power laws and principles (including energy transfer and power efficiency)

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits

6. Apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems

8. Integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems

Simulated_Hydraulic_Motor_Control_Exercises

Lab Procedure Document

Simulation-Based Experiments in Hydraulic Motor Speed Control

Enhance Your Existing Courses

In addition to the creation of new courses, the fluid power industry suggests incorporating the specific fluid power competencies with the following standard mechanical engineering courses.

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

5. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

6. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

2. Conceptual and theoretical understanding of fluid power laws and principles.

6. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems. (Lab experience)

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

3. Understand fluid power components and circuits.

4. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

6. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems (Lab experience)

9. Can inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure.

1. Understand fluid power benefits and limitations.

4. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

5. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

7. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

2. Conceptual and theoretical understanding of fluid power laws and principles.

7. Can integrate sensing and electronic control functions with fluid power components and systems.

4. Understand machine level requirements and translate into fluid power system requirements.

5. Can apply design, simulation and analysis tools to fluid power components and systems.

6. Can appropriately size components in fluid power systems.

8. Hands-on experience with fluid power components and systems

9. Can inspect, analyze and develop corrective action for product failure.

Supplement Curriculum with Videos

To help educators across the country access more virtual fluid power content to use in the classroom, we are now sharing videos of real-life examples of various fluid power technologies from NFPA member companies and fellow educator partners.  

These videos are free to use for educational purposes. This is a great opportunity for students to learn about the realm of fluid power technologies and the different career path opportunities. This can also help students become familiar with how specific products work while also starting to learn about the individual companies in the industry so that they are more educated about where to look for internships/jobs, and even when making purchasing decisions once they’re in the workforce.  If you have an educational video that you feel would be beneficial to students learning about fluid power, please send them to the Workforce Team at workforce@nfpa.com for consideration.

Impact of Fluid Power Industry – NFPA | Description of the fluid power industry, economic impact and reasons to study it.

Hydraulic Hose – Gates CorpDescription of hose construction and manufacturing

Hydraulic Cylinders – AmetekDesign considerations for hydraulic cylinders

Hydraulic Cylinders – AmetekMagnetostrictive technology

Accumulators – Turner HydraulicsAccumulators charging

Automation – HydraforceVideo of recent automation projects

Fittings – HydraforceInstallation video

Manifolds – HydraforceManifold assembly 

PLC Programming – Murray State UniversityHow to program Allen Bradley ControlLogix 5000 PLCs. How to establish an ethernet, ethernet IP, and virtual communication using RSLinx.

HMI Programming – Murray State UniversityHow to create a very simple HMI Video and demonstrate how to connect the HMI program to a PLC.

Studio 5000: Simple Project 1 – The Seal-In with Mulitple Permissives – Murray State UniversityProgram designed to seal in a motor when the start button is pressed. The motor will remain running even when the operator is not pressing the start button. The start button is normally open. The normally closed Estop, the normally open over-speed switch, and the normally closed Line Estop will all stop the motor.

Curriculum Development

NFPA has some funding available to support the development of curriculum and other materials to teach the ten core competencies. Please reach out to the Workforce Team at workforce@nfpa.com to learn more.