Any list of fluid power research superstars would have to include Dr. Monika Ivantysynova, head of the Maha Fluid Power Laboratory at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Ivantysynova, who worked at the University of Hamburg for years, has always been an academic researcher who strives to work in conjunction with industry. And her almost decade-long tenure at Purdue has been no exception.
She gave Design World an exclusive tour of the Maha lab recently. Maha was formed in 2004 with a $4 million endowment from fluid power pioneer Otto Maha. Ivantysynova moved from TUHH in Hamburg-Harburg, Germany to Purdue to lead the new center. By 2007, the lab had outgrown its building and moved to a much larger space. The center’s research focuses on energy saving hydraulic drive systems and optimizing pumps and motors. Within the systems area, current projects deal with new circuit solutions, appropriate mathematical modeling and simulation strategies, advanced actuator and drive line control concepts, and methods for online prognostics and condition monitoring for ag and other mobile machinery. Another team is focusing on improving unit efficiency and noise reduction in axial piston machines.
Check out this video of Ivantysynova discussing a current project dealing with gap surface design. Lubricating gaps in positive displacement pumps, while necessary, can account for as much as 60% of energy losses at full displacement. Interestingly, testing and simulation of these tiny gaps has proven that steel actually deforms locally during pump operation.