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Mathematical models for electric

hydraulic drives
Conventional fluid-power laws often cannot adequately model hydraulic systems. They
need a method that simultaneously solves for all parameters in the system.
Boris Fikhman
Electrical Engineer Chicago, Ill.

Electric hydraulic drives are a common mechanism for industrial equipment and
automation control. The drives still follow general laws of fluid motion discovered by
Blaise Pascal, Daniel Bernoulli, and Leonhard Euler in the 17th and 18th centuries. Basic
hydraulic mechanisms were originally created for canals and they have evolved over the
centuries to become fundamental components of industrial automation.
Scientists typically divide hydraulics into two categories, hydrostatics and
hydrodynamics. Hydrostatics describes the behavior of fluids at rest. Hydrodynamics
describes the behavior of fluids in motion, including forces that act on fluids.
Hydraulic drives used for factory automation have several interacting qualities. First,
fluid flows in confined areas. Second, hydraulic drives are influenced by loads, such as
pressure or tool velocity. Hydraulic drives are also influenced by a resistance to change
this load. Third, every machine has an elastic coefficient that impacts the volume of fluid
compression. For example, fluid is theoretically incompressible and should maintain a
constant volume. But based on the interaction of these parameters, researchers have
determined the change between calculated and real volumes can be up to 40%.
An interesting paradox becomes apparent after analyzing the working capacity of
hydraulic drives in factory automation. On one hand, hydraulic drives follow basic laws
of hydrostatics. On the other hand, the machines they work with often operate at high
pressures and speeds, placing them in a dynamic regime. So the laws of hydrodynamics
don't fully explain the machines' operation.

It's difficult to isolate one component of a hydraulic system in the real world and predict
its operation. That's because several processes occur simultaneously and influence one
another. These processes include the power that moves hydraulic cylinders or turns
hydromotors, the resistance of the load and its momentum, and elastic features of
machine components.
Neither the laws of hydrostatics nor hydrodynamics can account for individual
parameters of hydraulic components and their interactions. These require a method that
simultaneously solves for all parameters in the system.
The diagram at right shows a basic rectilinear drive. Motion for the drive is initiated
either by an uncontrolled, uninterrupted, pressure regulator or an automatically
controlled, uninterrupted pressure regulator.
The drive consists of a pump that moves fluid from the tank to the cylinder. The selector
valve changes the direction of fluid to cavities in the cylinder, which changes the
direction of piston motion. The pressure-relief valve limits pressure to a maximum set
point. Finally, pipes connect all parts of the drive. A rotary drive has similar components
except it uses a hydraulic motor instead of a hydraulic cylinder.
Mathematical models can be used to simulate the action of the hydraulic-system
components for real working conditions. The models are similar for rectilinear and rotary
For drives with uninterrupted, uncontrolled pressure regulators, 38 parameters model the
mechanical, hydraulic, and electric components in the system. Drives with automatically
controlled, uninterrupted pressure regulators need 65 parameters to model the equipment.
Exact methods of calculating electric-hydraulic drive performance is necessary in many
industrial systems, such as thermoplastic machinery, foundry equipment, and
metalworking tools. The mathematical models can be used to solve a variety of practical
problems. For instance, electric-hydraulic drives can be modeled on computers and
hydraulic-equipment designs can be optimized by minimizing weight and energy
consumption. The precision of machine processes can also be optimized. The models can
also be used to automate hydraulic-equipment control systems for parameters such as the
load and speed of tools.
As an example of how the models can be used, consider mounting a bushing on an axle
using a hydraulic press as shown in the "Bushing press" graphic. In this system elastic
deformation takes place when the metal parts of the machine deform and when the fluid
deforms. Both deformations increase the volume of the fluid passages. If the pump
doesn't compensate for the changing volume, the speed of the press will decrease. The
problem is determining the response time of the changing parameters.
The required pressing force F can be characterized by the formula:

The system of equations that models the hydraulic press is:

After determining Pb from Equation 2, substituting it into Equation 3, and rewriting the
equations using Laplace transforms, the system of equations becomes:

In this system the cross-sectional area of the throttle = 1.7610 -4 m 2 , the piston area =
9.610 -4 m 2 , the ball-valve area = 1.2610 -5 m 2 , the plunger area = 0.158 m 2 , and the
elastic coefficient of the hydraulic press = 2.5510 8 N/m.
The next step is to find the deviation of the hydraulic system pressure by calculating the
determinants of the Cramer formula:

After calculating this determinant and simplifying the coefficients by renaming them as
Ti, the determinant becomes:

The next step is calculating D1 using:

Similar Ti substitutions for this determinant produce:

Substituting into the equation for P produces:

In this case Fb = 0, so only the second part of the equation is required. The Ti variables
are calculated by substituting values for components in the hydraulic press. After these
substitutions, the Ti values are found to be:

Substituting these values into the P equation produces the characteristic equation:

Using a computer, the roots of this equation are found to be:

By evaluating these roots using a detailed mathematical process, the function for P
Using a similar calculation process, the remaining functions are found to be:

This modeling process shows how elastic deformation takes place during the transient
portion of a pressing application. A similar process can be used to determine the response
of the pressure regulator connected to the hydraulic pump.


The following equations apply to hydraulic drives equipped with uninterrupted,
uncontrolled, pressure regulators.

The following equation applies to rectilinear motion.

The following equation applies to rotary motion.

When the hydraulic drive is equipped with an uninterrupted, controlled, pressure

regulator, the following equations describe the dynamic process for the drive of the
pressure regulator. The equations should be used in addition to the previous ones.