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Fluid power electronic controls certification on its way

The International Fluid Power Society recently announced it will establish new fluid power electronic controls certifications. Because electronic controls are growing in use in fluid power, IFPS will create third party certifications to verify the higher competency skills associated with the successful application and service of these controls.

By January 2009, IFPS will be releasing its Certified Fluid Power Electronic Control Specialist (CFPECS) certification that immediately will be followed by Industrial Technician (CFPIECT) and Mobile Technician (CFPMECT) certifications.

This past January, IFPS assembled 20 fluid power electronics professionals to begin development of the new certifications.

John E. Seim, retiring director of the Center for Automation and Motion Control at Alexandria Technical College, Alexandria, Minn., has been retained by the IFPS as the certification development director, under the direction of Ray Hanley, IFPS honorary director and IFPS certification advocate.

The IFPS Fluid Power Electronic Control Specialist Certification will encompass:

  • Control Principles, including general control system design; load physics of machine; first and second order dynamics; natural frequency; control of process variables; open loop and closed loop systems; tuning, PID, stability, and gain; applicable standards; FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis); and safety considerations
  • Fluid Power Systems, including block diagrams; the effects of fluid conditioning; fluid cleanliness regulation — servo/prop/on-off; frequency effects; causes of hydraulic shock; low control (electric); pressure regulation (electric); cylinders/actuators; the effects of cylinder seals on system dynamics; pumps; load sensing; proportional valve; pressure compensation for throttle valves (hydrostatic function); servovalves; and mechanical nulling effects
  • Electronics & Electrical Principles, including block diagrams; power and signal quality; signal conditioning; operating environment considerations; basic electrical measurements — I, E, R/calculations; explain inductance; power supply types and considerations; discrete components; wiring considerations; grounding; circuit protection; dc and ac electric motor speed control; sinking and sourcing; and test and measurement equipment
  • Input/Output Devices, including properties measured; performance quantification; define switches vs. transducers; switches (constructive, pole, throw, normally open, normally closed); difference between inductive, capacitive, optical, prox, and Hall effect; magnetostrictive, LVDT, RVDT, potentiometer; appropriate application of sensor technology; encoders; joysticks; displays; and
  • Controllers, including identifying types of controllers; controller requirement for fluid power systems; PLC I/O types and operational characteristics; PLC dataflow; IEC 61131 programming; interlocking; networks; OSI; network selection criteria; power, grounding, cabling, and termination; wireless communication types; and HMI.

Several fluid power companies, organizations, and individuals have already contributed to the certifcation development. IFPS welcomes the support and input of individuals and companies for its certification advisory and technical committees, and will be seeking funding support for this new initiative. For more information or to become involved, contact Donna Pollander, IFPS executive director, (800) 308-6005 ext 15.