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FP3: Hydraulic systems and efficiency

Details of our CPD course, covering system design for efficiency including course content, prices and dates.


This course is run in conjunction with the IMechE.

Our course covers system design for efficiency. It introduces you to inherent losses of common systems, loss characteristics of components and methods to recover energy. A part of the course is dedicated to new technologies that are not yet standard in the field.

You'll learn through worked examples, case studies, design exercises, computer simulation classes, and laboratory sessions. These will help you understand how to combine hydraulic components into efficient systems.

Who should apply

Our course is for engineering professionals and graduates interested or working in designing, developing or simulating fluid power systems and components.

To take this course, you must have either:

  • completed our FP1: Introduction to hydraulic circuits and components
  • or have some work experience and knowledge of hydraulic systems equivalent to CETOP level 3

You should also have fairly good mathematical and computational skills. Knowledge of our FP2: Component selection for hydraulic systems or similar content is also beneficial.

Prices and dates

All our course prices and dates are listed on our Centre for Power Transmission & control cpd courses for industry page.

Course objectives

When you complete the course, you should:

  • have a thorough understanding of the inherent losses in common hydraulic circuits
  • be able to evaluate systems on their efficiency
  • appreciate causes for losses on a component level
  • be able to identify potential for energy recovery and suitable approaches
  • understand technical specifications of components and use this information to combine components into efficient systems
  • know the principles of system design taking into account duty cycles and system efficiency
  • apply computer simulation methods for predicting the efficiency of hydraulic systems
  • use experimental methods for measuring the efficiency of hydraulic systems
  • be aware of upcoming technology

Course contents

Fundamental principles

  • causes, effects, and quantitative description of losses in power transmission
  • noise generation in hydraulic systems
  • thermodynamic properties of accumulators
  • measurement and control

Valve-based vs displacement-based control

  • recap of essential content from FP1 and FP2 with focus on efficiency
  • comparison of typical system layouts
  • advantages and disadvantages

Variable speed prime movers

  • recap of essential content from ED with a focus on efficiency and relevant electric machines
  • efficiency of power electronics
  • efficiency of internal combustion engines

Electrohydrostatic actuation

  • combination of different methods for speed control
  • possible combinations
  • transient responses
  • challenges for controlling a multi-input-single-output system

Energy recovery

  • recap of essential accumulator content from FP1 and FP2
  • use of accumulators for energy recovery
  • redirecting "wasted" flow to other functions
  • recovery in systems with electric prime movers

Future technologies

  • valves with individual control edges
  • digital hydraulics
  • switched inertance for hydraulic pulse width modulation
  • hydraulic transformers

Determining efficiency of hydraulic systems

  • duty cycles
  • hand calculations
  • simulation (Matlab/Simulink, AMESim)
  • experimental measurements


  • case study: electrohydrostatic actuation
  • design exercise: system design
  • hand calculation of different system configurations
  • computer simulation exercises

Laboratory sessions

We try to use current research rigs where possible for these lab exercises to demonstrate leading edge technology, so some lab content might vary.

  • switched inertance
  • switchable area actuator
  • measuring static efficiency
  • dynamic measurements


The University of Bath is regulated by The Office for Students (OfS). We continually improve our course by integrating feedback from academic staff and students.

Learning, assessment and final award

Our teaching is carried out by people experienced in the field, mostly academic staff and PhD candidates as well as select guest speakers. There is no formal assessment and to successfully complete the course and receive the certificate of competence, you must attend the course in whole and participate in the exercises.

Continue your professional development with us

Find out more about what other CPD courses we offer.


If you have any questions, please contact us.

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