Hydraulic machines and pneumatic machines function on the same principle of fluid power, by placing a fluid or gas under pressure to create and transmit power. However, based on the material used, both types of equipment used can be easily differentiated. While hydraulic equipment uses liquids such as oils or water which cannot be compressed, pneumatic equipment uses gases such as air which can be easily compressed.
The hydraulic and pneumatic equipment market is expected to reach a value of $55.89 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 5.43 percent. In both hydraulic and pneumatic systems, pressurized fluids/gases are directed towards actuator devices by valves to provide motion and subsequently generate energy. Fluid power systems can produce more power in a safer manner as compared to electrically driven systems.
Hydraulic Equipment Market
Hydraulic systems are commonly used in construction equipment and car brakes and are an effective way to operate heavy machinery since the liquid used does not compress in response to pressure and responds immediately. They are also cost-effective since even recycled and non-potable water can be used in hydraulic systems. For decades, hydraulic systems have been used across multiple industries with hydraulic press machines forming the backbone of machinery in industries of automotive, aerospace, marine, construction and food & beverage.
The market for hydraulic equipment is expected to be driven by the construction and automotive industries. Massive demands for construction, especially in developing nations, increases the demands for hydraulic equipment that can be used in a cost-effective manner to provide immense power. In developed nations, such as North America, hydraulic systems are increasingly incorporating the use of intelligent electronics, connecting hydraulic equipment with the Internet of Things (IoT). By the digitization of hydraulic equipment, the systems can sense intelligent motion and collect data, boosting the precision and flexibility of hydraulic equipment.
The drawbacks of using hydraulic equipment include a risk of liquid leaks, corrosion, and contamination. In the pharmaceutical industry, for example, hydraulic equipment increases the risk of contamination and thus, is not used. The massive power produced by hydraulic equipment also makes it unsuitable for precision tasks and is rather used in large machinery.
Pneumatic Equipment Market
Pneumatic systems are used in applications where precision is more important than the amount of force exerted, for example in dentist offices, mining operations, and specified drills. Due to the simplicity of the design of pneumatic systems, they are less expensive, more environment-friendly, safer, low-maintenance and long-lasting. Since the raw material of gases or air is readily available, pneumatic systems are suitable for all regions in developed and developing nations.
The market for pneumatic equipment is fragmented and caters to a wide variety of industries, including oil & gas, transport, diving, and paper & pulp. The applications of pneumatic systems in the medical field and food industry are further expanding. Their safety, precision, and compliance with MRI chambers make pneumatic equipment an ideal fit for medical applications. Focus on using pneumatic equipment to eliminate hazardous manual tasks is expected to be a major driver in the market.
The major drawback of pneumatics systems is the pressure capacity of the equipment. As gases compress easily, there is a delay in the action of the system, and even then the pressure generated is considerably less than that generated with hydraulics. Also, while the setting up costs is cheaper for pneumatic equipment, overall operational costs are higher in compared to hydraulic systems.
The markets for hydraulic and pneumatic equipment both are expected to witness steady growth. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems offer a different range of applications which aid industries in various ways. While hydraulic systems are effective for large machinery and for generating great force, pneumatic systems are useful for precise and delicate activities.