Difference Between Power System | Mechanical , Hydraulic , Electrical , Pneumatic

There are three basic methods of transmitting power: electrical, mechanical and fluid power. Most applications actually use a combination of the three methods to obtain the most efficient overall system. To properly determine which method to use, it is important to know the salient features of each type. For example, fluid systems can transmit power more economically over greater distances than mechanical types. However, fluid systems are restricted to shorter distances compared to electrical systems. Table

Mechanical Power System : 

Mechanical power transmission refers to products used in systems with moving parts as opposed to systems powered electrically. These products include shaft couplings, chains and sprockets, belts and sheaves, and drive components.

Belts, such as v-belts and synchronous drive belts, are used in a variety of applications and work in conjunction with pulleys and sheaves. These products reduce slippage and are commonly used in manufacturing, HVAC, and agricultural industries. Shaft couplings join two shafts together and are available in two main types: flexible shaft couplings and rigid shaft couplings. Drive components include clutches, breaks, gears, and variable speed motor drives.

Electric power system

An electric power system is a network of electrical components deployed to supply, transfer, and use electric power. An example of an electric power system is the grid that provides power to an extended area. An electrical grid power system can be broadly divided into the generators that supply the power, the transmission system that carries the power from the generating centres to the load centres, and the distribution system that feeds the power to nearby homes and industries. Smaller power systems are also found in industry, hospitals, commercial buildings and homes. The majority of these systems rely upon three-phase AC power—the standard for large-scale power transmission and distribution across the modern world. Specialised power systems that do not always rely upon three-phase AC power are found in aircraft, electric rail systems, ocean liners and automobiles.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Power system : 

Pneumatic technology deals with the study of behavior and applications of compressed air in our daily life in general and manufacturing automation in particular. Pneumatic systems use air as the medium which is abundantly available and can be exhausted into the atmosphere after completion of the assigned task.

Hydraulic System:

The controlled movement of parts or a controlled application of force is a common requirement in the industries. These operations are performed mainly by using electrical machines or diesel, petrol and steam engines as a prime movers. These prime movers can provide various movements to the objects by using some mechanical attachments like screw jack, lever, rack and pinions etc. However, these are not the only prime movers. The enclosed fluids (liquids and gases) can also be used as prime movers to provide controlled motion and force to the objects or substances. The specially designed enclosed fluid systems can provide both linear as well as rotary motion. The high magnitude controlled force can also be applied by using these systems. This kind of enclosed fluid based systems using pressurized incompressible liquids as transmission media are called as hydraulic systems. The hydraulic system works on the principle of Pascal’s law which says that the pressure in an enclosed fluid is uniform in all the directions.


Comparison of different power systems

Property Mechanical ElectricalPneumaticHydraulic
Input energy
I C engines
Electric motor
I C engines
Water/gas turbines
I C engines
Pressure tank
I C engines
Electric motor
Air turbine
Energy transfer
Levers, gears,
Electrical cables
and magnetic field
Pipes and hosesPipes and hoses
Energy carrierRigid and elastic
Flow of
Response speedFairBestFairGood
Dirt sensitivityBestBestFairFair
Relative costBestBestGoodFair
Motion typeMainly rotaryMainly rotaryLinear or rotaryLinear or rotary

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