Parker Hannifin engineers state that they are seeing heavy interest in hydraulic valve technology from the marine industry (including those people who make those several-hundred-foot-long yachts) in applications as wide-ranging as bow thrusters and tugboat control to sail and winch control. The reason? Recent advancements in proportional valve technology, allowing for quicker and more accurate holding of an actuator's position. "At one point, the marine industry thought that electric motors would be the panacea that would solve all of their problems from reducing cost to lowering power consumption, and obviously eliminating the issue of hydraulic leaks," says Michael Gudhe, industrial product manager for the company's Hydraulic Valve Division. "Now they're rethinking hydraulics and recognizing the benefits they bring to the table," he says. Or perhaps he should say deck.
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