Introducing Ourselves

The Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls (IFAS) of RWTH Aachen University is one of the largest institutions of its kind involved in the research of all aspects of fluid power. Apart from mechanical engineering, the research comprises other topics, such as information technology, servo-control engineering, electrical engineering, tribology and chemistry.

Changes in the general social-political conditions characterise the requirements and developments of fluid power for the future. Greater environmental awareness, as well as new technologies like mechatronic systems, condition monitoring, surface coating techniques or modern information technologies lead to solutions that reveal new perspectives and fields of application for fluid power systems.

A motivated team of aspiring young scientists takes on the challenges presented by this diversified field of study. The intensive national and international contacts established between the institute and the manufacturers / users of fluid power components and systems, as well as other research facilities, ensure that its activities always comply with upcoming demands.

Aims of IFAS...

...are to initiate continuous advances in the specialised field of fluid power by means of innovative research, development and education. The basis for this is created by the integration of motivated students and trainees in practical and theoretical project work. This way they acquire their professional qualification and are given the opportunity to obtain their doctorates.

Continuous education and training contribute towards expansion and further development of fluid power as well as a professionally satisfying career.

Historical Highlights

As nationally and internationally recognized research institution, the IFAS is and has been pioneering many developments in Fluid Power technology.
1960s Beginnings of servo hydraulics, fluidics
1970s Basis of cavitation research, servo pneumatics, pump controlled systems
1980s Digital control, development of DSHplus (simulation tool), proportiona / directional control cartridge valves, secondary control
1990s Pre-compression chamber in piston pumps, fuzzy control, bio fluids, piezo technology, sealing engineering (blow-by effect)
2000s Tribology, gap simulation, mass conservative system simulation, integrated drives, mechatronics, piezo actuators, bus communication, condition monitoring, self-energizing electro-hydraulic brake,
servopneumatic hand, intelligent grippers
2010s Energy savings and efficiency improvements, hybrid drives, efficient gab simulations for hard and softcontacts, contact models, friction models, novel approaches for hydraulic and pneumatic units,
fluid analysis (TMFB), multidisciplinarity, merging of drives and controls, campus cluster heavy duty drivetrains


1968 Establishment of the Institute for Hydraulic and Pneumatic Drives and Controls (IHP) under direction of Prof. Backé in the rooms of the Institute for agricultural technology in the Eilfschornsteinstraße
1972 Move to the newly constructed Centre Building in the Kopernikusstraße
1977 Relocation of the Institute in the development area Seffent-Melaten
1994 Prof. Backé retires as emeritus professor and Prof. Murrenhoff is appointed; change of the leadership with simultaneous change of the name into Institute for Fluid Power Drives and Controls (IFAS)
1998 Completion of the building extension to expand the test field and add a new library, seminar room and CAD room
Establishment of the International Fluid Power Conference (IFK) with the two-year alternating venues Aachen – Dresden
2004 Extensive renovation of the test field (oil laboratory, surface measurement room, electrical workshop, etc.) and office wing
2005 Successful completion of the Collaborative Research Centre 368 "Autonomous Production Cells"
2008 40 years of fluid power at RWTH Aachen University
Participation in cluster of excellence "Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass (TMFB)"
2009 Colloquium to honour the 80th birthday of Prof. Backé
Successful completion of the Collaborative Research Centre 442 "Environmentally Friendly Tribosystems"
2010 Renewal of the laboratory’s central pressure supply
2013 Colloquium to honour the 60th birthday of Prof. Murrenhoff
Acquisition of the funding of the VIP Project STEAM
2014 Prof. Murrenhoff receives ASME Robert E. Koski Medal
Acquisition of the funding of a DFG Koselleck Project in cooperation with Dr. Persson (FZ Jülich)
IFAS Halle
expansion building of IFAS institute
aerial view of IFAS