ISO 4409 is the most important international standard for measuring the efficiency of hydraulic pumps and motors, the latest edition being 4409:2007. The standard describes methods for determining the steady-state performance in terms of overall efficiency. It also defines equations for calculating the volumetric efficiency of pumps and motors. The hydro-mechanical efficiency is only defined for motors, not for pumps.

This paper analyses the efficiency and losses of pumps and motors in an alternative way. The preference is on loss analysis instead of efficiencies. Especially the effects of the bulk modulus are considered in a different and more inclusive manner. The new methodology results in a higher total loss for motor and a lower total loss for pumps than the current ISO 4409 standard. Furthermore, it results in significant changes of the hydro-mechanical and volumetric losses. The differences between the new methodology and ISO 4409 become larger for high load pressures.

The new methodology demands knowledge about the minimum volume of the displacement chamber. The ratio between this volume and the full displacement of a single displacement chamber strongly influences the hydro-mechanical and volumetric losses of the pump or motor. The new methodology is valid for all positive displacement hydrostatic pumps and motors. The volumetric efficiency, as defined in ISO 4409, can still be used as a flow rate factor, but should not be regarded as an energy conversion efficiency.

The importance of adopting the proposed methodology is further demonstrated by analyzing and comparing the measurement data about a fixed displacement pump and motor, showing the differences in the loss analysis by means of ISO 4409 and the new equations.

The methodology, observations and validation results presented in this paper are significant and can pave the road for improving the current ISO 4409:2007 standard, which would ultimately benefit the industry.

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