From that moment on, fluid power applications were growing constantly, with a temporarily diminishing growth rate at the end of the nineteenth century due to the rise of electrical power transmission. However, only since World War II, with the introduction of servovalve technology, have modern developments in hydraulic power control expanded enormously. Starting from early applications in airplanes, fighters and missiles, it spread over almost the whole field of mechanical engineering and mechatronics: from mining, shipbuilding and the steel industry to automative engineering, robotics, a e r o n a u t i c s. T h i s expansion can mainly be explained by the unique features of hydraulic power, such as: the high safety and simple maintenance of the hydraulic system; good dynamic characteristics with fast starts, stops and speed reversals; high stiffness properties of hydraulic actuators which give little drop in speed with increased load; and the versatility of its usage, e. In many industrial applications, the positive features of hydraulic systems greatly surpass their disadvantages, which include: low efficiency, the high cost of hydraulic parts and their high sensitivity to dirt and contamination in the fluid which gives rise to damage or silting of expensive components. During the last three decades, fluid power hydraulics evolved from a more empirical science, with emphasis on fluid mechanics, to a highly technological and interdisciplinary subject in applied science.

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