Terzo Power Systems’ History

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Founded to push the technology envelope in the fluid power industry and bring a new level of simple, compact, and energy efficient technology to the market, Terzo Power Systems, LLC. was officially started in June of 2014, but its beginning goes back two decades.

The brainchild of Mr. Terzo, a mechanical engineer who graduated from Montana State University in the “Big Sky” state of Montana. Mike grew up on a small 30 acre farm outside of Missoula, MT in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and never further than a stone’s throw from the best blue ribbon trout streams that nature has to offer. He started his mechanical engineering career while in High School when he decided to “restore” his parents 1969 Mustang Convertible. Learning how to work on cars was the beginning of a strong connection with mechanical things and a lifelong feeling of being “at home” in a workshop.

After graduating from Montana State University with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1998, it only took two years before Mike has started his first company. Learning of the lack of cost effective and advanced products in the pool industry, Mike founded Aqua Creek Products in his house in Missoula in 2000. He designed, prototyped, patented and grew the small manufacturing business around an innovative product line of handicap access pool lifts. His designs dominated the U.S. and global pool access market and can be found in every state and most countries helping the handicap into and out of pools for recreation, therapy, or any other needed function. Mike exited the business in 2003 to focus on attaining his professional engineering license and go into private consulting. As a testament to his innovation, Aqua Creek has grown to a multi-million-dollar manufacturing business that employs over 30 people in Missoula, MT and is now 20 years old!

After successfully developing over 100 products for clients as a licensed professional mechanical engineer consultant in a variety of industries, it was time to make a family move. Heading from sleepy Missoula, MT to the hub of the 6th largest economy on the planet in Sacramento, CA, took Mike straight into the Fluid Power industry where it quickly became apparent that this was the place for his next start-up. The opportunity to work with hundreds of OEM manufacturers across the western U.S. led Mr. Terzo to focus on solving the energy efficiency problems that plague hydraulics. This focus also led to discovering the numerous other problems facing the hydraulic industry such as downtime, maintenance shortfalls, skills shortages, long lead times, and lack of innovation.

 

Montana State University
Pool Lift designed by Mr. Terzo
Ballast Plow designed by Mr. Terzo
Downtown Sacramento

The largest challenge with improving hydraulic system efficiency is a little thing called “Bernoulli’s Principle “. In the 1700’s, Bernoulli found that when a fluid increases in velocity, it has a corresponding pressure drop. When this pressure drop occurs without any work being performed, energy is lost in the form of heat generation into the fluid. It just so happens that we need a pressure drop to occur in order to control hydraulic flow, direction, and pressure (through valves) which means hydraulics systems are going to inherently be horribly inefficient…… Unless of course, you remove the valves from the system?

This disruptive idea – that you can remove the valves in the system, thereby achieving incredible energy savings was the foundation for the development of the Hydrapulse® technology and the launch of Terzo Power Systems, LLC. By directly controlling the fluid though a low-inertia, power dense permanent magnet motor, you can enable pressure, rate, and directional performance far exceeding current systems while improving energy efficiency by over 80% in many applications made alot of sense to build a hardware technology company around.

So, in 2014, after initial proof of concept work was validated, Terzo Power Systems, LLC. was officially founded. But it’s not easy starting a company, and it’s even harder to start a hardware company. Our first generation Hydrapulse product lacked the reliability and durability needed to survive in our tough hydraulics industry. This meant that more money was needed and more engineering skills required. But with hard work and some luck, Terzo Power Systems secured almost $4M in R&D grant funding from the California Energy Commission in 2016 to overcome the obstacles and hurdles that were standing in the way of this amazing technology in getting to market. This funding allowed us to build a state-of-the-art shop in El Dorado HIlls in 2017 with the correct testing and prototyping equipment, bring the correct engineering resources to bear, and successfully get into commercialization.

Terzo Power Systems now had distribution in all of North America, New Zealand, and Australia and is working with leading OEM manufacturers across the globe to improve their systems.

Energy Chain in Hydraulic Systems
Particle Size Comparison in Fluid Power
Mike Terzo, founder and CEO of Terzo Power Systems LLC, sits on a lithium-ion battery pack in his company’s building.
Terzo Power team on the tree shaker
The Terzo Power Systems Team

“We believe a small team of dedicated engineers can change the world” Michael Terzo

And that’s what we are doing, every day. By focusing on true enabling technology, we will bring about improvements and changes to our industry in ways only a small, nimble, and crazy team can do.

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