IFPE 2017 and the exciting future of Fluid powerBy Eric Lanke, President/CEO of the National Fluid Power Association

Looking back at another successful IFPE show, there are several observations that spring to mind. 

First, IFPE and its larger partner show, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, continue to be highly successful platforms for industry to come together in one place and showcase product and technology developments to a broad array of customers. The exhibit area of IFPE grew again this year, and the combined shows once again drew an enormous attendance. 

The technology developments most evident were once again another step forward in the sophistication with which electronic controls are paired with fluid power, and this could be seen not only on the IFPE show floor but also throughout the CONEXPO-CON/AGG show, where fluid power is the centerpiece in providing the power needed for heavy load-moving applications. The integration of electronics and fluid power continue to improve the user experience, safety, efficiency and productivity of machines on display throughout the show.

New for 2017 was a look ahead at developing manufacturing process changes, in particular 3D or additive manufacturing, and how they may affect fluid power systems and the machines in which they deliver power. Project AME, a joint effort of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was featured in a special CONEXPO-CON/AGG pavilion, the Tech Experience. The highlight of project AME was a mini-excavator, much of which was manufactured using 3D printing technology, with fluid conveyance channels embedded in the stick and a heat exchanger printed entirely out of aluminum. 

OEMs who are looking for help navigating all these exciting fluid power developments are encouraged to reference the NFPA fluid power locator at:

http://www.nfpa.com/aboutnfpa/memberdirectoryproductlocator.aspx

Alphabetical and product-specific indexes of the fluid power suppliers within the NFPA membership will help you zero in on the expertise you’re looking for.

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