NFPA roadmpappingThe National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) has released the 2023 NFPA Technology Roadmap: Improving the Design, Manufacture and Function of Fluid Power Components and Systems, which is the end result of months of work between AEM member company representatives and several other stakeholders across the fluid power supply chain.

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Every other year, NFPA engages with stakeholders across the fluid power supply chain to refresh and re-release its Technology Roadmap. This year’s Roadmap Committee was chaired by Bradlee Dittmer of NORGREN and vice-chaired by Steve Meislahn of AEM member company Sun Hydraulics/Helios.

Ultimately, the Roadmap serves as a resource to describe:

  • The evolving needs of companies in fluid power’s many customer markets.
  • The degree to which fluid power is capable of meeting those needs.
  • The R&D objectives that will help fluid power meet or better meet those needs in the future.

“Understanding future needs, and how technology can play a role in meeting those needs, is extremely important. Fluid power plays a big role in enabling our members’ equipment to perform the functions it needs to in order to meet the needs of the customer. Projects like this roadmap help ensure customer needs are met today and the industry continues to advance in the future,” said AEM Vice President of Construction & Utility Sector John Somers. 

Under the guidance of the Roadmap Committee, several working groups gathered together over the last eight months to review the results of numerous stakeholder surveys and develop the various elements of the Roadmap. Among the findings include the following eight Customer Strategies, the primary machine-level objectives or technologies that are currently being deployed to help machine builders in fluid power customer markets achieve their performance objectives:

  • Autonomy -- Either semi- or fully autonomous functions and/or operation.
  • Compactness -- Increasing power density and/or reducing weight and/or size.
  • Connectivity -- Expanding the use of data, such as intelligence for cloud-based condition. monitoring, integration with site management systems, and/or communicating machine status for other value-added purposes.
  • Electrification -- Decarbonizing prime movers through a variety of strategies.
  • Energy efficiency -- Increasing it; and including strategies to improve battery life and/or charging and to use less energy and/or reduce emissions.
  • Maintenance -- Making it easier; and including strategies to ease the serviceability of the machine and to increase the availability of repair and replacement parts.
  • Materials -- Use of conflict and/or environmentally friendly materials in strategic ways to better comply with regulations.
  • Noise -- Reducing perceived noise levels and/or improving noise pulsation.

The Roadmap also identifies the following eight Capability Improvements as the primary ways in which fluid power systems should seek improvements in order to strengthen its use in and connection to these Customer Strategies. They are:

  • Data -- Improving ability to monitor, gather and use data generated from fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Ease of use -- Improving ease of use and application of fluid power (through automated control, communications, increased dynamic performance, etc.).
  • Energy efficiency -- Increasing the energy efficiency of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Environmental impact -- Reducing the environmental impact of fluid power products and/or systems (i.e., leaks, sustainable materials, damage to environment).
  • Noise -- Reducing the level and harshness of the noise generated by fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Power density -- Increasing the power density of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Reliability and durability -- Improving the reliability and/or durability of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Safety -- Improving the safe use and application of fluid power products and/or systems.

Now with the revised Technology roadmap complete, NFPA now will enlist two new taskforces to take to examine Roadmap-identified technology trends for fluid power in mobile applications and industrial applications.

For more information on the newly released Roadmap, or the process behind its development, contact AEM’s John Somers at or NFPA’s Eric Lanke at

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