By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
Image source: Fluid Power Journal
Fluid power has long been seen as a dependable contributor to the US economy and continues to be the technology of choice of various industries, according to the “Annual Report on the US Fluid Power Industry,” which was released by the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA).
Some of the report’s findings include:
- A highly educated workforce is one of the key needs of fluid power and the industries it serves.
- Fluid power systems can contribute in overall energy efficiency through the adoption of best practices and focused research and development (R&D) programs.
- The future of fluid power research will center on its use in off-highway vehicles, human scale systems, and in the reduction of the size of fluid power components and systems.
The following are examples of next-generation fluid-power technology that await the industry:
- Precise and highly efficient hydraulic pumps with electric drives
- Valves with embedded intelligence
- Hydraulic hoses that can predict when they will fail
- Motors that rotate only when movement is needed
- Smaller, self-contained hydraulic systems with less but smart components that allow greater customer interaction
- Actuators and actuator controllers integrated with electro-hydrostatic actuation (EHA) technology
Coincidentally, the NFPA will also hold its Industry & Economic Outlook Conference (IEOC) on August 15-16, 2017 at the Westin Chicago Northshore in Wheeling, Illinois. The conference aims to receive updates on the economic and technological pulse of the fluid power market. Some of the topics that will be discussed include forecasts on heavy truck markets and agricultural and construction machinery, capital expenditure in industrial automation, and an analysis of energy and metals commodities. This might be the perfect venue to find opportunities in the market place and to learn more about the latest technologies in fluid power.