CCEFP and NFPA Submit Report Supporting Fluid Power’s Inclusion in Soft Robotics Research

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO

 

by Eric Lanke
NFPA CEO

One of the three major areas of future government-funded research being pursued by the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) and the NFPA is human scale fluid power systems for assistive and collaborative robots. To that end, we recently organized an effort to respond to a Request for Information (RFI) from the U.S. Department of Defense for technologies to be included in an envisioned Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) on assistive and soft robotics. MIIs represent a multi-billion dollar government initiative to grow manufacturing capacity and jobs in the United States, and RFIs are a primary mechanism for defining the shape and scope of future institutes.

Representatives from 13 companies agreed to sign-on to the submitted report, indicating that they have a sincere interest in seeing fluid power included and participating in an MII on assistive and soft robotics. The opening paragraph of the report reads:

“A paradigm shift in robotics is occurring. Traditionally, commercially available robots have been put behind safety cages to keep their workspace separate from people. Assembly robots, welding robots, and palletizing robots are a few examples where maintaining separation between people and robots is essential in order to keep people out of harm’s way. However, a more interactive human-robot paradigm is beginning to emerge. Applications in therapeutic, assistive and enhancement technologies, such as construction and manufacturing exoskeletons and co-robots, wearable robotics for military and assistive applications, powered prosthetics, and powered orthotics motivates an entirely new view of robotics. In this view, robots and humans interact closely to perform tasks collaboratively. To realize the enormous potential benefits of such a vision, a new landscape of technologies and methods is needed. Bulky robots with rigid exteriors and non-backdrivable joints that are bolted to the floor must be replaced by lightweight, soft, compliant mechanisms that are capable of high power while maintaining fine control of interaction forces. This new generation of robots must not only be able to move with us (wearable), but also go with us (untethered). Fluid power is the only actuation and power technology that can meet all of these requirements.”

Full copies of the report can be downloaded here. This activity is part of a larger initiative to secure government funding for fluid power research, and is being driven by the CCEFP Steering Committee and the gold-level donors to the NFPA Foundation’s Pascal Society that comprise it. Additional industry supporters and participants are welcome. For more information, please contact me at 414-778-3351 or elanke@nfpa.com.

Recent Posts

NFPA Stats Toolkit: Latest Fluid Power Trends Updated – Get It Now!

NFPA’s Stats Toolkit allows NFPA members to see the latest trends in fluid power. This web-based tool houses Confidential Shipment Statistics (CSS) data along with economic indicators, customer market data, and forecast data. Users can create custom, downloadable reports through 5 report types: 12/12 Rate of Change (ROC): The latest trends suggest that fluid power…

Read More

March’s Quarterly Technology Conference – New Components and System Architecture that Increase Energy Efficiency

Registration is now open for the March NFPA Quarterly Technology Conference. The upcoming conference will take place March 2, 2023 and will be held jointly with FPIC. The conference focus is “New Components and System Architectures that Increase Energy Efficiency.” Presentations will be broadcast virtually over Remo.  Sessions will include: View the tentative schedule of events here and…

Read More

IFPE Preview: Unique Role that Distributors Play in the Electrification of Mobile Machines – Fluid Power Forum Episode 92 Now Live 

This episode features Jim Kaas, the President of IFP Motion Solutions, Inc. IFP is a distributor of hydraulic power units and automation systems. Listen to the Podcast Here IFP is NFPA’s Gold Sponsor, the highest level of sponsorship one can have within our organization. Jim is also Chair of the NFPA Board of Directors for…

Read More