Fluid Power Industry Reviews, Selects Research Projects for CCEFP – Part 1

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO


by Eric Lanke

One of the most common questions I get about the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) is how do they pick which research projects to fund. It’s a question I love answering, because it’s a welcome surprise for many to learn that it is the fluid power industry, not academia, that provides the majority of input into this decision.

Within the CCEFP, there lives a group of industry professionals called the Industry Engagement Committee. Since we began providing financial support from the NFPA Foundation and its new Pascal giving and recognition society to the CCEFP, seats on this committee have been extended to Silver and Gold donors in the Pascal Society. The industry members of the committee elect their own leadership, with the current chair being Eric Bretey of Danfoss and the current vice chair being QingHui Yuan of Eaton.

One of the jobs of the committee is to identify the research topics that CCEFP projects should focus on. In this respect, they rely heavily on NFPA’s industry-driven Technology Roadmap for the Fluid Power Industry, and on their own real-world understanding of the pre-competitive research challenges facing our industry. They are committed to identifying the challenges that will “lift all boats” for the industry—focused neither on the product development objectives of any single company, nor on a far-out research frontier with no foreseeable application.

For the upcoming funding cycle (for which the call for proposals has already been sent, with proposals due December 11, 2015) the Committee prioritized the following as the top three research topics:

  1. Increasing the energy efficiency of fluid power components and systems.
  2. Improving and applying the energy storage capabilities of fluid power components and systems.
  3. Reducing the environmental impact of fluid power components and systems (lowering noise, eliminating leaks, etc.).

Looks like they really have their finger on the pulse of the broad R&D needs of our industry!

But identifying the general topics under which proposals can be submitted is only the first step in the review process. Once the proposals are in, the industry members of the same committee will review, score, and ultimately determine which receive the funding. Watch for more details on that process in Part 2 of this series.

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