FPIRC Recap – The Intersection of Fluid Power Technology, Workforce and Innovation

The Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference, FPIRC, held October 14 – 16 in Chicago, had a record number of international attendees from industry, research faculty, students and the media.   The event featured technical breakout sessions on advanced fluid power research, a keynote talk on organized innovation, tours of local engineering and national laboratories and networking opportunities.  FPIRC’s objective is to foster a collaborative environment between educators and industry, facilitating productive partnerships that develop based on mutual interests and priorities.

Over two days, industry practitioners, fluid power leaders, and academic researchers listened in on technical sessions from hydraulic hybrid systems, tribology, biomedical applications, modeling, testing, and components of hydraulic and pneumatic systems.   Research projects sponsored by the CCEFP and NFPA were highlighted during the Technical Poster Show and the Commercialization Pitch Competition.   Student researchers, pursing their bachelor’s, master’s and PhD’s, presented their solutions to fluid power challenges.  Others identified a novel approach or a new fluid power application with commercial potential. The goal of these activities is to drive interest and awareness of fluid power innovation, to make connections with emerging leaders in the industry, and to match potential investment in commercial product.

FPIRC Speed Meetings for Students and IndustryFPIRC’s unique role in the fluid power community is to create opportunities for networking and connections.   Industry supporters were invited to showcase their company during the opening evening Corporate Kiosk reception.  Over 30 students and eleven industry representatives participated in the FPIRC Speed Meeting (pictured).  During this session individuals meet one-on-one to discuss employment, mentorship or internship opportunities within the industry.

The Commercialization Pitch Competition, a new facet of this year’s FPIRC, featured nine students who presented concepts, founded out of CCEFP research activity, to serve as candidates for commercialization.  Congratulations to winners:  1st Place: Shawn Wilhelm, University of Minnesota, “Efficient and Compact Variable Displacement Linkage Pump;” 2nd Place: Elliott Gruber, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Hammer-Cuff: Put Plumbing Noise under Arrest;” and 3rd Place: Oscar Pena, Georgia Institute of Technology, “A Novel Architecture for Energy Recovery in Hydraulic Elevators.”

**FPIRC15 was sponsored, in part, by Bimba Manufacturing Company, Bosch Rexroth Corporation, Caterpillar Inc, Danfoss, Gates Corporation, Linde Hydraulics Corp, Lubrizol, Parker Hannifin Corp, Proportion-Air Inc, and White Drive Products.   Many thanks to FPIRC attendees, sponsors, and students for making the event a great success!

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