“Future of Pneumatics” Showcases Emerging Technologies at PACK EXPO East

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO

 

by Eric Lanke
NFPA CEO

It was my great pleasure to help staff the first-ever “Future of Pneumatics” exhibit at the new PACK EXPO East trade show a few weeks ago in February 2015. With our exhibit partners Vanderbilt University and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP), NFPA made a dramatic impression on the packaging machine builders and buyers walking the show floor.

Pack Expo EastIn the picture on the right you can see Eric Barth and Josh Cummins, both of Vanderbilt, talking with one of those visitors. What they’re discussing is the demo of a new pneumatic exhaust gas recovery system—a way of saving the air typically vented to atmosphere and using it to perform useful work in the system. In the laboratory, the system has been shown to reduce air consumption by up to 25%, which we quickly translated into the marketing tagline: “Imagine turning off your air compressor one day week.” Click here if you’d like to review a more detailed description of future technology we showcased.

We kept track through the 3-day show, and counted 137 of these detailed conversations. And how did people react when they realized what they were looking at? I’d say the most common comments we heard were:

“Neat idea.”

“My biggest customer would love this.”

“That’s the most innovative thing I’ve seen at this show.”

“Where can I buy this?”

That last one is really the crux of the matter. No one can buy this (yet) because it is a result of one of the pre-competitive research projects that have been running inside the CCEFP for several years now. But like a handful of other projects, this one is ready to move out of the pre-competitive space and be commercially developed by one or more of our industry partners. If you’re looking for some kind of market readiness study to justify the additional investment that would be necessary, I’d have to say the reaction from potential customers at the PACK EXPO East show could certainly serve that purpose.

NFPA is planning more of these types of exhibits at other shows in the future—each showcasing the future potential of fluid power technology to one of our core customers audiences. Like I experienced first-hand in Philadelphia, too many of our customers have an outdated understanding of fluid power’s capabilities. At PACK EXPO East, I saw the lightbulbs go on when we helped people add exhaust gas recovery and proportional control to the traditional benefits of pneumatic systems—things like high power density, reliability, and cost competitiveness. Those who might have dismissed fluid power are now thinking about how to incorporate it again, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to help them do.

Recent Posts

Episode 77: Electrification of Hydraulic Wheel Loaders Maintains Relevance of Fluid Power

This episode features Marty Christianson, the Market Manager for E-Mobility and AE Cooling Systems at HYDAC, and we invited him into our forum to learn more about E-Mobility and the electrification of off-highway hydraulic equipment.  Listen to Podcast Here This fluid power industry-focused podcast highlights the people, technologies and unique applications that are moving the industry…

Read More

NFPA Seeking Volunteers for Electrification in Fluid Power Task Force

Deadline to Respond is August 18, 2022 Electrification is a buzzword throughout most industries now and is a common topic being discussed at conferences, events, and board rooms. While many businesses and industries have already embraced electrification, others are still working to understand the impacts, opportunities, and decision points to make. To add further confusion,…

Read More

In Memoriam: Tom Wanke

The National Fluid Power Association is saddened to share the news that Tom Wanke, CFPE, director of the Fluid Power Industrial Consortium and Industry Relations at Milwaukee School of Engineering, passed away June 21, 2022. “Tom’s impact on the fluid power industry will be felt for generations,” said Eric Lanke, president and CEO of the…

Read More