By Eric Lanke
The NFPA Technology Roadmap is a document that describes an industry-wide consensus regarding the pre-competitive research and development needs associated with improving the design and function of fluid power components and systems. It is used by the NFPA and the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) to guide their research efforts, by NFPA members and other industry partners to inform decisions about research partnerships and product development, and by academic, government, and other organizations that wish to pursue research and development projects of importance to the fluid power industry.
The document is updated every two years by the NFPA Roadmap Committee and will be chaired this cycle by Jim Kaas of Iowa Fluid Power, the chair of NFPA’s Distributor Council and member of the NFPA Board of Directors. A six-month process for updating the document has been established, and it will begin in earnest at the CCEFP Industry-University Summit. There, the committee will focus on reviewing the first two elements that comprise the Technology Roadmap:
- Customer Drivers: The business or technology objectives of fluid power customers. They help them serve the needs of their own customers and are not necessarily connected to their use of fluid power.
- Research Challenges: The broad areas of attention that must be addressed if fluid power is to meet or better meet the customer needs described by the drivers.
The third element of the Roadmap, the specific research targets and objectives, will be developed later by working groups assigned to each research challenge.
A full description of the Committee’s process, including links to supporting materials, can be found here.
All donors in the NFPA Foundation’s Pascal Society are invited to appoint a representative to the NFPA Roadmap Committee and be part of the process that updates and publishes the 2017 version of the Roadmap. A list of existing Pascal Society donors can be found here.
Please contact me at email@example.com or (414) 778-3351 if you would like your company to get engaged in this process. In addition to helping the industry produce a document that shapes and advances its research agenda, the process itself is a great education and networking opportunity for engineers and technicians across the fluid power supply chain.