NFPA Funded Study to Examine Hydraulics and Variable Speed Drive Technology Use in Industrial Automation

A couple years ago, in an effort to bring “voice of customer” information to our members, NFPA began funding a series of studies we began calling Customer Technology Trends reports.

This year we’re focusing our attention on industrial hydraulics. We recently signed an agreement with IHS Global to conduct a study on the impact of variable speed drive technology on the decision to use hydraulics in key industrial automation sectors, including automotive manufacturing, metalworking and machine tools, industrial presses and injection molding machinery.

The study will be both quantitative and qualitative, starting with a broad-based survey, and then following up with a series of telephone interviews only with selected survey respondents.

The survey and follow-up calls will be designed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the current level of use for hydraulics, and for hydraulics with variable speed drive controls, and how is that expected to change going forward over the next three to five years?
  • How is the decision to use hydraulics vs. electrics affected by awareness and availability of variable speed drive technology?
  • What drivers of change affecting these decisions can be identified (energy, regulatory, cost, maintenance, etc…)?
  • Are there any new/emerging applications for hydraulics with variable speed drives?

The survey portion of this study is expected to begin in the next month. Release of the study will coincide with NFPA’s Industry & Economic Outlook Conference in August. The findings will be presented at the conference, and following the conference study will be made available to all NFPA members.

For more information contact Pete Alles, NFPA Director of Membership and Communications.

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