NFPA Provides an Effective Forum for the Fluid Power Industry

Eric Lanke headshot 2017

By Eric Lanke, NFPA President/CEO

One of NFPA’s core strategic objectives is to provide an effective fluid power forum where NFPA members, OEMs, and related technology partners connect and advance our collective interests. There are a lot of ways for members to get engaged in our programs dedicated to advancing this objective.

We just conducted a very successful virtual Annual Conference, which remains one of the top industry networking events for the fluid power community. Based on the evaluation results, the conference featured perhaps the best line-up of speakers we’ve ever had, as well as numerous networking opportunities, including some in-person at a small networking event we hosted at the same time in Arizona. You can view a full recap and access post-event content here.

Our next Annual Conference will be held February 22-24, 2022 at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix. Mark your calendars!

Our new Executive Leadership Program is going strong – still virtually during the pandemic, but coming back together in-person as soon as it is safe to do so. We’re working in collaboration with the Kellogg School of Management to offer a series of six programs on the topics most needed to help develop future leaders for our member companies. Cadenced over an eighteen-month period of time, the twenty or so participants enrolled in our first cohort work between sessions with their learning partners to apply the things that they are learning and to up their performance for their companies. Anyone interested in joining the second cohort – which will launch in the 2022-23 fiscal year, should email me at elanke@nfpa.com. More details on program content and fees can be found here: https://www.nfpa.com/home/membership/Future-Leaders/NFPA-Executive-Leadership-Program.htm

A long list of leadership and standards-setting committees are still operating and serve as great opportunities to connect with your colleagues, competitors, and customers. On the standards side, remember that NFPA is the ISO secretariat for fluid power, responsible for 233 published ISO standards with 29 other standards currently under development. We have more than 150 industry volunteers working within these structures to help ensure a fair playing field for U.S.-based fluid power manufacturing, but we could certainly use more. If you or your engineers would like to join these efforts, contact Denise Husenica at the NFPA office at dhusenica@nfpa.com.

There are a lot of other engagement opportunities in our NFPA committees – with one of the most prominent being our Roadmap Committee, which has begun its biennial process to update the NFPA Technology Roadmap. This process brings together a wide cross section of the fluid power supply chain to accomplish three key outcomes: (1) Describe the evolving needs of our customers; (2) Assess fluid power’s ability to meet those needs; and (3) Identify R&D objectives that will help fluid power better meet those needs in the future.

Through April 1, 2021, the committee is collecting responses to an open survey on the research areas that should be pursued to help bring about seven specific capability improvements in fluid power components and systems. A link to that survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HY85FS7, and all NFPA members and their customer contacts are invited to submit their responses.

A lot of members use this committee’s report to shape their own product development plans – and NFPA uses it to choose the topics that get presented at our Quarterly Conferences. You can find more information and download last year’s Roadmap document at: https://www.nfpa.com/home/industry-stats/NFPA-Technology-Roadmap.htm.

And finally, those Quarterly Conferences are still being held every quarter – again, virtually until it is safe to go back to in-person gatherings. We just held one on March 4, 2021, focused on energy efficient pneumatic systems, and the next one will be June 3, 2021, focused on “Advanced Software and Smart Tools for Fluid Power Component and System Design, Optimization and Manufacturing.” These events are a great way for NFPA members to keep up-to-date on the latest technological changes in the industry. They are held in partnership with MSOE’s Fluid Power Industrial Consortium, which helps connect these programs to the all-important customers and OEMs that are driving many of the technological changes we discuss. More info is available at: https://nfpahub.com/events/conferences/regional/.

All of these activities mean that NFPA is the place where the fluid power industry can come together in an effective forum for its own education, networking, business development, and, when needed, collective action. If you would like your company to become more engaged with NFPA, please reach out to me at elanke@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3351.

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