NFPA Roadmap Committee Meets; Sets Fluid Power Capability Improvements for 2023 NFPA Technology Roadmap

Every other year, the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) engages with stakeholders across the fluid power supply chain to refresh and re-publish its Technology Roadmap for the Fluid Power Industry. The NFPA Roadmap is a document that describes the evolving needs of companies in fluid power’s many customer markets, the degree to which fluid power is capable of meeting those needs, and the R&D objectives that will help fluid power meet or better meet those needs in the future. We have now in the middle of a new refresh cycle that will culminate in the production of a new document in August 2023.

The process is overseen by the NFPA Roadmap Committee – which for this cycle is chaired by Bradlee Dittmer of NORGREN and vice-chaired by Steve Meislahn of Sun Hydraulics/Helios. The committee met for the second time on March 2, 2023 to review the results of a recently-conducted survey on potential fluid power capability improvements to help the technology meet or better meet the customer needs described by the Roadmap’s customer drivers and strategies. A graphic listing the committee’s chosen capability improvements – and how they can support and connect to specific customer strategies – is attached.

In summary, eight Capability Improvements were identified:

  • Data. Improving ability to monitor, gather, and use data generated from fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Ease of Use. Improving ease of use and application of fluid power (through automated control, communications, increased dynamic performance, etc.).
  • Energy Efficiency. Increasing the energy efficiency of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Environmental Impact. Reducing the environmental impact of fluid power products and/or systems (i.e., leaks, sustainable materials, damage to environment).
  • Noise. Reducing the level and harshness of the noise generated by fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Power Density. Increasing the power density of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Reliability and Durability. Improving the reliability and/or durability of fluid power products and/or systems.
  • Safety. Improving the safe use and application of fluid power products and/or systems.

Special thanks goes to the many partner associations, including some representing key customer markets, whose members participated in the survey and in committee discussion. These associations include the Association for High Technology Distribution (AHTD), the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA), the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT).

A copy of the Committee’s full report can be downloaded from the Committee’s project website at https://www.nfpa.com/home/membership/NFPA-Technology-Roadmap.htm.

Eric Lanke, NFPA President/CEO, is available to present the report and its findings to your group or company. Contact him at elanke@nfpa.com if you have interest.

The Committee will now move onto the next step in the roadmapping process – determining the research areas, the broad areas of pre-competitive investigation that can help bring about the improvements described by the Capability Improvements. To that end, we have launched two new surveys to collect feedback from the widest possible group of stakeholders across the fluid power supply chain.  One survey is focused on hydraulic research areas, the second on pneumatic research areas:

Hydraulic survey = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V6LFLRK

Pneumatic survey = https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R6B2FJT

Based on your area of interest and expertise, you can complete one survey, the other, or both. They will remain open until April 6, 2023.

The Committee next meets on June 1, 2023. Stakeholders with interest in joining the committee and/or participating in the roadmapping process should contact Eric Lanke at elanke@nfpa.com.

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