Opportunities to Connect in NFPA’s Effective Forum

Eric Lanke headshot 2017

By Eric Lanke
NFPA President/CEO

In pursuing our mission of strengthening the fluid power industry, NFPA is focused on four key strategic objectives. Here’s a quick summary of the ways NFPA members can benefit from the programs associated with the first of those objectives. We call that objective Effective Forum, and it’s where NFPA provides an effective forum for fluid power manufacturers, distributors and suppliers to advance their collective interests.

  • Annual Conference
    NFPA’s Annual Conference is a textbook example of our effective forum in action. In 2019, we had more than 170 professionals from 108 companies attend. They came from across our membership and the fluid power supply chain to network with each other and to focus on the leadership challenges and growth strategies for their companies. Even a casual look through the conference’s “See Who’s Coming” list will reveal it to be a who’s who of the movers and shakers in the fluid power industry – and it is an exclusive benefit of NFPA membership.

    Registration for the February 11-13, 2020 NFPA Annual Conference in Miami is now open. Check out our full schedule of speakers and all the great networking opportunities at: https://nfpahub.com/events/conferences/nfpa-annual-conference/

  • Executive Leadership Program
    New this year, NFPA is working in partnership with the Kellogg School of Management to offer a unique program – the NFPA Executive Leadership Program. The program includes a series of six full-day education sessions tailored to the needs of emerging and established leaders in the fluid power industry. The sessions take place over the course of 18 months, with four sessions co-located with major NFPA conferences and two sessions at the state-of-the-art Allen Center on the Northwestern campus.With our first cohort full with 24 participants, we’re now gearing up for the first session, which will be held in the day before the start of our 2020 Annual Conference, and will focus on the topics of Executive Judgment. Fred Harburg, one of Kellogg’s clinical professors of executive education, and Allen Carlson, former CEO of Sun Hydraulics and past NFPA Board Chair, are teaming up to present a program focused on the research and practice of executive judgment, including the methods for setting goals and getting results, and for the sustained development of good judgment in challenging business situations.You can learn more about this exciting program here: https://www.nfpa.com/home/membership/Future-Leaders/NFPA-Executive-Leadership-Program.htm
  • Regional Events
    Another example of our effective forum in action occurs at our various regional events. This fiscal year, NFPA is hosting five of them, all in cities with high concentrations of NFPA members. We’ve already seen great turnouts and connections in Milwaukee on September 6, 2019, in Cleveland on November 18, 2019, and in Chicago on December 6, 2019. The final two events – in Detroit on March 5, 2020, and in Minneapolis on June 4, 2020 – will be joint Regional Conferences with MSOE’s Fluid Power Industrial Consortium (FPIC).Each of our NFPA/FPIC Regional Conferences are themed around fluid power technology advances with immediate implementation in the marketplace. It is through this series of conferences that we are examining such important topics as additive manufacturing, energy efficient fluids, composites, “smart” sensors and technologies, robotic automation for small batch manufacturing, advanced seal technologies, electrification of fluid power systems, and the impact of the Internet of Things.All of these are topics identified by the technology roadmap NFPA develops and maintains, and they all represent emerging areas of value and opportunity for the fluid power industry. If you have people in your organization trying to make sense of cutting edge technologies like these and wanting to interact with technical experts from across our supply chain, I would strongly encourage their involvement in these conferences.

    Registration for the Detroit event in March 2020 is now open. To register click here, https://www.cvent.com/d/lhqfcp/4W.

    Watch your inbox for updates.

  • Internet of Things
    The NFPA Board of Directors recently committed our organization to leveraging our effective forum to help our members in a critical area – competing in a marketplace increasingly reliant on connected technologies. Often called “the Internet of Things,” NFPA’s new objective in this space is to help our members collect, communicate, and use data from their products in a way that adds value for their customers.Our action plan to help us achieve that objective has been playing out effectively this fiscal year. Our first step was to alter the definition of NFPA supplier membership to specifically include a broader range of suppliers in this space, especially those providing Internet of Things, or IoT, products and services. Under this new definition several such firms have been recruited including IoT Diagnostics, Elevat IoT, and ShelfAware.Several of these members have been presenters at our NFPA/FPIC Regional Conferences and have been featured on NFPA’s new podcast, Fluid Power Forum. If you’re not listening, you really should be. Download all the episodes at: https://fluidpowerforward.libsyn.com/

    We’ve also launched a new and growing IoT Committee to help guide our efforts and bring more knowledge of IoT options and strategies to our members. The Committee is already influencing our conference programming and will be developing a series of IoT-related webinars and exploring the creation of an IoT strategy roadmap that our members can use to better navigate this space.

  • Fluid Power Standards
    In 2019, NFPA again served as the Secretariat for ISO Technical Committee 131 – that’s the one focused on fluid power – and its U.S. Technical Advisory Group. More than 150 industry volunteers are working within these structures to help ensure a fair playing field for U.S.-based fluid power manufacturing while advocating for standards that make fluid power an easier technology choice for our customers.In the past year, along with updating current standards, a lot of the work focused on two major projects:ISO 11171,Calibration of automatic particle counters for liquids:  An International Interlaboratory Study (ILS) was recently completed to: (1) Measure the intra-company repeatability and inter-company reproducibility of particle count data obtained using automatic particle counters calibrated with draft ISO DIS 11171:2019, (2) Generate particle count data to be used by NIST to certify consensus standard SRM 2806d that will report sizes in units of μm(c), and (3) Generate particle count data for NIST RM 8632a that will be used to update Table A.1 in the standard.

    ISO 23369 Filter multi-pass test under cyclic flow conditions:  An ILS was recently completed to measure the intra-company repeatability and inter-company reproducibility of data obtained using the procedures of ISO/DIS 23369:2013 along with particle counters calibrated with the ISO/DIS 11943:2013 with traceability to ISO 11171: evaluating fine and course filters with ISOMTD and ISOFTD.

    These are technical subjects that require not just engineering expertise, but cooperation across companies and across continents. Standards therefore represent a unique “effective forum” opportunity, where member companies can help NFPA achieve its goals while ensuring that their engineers have collaborative and productive interactions with their business partners, suppliers, and customers.

    You can get yourself or your engineers involved by contacted Denise Husenica at dhusenica@nfpa.com.

  • Committees
    Another important way of bringing our forum together for the good of the industry is through NFPA’s many leadership committees. If you’re not already involved in these activities, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Of course they help NFPA fulfill its mission and objectives, but they also provide unique networking and market insight opportunities. As you help us pursue our goals, you’ll find yourself working collaboratively within our supply chain forum—shoulder-to-shoulder with your suppliers, partners, customers, and yes, competitors.One thing worth highlighting is the work of our Roadmap Committee, which this past year completed its biennial process to review and refresh our Technology Roadmap for the Fluid Power Industry. Our Roadmap describes an industry-wide consensus regarding the pre-competitive research and development needs associated with improving the design, manufacture, and function of fluid power components and systems. The research and development agenda it describes is focused on advancements that will help the fluid power industry meet the future needs of its customers and expand into new markets. When completed, it is shared broadly among our members and among our academic partners to help inform their decisions about research partnerships and future product developments.You can download the Roadmap at: https://www.nfpa.com/home/workforce/Fluid-Power-Industry-Roadmap.htm

Interested in Getting Involved?

As you can see, these programs demonstrate the ways NFPA fulfills its commitment to providing an effective forum for our industry, where fluid power manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers can work together to advance their collective interests. If you or a representative from your company would like to get engaged in any of these opportunities, please contact me at elanke@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3351.

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