By Eric Lanke
Many thanks to David Price and HydraForce for inviting me to speak on the state of the fluid power industry at their recent sales meeting in Itasca, Illinois. It was a great opportunity not just to connect or reconnect with a number of NFPA members, but to share more of the information that is summarized in NFPA’s Annual Report on the U.S. Fluid Power Industry.
- Fluid power (hydraulics and pneumatics) is a workhorse of the U.S. economy. It is a cross-cutting technology of choice for dozens of industries and hundreds of applications.
- In 2015, the manufacture of fluid power components was a $19.3 billion industry.
- The U.S. fluid power industry is strongly competitive around the world, with 2015 exports valued at $5.7 billion.
- It is estimated that 846 companies in the United States employ more than 72,500 people in the manufacture of fluid power components, representing an annual payroll of more than $4.7 billion.
- Fluid power has a significant downstream economic impact. Ten key industries that depend on fluid power are estimated to represent more than 23,700 companies in the United States, employing more than 884,200 people with an annual payroll of more than $56.1 billion.
- Fluid power and the industries it serves depend on a highly-educated workforce. Investments in new fluid power education and training resources are needed.
- Fluid power systems consume significant amounts of energy, and increases in overall energy efficiency are possible through the adoption of best practices and focused R&D programs.
- Existing technologies and best practices have been shown to reduce energy use in fluid power systems, in some cases by up to 30% or more.
- Fluid power has an active industry/academic coalition that focuses on research and emerging technologies. Recent breakthroughs have been made in increasing energy efficiency, increasing energy storage capabilities, and reducing the size of fluid power components and systems.
- Future directions of fluid power research will focus on its use in off-highway vehicles, human scale systems, and advanced manufacturing.
I’m available to expand on any of these topics at NFPA member events. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or (414) 778-3351 with any requests.
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