In 2023, the fluid power industry will continue to advance technologically while working to ensure customers have the products they need for their applications as supply chains are still a factor for many. The International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE) taking place in March will provide the opportunity to see these advancements and where the fluid power as well as motion control and power transmission sectors are headed in the future.
Ahead of IFPE 2023, Power & Motion spoke with Alan McCay, CFPS, Senior Product Sales Manager – Fluid Power, Motion and Jim Verona, Director of Operations, Mi Fluid Power Solutions, about current trends within the fluid power market.
*Editor's Note: Questions and responses have been edited for clarity.
Power & Motion (P&M): What are some of the major trends Motion is seeing for hydraulics and pneumatics used in mobile equipment applications?
Alan McCay (AM): Trends are created by customer drivers that can provide product availability and uptime, increased productivity, energy efficiency and predictive maintenance. This is true not only for mobile fluid power but also industrial. Fluid power seeks to provide precise operator control, power management and efficiency to address productivity improvements.
There is also a focus on developing sensor technologies integrated into self-diagnostic systems that can help predict potential problems in a fluid power system. This will prevent damage to the system and allow for scheduled maintenance.
P&M: Are there any key features customers are looking for from their fluid power components, and how is Motion helping provide those?
AM: Due to continuing supply chain delays, increased availability of components has been the number one requirement. However, key product features, including reduced weight, increased energy efficiency and lower cost, are all very important considerations.Providing products equipped with predictive maintenance components to support IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) technology continues to be a significant factor.
P&M: How has Motion seen electrification or other major industry trends impact the design of fluid power components?
Jim Verona (JV): Industrial and mobile applications for fluid power equipment and systems require some type of control. Electrification of these systems continues to evolve into smaller, more energy-efficient, smarter controls. Due to the technology enhancements, these systems are more intelligent in how they are managed and in how they communicate their “health” and performance. This all gives the user more control of their process and system results.
P&M: What are some of the technologies the company is interested to see or learn more about at IFPE 2023?
AM: We would like to see new technologies in IIoT and how we can integrate that into serving our customers. Motion’s predictive maintenance program lets our customers leverage the manufacturer’s technology and software in addition to our own dashboard, enabling the monitoring and tracking of assets. This allows for integration into Motion’s supply chain to provide replacement parts if necessary.
P&M: Are you able to share what technologies or industry trends will be highlighted at Motion’s IFPE booth?AM: Motion is planning to highlight our engineering, integration and fabrication capabilities at IFPE. This should include the latest in proportional valve products coupled with predictive maintenance technology. We will also show the simple but necessary benefits of fluid power system filtration to help protect system components and provide enhanced system uptime.
Motion’s ability to provide complete fluid power systems and electronic control integration will be a major focus in 2023 and beyond.
P&M: What trend or other factors does the company foresee will have the largest impact on the fluid power industry in 2023?
AM: Increased product availability, energy savings and uptime continue to be the most important customer drivers. Technology that can predict failure paired with accurate lead times from the manufacturers will help prevent downtime. Being able to overcome these situations will be a major factor in 2023.
Another trend is the continuing demand for more energy-efficient solutions. Offering electrification in applications where practical and continuing to develop pneumatic and hydraulic solutions focused on energy savings will certainly have an impact in 2023.