S. Jensen
IFPE 2023 brought together a range of companies from the fluid power industry which serve the mobile equipment sector.

What is the Future of IFPE?

Sept. 6, 2023
IFPE will not be co-located with CONEXPO 2026, but does that bring about new potential opportunities for one of the fluid power industry's largest events?

The International Fluid Power Exhibition (IFPE) has become the event for fluid power manufacturers serving the mobile off-highway machinery market, particularly construction equipment. Since it began its co-location with the construction show CONEXPO-CON/AGG in 2002, it has grown to become one of the largest showcases for hydraulics and pneumatics technologies as well as other motion control and power transmission technologies. 

Given construction equipment is one of the largest customer markets for fluid power, its co-location with CONEXPO has been beneficial to both component suppliers in the hydraulics and pneumatics space as well as the OEMs who are sourcing those products. At the National Fluid Power Association's (NFPA) Industry & Economic Outlook Conference (IEOC), President and CEO Eric Lanke said the 2023 IFPE was the largest yet with exhibitors reporting the greatest number of leads from the show. 

However, NFPA recently notified members that the co-location with CONEXPO has been discontinued for the next edition set to take place in 2026. Construction at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the show is held, space considerations and growth of the construction industry were reasons cited by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), organizers of CONEXPO, for the decision.

Lanke informed members the fluid power industry will still have a presence at the event, though possibly in a reconfigured manner, as will NFPA itself, due to the importance of hydraulics and pneumatics to the construction equipment market. 

But what will become of IFPE? That remains to be seen. Lanke told members NFPA will be assessing its options while continuing with its various other events, including those at other trade shows.

The latter is an aspect the association has been building up more through educational programs held at targeted events. Programs so far have been held at World Ag Expo, Pack Expo, OTC and others, with more in the works in the future. 

Couldn't make it to IFPE 2023? Visit our IFPE channel to learn about all the technologies and trends featured at this year's event

The Pros and Cons of a Co-Located Event 

My whole career to date I've only known IFPE as a co-located event with CONEXPO. But as noted above, the history of these two shows' pairing is shorter than many in the industry may know.  Prior to 2002, IFPE was a standalone event put on by NFPA. 

A 2018 article from Power & Motion provides a brief history of IFPE which was launched in 1988. That first event was held at McCormick Place in Chicago and featured several hydraulics, pneumatics and related companies. The National Conference on Fluid Power, a standalone event started in 1946, was held alongside IFPE to offer educational and networking opportunities to the fluid power industry.

IFPE was held once every 4 years and had success during its time as a standalone event; so much so that as noted in the 2018 article many in the industry were wanting it to be held more frequently. Then in 2000, NFPA announced it would begin holding IFPE in conjunction with CONEXPO, slightly increasing its frequency and bringing it together with one of fluid power's biggest customer markets. AEM's experience with organizing tradeshows was an additional benefit. 

However, as the article points out, there were some in the industry who were not as happy with the decision. CONEXPO is a large show  and only continues to get bigger with each iteration  which can sometimes cause IFPE and its exhibitors to be somewhat forgotten about. Though from this editor's experience at the 2023 show, the South Hall where IFPE has always been located was packed during the entire event and I barely had a chance to see other parts of the show because of everything there was to see at IFPE. 

That said, another concern for many about the initial co-location of IFPE with CONEXPO was the segments of the fluid power industry left out, namely those serving the industrial space as well as factory automation and electromechanical motion technologies which were included as part of the initial standalone IFPE event. 

Over the years, there have been efforts by NFPA to work with other tradeshows — as exemplified by the educational programs noted previously in this piece which it is looking to continue expanding. But nothing has been quite to the extent as the partnership with AEM and CONEXPO. 

READ MORE: Trade Shows Still Provide Business Value

With that co-location coming to an end, at least for the 2026 edition of CONEXPO, could this be the opportunity for NFPA to bring IFPE back as a standalone event? Or create other, larger tradeshow partnerships? Will IFPE even continue to exist in some form? 

All of that remains to be seen. While it is somewhat bittersweet to see the only IFPE I've known no longer be located with CONEXPO, I am also looking forward to seeing what NFPA has in store for the event's next chapter.  

We Want to Hear from You!

How do you feel about the discontinuation of IFPE's co-location with CONEXPO? What other industry events do you think IFPE could partner with? What sort of future format would you like to see IFPE take, or do you even want it to continue? 

Let us know! Email me at [email protected] or reach out to us on social media

Twitter: @TechnlgyEditor or @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @PowerMotionTech
About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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