After several months of growth, the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) reports its latest data shows the 12-month moving average for shipments of pneumatics, hydraulics, and total fluid power have started to plateau. This is not surprising given the strong demand experienced over the past 2 years which has begun to normalize as manufacturers get through their backlogs and supply chain issues have eased in many cases.
Slower growth trends are expected for the global economy due to this return to somewhat more normal conditions. In his overview of the fluid power market during the NFPA's spring economic webinar, Jim Meil of ACT Research noted the economy is a mix of sectors performing well and others that are not. But in general, those served by hydraulics and pneumatics are anticipated to remain in positive territory although the levels of growth will be lower.
Fluid Power Order and Shipment Trends in April 2023
According to the NFPA's latest data, total fluid power shipments' year-to-date percent change reached 10.7% in April 2023. This is down from the prior 2 months; the March percent change was 13.6% and February was 16.8%, demonstrating the slowing trends of the market.
Orders for mobile hydraulics received from May 2022 to April 2023 are 97.4% of those received during the prior period, May 2021 to April 2022. While a slight decline from the 98.0% reported in March 2023, in general the mobile equipment sector is expected to fair well due in part to infrastructure projects around the world driving demand for construction, mining and other heavy equipment – which are strong customer markets for mobile hydraulics.
Raw index data for pneumatic, mobile hydraulic and industrial hydraulic shipments show decreases in April 2023 from March.
The above charts are supplied by NFPA and drawn from data collected from more than 70 manufacturers of fluid power products by NFPA’s Confidential Shipment Statistics (CSS) program.