Sara Jensen
The NFPA's Annual Conference brought together over 250 members from 140 companies.

Fluid Power Industry Comes Together Again at NFPA Annual Conference

March 24, 2022
Electrification, supply chains and workforce were key topics of discussion at this year’s conference.

The National Fluid Power Association’s (NFPA) Annual Conference once again brought members of the fluid power industry. It was clear throughout the event people were glad to be seeing one another again in person after almost 2 years of virtual and hybrid events.

NFPA reports over 250 members from 140 companies attended the 2022 conference. This allowed for plenty of networking between industry members as well as time to catch up with acquaintances new and old.

Overall, attendees were feeling positive about the hydraulics and pneumatics markets. This came through in many discussions the Power & Motion team had while at the conference. Many people our team spoke with reported business has been strong, but noted the challenges of supply chains which for some has lead to the need to engineer things differently to help overcome the supply shortages.

Supply chains were a key topic discussed during some of the conference presentations; other areas of focus included electrification and how the current conflict between Ukraine and Russia could impact global markets.

On the subject of electrification, Theodore Krause from Argonne National Laboratory discussed the increasing developments in this area as well as fuel cell cells in recent years. As part of his discussion he provided a look at recent test results from a study in which electric drivetrains were integrated into three types of off-highway equipment—an agricultural tractor, a wheel loader and an excavator. The study compared efficiency of the electric machines compared to diesel, and potential return on investment for end use customers.

Electrification is of course an important area for fluid power manufacturers to monitor as it will likely bring about changes to the industry, while also offering new opportunities.

David Burkus provided a humorous and insightful presentation on how to lead teams from anywhere. Remote and hybrid work have become the norm for many and is likely to remain so going forward. Therefore, it is important for leaders in any business to learn how to effectively lead their teams no matter where they may be located.

His four key criteria for leading high performing teams included shared understanding which entails sharing calendars and work agreements as well as thinking about what tasks work best when everyone is together in person instead of how many days people are in the office together. Psychological safety was another criteria; ensuring people feel safe to express their thoughts is vital, especially now in hybrid and remote work situations.

The conference was capped off by returning presenter Peter Zeihan who spoke on navigating a disruptive world. Specifically, he focused on changes which are occurring in the labor market, such as the retirement of baby boomers, and supply chains. On the latter he discussed the need for companies to move past just in time production as that model will no longer benefit most businesses.

Zeihan also touched on his thoughts on the Ukraine and Russia conflict, which had begun that day. In general, there will be impacts on the global market—some of which are already being felt and others yet to come.

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical 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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