Starting a new calendar year brings many thoughts to mind, including those focused on what may lie ahead in the coming months.
Although a recession is predicted for 2024, it is expected to be mild one. Patrick Luce of ITR Economics said during the National Fluid Power Association’s (NFPA) Fall 2023 Economic Update webinar that it could actually be a year of opportunity for the fluid power and many other industries. More normalized supply chains and product demand will give manufacturers a chance to breathe and focus on internal improvements to set themselves up for the growth predicted through the rest of the decade.
With this economic slowdown in mind, it will be more important than ever to monitor the economy and various market trends so those in the industry can better plan their businesses and prepare for what may be in store in the years ahead.
To help with this, we are launching a new monthly newsletter called Market Trends in Power & Motion which will highlight the latest economic news and market trend information related to the fluid power and electronic motion control space. By delivering these insights to your inbox each month, we aim to help keep you informed of how markets are performing and what impacts they could have on your own business — as well as how they could influence future technology development efforts.
Of course, we will continue to cover the latest technology launches and trends related to the fluid power and electronic motion control sectors. Ongoing efforts to increase efficiency and productivity as well as reduce environmental impacts will continue to drive new technology innovations.
Several Events to Look Forward to in 2024
No year is complete without industry events to attend, providing the opportunity to see new technologies in person as well as network with others. And 2024 is set to be another year filled with great tradeshows and conferences.
Kicking off the tradeshow season is CES (Consumer Electronics Show) which takes place January 9-12 in Las Vegas. This technology focused event has moved beyond just consumer electronics to now showcase a range of innovations for a wide array of industries. And more companies and applications relevant to the fluid power and electronic motion control industry have begun exhibiting at the event in recent years.
Large equipment OEMs such as John Deere and Caterpillar have become major staples at the annual event, showcasing their advanced solutions for the agricultural, construction and mining industries. At the 2022 show, John Deere introduced its autonomous 8R tractor (watch our video interview with John Deere below to learn more) while Doosan Bobcat unveiled the Bobcat T7X, an all-electric compact track loader developed in collaboration with Moog Inc.
CES offers a look at where technology is headed and the many trends driving development. This year's event is sure to be filled with more exciting launches — stay tuned for our coverage in the coming weeks.
Next on the docket and of particular interest to the fluid power industry is the NFPA's Annual Conference taking place at the end of February. This event brings together executives from the hydraulics and pneumatics sector to network and attend presentations from various thought leaders offering insights into business leadership tactics as well as trends impacting the industry such as machine learning.
During the event, the always popular Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics will provide the association's first economic update of the year, helping attendees understand and plan for the year ahead.
Additional events of interest in 2024 include Automate, a large industrial automation event, which will be held this year in Chicago and has now moved to an annual cadence as well as Intermat — an international construction industry event that alternates with CONEXPO and bauma — and the quadrennial MINExpo, an event highlighting the latest technologies and equipment for the mining industry.
Virtual Events Still Have Their Place
While in-person events have made a strong comeback since the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains a place for the virtual events which became prevalent during that period. They offer an opportunity to connect and learn from others in the industry but without the large time commitment or cost associated with traveling to an in-person.
Both types of course have their value and are suitable for different types of situations. The mix we now have of in-person and virtual events is likely to be the norm going forward.
For its quarterly seminars held in conjunction with the Fluid Power Industrial Consortium (FPIC), NFPA has moved to an almost all virtual presentation with the occasional in-person option. This has made it easier for more people to attend the events which are typically comprised of three presentations centered around a particular topic of interest to those working with hydraulics and pneumatics.
The 2024 quarterly seminars are set to take place March 7 — with a focus on predictive and preventative maintenance — June 6, September 5 and December 5.
ZAPI GROUP is set to host its third annual Future of Electrification virtual event February 7-8. This event brings together a range of experts from around the world to discuss technologies and trends related to developing electric vehicles, specifically those in the heavy-duty mobile equipment sector.
Given this event is targeted toward an international audience and features presentations from global experts, its virtual delivery makes it easier to reach a wide array of people.
There is a lot to look forward to in the coming year, and the Power & Motion team looks forward to bringing you even more coverage of the technologies, trends and events pertinent to the fluid power and electronic motion control industry.