Helios Technologies
An aerial view of Helios Technologies' expanded Hydraulics Manifold Solutions Center of Excellence in Indiana.

This Week in Power & Motion: Helios Hydraulics Centers of Excellence Begin Full Operations

Feb. 9, 2024
Helios Technologies' two Centers of Excellence will streamline and aid growth for its hydraulics division, NFPA opens registration for its Vehicle Challenge final competitions and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and electric motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

Airline Hydraulics Adds More Safety Products to Offering

Airline Hydraulics Corp. has formed a partnership with Fortress Safety Products to offer the company's safety solutions through its machine safety division, Machine & Process Safety Assessment Group (MPSA). 

Safety interlocks, machine guarding, access control and other industrial safety equipment are among those products Airline Hydraulics will now be able to distribute through this partnership. According to the company, it will be better able to provide safety products for customers in a range of industries such as manufacturing, warehousing & logistics, construction, primary metals and more. 

In addition to offering Fortress Safety Products' technologies, MPSA will also provide technical support and safety training. 

Registration Open for NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge Final Competitions

Registration to attend the final competitions of the National Fluid Power Association's (NFPA) 2024 Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is now open. The Vehicle Challenge is an undergraduate program that requires engineering students to redesign a traditional bicycle using hydraulics as power transmission. Students can take part in this either as a senior capstone design project or as an extracurricular activity. 

The goal of the vehicle challenge is to provide students with exposure to fluid power technologies as well as real-world engineering experience. As part of the challenge, students adhere to strict deadlines for designing, building, testing and demonstrating their designs. 

NFPA members serve as mentors and judges to help students along the way. 

Once again, two final competitions will be held — Norgren will host the first competition April 10-12 in Littleton, CO, and Danfoss Power Solutions will host the second April 24-26 in Ames, IA.

Industry members who register to attend the event will have the chance to be judges during the competitions as well as network with the students and others from the industry. Registration is open until March 1; those interested can contact Mary Pluta at [email protected]

Learn more about the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge and see pictures from last year's final competitions.

Precision Metalforming Association Adds Lubrication Courses to Training Platform

The Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) has added 10 lubrication technology courses to METALFORM EDU, its online training platform. Given the importance of lubrication to various metalforming machines, PMA felt it would benefit the industry to add more training courses on the topic to its educational portfolio. 

Topics in these new courses are related to metalforming lubricants, application, safety and troubleshooting. PMA members who are subject-matter experts worked together with the association's technical training and workforce development staff to create the new courses. 

"PMA and our educational foundation’s investment in developing new training modules for METALFORM EDU reinforces our commitment to helping our members and industry train a high-caliber workforce. We look forward to continuing to expand the METALFORM EDU library with additional modules for key industry jobs and skill sets," said Connie King, PMA's workforce development director. 

READ MORE: Metalformers Start 2024 on Positive Footing

Helios Hydraulics Centers of Excellence Begin Operations

Helios Technologies Inc. announces both of its Regional Operational Centers of Excellence (CoE) for its Hydraulics segment in North America are now fully operational. 

The company announced in early 2023 it would create the two CoEs as part of the restructuring of its hydraulics business to help drive further growth. Helios' facility in Mishawaka, IN, has been expanded and is now the company's Hydraulic Manifold Solutions CoE. 

An addition of 50,000 sq. ft. was made to the exisiting facility, enabling it to become the company's hub for manifold machining and integrated package assembly operations. It consolidates operations from the Sun Hydraulics, Faster Inc. and Daman Products brands to create production site where integrated hydraulic solutions can be made. 

A Sun Hydraulics facility in Sarasota, FL, is now the Hydraulic Valve and Coupling Solutions CoE. Moving Faster's North American quick release coupling order fulfillment to this site helps to streamline operations while also provides space for future coupling manufacturing. It also includes the company's Robert E. Koski Center of Engineering Innovation where new hydraulic solutions will be developed. 

Josef Matosevic, President and Chief Executive Officer of Helios, said the creation of the CoEs "enhances our ‘in the region, for the region’ strategy, promotes enhanced R&D collaboration, and enables expanded capacity to support our future growth."

ABB Acquires 3D Vision Navigation Technology Developer

ABB has acquired Sevensense, a Swiss start-up which provides AI-enabled 3D vision navigation technology for autonomous mobile robots (AMR). The company sees the acquisition aiding its efforts to deploy AMR at more customer sites to help them maintain or improve productivity. 

Sevensense's technology combines artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D vision to allow AMR to better differentiate between objects and make decisions based on what is detected. The company's see this technology benefitting both AMR moving through dynamic environments as well as other robotics applications. 

The acquisition comes after ABB's initial investment in Sevensense in 2021. ABB is also forecasting the mobile robots market to grow 20% through 2026. Implementation of AI-powered 3D vision will help this growth as it will allow robots to better maneuver through various work sites. 

READ MORE about how the growth of robotics in the coming years will help drive the 3D cameras market, and thus the overall machine vision market, in "Machine Vision Market to Grow Through 2028." 

"Intelligent AMRs autonomously navigate to production cells, tracking stock inventory as they go and sharing this information with other robots, while collaborating safely side-by-side with humans," said Marc Segura, President of ABB’s Robotics Division.

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

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