The 2014 CCEFP Fluid Power Innovation and Research Conference (FPIRC14) was held October 13-16, 2014 at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. By all accounts, it was a huge success! Attendance was nearly double from previous annual meetings with almost 200 participants…half of which were from industry. This annual three-day event has established itself as the must-attend conference for fluid power research in America. Twenty-eight (28) formal research project updates were presented during the day program and then shown again at an informal poster show in the evening. The poster show is viewed by industry as a conference highlight, as it gives attendees an excellent opportunity to meet one-on-one with the graduate students conducting the research. There’s always a high degree of excitement in the room and buzz from these conversations. Many of these students will eventually end up working at a company from one of these industry attendees.
Besides the research updates, this year’s program included a tour of Vanderbilt’s impressive Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability (LASIR). While there, a distinguished panel from academics, government agencies, and industry was held. Discussion topics included the importance of public-private partnerships in innovation, ways to accelerate research into the marketplace, and the nation’s need for an educated domestic workforce. Panel participants included
Another highlight of the conference was an optional trip to nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Tours of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF), National Transportation Research Center (NTRC), and Spallation Neutron Source (SN) were also arranged. The 3D printing technology demonstrations, provided by the MDF facility, were a huge hit with industry. This technology has taken tremendous strides in the past few years and appears now to be on the verge of being commercially viable.