Fluid Power Journal

Fluid Power: An Evolutionary Industry, Served by a Progressive Society (IFPS)

Bishwajit Ranjan, PE, CFPE, CFPS

The speed of evolution in the fields of science and technology has been rapid. While it took Apollo-11 seventy five hours to reach the Moon in 1969, New Horizon zipped past the Moon in 2006 in just 8 hours & 35 minutes. There was a time when setting up land lines in hilly areas in the remote countryside was considered a major challenge. Then, with the invention of mobile phones, even the need for land lines was eradicated.

Challenge for Fluid Power

In today’s world, while the innovation and proliferation of new technologies is happening at lightning speed, the way for the fluid power industry  to ensure it does not lose its edge and remains competitive is to keep up with the latest technology and exploit the available innovations in favor of  advancing the various aspects of fluid power. Synchronizing and upgrading fluid power systems to meet the demands of increased safety, productivity, and efficiency is the basic necessity today, while, at the same time, incorporating the latest technology for more accurate feedback devices, user friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI) screens, and the ability to access the data remotely helps in up keeping, fast troubleshooting and optimizing the best mode of cost-effective maintenance of fluid power systems, whether it’s preventive, predictive or reactive.

Incorporating Old and New

Yet I remember working on a project a few years ago, aimed at improving the productivity and accuracy of an old closed die press by multifold via introduction of a robotic cell, efficient furnaces and automated controls for infeed and outfeed logistics. After commissioning of the robotic cell, it was realized that while the team was overwhelmed with design, erection, and commissioning of the new robotic cell, the existing conventional hydraulic system was somehow overlooked. In order to perform in the most optimized manner, new robots would need exactness of position, force, and continuous feedback. This realization resulted in further extension of the project time and cost for the upgrade of the press hydraulic system with closed loop servo controlled actuators, absolute position feedback system, pressure feedback, and advanced communication of the press hydraulic system with the newly introduced robotic logistics.

Value of the International Fluid Power Society

The reason for citing these examples from my personal experience is to show the value which International Fluid Power Society (IFPS) offers to the industry. While IFPS provides fluid power personnel a common platform to share the best practices across the industry and post problems, Fluid Power Journal stimulates the brains of readers by teaser problems & columns like “Watts It All About.” Besides this, IFPS also does the very important work of standardizing the talents through various certifications, which provide a sense of accomplishment to the fluid power personnel, while also providing a sense of confidence to employers, colleagues, and customers while dealing with someone who has been recognized by an authoritative body in the field of fluid power. 

After my two decades of association with the International Fluid Power Society, and particularly the last two years as a member in the Board of Directors, I realize the effort that is meticulously administered by the team in bringing the industry together, onboarding the best talent available in the industry for the benefit of all the members, and continuously upgrading the relevant manuals, books, and certification test questions, so that all of these are always contemporary.

Some significant accomplishments during my term in the board are upgrading the Hydraulic Manual, reintroduction of Electronic Control Specialist, successful organization of the EEHPC conference, and merging of FPEF to NFPA to ensure better utilization of the funds. These milestones are clear evidence of the dynamism and strength of IFPS. It’s also worth mentioning that I was moved by the passion and enthusiasm in the work at IFPS  shown by the Board of Directors, Committee members, and staff members who leave their badges aside and take up the challenge for the larger cause to keep the industry thriving.

Meeting the Future

Of course, in the coming years there will be stringent requirements for safe, reliable, high response systems and components, there will also be the necessity to meet these expectations and benchmark new standards via the convergence of smart technologies into conventional systems and manufacturing. However, with all the dedicated talent currently available in the fluid power industry, bright and young talent  being added every year, and with IFPS serving as a kind of launching pad for them, I am very optimistic and assured that the future of the industry is promising. I am sure that collectively we will convert our challenges into stepping stones and the fluid power industry will soar to new heights.

I would like to conclude with these great words as put by Albert Einstein. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

Finally I wish you and your family a very happy and safe year 2018 .

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