Fluid Power Journal


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NFPA Regional Meeting
May 21, 2014, Somerset Inn, Troy, MI

2014 CCEFP Annual Meeting
October 13-15, 2014
Vanderbilt University Marriott Hotel
Nashville, TN

NFPA Industry and Economic Outlook Conference (IEOC)
August 11-13, 2014
Westin Chicago North Shore, Wheeling, IL

2014 IFPE Fluid Power Zone
September 8-12, 2014
McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

What is Power2Move?

by Eric Lanke, CEO NFPA

Like almost everyone else I know, I had never heard of fluid power before. When I came on board as the CEO of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), I was coming from an organization that managed professional medical societies. I knew a lot about running an association. But fluid power? Not so much.

Now it’s six years later.* Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot about fluid power and have come to understand this industry in ways most people do not. As I reflect on this journey, two important concepts really stand out.

First, there is a lot worth knowing about fluid power. Far from being the stagnant and outdated caricature some people like to paint, hydraulics and pneumatics represent foundational technologies that our modern society absolutely depends on. That hasn’t changed in a hundred years and isn’t going to change anytime soon. In the last ten years, there has been a literal renaissance going on within our industry. By integrating with other technologies, and by pursuing high-level research and development, fluid power is not only solidifying its hold on those foundational applications, it is expanding into ever-increasing frontiers.

That’s the first concept I’ve come to understand. What’s the second?

Still, nobody knows this.

nfpa power2move

Suppose you’re an engineer or technician working for a company that builds machines that rely on fluid power components or systems. Or perhaps you’re an owner or operator of one of those machines, someone who depends on fluid power to perform tasks critical to your livelihood. Or suppose you’re an engineer responsible for design solutions across a wider spectrum, constantly looking for new ways of solving old problems. Or perhaps you’re a member of our technically literate public, someone just curious about new technologies and novel ways of doing things.

If any of these descriptions fit you, then you should know more about the changes going on in the fluid power industry. And, more importantly, we want you to have a stake in the conversation that’s driving those changes forward.

That, in a nutshell, is why we created Power2Move. It’s a blog where we will share information that reflects what’s new and exciting about hydraulics, pneumatics, and the industry behind them. And it’s a place where we hope to connect with the broad community of fluid power users and those increasingly reliant on our technology.

To read and/or subscribe to the Power2Move blog go to www.PWR2MOVE.com. 

* This blog originally appeared in October 2012 when NFPA first launched Power2Move.

ISO Graphical Symbols Available Online

Do you want to be sure that the fluid power graphical symbols you use every day are the latest and most accurate? The International

Organization for Standardization (ISO) offers subscriptions to its graphical symbols collections via its Online Browsing Platform (OBP). Users can purchase a yearly subscription to have online access to either the entire collection or a subset of graphical symbols for use on diagrams, which includes the basic symbols that can be used to create fluid power graphical symbols in accordance with ISO 1219-1.

The symbols are downloadable as many times as necessary during the subscription period and available in either EPS or AI format. ISO ensures that the symbols are up to date, and the system allows potential customers to preview content.

For more information go to http://www.iso.org/iso/home/store/graphical_symbols.htm. 

Understanding NAICS Codes

by Eric Armstrong

If you’re involved in manufacturing, there is a good chance you have or will encounter NAICS codes. Depending on your position, you may be, or will need to be, very familiar with these unique series of numbers. I thought I would share a brief overview of the NAICS codes for those interested in learning more.

What are NAICS codes?

The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes are the identifying numbers used by the federal government to identify and classify companies by industry for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.  Working with the United States’ counterparts from Mexico and Canada, the U.S. Economic Classification Policy Committee (ECPC) wanted to create common industry definitions for use across the three countries. NAICS replaced the now-obsolete Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system in 1997.

Why Use NAICS Codes?

NAICS codes help provide uniformity and comparability in the classification of business establishments and presentation of statistical data, so many statistical agencies (including most government agencies) use NAICS codes to collect/organize statistical data and generate reports.  Such a widely used classification system makes market analysis and data resource identification much easier and more representative.

How Are NAICS Codes Structured?

The NAICS numbering system employs a six-digit code at the most detailed industry level. The first five digits are generally (although not always strictly) the same in all three countries. The first two digits designate the largest business sector, the third digit designates the subsector, the fourth digit designates the industry group, the fifth digit designates the NAICS industries, and the sixth digit designates the national industries.

For example, lawn and garden equipment manufacturing would be NAICS code 333112. Here is the breakdown:

33 stands for Manufacturing.
333 stands for Machinery Manufacturing.
3331 stands for Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing.
33311 stands for Agricultural Implement Manufacturing.
333112 stands for Lawn and Garden Equipment Manufacturing.

NFPA organizes many of its market information programs by NAICS codes. Visit NFPA’s Market Information at http://theieoc.com/market-information/ to find out how.

Energy Storage Solutions for Fluid Power Systems

By Eric Lanke, CEO, NFPA

One of the primary research challenges identified on the Technology Roadmap for the Fluid Power Industry has to do with increasing the energy storage density of fluid power systems. Hydraulic accumulators can store a lot of energy, but unfortunately are still too big for widespread use in applications like hybrid passenger cars and medical-assist devices.

So it was a rare treat for me to be able to participate in an ideation session at the Fall Annual Meeting of the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP) focused on generating new approaches to this difficult problem. (Truth be told, I was more of an observer than a participant, but it was a treat all the same.)

Guided by Barry Kudrowitz, an assistant professor of Product Design at the University of Minnesota, about 20 industry engineers, university professors, and graduate students split off into three work teams and tackled the problem with surprising enthusiasm and creativity.

Fig. 1 shows Professor Jim Van de Ven, also of the University of Minnesota—whose lab, by the way, is already working on a novel approach to the problem: a flywheel accumulator. But I really want you to look at all the yellow Post-it notes on the wall behind him. Each one contains another new idea for how to increase the energy storage density of fluid power systems.

nfpa news

Brainstorming these new ideas was fun, but it was just the first step of the process. Once the teams had their ideas up on the wall, it was time to select the best ones and create some prototypes—not out of iron castings and high viscosity fluids—but out of plastic cups, cardstock, straws, balloons, and any of a number of household items Barry had brought expressly for that purpose.

The objective was not to create a working model, but to create a 3-dimensional representation of the idea—which research shows is more likely to communicate the basic concepts and make them stick in your brain.

Fig. 2 is one of the projects developed by the team I was on—this one ably led by Spencer Stober of ExxonMobil. He calls it the Phase Change Accumulator, and if this non-engineer understands it correctly, it works—theoretically—by having different fluids with different phase change properties in each of the balloons.

When materials change phase—go from a liquid to a gas, for example—they release a tremendous amount of energy. Problem is, they release it all at once, so if the fluid in your accumulator changes phase, you’ve got this sudden burst of energy that is difficult (and dangerous) to control. But if your accumulator has different fluids that change phase at different temperatures and pressures, than you should be able to better control a cascade of small releases of energy as you take the overall accumulator through a set pattern of pressure changes.

No prizes were given out at this Science Fair, but based on the reactions from the real engineers in the room, this seemed like an idea with real potential.

It was a fun afternoon, but more importantly, the sheer number of creative ideas produced demonstrated to me that the challenges facing the fluid power industry are temporary. As we continue to add more young engineers to the team, the solutions will inevitably come.

Standardizing Energy Measurement for Fluid Power Systems

nfpa-eric-lankeBy Eric Lanke, CEO, NFPA

The following article was written for NFPA’s Power2Move blog–a site created for those interested in knowing more about new technologies and changes going on in the fluid power industry. To learn more about Power2Move go to www.pwr2move.com.

One of the core challenges identified in the Technology Roadmap for the fluid power industry is increasing the energy efficiency of hydraulic and pneumatic systems. According to a study recently published by the U.S. Department of Energy, fluid power systems in all environments—mobile, industrial, and aerospace—account for roughly 2-3% of our nation’s energy, and they run at an average efficiency of only 22%.

Organizations like the National Fluid Power Association, research universities in the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, and companies throughout the fluid power industry are working—and succeeding—in making improvements on this score, but one area that is just starting to get attention is finding a standardized way to measure energy consumption in fluid power systems.

It is a critically important area to focus on. Without such a standard, demonstrating energy efficiency improvements in the marketplace as a result of new component designs, new system architectures, or other technical advancements is a very subjective proposition.

Imagine if there was no standard driving cycle by which miles per gallon were measured in automobiles. Every car manufacturer would use its own driving cycle, publish its own results, and the consumer would have no way to compare cars from different manufacturers. Perhaps more importantly, automotive suppliers who wanted to sell products to the car manufacturers that would help improve fuel economy would have to have truly remarkable breakthroughs—adding 10 or more miles per gallon—before such breakthroughs would be adopted by the industry as a whole. Such leaps in fuel savings would be necessary in order to show progress on all of the various testing methods being employed by all the car manufacturers.

Fortunately for the car industry, there is a standardized way of measuring fuel economy—consumers can reliably compare the efficiency of one automobile versus another, and suppliers can introduce products that demonstrate incremental savings on fuel economy. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case for the fluid power industry and many of the heavy equipment industries that it serves.

But now, an effort is underway in order to change that. ISO Technical Committee 131, the international body responsible for fluid power standards, is initiating a discussion on how to tackle this problem in hydraulic and pneumatic systems. I was able to participate on its inaugural teleconference on the subject and will be part of the expanded discussion as it moves forward. There will even be a meeting of interested parties at the upcoming Fluid Power Systems Conference this November.

We welcome all perspectives into the discussion.

Fluid Power Journal is the official publication of the International Fluid Power Society

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