Fluid Power Journal

Notable Words

The Fluid Power Educational Foundation – Evolving with the Needs of the Industry

jean-knowlesThe Fluid Power Educational Foundation (FPEF) has charted a new course focusing on two major missions over the calendar year 2014. Our primary mission is to award scholarships to individual students who have selected fluid power as their primary academic discipline. We are the only fluid power non-profit organization focused on scholarship awards to individuals. Embarking upon this path, our collateral mission was to expand awareness of the FPEF, as well as the discipline of fluid power itself to potential students. This year, we have had a record year in individual donations and scholarship applicants. It shows that both the industry and students are getting the message.

As chair, my call to action for our FPEF trustees, IFPS members, and working professionals was to focus on fundraising in 2014 and to increase awareness. Donations not only support our existing scholarship base, but also solidify a path to our future Foundation goals. Our future goals include: 1) expanding our scholarship awards to those in fluid power who desire continuing education, 2) offering scholarships to departing military, and 3) providing added financial-need scholarships for students seeking fluid power training.

Our goals address the growing issue that the employment climate is seeing more and more retirements and workers exiting our field. Many of these individuals leave with years of tribal knowledge, training, and experience. Our future goals must encourage and reward workers choosing fluid power as their profession. Our close-knit community of fluid power companies faces a scarcity of talent due to competing trades recruiting new and existing talented individuals. Other industries have actively supported students for years. Individuals entering fluid power can use the FPEF scholarships for IFPS first-time memberships offered to departing military personnel and first-time certifying college instructors. The Foundation’s challenge, however, is to encourage and attract new talent.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to be a professional and to grow professionally in the fluid power community. In this journey, I’ve worked with and for some of the finest, best, and brightest people and leading companies. Many of these companies were built on the hard work, determination, sweat equity, pure ambition, and perseverance of dedicated individuals. We could use more of such individuals as we lose increasing numbers of experts. It means our Foundation’s mission becomes exponentially more compelling and necessary.

If you or your company has grown by being a member of this community, I urge you to contribute to educational opportunities. You can do so by encouraging newcomers, help the Foundation increase awareness, and/or make a tax-deductible donation to help fund our scholarships. If you would like more information on our Foundation, our scholarships, or our scholarship-donation opportunities, please contact us at info@fpef.org.

The Foundation has developed packages that include advertising or a choice of individual or corporate scholarship-naming opportunities. To institute a scholarship in honor of your company or an individual, please feel free to contact us.
As we approach the halfway mark in our calendar year, I am extraordinarily pleased at the Foundation’s progress thus far and by all the new companies that have stepped up in support of the Foundation. I am personally excited about our future and the impact the Foundation will have on both students’ lives and the people who will be the future of fluid power. There is no greater investment than in the people. People made this industry what it is today, and it will be people, such as those entering our industry and our scholarship recipients, who will shape tomorrow.

By Jean Knowles, CFPE, CFPS, and 2014 FPEF Chair. Jean Knowles can be reached at jeanie.knowles@gmail.com.

Next-Generation Hydraulics: Efficient Machines, Precise Control

Nate-AlmeIn today’s hydraulic marketplace, manufacturers and end users need efficient equipment they can rely on to get the job done. Regardless of the end application, equipment is facing growing expectations for productivity, efficiency, safety, and machine controllability.

As companies look to build smarter, more precise machines, hydraulics needs to become smarter, as well. Where hydraulic equipment typically provides the muscle to make machines effective, the new trend towards intelligent machinery is driving changes in the industry. Utilizing hydraulic products with embedded electronic technology helps make machines even more effective, with the level of controls needed for efficient and productive operation.

Precision control, a key part of Eaton’s complete hydraulic solution for a precise and powerful excavator, is a must-have to keep machines operating at maximum efficiency. During the recent International Fluid Power Expo, Eaton hosted a contest on an excavator demonstrator – the fastest operator to score four baskets was the winner. Our winner sunk all four basketballs in an astonishing 39 seconds – imagine that kind of speed and precision applied on a jobsite. The demonstrator featured Eaton’s DuraForceTM piston pumps and motors, which offer extreme precision and durability to keep construction and mining applications up and running.

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Nate Alme leads the marketing initiatives for Eaton’s mobile hydraulics portfolio. He joined the company in 1988 and has progressed through numerous roles in product engineering, application and system engineering, product management, and marketing. To learn more about Eaton’s hydraulic solutions, visit www.eaton.com/hydraulics.

MOOCs and the Future of Fluid Power Education

kim-stelsonFluid power is an important enabling technology for mechanical, agricultural, and aerospace engineering. These disciplines graduate over 20,000 engineers a year, and every one of these graduates should be familiar with fluid power as part of their degree program. However, access to fluid power education is an enormous challenge at the university level. This challenge must be addressed, since familiarity with fluid power is important for all engineers, not just those working in the industry. Potential applications of fluid power exist in nearly all industries, and it is important to have well-educated potential users.

We at the Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power are committed to greatly expanding access to fluid power instruction. To help address the need, we have made fluid power videos available to the general public (www.ccefp.org/education-outreach/public-outreach/fluid-power-documentary), and have created a collection of open courseware at the university level, including lecture notes, mini-books, and videos of lectures (https://sites.google.com/site/fluidpoweropencourseware/material). Our two popular mini-books, “Fluid Power System Dynamics” by William Durfee and Zongxuan Sun of the University of Minnesota and “The Electrohydraulic Servovalve Coloring Book” by Rosamond Dolid of MTS System Corp., are available in downloadable PDF form for free or in bound form for a modest fee.

In spite of our best efforts, however, the expansion of fluid power education has been slow. Recently, a new and exciting approach, MOOCs, have emerged as a way of greatly expanding educational access. MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course, and it is not unusual for a MOOC to have more than one million students. The University of Minnesota and CCEFP are developing a university-level fluid power MOOC entitled “Fundamentals of Fluid Power.” The course will be first taught in September of this year. The instructors are Will Durfee and Jim Van de Ven. The course is free and available to anyone, anywhere in the world. You can learn more from the Coursera link to the course: www.coursera.org/course/fluidpower. Please help us spread the word to those who may benefit.

By Kim A. Stelson, Professor and Director, Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power (CCEFP)

CCEFP is a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center established in June 2006. It is a network of researchers, educators, students, and industry working together to transform the fluid power industry—how it is researched, applied and studied. In addition to its grant from NSF, the Center is supported by its seven participating universities and more than 50 industrial partners. Visit www.ccefp.org.

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

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