Fluid Power Journal

Fluid Power, Resolute as Gold

Notable Words - Ian J. Ford - Headshot

By Ian J. Ford, Sr., Product Manager.

“Two weeks to slow the spread.” “Essential workers only.” How can we forget such phrases? The U.S. economy was brought to a screeching halt a mere three years ago. Yet, amidst these lockdowns, the core of American manufacturing carried on. In a dark and uncertain late winter, many resilient first, second, and third shift workers huddled behind their glowing dashboards and commuted to the shop floor as they always had. With a thermos of home-brewed coffee steaming in their cup holder, the backbone of domestic production persevered.

No industry was left unscathed in the year 2020. Media focused on hospitals, schools, and grocers, but glanced over the millwright in the steel mill, the machine operator at the papermill, or the floor manager of the injection molding plant. Small-to-medium sized businesses and mom-and-pop shops had to follow local, state, and federal COVID mandates. Workers retired in droves, lay-offs were made; however, many steadfast factories and plants remained a source of employment in uncertain times. Manufacturing persisted. Whilst operators had to have their temperatures taken and PPE meant more that safety glasses, ears, and steel-toes; power units still hummed, cylinders stroked, and conveyors turned. 

The fallout of the pandemic lockdowns and other economic turmoil have subjected many industries to unprecedented volatility. The word “unprecedented” is vomitously recited in the news headlines, but it is an apt adjective to be used. Strange things have occurred of late. We have seen sectors boom and bust in mere months. New ventures explode with success. Stalwart institutions recede. Banks collapse. Markets swing. Then, the moment the market even hints at becoming bearish, precious metal salesmen bombard advertising avenues with their slogans. “Gold protects against uncertainty!” “Protect your future with gold!” Perhaps with good reason, but this is something to discuss with one’s financial advisor. 

Now, what of the readers of this Journal? What are we to think; we who learn, work, and live in the field of Fluid Power? Is there a “gold” we can turn to across industries? Workers, students, and investors carefully consider where to invest time, talent, capital, and ultimately their futures. What field should a student pursue? Where should the worker apply? In which sector should an investor place their assets? 

If the tumults of the last three years have taught us anything; it is that fluid power is as resolute as the American spirit. It permeates across industries and powers the core productive forces in our economy. The student can trust that engineering and practical hands-on training will prepare them for success. The worker, new or experienced, can trust that advanced automation, manufacturing, and production must continue to sustain us in even the most trying times. The investor can trust that their life-savings or their next opportunity for capital growth lies in a tried and true, yet innovating technology. Fluid power is our gold standard.

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