As readers of Fluid Power World are well aware, IFPE and Conexpo will showcase hundreds of machines and thousands of products related to fluid power, mobile equipment, and the construction and aggregates industry. If you’re among the 100,000+ visitors expected to attend, don’t overlook the show’s many educational opportunities.
For example, anyone looking to learn about fluid-power basics should consider the four available “college courses.” They kick off Monday, March 5, the day before IFPE opens, and run four hours each. The first course, Fundamentals of Hydraulic Systems, aims to increase awareness about the fundamental concepts of fluid-power technology. The presentation covers the physics behind fluid pressure and flow, the generic structure of a hydraulic system, and the construction and operating principles of essential components like pumps, valves and actuators. The lecture concludes by showing how these components make up a system that works safely and efficiently.
A second course delves into hydraulic fluids, including properties, the effects of a fluid on machine efficiency and the all-important subject of keeping contamination in check. Other courses relate to hydraulic-system design strategies for mobile equipment, and the fundamentals of electrohydraulic system design and control.
A centerpiece of IFPE will be the 23 sessions that make up the Energy Efficient Hydraulics and Pneumatics Conference. It begins at noon on Wednesday of the show with the keynote presentation, Methodologies to Improve Energy Efficiency in Fluid Power. Chris Schottler, the engineering manager for advanced technology at Eaton Corp., is the invited speaker. He will explore some trends in both mobile and industrial applications and how they relate to higher system productivity, give an overview on how machines can be optimized at the system and component level to improve hydraulic efficiency, and provide some examples. The talk will also highlight different technologies and architectures that are either improving system efficiency today or will in the future.
Breakout sessions for the conference then drill into these critical themes in several technology areas. Hydraulics topics related to increasing efficiency and productivity include: embracing electronics and advanced controls; different traction-control methods; and how to manage hydraulic circuit operation without restrictive flow controls.
Pneumatics-centered topics examine the impact of modern controls on compressed-air system energy efficiency; improving manufacturing processes with new smart pneumatic technologies; and a real-world look at compressed-air energy cost reduction at Briggs & Stratton.
Last but not least, “Looking into the Future” discusses how fluid-power systems may be at the forefront of the coming revolution in human-assist devices and soft robotics. Presentations cover areas like innovative pneumatic actuators called Fiber Reinforced Elastomeric Enclosures (FREEs); ultra-compact systems; and untethered power supplies.
On the Conexpo side, conference subjects delve into earthmoving, cranes and aerial lifts, maintenance, safety, regulations and management issues. Of particular interest to fluid-power engineers may be the Technology sessions. These include several offerings on drones, the Internet of Things, “intelligent” construction equipment, autonomous machines and hybrid technology.
Finally, visitors can ponder the future at the Tech Experience area in the Silver Lot. There, about 40 different Tech Talks will take place on wide-ranging, gee-whiz subjects, including:
- Project AME, the 3D-printed excavator
- Robots on construction sites
- Emerging vehicle technologies
- Wireless power transfer
- Gamification and operator behavior
- Wearable augmented reality on construction sites
- Solar-paved roadways and “living” concrete
In addition, 49 Tech Experience exhibitors will share their vision of the industry’s future. These include schools like Carnegie Mellon and Delft University of Technology, Oak Ridge National Labs, positioning-system suppliers LEICA Geosystems, Topcon and Trimble, and OEMs Caterpillar, John Deere, Terex and Volvo.