Technology Advancements Driving Fluid Power in Manufacturing

Technology Advancements Driving Fluid Power in Manufacturing Jake Hall The Manufacturing Millennial IFPE

Jake Hall, The Manufacturing Millennial, sat down with some members of the IFPE planning team, sharing his excitement for attending the show in March, as well as discussing the latest technologies and innovations in fluid power that will be on display at the International Fluid Power Exposition in March 2023.

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Episode transcript:

Jake Hall:

All right, welcome everyone. Hey, it's Jake Hall of The Manufacturing Millennial. Once again, we are back with another LinkedIn Live. I don't get to do these as often as I would. Hopefully when my schedule clears up, I can do these every week. But when we have special events coming up and special occasions, it's amazing to make that happen. So if you're in the audience today, we appreciate you being here. Feel free to, in the chat, let us know who you are, where you're from, what you're excited about, what you want to learn about these industries as we discuss today.

Jake Hall:

And of course, if you have questions when you're in chat, we would love for you to ask those questions and we could do our best to answer them or, of course, get answers back to you. But I have two amazing guests with me today. First of all, we have John Rozum, which I learned how to product correctly, pronounce those name earlier today, and he has a couple roles. He is the Senior Director in the Association for Equipment Manufacturers, and also the IFPE Show Director, which we'll be learning about in just a few minutes. And then of course, Eric Lanke, who is the NFPA President and CEO. John and Eric, welcome both of you.

John Rozum:

Thanks for having us.

Eric Lanke:

Glad to be here.

Jake Hall:

Yep, absolutely. So we're going to kick things off. I always love it where you can give your own introduction and share a little bit about yourself. And stealing as a question from one of my really good friends, Chris [inaudible 00:01:25] this is also going to be a question just to answer about yourself. So where you live, where you're located. If I were to have this conversation with you sitting down in person at a brewery or at a restaurant, what would we be eating, what would we be drinking, where would you be taking me? So John, let's kick it off with you. What would be the answer to that question? And tell us about yourself. Tell us about your role and how you got into this industry.

John Rozum:

You bet, you bet. Boy, I guess we'd be going to Louisiana's, it's my favorite Cajun joint just down the street here in Middleton, Wisconsin. We're a little suburb of Madison. And we would be drinking bourbon because that's just what we do.

Jake Hall:

Okay.

John Rozum:

That's what I do, anyway. I'm maybe making a leap there.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely.

John Rozum:

All right. Excellent, excellent. Yeah, I've been with Association of Equipment Manufacturers for about nine years now, working on the trade show team, trade show and events. Before that, I ran another event here in Madison, Wisconsin for about 13 years. So I have been in the trade show industry for the vast majority of my adult life and I am a self-described trade show nerd. I am all about helping people make connections and building events and making them better so that attendees and exam exhibitors can really connect the way they need to.

Jake Hall:

Awesome. And we already have people talking about the show. Melissa here is already counting down 187 days to the show. But before we get into the show, let's go go ahead, Eric, introduce yourself. Same question, how did you get into this industry, why are you still in this industry today, and what are you passionate about?

Eric Lanke:

Well, I've been the President and CEO of NFPA for about 15 years now, and 15 wonderful years. It's been a great experience and a great industry to get involved with. Like a lot of people, I didn't know anything about fluid power when I first came into this role. I came out of a different association and found myself working hand in hand with the engineers and the executives who run the companies that are our membership. And the best part of the job is just learning more about all the different places you can find fluid power. It's really an amazing technology. Most people don't know that term, hydraulics and pneumatics might be words that people are more familiar with. Fluid power is an umbrella term for both of those kinds of technologies and it moves the world, I think as we'll get into when we talk about the show and all the different kind of technologies that people will find there. It's just a real vibrant and exciting industry to be a part of.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely. Sorry, go ahead.

Eric Lanke:

I was just going to answer the restaurant question, if that's all right.

Jake Hall:

Please.

Eric Lanke:

It's funny that, John, we didn't script this ahead of time. He picked a Cajun place in Middleton. We're in the Milwaukee area, and there's a Cajun southern fried comfort restaurant called Maxies, which is really weird, great, but strange for Milwaukee. I remember bringing our board there one year and they were like, "Cajun food in Milwaukee, really? Are you serious?" And it's quite an experience. So it's one of the best places in town."

Jake Hall:

Oh, that's wonderful. For me, I brought some friends who were in town just a month ago into Grand Rapids, where I'm from, and where I would be taking everybody is a restaurant called HopCat. And they have probably some of the best burgers and sandwiches you could ever have. But you can say what they're known for is their fries called crack fries. And they're called crack fries because they're so addicting with seasoning and pepper, and then there's a cheese sauce that you can dip it in and put it in. And then of course, with Grand Rapids being what we call as Beer City USA, they also have a lot of the local brewers on tap. So you can have all the really good beers from all the brewers right in one place. So that's really exciting.

Eric Lanke:

That's great.

Jake Hall:

But today, we're having a webinar, it's called Technology Advancements Driving Fluid Power in Manufacturing. And for the audience that's here, they know I love talking about manufacturing, I love talking about automation, digital transformation, how we're making manufacturers smarter, and the equipment that they're building smarter as well. And I think what's really interesting is as we move from a very physical product based industry in manufacturing, it's also affecting a lot of other different industries as well. And what we're going to be talking about today is the upcoming show where a lot of these manufacturers, where a lot of these engineers, where a lot of people go to learn every three years in Las Vegas where there's this show at. So John, let's kick it off with you. What is IFPE and what is IFPE a part of that a lot of people probably are aware of?

John Rozum:

IFPE is the International Fluid Power Exposition, and it is a very special event. It's very different and unique in the marketplace. It's got a long history of really focusing on technologies and fluid power transmission and motion control. The event itself has about 400 exhibitors that are on the IFPE floor. But what makes it really unique is that it is partnered and co-located with CONEXPO-CON/AGG. A lot of your viewers probably know CONEXPO-CON/AGG as the biggest construction trade show in the Western Hemisphere, massive event every three years in Vegas. Well, IFPE's a little part of that. We're second floor of South Hall.

John Rozum:

And we've got a very unique niche up there with all those exhibitors at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. So many of them, this is the biggest show of the three year run. They know there's going to be 130,000 people at this event. So they come guns blazing, they've got their engineers, they've got their executives that are part of the booth team. They're there to talk to the end users and learn what they're doing and how they're using their equipment and what they need to change, and that's really a special opportunity then for the folks that are on the component side. All the things that go into those big pieces of equipment, those engineers are there and they're not going to spend the entire time sitting in the booth because we all know engineers are not good at sitting in their own booths. They want to go out, they want to see what the competitors are doing, see what everybody else is doing on the show floor, and they want to come over to IFPE and take a look at what new products are specifically focused towards them.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely. And one thing I want to cover is we saw IFPE's part of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and we think of the massive super large equipment that's out there that are construction equipment, bulldozers, cranes lists, forklifts. But fluid power is not just in large equipment. I think people a lot of times lose focus is even though there is an increase in drives or motors and servos, air and hydraulics is still a massively used system in manufacturing, even though companies still are putting in more motors. Every single automation piece of equipment I'm going onto, there are air cylinders, there is fluid motion, there's controllers happening on the floor within a lot of automation equipment. And I think that's really interesting is you're seeing multiple industries leveraging technology in a way. And I kind of want to talk about technology next. And Eric, I want to roll that over to you. This webinar's called the Technology Advancements Driving Fluid Power in Manufacturing. What are we seeing right now as a couple of trends when it comes to how manufacturing and how fluid power is being transformed with new technology?

Eric Lanke:

Well yeah, you gave a nice overview there, Jake, in terms of all the different places that you can find fluid power. IFPE benefits tremendously from that co-location with CONEXPO, as John described, because all of those mobile machine engineers are very interested in the hydraulics that goes on their machines. But IFPE is a show for all parts of fluid power, and that includes the industrial and the pneumatic segments as well. So across the industry, the trend that's really changing the landscape is what we call electrification, which has been happening inside the factory for a long time. Your fluid power system is typically powered in an industrial space by an electric power source of some kind, electric motor, and we're beginning to see those electric power sources migrate onto the machines as well as they react to the incentives in the marketplace for greater efficiency and lower emissions and those kinds of challenges as well.

Eric Lanke:

So we've really seen a renaissance, an innovation curve occurring inside of fluid power, both hydraulics and pneumatics, as we figure out better and tighter ways to deliver the actuated motions that these machines need, again, whether they're in the factory floor or on a piece of mobile equipment, in more efficient and more predictive ways. That's the other big trend that is clearly happening. There's different words for it. Some people call it digitalization, that's a word I have a hard time pronouncing. Industry 4.0, IoT sensors and data analytics, the ability to understand on a nanosecond level in some cases what's going on inside the fluid power system, where the cylinder is positioned, what's the temperature of the fluid, all of this kind of data that's coming off and then used to either predict maintenance issues or to trim operations and efficiencies so that things operate in a more efficient manner and last longer. So those are really the two big technology trends. All of that is going to be on display at the show in terms of the products that our members will be showcasing there.

Jake Hall:

And I think that's really exciting when we're looking at how manufacturing is being transformed. People in a lot of areas are still having the same problems that they were trying to address 20, 30, 40 years ago. But what we're doing is we're making these equipments and how we're solving problems more accessible to the user. I'm thinking when I'm on a manufacturing floor and we have a fault or an error, giving accessibility to the operator, say, "Okay, this is why this machine is down." Not just, "Hey, we have a fault code. Now you need to log into the PLC or the piece of equipment to find out what's happening." I can get accessibility in a lot of ways. One of the things I think of is information sent to your phone now. And when I was looking through a lot of the different discussions that are happening, in fact, there's a really cool white paper that's out there, and I'll bring this up real quick. I know we're going to talk about this later. But there's a really cool white paper out there called How Digitalization & Electrification Improve Efficiency.

Jake Hall:

So it's done by some really cool companies, and probably a few of them you're going to recognize on there from Rexroth, which is a Bosch company, we have IFM, which is a Massive Sensor company, Parker [inaudible 00:12:49] Proclain Hydraulics, and Casappa. These are all big companies that are out there, and actually I'll throw the link directly in the chat as well. So if you want to, you could take a look at that information and get a better idea of just what are these industry leaders, what are these manufacturers, what are these companies talking about that they're really going to be seeing a transformation happening in the industry when it comes to new technology?

Jake Hall:

So I throw that up on YouTube. Let me go ahead and I'm going to make sure it's in our LinkedIn group as well. But one of the things that came away from that was one of the things that you talked about already, Eric, was digitization. Let's talk about safety as well. And I think that's just the big thing is when we're looking at a lot of equipment that's out there, it's massive equipment. What are manufacturers doing to make equipment safer for people operating them?

Eric Lanke:

Well, they're doing a lot of things, and it's really the digitization or the IoT sensor data feedback loops that I talked about that are providing the opportunities to better control, sometimes in an automated fashion, the operation of these machines. Again, it's interesting, the industrial side, the in factory type applications, you've seen this a lot over the years already with automated robots and things like that that do the work for you. That's beginning to migrate, again, onto mobile equipment as well because of these advantages that are coming forward. So it's providing ways to better control the actuation of these fluid powered devices in ways that protect the safety profile, if you will, of either the operator or the people that are around it. They have the ability to sense how much is too much and how much is not enough and where their boundaries are in ways that they've just not had the ability to do before. So it is a much safer environment as a result of these advancing technologies.

Jake Hall:

Yeah, absolutely. And just a shout out, we had [inaudible 00:15:05] automation. They're actually a company just down the road from me. I know when I talked to some of the owners and some of the team, they're excited to be going to the show and attending as well. So 180 days. So we're still over a half a year away, but people are already excited to talk about it. I think it's one of the things, let's jump back, and John, let's talk more about IFPE. We were having a discussion before we went live here, 2020 was the last show.

Jake Hall:

So you guys have one every three years, which is, I think, really interesting because it makes it so big stuff happen at the event. It's not you're just going there and you come back the next year and, "Oh okay, I saw that already. I saw that already. I saw that already." You're going there and you're going to see a bunch of new stuff because the industry's transforming at a rapid pace. Now imagine getting to see new technology that they haven't been able to share with the last couple years during the pandemic. But what happened during the pandemic? In 2020 in Las Vegas, this show was happening and then the national announcement came out and said, "Go home."

John Rozum:

Yeah, it was crazy because this show is so big. It takes more than a month to move in. So we were out in Vegas first week of February, and this COVID was just not even a figment of our imagination in the US. This was just an overseas thing. We're keeping an eye on it, we'll talk about it, we'll start thinking about it, but it was absolutely incomprehensible at that time that there would ever be a major trade show in the US that would just not happen because of a virus. It seemed so crazy. And as we got closer to the show, it got more and more real. And people are moved in, they're ready to go, people are coming into Vegas. We still had over 100,000 people in Vegas that were there for the show, and you start getting these phone calls from home about, "Yeah, they're hoarding toilet paper at Costco."

Jake Hall:

I want to know people who literally went out and bought a truckload. Do they still have that toilet paper from 2020? Is it somewhere in a storage room that eventually they're going to use that for the next two to three years? That was a crazy thing to hoard, in my opinion, was toilet paper.

John Rozum:

So we were incredibly fortunate that we were able to get the show in. We canceled a day early because they were literally shutting down airports overseas. So we had to make sure that we could get everybody home safely before we locked down. And driving to the airport a couple days after the show, there's nobody on the road, it was all done. We basically shut the lights off in Vegas and it was a really sad run looking at it from the trade show industry. All the staff and the folks whose career is events and hospitality, the hotel people, the restaurant people, they were looking at it as, "Okay, we're closing for a week." And it was a whole lot more real for all of us.

Jake Hall:

Yeah, it was a lot longer than a week. But the great news is now we already have, from when I was talking earlier, there's over 2000 exhibitors already registered for the CONEXPO, which IFPE is a part of. We're expecting well over 100,000 people to attend this show and there's not any viruses or worries in sight. Vegas is back. I'm actually heading out to Vegas later this year. I'm going to be in Vegas about a month before that event even happened. So I'll be in Vegas quite a few times next year. But I think what's really exciting about what this show's about is people don't realize fluid power and transmission is a $20 billion industry in the United States. It is a massive industry. And I think what's exciting about that is it helps create a lot of jobs. But I think what's really cool is we're seeing how technology is helping transform this industry to attract more people to come into it.

Jake Hall:

I know in manufacturing specifically, we're facing a massive unemployment of lack of skilled trades, lack of workers, and that's the same thing in a lot of times in the CON/AGG side of fluid power in the construction industry and the farming industry. It's hard to get people to come and work for that. But then I think what's exciting is as we see technology transform products and we see technology transform the way we are doing things before, it's going to drive a lot of new people into the industry. I think it's cool. So when we're looking out there and you're walking the show floor and you're going to see a lot of cool, amazing equipment, there's equipment out there that can drive themselves now.

Jake Hall:

It's autonomous. It's using machine learning, it's using AI. It's allowing us to transform technology in a way that's filling that gap. I think what we're seeing also as well with fluid power, that technology is enabling people where now they can get a notification. I think one of the things that we talked about was remote access of equipment. And being able to remote access information now, and now that we just have a traditional hydraulic system that was moving something, now we have accessibility, we have data to understand that. What are some of the cool things that you're seeing that are really helping drive new people to come into these industries? John or Eric, either of you guys, what are you seeing that's been fun so far?

Eric Lanke:

Well, I think that's a big part of it. Those two trends are on not unrelated to one another, the workforce challenge that many industries are facing and this drive towards automation and better use of data analytics and things like that, those are not happening in a vacuum. So the kind of skill set that is needed to continue the innovative path that our industry is on is changing as it responds to those trends. Fluid power is and always will be part of mechanical engineering. In terms of its operation, it's a very mechanical process if you will. But this interface with electrical engineering and computer science and data analytics is now giving it a profile that is very different than what it may have had in the past.

Eric Lanke:

And so lots of younger people who are more computer nerds than gear heads, if I can use those two terms without getting in too much trouble, are suddenly interested in some of the possibilities. It's really the marriage of that electronic control, if you will, with the power density and the heavy lifting capabilities of fluid power that makes it unique. If you want to crush stuff, there's no better way to do it than with fluid power. So Iron Man's the best example in fiction, I think, of the perfect marriage of these two technologies, if you will, and that's coming close to reality in a lot of spaces.

Jake Hall:

Eric, are we going to see you in an Iron Man suit in Las Vegas doing cosplay up and down the strip?

Eric Lanke:

I'm not going to say who's in the suit, but there may be an Iron Man at the show. I'm not allowed to divulge anymore. Stark Industries is not affiliated with IFPE in any way.

Jake Hall:

Well, there you go. Well, if you guys are just joining us right now and missed the introduction, we'll do a recap of where we're at. So today we're talking about technology advancements driving fluid power in manufacturing, and this is sponsored by IFPE. And IFPE is the International Fluid Power Exposition, Expo, where they're highlighting all the cool technology as part of a much larger trade show with CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas happening March next year. So there's a lot of cool stuff that we're going to be seeing. And John, I want to jump back to you again real quick. Why are trade shows, in your eyes, as putting together this show? I'm going to, I think 10 more shows this fall still, so my schedule's lined up, but I always like to hear from a director, from a person who puts together the show itself, why are trade shows still important today and why should companies be exhibiting at them and why should companies also then be attending them and sending their engineers?

John Rozum:

That's a fascinating question, Jake, and I absolutely love it because I've been in this business long enough to have gone through several iterations of the, "Yep, trade show's dead. We don't need this anymore. Technology's replaced it. Forget that. Time to move on." And we're coming out of one of those times right now where we had this COVID period where we thought, "Yep, everybody's going to be moving trade shows online and that's going to be awesome because you don't have to travel and you can sit at your computer." And you're not going to get a damn thing done because it's not the same. And that really has pushed us back and it's pushed people back to the show floor, especially in our industry where we're talking about equipment and big things that need to be touched and you need to see it and you need to be able to handle that equipment and be right up in front of it.

John Rozum:

You can do your research online, you can do all your planning, you can have those initial conversations, but it really comes down to getting face to face with the people who are not only selling it, but also making it and being able to have the engineers that are in development or that are working in the development of these products right there to answer those questions and to ask questions. What an amazing two way piece of conversation right there. Long live the trade show. People have gone a long time. And for many, that first show back out, whatever it might be, you've been going to a lot of shows, I've been going to a lot of shows since we were first allowed to do it. AEM'S first big show after COVID, after CONEXPO, was the Utility Expo, another show I manage. And that was in Louisville in September of '21. So basically right after the masks went away, and people loved it. It was clear that this is something that the industry really needs to continue to support because the demand is there on all sides.

Jake Hall:

And I think what we're seeing as well is we're seeing people are going to shows because they actually have real applications. I felt like before COVID, people are just going there because oh, it's an excuse to go to Vegas. It's an excuse to go there, walk the show for a couple hours, and then go play slots and hit the table. But what I'm finding out coming out of COVID, we are such a massively growing, improving industry. People are coming into these shows to learn about what new technology is there that's going to make them more productive and that's going to make them more competitive. And really, in an economy where they're locally at, an economy in the US and an economy globally as well, they're going to play in that area. So if you're like, "Okay, why would I go to a show?" Well, your competitors are probably going to a show and they're going to see that technology that you wouldn't to even know existed because you're not in the right source, you're not connected to the right article, you're not following Jake Hall on LinkedIn who is always sharing the cool technology.

Jake Hall:

But it's one of those things is in person events still create that big value. But I think one of the other big things as well is networking is such a powerful tool, and we'll do another plug real quick. So happening at the show, you guys are having your own networking session on Wednesday, March 15th, 4:00 to 6:00. So we're going to be having one of those things where it's designed around be there, bring your business cards, but also network with a lot of professionals in the industry, and that's part of the event. And I think when shows are not just only focused on that 9:00 to 4:00 open expo show, but they're saying, "No, we're going to make it so when you're coming here, you're creating the most value at it from a learning and technology perspective, but also from a personal growth and networking perspective," those are what really shows successful.

John Rozum:

And Jake, that's what we're looking at with that particular networking event, doing it the last hour of the show and then one hour after, we're just going to stretch it out a little bit, understanding that everybody's got functions at night. That's part of the program. They're making their appointments, they're taking their customers out. But it's at end of day when we can draw some of those other engineers that have been working their tails off in the booth all week, have them come on over, relax a little bit, talk to some of their own kind out in the wild and relax a little bit.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely.

Eric Lanke:

And if I can, Jake, I think everything you guys are saying is a hundred percent in terms of this human need that we have for in person interactions. But one of the things I think is unique about IFPE, and maybe it's similar in other component based shows, is that you're not buying the model off the floor. You got to talk with the engineers about customized applications of this technology to your needs because the technology itself is so customizable and so able to address so many different things that a lot of very smart engineers who work in what we would call the end user side of the business have a hard time figuring out, "Well, what pump do I need and how many cylinders do I need and how do I put them together?"

Eric Lanke:

And you need to have that connection, that engineering level discussion, and that only can happen face to face in so many cases. And IFPE is just a great opportunity to do that. We have seen show cycle after show cycle, the quality of the connections and the leads that come out of it, it's an audience that is motivated to find solutions to their problems. And so it's just a great environment for that to happen.

John Rozum:

And it's almost-

Jake Hall:

Sorry, go ahead, John.

John Rozum:

I was just going to say that was super evident at the 2020 show.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely.

John Rozum:

You came down towards, like I said, you were right in it, COVID was happening around you. The really smart folks in the room were figuring out that this was going to hit the supply chain and this was going to be a problem for their companies. And that had this little boost of engineers come in there and finding their way up to the IFPE floor and they were making deals and they were trying to figure out who that was right there right now could be their new supplier because they knew they weren't going to be able to get products out of certain overseas countries that were shut down. And it was instant business. It was something we don't normally see where they're making those connections and, like Eric said, trying to figure out how to make it happen fast.

Jake Hall:

Absolutely. And I think one of the things that's really exciting is, Eric, to go off of what you said, customizability is such a unique thing that's happening in the industry right now. It's no longer the Henry Ford, you can get any color you want as long as it's black. You're not going to be able to have that customization and companies developing products for you. I think that's one other thing beforehand is you had the 900 pound gorillas at one point in time in the industry that said, "This is the solution that you can use. You either use it or you don't use it, and there's nothing else." Our industry has transformed in a lot of ways where there is so much customization built into it and so many companies coming out with solutions because they're asking for it. There's a great example where I was going through the website, IFM have some really cool stuff where they were using proximity sensors and motion sensors and potentiometers and RFID tags going on some really large of equipment and they added IO-Link, they added some other communication.

Jake Hall:

So now, instead of just having a prox sensor on a machine that's stating, "Hey, it's either on or off," it's getting information and going back to that user to be able to address that problem and create that customization. And a machine company would never have put that on there unless someone started asking for it and said, I" need this value to be a part of it." I think that's the great part about having these conversations. And you can find out when you're walking the show floor, there will be some exhibitors on the floor, like every trade show, that just say, "No, this is what we're doing and this is what we're going to buy."

Jake Hall:

But you are going to find other exhibitors as well who are going to listen to your problem, listen to what you need to solve, and they're going to work with you to find a solution that makes sense. Even if it's not available now, I think some of the biggest new ideas come out of going to trade shows from not only just you as an end user who's looking at equipment and saying, "Oh, we could do this, this, and this, and then make our solution better," but it's also all the people who are exhibiting saying, "Man, there is that person who was asking for this. We don't have it. But man, that makes sense." And I think this goes back to, John, what you were saying, and why I personally love trade shows so much, is you're not going to have those conversations by reading an article on a case study.

John Rozum:

Yeah, it's the surprise and delight. You can be making your trade show plan and you've got it all mapped out, you're going to see all of the big companies that you're working with, all your current vendors, you got it all mapped out, ready to go. And those are great, that's going to be great conversations there, but it's all the ones in between that you don't know you don't know yet. Those little companies, those little other products that there it is right on the table right in front of you, a solution that you didn't know you had a problem for yet.

Eric Lanke:

Yeah. And fluid power is still a very diversified industry. So we have over 300 members in the National Fluid Power Association, there'll be an equal number if not more companies exhibiting at the show. People are usually familiar with the big names, but there are hundreds of other companies that provide equal... I love all my children equally, don't get me wrong. So they're all providing those technology solutions that lots of people may not be aware of until they come to the show and see it on full display.

Jake Hall:

Awesome. Well, as we wrap up some of the conversations, John and Eric, I always like to ask, is there a question that you wish I would have asked you guys as industry experts, as thought leaders in the industry, John, with you not only being part of IFPE, but also the Association for Equipment Manufacturers, and Eric being part of NFPA, what are some things that you wish you've touched on or you wish I would've covered during this conversation? Either one of you guys can start.

John Rozum:

Well I would say not wished, but I'm surprised you didn't ask what's next and what the next big innovation is. And look at that, there's that recognition. Yeah. No, the answer is that we don't know, and that's so cool about this moment in time in this industry because we really don't know what's next around the corner. And you think back to 2018, 2019 when those first little hints of, "We're going to be electrifying and using batteries as a power source for commercial equipment." And at that point it was, "Ah boy, that seems like that's a really, really long way out." And it hasn't been, it's been a pretty quick turn. We had a few pieces of electric equipment at CONEXPO last time around in 2020, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find any of the manufacturers out there without something that's battery operated this time around.

Jake Hall:

And connected.

John Rozum:

And connected, yeah.

Jake Hall:

I would say you're not going to find a device on the floor that you can't log into remotely, it's not connected to the internet, it doesn't have a cell phone or SIM card into it, it doesn't have an HMI display that's going to give you full accessibility to all the temperatures and usage and current draws and pressures just fully displayed out there. I think people want to know exactly what's happening in their equipment, what's happening in their machines, and the suppliers and the exhibitors are going to be showing, as you mentioned, Eric, that digitalization of fluid power.

Eric Lanke:

Yeah, it's such a hard question to answer. There was a time, whether we're talking about the mobile equipment or we're talking about the fluid power components that go on it, where product development cycles in this industry were, frankly, measured in years. It would be five or six years before you would see new products coming out. Now we're talking months. We really are. It's been such a change in terms of the innovation cycles that we're seeing, and knowing what's coming next is really challenging. It's clearly going to be in this marriage of electric power sources and fluid power actuation connected to online devices that provide better maintenance structures, more autonomous functioning, better efficiency. But exactly what that's going to look like and how that's going to manifest over the next couple years, it's very difficult to predict.

Jake Hall:

At the end of the day, it's what the customers are looking for. When they look at a problem, that's how the industry is going to change and go to evolve. Companies aren't out there to create a brand new product because they're like, "Eh, I wonder if we're going to do this." Apple, you could say okay, Apple's the exception. But a lot of times, companies are out there and they're innovating because they're getting feedback from the industry on what people want and what people need.

Eric Lanke:

Yeah, there's a lot of still very useful and productive equipment out there that's running just fine after 10 or 20 years.

Jake Hall:

Many decades.

Eric Lanke:

It's a very durable technology. So it still works, but that innovation cycle is exciting to see.

Jake Hall:

So as we wrap things up, once again, we were having a discussion today on technology advancements that are driving fluid power manufacturing. And Eric and John, I appreciate you guys giving your expertise, you're thought leaders, but also talking about the upcoming show, the International Fluid Power Exposition. And just a shout once again, this is an event that's happening in March 2023. You're thinking, "Why are we already talking about this?" But it's a big show. There's going to be 100,000 people that are going to be there. There's going to be over 2000 exhibitors in Las Vegas. And right, it's going to be springtime and still chilly for a lot of people, so what better time to go to Vegas than in early spring?

Jake Hall:

So I'm going to be there, John's going to be there, Eric's going to be there. A lot of people who are in this chat today are already going to be there as well. So we encourage you if you want to learn more or want to learn about the white paper that we talked about, go ahead and go over to www.ifpe.org, easiest website out there to type in, and learn more about the expo and check it out, and also see if you want to be a part of it as either an exhibitor with your company or if you guys want to attend. John and Eric, thank you both for once again hopping on. I really appreciate your guys' insights. And until next time, thanks everyone for hopping on and we'll catch you in the next live at LinkedIn.