11 August, 2022

Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech 2022 pack a punch after unprecedented challenges

16 May, 2022

Walking the dog

While visiting the shows’ hospitality suite, Fluid Power & Systems and Air-Tech exhibitors, visitors, presenters and delegates alike were able to see a welcome visitor from the co-located Drives & Controls exhibition – namely, Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot dog in action. From time to time, Spot took a well-earned break from his travels around the shows to his very own pen positioned at the entrance to the hospitality area. Spot was in residence courtesy of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC).


At Fluid Power & Systems, Hydraulics & Pneumatics spoke with Ian Simpson, managing director of Flowtech, about a number of current trends in the fluid power industry, including his view that it is very important that our industry embraces the omnichannel sales model. “We have to be aware that times have changed,” he said. “Many years ago, people didn’t trade through Internet access, there were basically trade counter models or a salesperson knocking on a door or a sales office receiving a telephone call. But now, like the way the Amazon model has evolved customers want the ability to trade with the supplier in various ways. They still want the trade counter, and they also want the salesperson knocking on the door, but now they also want the ability to trade online through a fully integrated e-commerce platform.”

Rising to the lead-time challenge

Simon Parsonage, chief executive of Flowfit, spoke of current lead time challenges in our industry and explained that this is one of the main reasons that over the past couple of years the company has substantially expanded its stock levels in the UK. He added that Flowfit is also increasing its warehouse capacity by 3.5 to 4 times. “The industry is suffering on lead times so we're investing heavily in stock and warehousing infrastructure,” said Parsonage. “Customers are often being quoted 12-month lead times, but manufacturers can't wait - they need to find companies with good stock levels.”

The continuing relevance and value of hydraulics

Tim Gessner, European director of business development at Delta Motion, gave his views on how hydraulics are faring in the current technology age. “Since I started in the industry back in 2000 we've been hearing the rumours that hydraulics are dead and that motors are going to take over. There’s certainly a place for motors but there is still a great need for hydraulics in the market. It has the ability to provide high levels of force, shock absorption and energy density that motors and linear systems simply can't yet provide. At Delta Motion, we continue to grow and enhance the products, making them provide precise, even better control.”

Gessner also made the point that there remains the believe in some quarters that hydraulics is a dirty technology. “Well, we've been running hydraulics in our booth here the whole time and there’s no problems. Hydraulics have become very reliable, very clean and are necessary in the industry. Moreover, our products achieve absolutely precise control. I recently posted a video showing we’re achieving 69 µ accuracy on position and another video where we’re holding 100,000 pounds of force within 1000 pounds of variance. Those are very tight tolerances that often people think hydraulics can't match, and we've done that successfully time and time again.”

Living up to expectations

DFA Media’s managing director, Ryan Fuller, comments: “Looking back at the success of the event, it was clear that our industry had been eagerly anticipating the event for some time and missed the benefits of in-person interaction. The past couple of years have proved challenging for everyone, but the shows rose to the occasion and proved themselves still to be highly valued. The team at DFA Media is now busy preparing for the exhibitions’ next outing in 2024.”

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