By Eric Lanke, NFPA CEO
A couple years ago, in an effort to bring “voice of customer” information to its members, NFPA began funding a series of studies called its “Customer Technology Trends” reports.
This year, the association is focusing its attention on industrial hydraulics. An agreement was recently signed with IHS Global to conduct a study on the impact of variable speed drive technology on the decision to use hydraulics in key industrial automation sectors, including automotive manufacturing, metalworking and machine tools, industrial presses and injection molding machinery.
The research will start with a broad-based survey followed by a series of telephone interviews with selected survey respondents. The survey and follow-up calls will answer the following:
• What is the current level of use for hydraulics and hydraulics with variable speed drive controls, and how is that expected to change going forward over the next three to five years?
• How is the decision to use hydraulics versus electrics affected by awareness and availability of variable speed drive technology?
• What drivers of change affecting these decisions can be identified (energy, regulatory, cost, maintenance and so on)?
• Are there any new/emerging applications for hydraulics with variable speed drives?
Results will be released at NFPA’s Industry & Economic Outlook Conference in August and will be made available to all NFPA members.
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