CFPA Corner: Industry Outlook 2018
Canadian Fluid Power Association (CFPA) predicts optimistic outlook for 2018.0
As the year draws to a close, it appears 2017 will have been a good year for the fluid power industry. The CFPA’s recent Market Outlook, presented by the Market Insight Committee, indicated a generally optimistic perspective going into 2018. As well, 2017 has been a very good year for the CFPA. Progress was made on many fronts as the association continued to build value for members, and there are plans to keep the momentum high.
At CFPA’s core are member companies who are “giving back” to their industry by providing resources and encouraging employee participation in the association. Members and non-members generally agree on the largest challenges within the fluid power business. Those challenges include a lack of available employees with a technical background – let alone fluid power knowledge – and uncertainty about the future of investing in and planning for Industry 4.0.
CFPA committees are well aware of industry concerns and each pillar addresses these issues. The CFPA’s Education Committee has been busier than ever, now working on two Fluid Power Challenge events. The 2017 Canadian Fluid Power Challenge was yet another overwhelming success, which provided Grade 7 and 8 students with hands-on experience building a controlled mechanism with real world applicability, and to open their eyes and those of their teachers to technology careers and, in particular, careers in fluid power. The Challenge is an excellent complement to the science and technology curriculum at these grade levels. The 2018 Challenge, in May of next year, will see a new logo for the event.
The newly created national version of the Fluid Power Challenge, called the National Fluid Power Challenge, allows students anywhere in Canada to participate. Logistically, it is much less complex than a local challenge because it allows single participating schools to go through the whole process independently of the other schools involved. Registration is currently ongoing for the National Challenge, and we encourage all interested school to sign up before the end of November.
The National Challenge starts with a teacher guiding a class of students, broken into four-member teams, through a set of workshop lessons, which can take place over a number of days or weeks. These lessons reinforce the students’ knowledge of fluid power concepts, introduces them to the tools and materials they can use to build devices and gives them some practice building simple fluid power devices. On the actual Challenge Day, the selected teams have three hours to build, test and refine their device. Then the teams demonstrate their devices during a two-minute period that is recorded and submitted as an entry. Winners are then chosen by CFPA officials.
Our Market Insight Committee continually strives to be the Canadian leading source of fluid power market information with programs and tools that analyze industry trends, determine industry size and industry segmentation, define markets, develop industry outlooks and help companies plan their next move.
The association’s market report help companies track whether they are ahead of, with or behind industry norms. It also helps CFPA members gain insight into areas of growth, both by region and industry.
The CFPA’s Industrial Relations Committee provides an information conduit to its members regarding fluid power industry regulations and certifications, and helps members keep up with regulatory requirements and standards that impact on the industry.
Regional Events Committee members plan networking events, including regional and national business meetings, social events and golf tournaments. The Annual General Meeting is a must attend for senior management teams of fluid power companies, which rotates venues across the country at breathtaking locations. The general meeting includes a series of activities to sharpen attendees’ minds and allow them to subsequently unwind in the company of peers, who are most often leaders in both their companies and fields.
The Communications committee ensures the CFPA is well promoted on most major social media platforms, which strengthens brand image and provides channels of communication to members. The CFPA’s Twitter following alone has grown five-fold in just over a year, and LinkedIn has been growing rapidly as well. The association has also created a new Facebook page, which is a great place to connect and share with fellow Canadian fluid power professionals.
The past year has seen the adoption of several technologies to enable the association to better work and communicate. Cloud computing has enabled work-sharing and file storage between members and directors from coast-to-coast. Additionally, the adoption of web-based webinar software allows us to hold online events for those unable to attend CFPA meetings.
Whether you have been in the Fluid Power industry for many years or are just beginning your career, whether your technology is connectors, hydraulics, pneumatics or a combination, whether you want to shape the future of or improve one aspect of this industry, consider joining an organization of like minded people with a common interest. There is much to be done; a large inclusive membership is a cornerstone. Together we can make a difference.
Ron Dusseldorp is the Chairman of the CFPA’s Membership Committee and the Division Business Development Manager at Parker Hannifin Canada.