The Power of Fluids on Display

International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE)
Written by Nate Hendley

Anyone working in the field of power transmission, fluid control, and motion control would be wise to attend the International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE), slated for March 10 to 14, 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Staged only once every three years, the exposition is considered the premier fluid power industry event in North America.

“IFPE is the leading international exposition and educational resource dedicated to the integration of fluid power with other technologies for power transmission and motion control applications,” reads an Exposition fact sheet.

IFPE is held in conjunction with CONEXPO-CON/AGG, a leading construction industry trade show, which takes place at the same time and place in Las Vegas. The exposition offers attendees the opportunity to check out new products and services, attend educational sessions, and network with each other. Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The wide-ranging fluid power sector covers everything from agricultural engineering to electrical machinery, chemical and petroleum processing, fluid power products, power transmission, and off-highway vehicles.

An estimated four hundred exhibitors will be showcasing their services and wares in categories like water hydraulics, industrial hydraulics, electrical and mechanical power transmission, and mobile hydraulics.

Attendees can also take in over 180 education sessions led by industry experts. The educational portion of IFPE will be divided into two tracks: ‘The Business of Fluid Power’ and ‘Hydraulics and Pneumatics at Work,’ with sessions about additive manufacturing, the Internet of Things (IoT), workforce development, and mobile hydraulic robotics/autonomous machines.

One of the most anticipated education sessions is going to be led by Paul Michael, manager of tribology research at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, who will be discussing ‘Hydraulic Fluid Properties, Efficiency, and Contamination Control.’

Engineers and equipment manufacturers looking for information about the properties of lubricants, composition of oils, and the way that hydraulic fluids affect machine performance are urged to attend Michael’s talk.

“There have been many upgrades in the quality of oils in the last two decades. Improvements in refining practices have led to the doubling of the life of oil. Oils are so much better now than before. Getting maximum benefit out of a high-quality hydraulic fluid that has a great deal of longevity potential requires a good understanding of contamination control and filtration. It’s also necessary to understand the sources of contamination in hydraulic systems, as well as their impacts on a system,” stated Michael, in an interview with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), published in an IFPE press release.

The AEM industry trade group represents over one thousand companies in the off-road equipment market. AEM co-owns IFPE along with the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), which describes itself as “the only trade association focused exclusively on fluid power technology.”

In the same interview, Michael offered a sneak preview of his IFPE presentation. “I’ll be talking about the fundamentals of hydraulic fluids, how they function, and their composition. I’ll discuss some of the more advanced technologies and fluids—synthetic fluids, fire-resistant hydraulic fluids, and biodegradable fluids. After talking about the nature of the fluids and how to validate their performance through standard testing, I’ll discuss contamination control, how to assess contamination level in terms of particle count, and present some case studies that look at the debris that’s found in the hydraulic oil filters, in order to identify the root cause of machine problems,” he stated.

An IFPE research symposium will also be held. The symposium will be hosted by the National Fluid Power Association with sessions offering updates on fluid power research conducted at U.S. universities. Much of this research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, with a view to boosting the energy efficiency of hydraulic systems in off-road vehicles.

“We are focused on developing education programs that offer attendees the latest ideas and innovations in fluid power technology, applications and research. Our classes and sessions deliver critical information for engineers and others involved in the design and manufacturing process,” stated Eric Lanke, NFPA President and Chief Executive Officer, in an IFPE press release.

Industry groups from different countries will be participating and leading trade publications will be taking part. Networking opportunities will abound as well. There will be a first ever IFPE fluid power hour reception, presented by engineering firm Bosch Rexroth, on March 11, from 4 to 6 p.m. The reception will take place on the IFPE show floor and will feature complimentary cocktails and snacks as well as entertainment.

As mentioned, IFPE takes place alongside CONEXPO-CON/AGG. A single ticket offers access to both co-located shows.

For more information about IFPE or CONEXPO-CON/AGG or to register, please visit and



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