As fall approaches, many of us are making plans to travel to conferences and trade shows. As in every other odd-numbered year, 2015 will mark the return of the International Construction & Utility Equipment Expo to Louisville, Ky., Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. Known as ICUEE—IQ for short—this show immediately became one of my favorites when I first attended more than 20 years ago. It’s organized by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), the same group that puts on ConExpo/ConAgg and IFPE. The construction sector has a little overlap with ConExpo, but IQ has a much different flavor.
First of all, it’s held in Louisville instead of Las Vegas. Louisville is a smaller venue, and I find it more visitor-friendly than Las Vegas. Taxi lines are shorter (in fact, all lines are shorter) and because IQ is a smaller show, you don’t spend as much time walking from one place to another. In essence, then, IQ gives you more time to visit with exhibitors and network with colleagues than a Las Vegas event does. Granted, Louisville is no Las Vegas (what city is?), but it still has plenty to offer for a short stay.
But back to ICUEE itself. You’ll find hundreds of fluid power components and machines used in the construction and utility industries on display. Maybe “display” isn’t the right word. Instead of just being on display, machines at dozens of outdoor exhibits are at work. You’ll see loaders, excavators, and other equipment scooping, digging, trenching, transferring, and dumping. You’ll also see fleets of aerial lifts transporting people skyward. That’s why AEM has dubbed ICUEE “The Demo Expo.” In some cases, you might even be able to hop into the driver’s seat and operate a machine yourself.
Now I realize that most readers of Hydraulics & Pneumatics are not in the market for skid-steer loaders or directional boring machines. These are the types of machines subscribers design fluid power systems for. But, again, ICUEE has loads of exhibitors showing off fluid power components. If you see a pump, valve, cylinder, or other component of interest, chances are the exhibitor will be able to show you a machine at the show that uses that component.
And, of course, you can also study the design of these machines: where components are placed, how they’re controlled, and the benefits they bring. If you look close enough, you’ll probably find some design technique you can incorporate into the fluid power systems you design.
Alan Hitchcox, tor