Sponsors of commercials often tout their products as new and improved. But you can’t have it both ways. Modifying an existing product doesn’t make it new, it becomes improved. Introducing a product that didn’t exist before makes it new. And giving a product a new name doesn’t make it new or improved.
So what about the “new & improved” Motion + Power Technology Expo, which will occur Oct. 15, 16, and 17 at Detroit’s TCF Center (recently renamed from Cobo Center)? At first glance, the M&PT Expo is just a new name for the Gear Expo, which had been conducted by the American Gear Manufacturers Assn. (AGMA) for more than 30 years. What is new, though, is that fluid power will now have an obvious presence at what used to be Gear Expo.
As with the former Gear Expo, the new event will be managed by AGMA. The fluid-power connection comes from a partnership with the National Fluid Power Assn. (NFPA). And from what I’ve learned, the new event is truly mutually beneficial for both industries. When both NFPA and AGMA were formed, industry had experts who specialized in gearing and experts specializing in fluid power.
Several factors have caused that to change because engineers, system designers, and other technical professionals must now be multifaceted. They need to know enough about all three forms of power transmission—fluid, mechanical, and electrical—to determine which (or combination) is most suitable for a given application. NFPA adopted this approach a few years ago when it began promoting mechanical and electrical power transmission technologies along at the International Fluid Power Exposition (IFPE). Now AGMA is inviting fluid power into their world. According to Jenny Blackford, VP of marketing at AGMA, “The changes were directly in response to the way the gear industry’s customers are changing. Gone are the days when a customer had a gear expert’ on staff.”
What may seem strange is that IFPE on the horizon. IFPE, largest gathering for the fluid power community in North America, will occur less than five months after the M+PT Expo. However, there are distinct differences between these two events. First, IFPE is held in conjunction with ConExpo in Las Vegas. Despite NFPA’s contention that IFPE has always been an event for all of fluid power, many companies engaged primarily in pneumatics and industrial hydraulics view it as a mobile-hydraulics show. This is based on the strong presence of attendees and exhibitors engaged in mobile hydraulics.
So adding the fluid-power element makes the M+PT Expo a new event for fluid power professionals and an improvement for those in the gear industry.