Going to IFPE? Don’t miss this

Many of us have already started making plans to attend IFPE, to be held March 4 to 8, 2014, in sunny Las Vegas. No wonder. IFPE is by far the largest fluid-power event in North America, and it only comes around once every three years. With this rare opportunity to see so much on the show floor, plus all the educational opportunities, it would probably be a good idea to plan on attending for several days if you want to experience everything. But to do everything, you’ll have to figure out how to be in two or more places at once — and that’s not even counting all the receptions, hospitality suites, and other entertainment events that will drain any remaining energy you might have.

We make a big deal about IFPE and its related events because it hits close to home for H&P readers. But IFPE is only part of what’s going on. There’s also ConExpo, the largest construction industry event held in North America. Those of us who have been around the block a few times can remember when IPE and ConExpo were separate events, with IFPE as a stand-alone event held at Chicago’s McCormick Place from 1988 to 2000. The National Fluid Power Association owns IFPE, and they partnered with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers to take over administration of IFPE and moved it to Las Vegas permanently starting with the 2002 event.

To get an idea of the size of ConExpo, consider that IFPE — again, the largest fluid-power event in North America by far — takes up most of the upper level of the Las Vegas Convention Center’s South Hall. ConExpo, on the other hand, takes up the South Hall’s lower level, the North Hall, the Central Hall, and much of the outdoor exhibit space.

IFPE’s affiliation with ConExpo causes some people to believe that IFPE is more a mobile hydraulics show than a fluid-power show because companies dealing primarily in pneumatics and industrial hydraulics aren’t as plentiful as they were when IFPE was a stand-alone event. As I see it, though, IFPE has more pneumatics exhibitors than any other show in North America that I know of — and loads of industrial hydraulics, too. Plus, the IFPE conference, which we’ll be previewing in our January issue, covers all aspects of fluid-power technology, not just mobile hydraulics.

And although ConExpo isn’t all about fluid power, dozens of fluid-power companies will be exhibiting there rather than — or in addition to — exhibiting at IFPE. Plus, the wide variety of machines and equipment on display should provide plenty of ideas to consider incorporating into your designs — even if pneumatics or industrial hydraulics is your main interest. Fluid power is fluid power, whether pneumatics, industrial hydraulics, or mobile hydraulics.