Tanida Ruangsawat/Dreamstime and courtesy IFPE and CONEXPO-CON/AGG
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5 for Friday: Engineering Academy Starts March 23; IFPE Reigns in the Desert, CSIA’s View on Manufacturing’s Future

March 17, 2023
Machine Design takes a look at the past week, and a look ahead to the issues facing the design and manufacturing sector.

1. Engineering Academy Kicks Off March 23

On March 23, Machine Design launches its Engineering Academy’s event on the topic of Design For Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA). These on-demand presentations look at getting started with DFMA, how to integrate humans and technology in the workforce, starting from scratch with smart manufacturing and using DFMA on machine frames. The sessions are free to all registrants, and you can sign up for this event by clicking here.

2. Reigning (And Raining) In The Desert

The 2023 International Fluid Power Exposition in Las Vegas was the first full-sized event in six years. The 2020 event occurred at the outset of the pandemic, and many major suppliers and customers withdrew just before the event began. That made the 2023 edition of IFPE of particular importance, and the show did not disappoint.

The only surprise at the event was the rain that fell on the first two full days of the show. Normally a little rain is a minor inconvenience, but with so many exhibits outdoors for the co-located CONEXPO event, the rain drove many attendees inside. There they were treated to a wide variety of innovations, announcements and applications for the fluid power and construction equipment industries.

3. An Electric Future

One continuing theme at IFPE and CONEXPO was the electrification of both large machinery and the components that serve then. As Power & Motion reported during the show, that included batteries, sensors, hydrostatic transmissions and more—some of which are becoming more important as construction equipment and other heavy machinery push further toward electrification, automation and other major trends.

4. Cat on a Hot New Platform

One of the more unique pre-show events was Cat’s unveiling of its C13D diesel engine platform. The company held the event at Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Company officials said in a press release the C13D was “designed to achieve best-in-class power density, torque and fuel efficiency for heavy-duty off-highway applications.”

The company also reaffirmed its commitment to a diesel engine at a time when electric propulsion and alternative fuels are generating a lot of attention at this year’s event. The two concepts are not incompatible, said Cat officials at the event, noting the fuel efficiency improvements with the new engine and the ability to incorporate the future use of fuels such as natural gas and hydrogen.

“We’ve really optimized this as the platform of the future,” said Cat General Manager Mark Stratton. “If you need a diesel engine, if that’s the right answer for your solution, we think we’ve got the best one on the market.”

5. CSIA Looks At The Upside of Manufacturing

In this first part of a three-part video series I recently conducted with CSIA CEO Jose Rivera, we discuss the growth potential for manufacturing amid the challenges of supply chain restrictions and economic pressures. As Rivera told me, “I think these challenges are also the ones that are creating the opportunity, right? In the case of the United States, we're having a lot of the initiatives around reshoring or nearshoring. And all that requires automation and those are all opportunities for system integrators to deliver on projects.

You can start by reviewing the video series here.

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