The General Assembly of the VDMA Fluid Power Association, held on 14 and 15 September 2017 in Augsburg, included the confirmation of Christian H. Kienzle, Managing Director of ARGO-HYTOS GmbH, for a further 4-year term in office as the Chair.
Christian Bürkert GmbH & Co. KG was reelected as Vice Chair for the pneumatics industry. Ingrid Hunger of the Walter Hunger GmbH & Co. KG was reelected as Vice Chair for the hydraulics sector. "I am very pleased and honored by the trust that has been placed in me and my commitment to representing the interests of the fluid power sector. My colleagues on the Board and in the management of the trade association must focus on positioning fluid power as a key industry for the significant trends facing the mechanical and plant engineering sector," says Kienzle following his election as the Chair.
Strong position of the German fluid power industry
In the period from January to August 2017, the German hydraulics sector achieved a six percent increase in turnover compared to the same period of the previous year. The German pneumatics sector recorded an even greater increase in turnover (10 percent) compared to the previous year. It was the strong demand in the area of automation in particular that strengthened the development. Overall there was tremendous interest in cutting edge technologies and fluid power products 'Made in Germany', both in Germany and abroad.
Innovation remains the factor for success
When looking at 2017 as a whole, industry representatives assume a current growth of nine percent and thus expect a positive development, provided that no geopolitical interferences arise. The industry is expecting a growth of four percent for 2018.
"Innovations and continuous technological development are decisive for the German fluid power sector in mastering the challenges posed by competition. Ensuring that this success continues requires investments and intense efforts in training, science and industrial collective research," states Christian Kienzle.
Strategic issues provide opportunities
Furthermore, the German fluid power sector has several strategic issues on its agenda which we need to shape actively. These include energy efficiency and Industry 4.0, which have clearly established themselves as key topics in mechanical engineering and in the fluid power sector in particular.
"The fluid power industry already delivers smart Industry 4.0 solutions. Hydraulics and pneumatics are already delivering key building blocks that determine the durability, performance density, energy efficiency of the customers' products. Fluid power is also an Industry 4.0 element that serves as a source for data and enables new solutions and business models, such as Predictive Maintenance," says Hartmut Rauen, Executive Director of the VDMA Fluid Power Association. Christian Kienzle adds, "This new role also explains the change in the annual cycle for the Hannover Messe with the merger of MDA and IA to become IAMD - Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives. Our products are building blocks of the highly innovative digital transformation, an area in which two years are a brief eternity."
In this context, VDMA is committed to dealing with current research topics that are relevant for the member companies within the German fluid power industry. To this end, the Fluid Power Association relies on the pre-competitive industrial joint research, organized by the Fluid Power Research Fund. This allows companies of any size to collaborate in a network made up of the best minds in industrial research and science and follow this up by using the results within the context of their own company.