BFPA 2024 Yearbook & Members' Directory 2024

Vice President’s Foreword Having only been in my role as Vice President of the Association for a few months now, taking a deep dive into the position has been both challenging and exciting. Over the past few months, I have come to fully appreciate the hard work and dedication of the team more than ever. 65th Anniversary As the Association celebrates an impressive 65-year milestone, one of my main goals is to consider how we should shape the future of the organisation so that we can serve the membership even more effectively. One theme is the increasing focus on digitally transformative technology and electronics within the fluid power industry. This type of technology was barely a twinkle in our industry’s eye some 65 years ago when the Association was founded. For example, the marriage of electronics and pneumatics – and even electronics and hydraulics although this is currently in a more nascent state of development – can offer considerable benefits to users and OEMs in the form of greater efficiency, reliability, energy efficiency, cost savings and accuracy. Digital transformation The digitalisation of both software and hardware will continue apace, and we need actively to promote the technology’s benefits to BFPA members. Looking a little further ahead, I believe artificial intelligence (AI) will increasingly be integrated within fluid power technology. It can already be found in some software applications, but I anticipate it won’t be long before it becomes an intrinsic part of hardware too. Membership engagement Over the past year, the BFPA has become considerably more active in visiting member companies face-to-face at their premises up and down the country. In this way, we can better gauge members’ current goals and ideas as to how the Association can further raise its game. This, I’m delighted to report, has gone down extremely well and the Association has taken note of many suggestions from these companies. BFPA Managing Director, Chris Butcher, should be particularly singled out as the driving force behind this closer relationship with the membership. One prevailing concern we hear about regularly is, understandably, the ongoing skills shortage, including STEM. We need to find a more efficient way to get the message across to more young people that the fluid power sector can be exciting, rewarding and offer a fruitful lifelong position where the sky’s the limit in terms of career prospects. This will be a topic that the team and I will continue to discuss during 2024 with a view to getting more member companies to engage with their local schools, colleges and universities to ensure students at all levels and ages become more aware of our industry and what it offers. Standards I’ve also become more aware of the vital role the Association plays in its standards work. For example, pre- and post-Brexit, the BFPA was very active in clarifying what aspects of the new CA marking would differ from the European CE marking so that the membership could be better informed and able to prepare their products and services accordingly. Similarly, the BFPA’s market statistics service continues to be very highly valued by the membership. Sarah Gardner does a laudable job, ensuring the reports are of a consistently high standard. Sarah is also the epitome of integrity insofar as she maintains watertight confidentiality and remains completely impartial and independent. That is, of course, a great benefit for everyone in this industry. Similarly, Martin Kingsbury has helped to take the Association’s training courses to new heights of attendance. Many of these courses are now available online too. Let’s also not forget Karen Gordon-Brander, whose administrative skills and dedication keep everything well organised and on track. Four Pillars The Four Pillars, covered extensively in the last edition of the Yearbook, are also developing well, with the respective Leaders and their teams generating many valuable ideas that could make a difference in our industry. I would also like to say a sincere thank you to John Farmer and Rebecca Galley for helping to get the Four Pillars initiative off the ground and ensuring it continues to gain momentum. So, the BFPA is in shipshape order, and I very much look forward to developing my role as Vice President throughout this year. I also look forward to our AGM in May and hope to see many of you there. I do hope you enjoy this special anniversary edition of the Yearbook. Major milestone 5 Swapnil Khedekar, Vice President.