Fluid Power in Dresden

Thomas at IFK 2024

From March 19 to 21, fluid power experts once again turned their attention to Dresden, where the 14th International Fluid Power Colloquium (IFK) took place on the banks of the river Elbe. Thomas was also present, showcasing a range of products as part of the associated specialist exhibition. Some team members had the luxury of not having to travel to Dresden – due to the fact that Thomas is based there permanently. In fact, the company has been operating its own site in Dresden and working in close collaboration with the Dresden University of Technology (TU) since 2015.

The IFK is acknowledged as one of the most important conferences in the field of fluid-mechatronic drive, control, and regulation technology and has long since become established as the central forum for international dialogue within the industry. This year’s motto was „Fluid Power – Sustainable Productivity.“ In this context, the Colloquium drew attention to questions that are currently preoccupying virtually every sector of industry: How can technology become more high-performance, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly at the same time? And what role can fluid power components play in achieving this?

The actuator system specialist had brought several “highlight products” that combine maximum performance and interoperability with maximum efficiency along to Dresden. Visitors were able to explore the intricacies of electro-mechanical and electro-hydraulic actuators, for instance, as well as innovative pilot valves and clutch control valves (see below) – products that demonstrate the company’s capabilities as an innovator.

Photo gallery IFK Dresden 2024

Dresden: home from home for Thomas for nine years

On the one hand, the key to this innovatory prowess lies in Thomas‘ inquisitiveness and technical expertise. However, close cooperation with research is equally crucial – with TU Dresden playing a particularly important role in this respect. Thomas had already been working in close cooperation with the Institute of Mechatronic Engineering on several bilateral projects since 2013. This cooperation was further intensified when the Thomas Dresden site was established back in 2015.

The fact that the fixed-term projects culminated in a formal and lasting cooperative venture is ultimately due to the benefit derived by both partners from the collaboration and the achievement of impressive results. Both parties participate in joint projects, such as the Construction 4.0 project, for instance, and are involved in the Fluid Power Educational Fund. The partners also engage in professional dialogue concerning practical challenges and technological trends. By no means least, Thomas also supports lectures by providing illustrative materials and additionally offers internships for students. Guest lectures are also conducted at the University by Thomas employees. One thing is already writ in stone: As surely as an IFK will be taking place again in 2026, Thomas will most certainly be taking part once more. The IFK offers a platform for expert discussions and provides impetus for future developments thanks to this dialogue. This year, among other products, Thomas presented:

A highlight at the IFK: the Electro-Mechanical Actuator (EMA). The intelligent pilot control unit was developed according to the „Sense. Think. Act.“ development philosophy and demonstrates that even a compact component can make a significant contribution to increasing efficiency.

The Electro-Hydraulic Actuator (EHA) is no less pioneering. Its compact housing offers space for a complete, independently regulating hydraulic control unit consisting of two proportional pressure reducing valves along with control electronics and a travel sensor. The unit is actuated via a CAN bus.

Nor may the proportional pressure reducing valves IPH (Integrated Pilot Head) and CPA (Compact Pilot Actuator) be overlooked when efficiency and precision are involved. The IPH has an integrated valve sleeve and paves the way for even more compact installation spaces. With the CPA, OEMs can design main control valves narrower and speed up assembly.

By no means least, Thomas also presented its PPCD09 clutch valve at the IFK – a robust and dirt-resistant electro-hydraulic proportional valve that enables maximum clutch control efficiency and ensures smooth and precise control even under load.