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Monarch has unveiled its MK-V tractor, combining electrification, automation, and data analysis to help farmers reduce their carbon footprint and improve farming operations.

This Week in Power & Motion: First Monarch Electric, Autonomous Tractor Rolls Off Production Line

Dec. 16, 2022
The first Monarch Tractor MK-V goes fully electric, driver optional tractors will soon be delivered to customers, Helios Technologies creates a new leadership role for its electronics business, and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of fluid power and motion control, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the industries in which they work.

Helios Technologies Appoints President of Electronics Segment

Helios Technologies has announced Lee Wichlacz as President, Electronics effective December 7, 2022. In this newly created position, Wichlacz will help to lead growth of the electronics business in the coming years. 

"As we continue to grow both the segment as well as leverage our pure-play position at the intersection of hydraulics and electronics, Lee will be valuable in our efforts to advance our technologies and accelerate our growth," said Josef Matosevic, Helios’ President and Chief Executive Officer, in the company's press release announcing the new officer appointment. 

Prior to joining Helios, Wichlacz was Group Vice President and General Manager - Americas at Welbilt Inc. where he led its global manufacturing, supply chain, technology and new production introduction teams. He has served in several leadership roles during his career, including those in which he led engineering and operations teams. Wichlacz holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University.  

"I am thrilled to join Helios at such an exciting and pivotal time in its corporate history," said Wichlacz. "As we continue to develop platforms leveraging electronics and software with more connected solutions, we will help our customers grow and become even more competitive in their respective markets."

READ MORE about Helios' new cartridge valve which converts hydraulic flow to electric energy.

CNH Acquires Minority Stake in Stout Industrial Technology

Construction and agricultural equipment technology company CNH Industrial has acquired a 10% minority stake in Stout Industrial Technology. The U.S.-based startup develops implements for agriculture which are powered by artificial intelligence (AI). 

Through this acquisition, CNH will be able to further enhance the various smart technologies it is developing for agricultural applications. As the company explains in its press release announcing the acquisition, enhancements will be possible for its See & Act capabilities which allows machines to carry out tasks based on sensor-detected data. 

Stout's Smart Cultivator, a software-controlled implement, enables crops and weeds to be distinguished from one another. This is achieved by combining cameras, AI and proprietary vision technology. The implement is able to identify crops to cultivate them while simultaneously removing weeds. 

This technology will help simplify work for farmers, which is becoming increasingly more important to help them be productive and feed a growing global population. Stout's platform will help accelerate development of new solutions said CNH. Machines from Stout will also soon be available through the New Holland Agriculture dealer network. 

Volvo CE Sponsors Hydraulics Training

Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and its dealer Alta Equipment Company are supporting training of diesel technicians at the J-Tech Institute in Jacksonville, FL. As part of their training, students are also gaining knowledge of hydraulic systems. 

Students are learning how to fabricate hydraulic hoses, pressure-test hydraulic systems and more. This will help them with future careers in maintaining diesel-powered on- and off-road vehicles, marine and recreational equipment. Hydraulics are an important component in many of these, as is the need to train more people in how to properly maintain such equipment. 

Like many sectors, there is a shortage of skilled labor entering the market to become diesel technicians and mechanics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an average 28,500 openings for these jobs each year over the next decade. 

Volvo CE understands the importance of addressing this challenge, and thus is supporting several training initiatives. At J-Tech Institute, Volvo CE and Alta are sponsoring a new hydraulic training lab as well as providing training materials. Volvo CE is also providing hydraulic components to use as training aids. 

READ MORE on the sponsorship from our colleagues at Construction Equipment

New Electric Vehicles and Equipment Enter Production

Electric-powered vehicles and machines of various types continue to enter the market, with more companies starting to deliver production models. Among them are the first Monarch Tractor MK-V fully electric, driver optional tractors and the long-awaited first delivery of the Tesla Semi.

Five years after unveiling the initial prototype, Tesla delivered the first production model of its electric semi truck to PepsiCo. A delivery event was held December 1 at the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada where PepsiCo- and Frito-Lay-branded day cab models of the electric semi were on stage. 

According to a report on the delivery from our colleagues at FleetOwner, Tesla reports the Class 8 Semi has a range of 300-500 miles per charge when loaded to 82,000 lbs. GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating). A sleeker design to the electric truck is expected to reduce drag when traveling at highway speeds which will benefit efficiency. 

READ FleetOwner's full article on the Tesla electric Semi delivery

Monarch Tractor, a developer of electric and autonomous agricultural equipment, announced December 1 its first MK-V fully electric, driver optional tractors came off the production line at its Livermore, CA, headquarters and manufacturing facility. 

The company said in a press release announcing the production start that it was able to do so less than 2 years after the initial unveiling of its design. The tractor is 100% electric and thus produces zero emissions. Autonomous and robotics technology integrated into the machine enable both driver-assist and driver-optional operations, helping farmers remain productive even if they have less help. Safety, deep learning and sensing technology as well as the ability to work with smart devices are also features of the new tractor to aid efficiency and productivity. 

Monarch's first production models will go to Constellation Brands, producers and importers of wine, spirits and beer. The company has ordered six tractors. Additional customer shipments will follow.  

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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