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All aspects of the igus: bike are made from recycled plastic.

Awards Season is Here to Highlight the Best in Engineering

Jan. 18, 2023
Various awards honoring innovative designs provide insight into current and future technology trends.

Just like the entertainment industry kicks off its award season at the beginning of the year, so too has the engineering community. Associations, organizations and events have begun the annual process of honoring a range of technology innovations, including those in or related to the fluid power and motion control industries. 

In addition to honoring the hard work of the engineering field, industry awards provide an opportunity to see design trends as well as those for the future. This can help to provide further inspiration and reflection for the engineering community. 

CES Innovation Awards

First up this year were the CES Innovation Awards, given out in the lead up to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) — arguably the largest technology event in the U.S. The awards are given to outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products, which has come to include a range of solutions. 

In 2023, agricultural equipment OEM John Deere was named an honoree in the Vehicle Tech & Advanced Mobility category as well as a Best of Innovation winner in the Robotics category for its 8R fully autonomous tractor unveiled at CES 2022. The tractor leverages cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence (AI) to complete farming working without an operator in the cab. 

READ MORE about John Deere's CES 2023 technology introductions.

Automation is becoming an increasingly important factor in agriculture and other heavy machinery industries, as well as manufacturing, to help overcome labor costs. And because fluid power and motion control technologies can be a part of and be driven by automation systems, it is important for the industry to continue monitoring this trend. 

Ouster and Ambarella, two companies developing sensor technology for autonomous vehicles of various types, also received CES Innovation Awards. Ouster was an honoree in the Robotics category for its Rev7 OS lidar sensors featuring the company's new L3 digital lidar chip. Ambarella was an honoree in the Embedded Technologies category for its CV3 family of chips designed to improve radar sensors use for autonomous vehicles.

READ MORE about both technologies:

Advanced Chip Technology Enhances Lidar Sensor Capabilities

Centralized Radar Architecture Improves Perception Capabilities

Construction equipment manufacturer Hyundai Doosan Infracore received an honoree award in the Vehicle Tech category for its XiteSafety technology. When installed on excavators, collisions between humans and machines can be avoided. Antennas and smart tags communicate with one another to warn workers if a collision is possible. The system can also turn off the machine's hydraulics to prevent further movement and ensure safety.  

German Design Awards

Each year, the German Design Awards honor the best in product design, communications design and architecture. Today more than ever it is focusing on those designs which aim to improve global sustainability in some manner, whether that be through material usage, economic goals or other avenues. 

Motion plastics company igus received a 2023 German Design Award in the Excellent Product Design category for its all-plastic igus: bike. The entire bicycle — its frame, components, etc. — is made from recycled plastic. This helps to reduce the amount of plastic entering oceans and landfills while minimizing production of single use products. The bike is lightweight and lubricant free, benefiting riders and the environment. 

In addition to showing what is possible for the bicycle industry, igus' use of recycled plastic demonstrates what could be possible for other markets as well. 

READ MORE: igus Unveils Bike Made from Recycled Plastic

Bosch Rexroth's SVA R2 electric actuator for subsea applications received a special mention in the Excellent Product Design category. Designed to replace hydraulic cylinders in working depths up to 4,000 m, the actuator features a robust design and helps provide a more sustainable option as it eliminates use of hydraulic fluid which could leak and cause contamination issues in the ocean. 

ZKW Lichtsysteme GmbH received an honorable mention for The Black Box — its fully automated handling, inspection and packaging system for optical plastic parts. Robotic gripper arms are integrated into the machine to pick up various thick-walled lenses, and the system is designed to be modular and flexible for easy adjustments as needed. 

Festo won a special mention in the Excellent Architecture Fair and Exhibition category for its booth at Hannover Messe 2022. The exhibit showcased the various trends taking place in manufacturing, such as automation, and the technologies enabling them which are not always as obvious to the casual observer, such as the electronic controls and pneumatic components.  

Innovations in Agriculture

CNH Industrial's New Holland Agriculture brand received a German Design Award for its Straddle Tractor Concept. The machine has also received a Good Design Award, a prize which recognizes innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product and graphic designs organized by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design and Metropolitan Arts Press Ltd.

As agriculture equipment is a key sector for the hydraulics industry, it is valuable to understand the technologies and trends taking place in this market. 

The Straddle Tractor Concept is designed for use in narrow vineyards and features a futuristic design. It was created to demonstrate readiness for electric traction; alternative power sources is a key development area for CNH and its construction and agriculture brands. 

The company's Case IH Patriot 50 series sprayer and New Holland TK4 Methane Power vineyard crawler tractor were also honored with Good Design Awards. 

CNH brands and several other agricultural innovations were also recently honored with 2023 ASABE AE50 awards, given out by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE). The award highlights innovations in agricultural, food and biological systems. OEMs including John Deere, CASE Construction Equipment, and AGCO were among the 2023 winners.  

Many of the honored technologies placed a focus on helping farmers automate processes to be more productive and efficient, a growing need to help them feed an ever-increasing global population. 

Several other design awards are on the horizon for 2023. In conjunction with CONEXPO and IFPE 2023, a new awards program has been established to honor new technologies helping to advance the construction industry. Exhibitors from both parts of the show are eligible and will be voted on by members of the construction industry. 

And be sure to keep an eye out in the coming months for our own IDEA! Awards specifically honoring innovations in the fluid power and motion control industries. 

We want to hear from you!

What industry awards do you follow? Do you find industry awards to be a beneficial barometer on what developments are taking place? What honors are missing from the fluid power and motion control sectors?

Let us know! Email me at [email protected] or reach out to us on social media

Twitter: @TechnlgyEditor or @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @PowerMotionTech

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Executive Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is executive 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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