John Deere
The Z370R Electric ZTrak can easily be recharged using an outdoor extension cord and standard outlet.

This Week in Power & Motion: John Deere Adds Zero Turn Mower to Electrification Offering

Feb. 10, 2023
John Deere has added a second electrified machine to its portfolio, registration opens for the 2023 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, Timken makes another acquisition, and more 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.

Allied Electronics & Automation Rebrands

Allied Electronics & Automation has officially rebranded as RS. As previously reported, the rebranding comes as part of an effort to better connect with the overall RS Group of which it is a part. 

The company said in its press release announcing the rebrand that it will elicit new opportunities to help industrial customers overcome challenges and further enhance the company’s user-friendly, technology-enabled customer experience in the Americas.

By rebranding, the company is also looking to leverage more expertise from within the RS Group which for its part is working to create a more consolidated and cohesive customer experience and product offering. Unification of the RS brand is expected to aid with the overall group's market share and growth. 

New igus Motion Sample Programs Ease Motor Control Setup

In an effort to ease the programming and integration of motor control systems, igus has introduced free motion sample programs. With this program the company says its dryve series motor control systems can be commissioned in minutes and connected to higher-level programmable logic controllers (PLC). 

Increasing implementation of automation is placing more work on technicians and engineers to program and install the necessary technologies. Tools which can help to ease that workload while also making it easier to understand how to implement these newer technologies will enable manufacturers to update their facilities and remain productive. 

The sample programs can be downloaded for free from igus' website. These programs include ready-made sample codes to make it easier and faster to integrate igus motor control systems and define necessary motion sequences said René Erdmann, Head of Business Unit drylin E Drive Technology at igus, in the company's press release announcing the program's availability.

Currently the sample programs are compatible with Siemens PLCs as well as industrial PCs, microcontrollers and single-board computers. Additional programs for Beckhoff, Wago and Eaton are also in the works. 

There are 19 sample programs available for tasks such as positioning, testing, pick-and-place handing, automatic assemby and feeding. igus will continue to add more motion programs as well as create new options based on specific customer requests if necessary.

Registration Open for NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge

Members of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) are now welcome to register for the final competitions of the 2023 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. For the vehicle challenge, teams of university students are tasked with creating a fluid power-based vehicle which is typically a bicycle and racing them during the final competition. 

Once again two separate competitions will be held; a total of 23 universities will participate in the 2023 edition. Those who register to attend have the chance to judge the final presentations, vehicle design reviews and races as well as participate in networking events to connect with the students. 

The first event will be held April 12-14 at Norgren's facility in Littleton, CO, and will see 12 universities competing: 

  • Arizona State University
  • Cal Poly State University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Michigan Technological State University
  • Purdue University
  • Texas A&M
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Tennessee State University
  • University of Utah
  • University of Akron
  • Kennesaw State University        

Danfoss Power Solutions will host the second event at its facility in Ames, IA, April 26-28 at which 11 teams are scheduled to compete:

  • Cleveland State University
  • Iowa State University
  • Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • Murray State University
  • North Carolina Agriculture and Technological State University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Ohio University
  • Purdue University Northwest
  • Western Michigan University
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • South Dakota State University            

Those wanting more information or to register for the event can contact Mary Pluta at [email protected].

READ MORE about the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge and the 2022 competition

Lontra Appoints Head of Commercial to Drive Business Growth

Lontraa developer, manufacturer and exporter of a new blower and compressor technology—has appointed Chris Hyde as the company's new Head of Commercial. Hyde joins Lontra from Atlas Copco and will be responsible for developing distribution channels as well as growing sales for the company's flagship product, the LP2 Blade Blower. 

He will work to expand the blower's use globally in food and pharmaceutical applications using pneumatic conveying systems. An initial focus will be placed on the North American market. 

"[Chris] brings strong commercial acumen from the compressor, blower and vacuum industries to Lontra, and leadership skills honed by studying an MSc In Executive Business Leadership. Chris will play a key role in creating new sales and marketing strategies to deliver significant revenue growth in the U.S.," said Euan McCullouch, Lontra’s Director of Strategic Development, in the company's press release announcing Hyde's appointment.

"I am honored to join Lontra at a pinnacle moment in the company’s history," said Hyde. "Lontra’s LP2 Blade Blower is a paradigm shift to the blower market – there’s nothing else like it out there."

Timken Acquires American Roller Bearing

The Timken Company has made another acquisition, this time of American Roller Bearing Company (ARB) which manufactures industrial bearings. 

ARB will be part of the engineered bearing solutions offered by Timken for a range of applications. It brings with it a large U.S. installed base and strong aftermarket business. 

"ARB's end-market mix, customer base and aftermarket position fit our Timken business model extremely well," said Richard G. Kyle, Timken president and chief executive officer, in the company's press release announcing the acquisition. "We're proud to welcome ARB and its employees into The Timken Company." 

Timken has made several acquisitions in recent years, helping to further expand its varied bearings and industrial motion products. Most recently it announced the acquisition of Nadella Group, a European manufacturer of linear guides, telescopic rails, actuators and systems and other specialized industrial motion solutions. And in September 2022 it added GGB Bearing Technologies to its portfolio

John Deere Launches All-Electric Zero Turn Mower

John Deere continues to expand its electrification efforts with the introduction of its first all-electric zero turn mower, the Z370R Electric ZTrak. Aimed at the residential landscape market, the mower provides many of the benefits offered by electric-powered machines including lower maintenance, simplified use and reduced noise and vibration leading to improved comfort for operators. 

The Z370R is powered by an integrated and sealed battery offering 3.56 kWh and the ability to mow in wet and rainy conditions if necessary. Up to 2 acres of land can be mowed on a single charge. The mower includes an onboard charger and allows use of a standard outdoor extension cord plugged into a 110V grounded outlet for charging, eliminating the need to have extra infrastructure or storage for charging. 

This is the second all-electric machine John Deere has introduced already this year; at CES 2023 it announced the launch of its first electric excavator which will be on display at CONEXPO-CON/AGG as well, demonstrating the growing trend toward electrification of various machines to help curb emissions. 

Visit our dedicated IFPE channel to learn more about what John Deere and other OEMs and component manufacturers will be showcasing at CONEXPO & IFPE 2023.

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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