Lontra’s manufacturing team alongside the first LP2 Blade Blower unit to be produced at the company's new smart factory.

This Week in Power & Motion: New Blower Technology Produced at Smart Factory

April 28, 2023
Lontra's LP2 Blade Blower for pneumatic conveying is the first product manufactured at its new smart factory, Danfoss and Motion announce new company leaders, Kollmorgen partners with OTTO Motors and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics 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 fluid power and motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

Kollmorgen Partners with OTTO Motors

Kollmorgen has formed a strategic technical collaboration with OTTO Motors, a provider of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for material handling. The companies aim to bring their expertise together to help advance development and deployment of autonomous solutions for the industrial sector.

The mobile robot industry continues to grow as a means of improving productivity and efficiency in manufacturing and warehousing operations, among others.

As part of the collaboration, Kollmorgen will bring its NDC Platform which helps with the automation of automated guided vehicles (AGV) and mobile robots. NDC provides both software for fleet management and vehicle routing as well as hardware for the navigation and control of vehicles. 

“We see a lot of things happening in the market, where interoperability amongst other things is a strong driving force, opening up for new perspectives and collaborations,” said Tobias Byfeldt, Vice President & General Manager, Kollmorgen Automation, in the company's press release announcing the collaboration. “We are impressed with OTTO Motors’ offering and are excited to see what a collaboration between our two companies could mean and the value it could bring to our customers.”

READ MORE: Autonomous Mobile Robots on an Upward Trajectory

Motion Names New Senior Vice President and CFO

Motion Industries Inc. has promoted Patrick Cummings to the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Cummings joined Motion in 2012 and served in various leadership roles, most recently as VP of Financial Planning & Analysis until he was asked to serve as interim CFO after Greg Cook moved to another position with Genuine Parts Co. of which Motion is a subsidiary. 

“Patrick will become a vital part of the Motion executive team, leading Motion to achieve our financial goals in the coming years,” said Randy Breaux, Motion’s President, in the press release announcing Cummings' new role. “His promotion is well deserved. It makes me extremely proud and happy that after a nationwide search, the Motion candidates proved to be the ‘best in class,’ which says a lot about Motion, our succession planning/process and our teammates.”  

First Lontra LP2 Blade Blower Rolls Off New Manufacturing Line

Lontra — a developer of blower and compressor technology for wastewater treatment and pneumatic conveying — recently produced the first LP2 Blade Blower at its new manufacturing center in Doncaster, UK. The new facility is a 60,000 sq. ft. smart factory. 

The company says its new manufacturing center was designed from scratch which enabled it to optimize all aspects and ensure the site is both productive and energy efficient. “Following significant investment in high-spec capital equipment, we are preparing to build an increasing number of units to meet market demand. This is scheduled to increase month on month and year on year as the business expands,” said Joe Cockcroft, Head of Operations at Lontra, in the company's press release announcing production of the first LP2 blower.

Lontra's LP2 Blade Blower brings a new blower design to the market which aims to overcome some of the challenges associated with current options. The company says in its press release that independent testing has shown the blower can provide energy savings up to 34% compared to other blowers in the market which will help customers with their own energy efficiency initiatives.  

The LP2 blower is the first product roll off the production line at the new manufacturing site which will help Lontra meet already growing demand for its technology. “The first units manufactured at our smart factory are being exported to North America in low-pressure applications. Our distributors and end-users want a more reliable technology, with low lifecycle costs, but also, a technology that is going to help their business meet 2030 net zero emission targets,” said Chris Hyde, Head of Commercial at Lontra. 

RS Receives Open-Source Certification for Sensor Development Kit

RS Group's DesignSpark Environmental Sensor Development Kit (ESDK) has received certification from the Open-Source Hardware Association (OSHWA). This certification designates a physical object's design allows anyone to make, modify, distribute or use it to help foster technical knowledge and more accessible, collaborative research. 

Per the RS press release announcing the certification, receiving it recognizes the kit meets a uniform and well-defined standard for open-source compliance. The company describes ESDK as an advanced open-source and cloud-connected platform that makes it easy to prototype custom sensor-based solutions.

The kit can be used to aid with development of various solutions for a range of applications, including the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Danfoss Appoints New Company Leaders

Danfoss Power Solutions has made two new leadership appointments which will help grow the business further. 

Andrew Smulski was recently named the new president of the company's Fluid Conveyance division. He previously served as senior vice president of Distribution Sales. During his career, Smulski has proven his ability to help lead large organizations as well as develop and implement strategies across regions. These skills will benefit his global responsibilities for the Fluid Conveyance division. 

Mike Hill, previously senior vice president of OEM sales, has been appointed president of Global Sales. In his new role, Hill will be tasked with leading both OEM and Distribution sales in one organization. Hill has held various leadership roles during his career; prior to Danfoss he worked at General Electric (GE) for a number of years as well as ABB. 

Both Smulski and Hill will be part of the Power Solutions leadership team and report directly to Eric Alström, president of Danfoss Power Solutions. 

BorgWarner Invests in Michigan Facilities to Accelerate EV Developments

BorgWarner is investing $20 million into the expansion of three of its Michigan-based facilities. The company will also develop a new electric vehicle (EV) battery service center. These investments aim to help the company further accelerate its development, manufacturing and testing of products for the EV market. 

READ MORE: The Current State of Battery Technology

Battery modules and packs, charging infrastructure equipment and microgrid control technologies are among those it develops and manufactures at its facilities in Michigan. 

The company plans to split the investment across its three facilities: 

  • Auburn Hills - new electrification labs with testing equipment to enable new research and development activities.
  • Dearborn - increasing footprint around 7,000 sq. ft. to grow manufacturing, engineering and service departments for DC fast charging equipment. 
  • Hazel Park - addition of a new battery module assembly line to increase production capabilities; building a new, separate 100,000 sq. ft. battery service center for all BorgWarner batteries in North America focused on testing, diagnostics and training. 
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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