maxon recently hosted the SolarButterfly project which looks to shine a light on efforts to reduce negative impacts on the climate.

This Week in Power & Motion: maxon Hosts SolarButterfly Project to Shed Light on Sustainability

Aug. 4, 2023
maxon recently hosted the SolarButterfly project which collects information on efforts to reduce negative impacts on the environment, Concentric adds a hydraulic configurator tool, and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics motion systems, 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.

This week's edition, unintentionally, has a stronger focus on sustainability initiatives taking place in various industries and applications. More and more companies are placing an emphasis on sustainability, demonstrated by the amount of recent news on this subject included in this article and other content we've been writing on the topic. 

Sustainability is touching all aspects from design decisions to reducing emissions from operations to sourcing and use of more environmentally friendly materials. The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) recently released its 2023 emerging trends report which found not only has sustainability become a larger trend for this industry on its own but also plays a part in the other key trends impacting the tribology sector such as supply chains and manufacturing. 

As the world looks to reduce its carbon footprint, the focus on sustainability will only continue to grow.

Battery Manufacturer Builds Reusable Factory

Industrial battery technology company Morrow Batteries is partnering with Norway-based construction company Veidekke to build a reusable factory. The plan is for the building and its materials to be capable of being reused again in the future. 

All parts for the Morrow Batteries factory can be dismantled and reused once the facility is past its useful commercial life. The companies have been working on the details of this project since 2021, and are both interested in creating a circular economy for the construction of manufacturing facilities. 

In addition to developing batteries that help the global economy with its energy transition, Stina Torjesen, Director of Sustainability at Morrow Batteries, said the company is "determined to build environmentally sound and responsibly."

"We plan to be circular from day one, working to use our resources as efficiently as possible to lessen the climate impact," he said. "In our battery value-chain we will use recycled minerals in new batteries and following a circular thinking in all processes, now also including the buildings themselves."        

"We are working to secure the next generation of construction planning. We are excited about this opportunity to learn at the forefront of the industry, and tackle challenges such as making sure that tools and other mechanical gear, as well as the assembling instructions will be stored and available for dismantling the building in 30 or even 60 years," said Roar Kristiansen, General Manager of Veidekke Logistics.

Concentric Adds Hydraulic Configuration Tool 

Concentric AB has added a CAD download tool built by CADENAS PARTsolutions to help customers more easily configure hydraulic solutions. Engineers can use the tool to find, configure and generate interactive 3D product previews and download a CAD file of it for use in their designs. 

A configured 3D PDF datasheet can be downloaded as well to provide purchasing departments or other colleagues who may not have access to CAD. Over 30 of Concentric's product families are available in the tool with millions of configurations possible. 

"The configured drawings have all of the dimensions and information needed for engineers and designers to make decisions," said Sid Moate, Director of Key Accounts and Marketing at Concentric Rockford Inc. "Since we added the new hydraulic product configurator online, we've had engineers design and download CAD from new countries that we've never done business with before. This product configurator offers value to customers globally, expanding our worldwide reach."

READ MORE: New Software Tools Reduce Design Time

SolarButterfly Project Visits maxon Facility

maxon hosted the SolarButterfly project, for which it is a corporate sponsor, at its facility in Taunton, MA, on July 28. The project travels the world to identify, record and publicize climate initiatives taking place to help mitigate global warming. 

Started in May 2022, the project is taking a 4-year journey during which it looks to highlight and collect information about climate initiatives made possible using readily available technology. A 30-ft. long tiny house shaped like a butterfly and powered by solar panels is towed by an electric vehicle which is charged by the solar butterfly; this allows easy travel to various locations while demonstrating what is feasible with today's technologies to mitigate negative climate impacts. 

The SolarButterfly has so far traveled over 17,000 miles and visited 27 European countries where it has collected information on hundreds of climate projects. By 2025, the team is looking to visit Australia, Africa and South America, and be in Brazil for the climate conference that will be the 10th anniversary of the Paris Agreement. While there the project team hopes to present 1,000 solutions from around the world for battling climate change. 

At the maxon event, Eugen Elmiger, CEO of maxon group, said the company's support of the SolarButterfly project "illustrates our dedication to being responsible to our environment and society around the world. Our hope is to inspire more people to be climate pioneers and help us find more climate change solutions."

Chris Blake, CEO of maxon USA, also spoke of the company's commitments to the environment, noting how the Taunton facility was built from the start with sustainability in mind. "We generate all our own electricity using the solar roof panels. Excess energy gets put back into the grid, but what’s important is that we operate at net-zero electricity. This is true for many of maxon’s locations around the world."

READ MORE: Manufacturers Increase Sustainability Initiatives

Innoviz Expands Partnership with BMW for Autonomous Vehicles

Innoviz Technologies, a developer of lidar sensors, is expanding its collaboration with BMW Group to develop sensors that can aid with Level 3 autonomous driving. Innoviz will begin B-sample development on a new generation of lidar sensors based on its second generation InnovizTwo LiDAR sensor.

The companies have already been collaborating on a program in which lidar-enabled high automated technology will be available on the BMW 7 Series later in 2023. Now the companies are working on the next generation of technology that will help bring several advanced automated capabilities to BMW's vehicles. 

In the future, the two companies are also planning to develop what they believe will be the first ever lidar-based Minimal Risk Maneuver (MRM) system designed to make real-time driving decisions to ensure safety, such as helping avoid collisions. 

"Lidar is one of the critical technologies underpinning Level 3 or even higher automated functions. Optimizing lidar technologies and costs are the major challenges in order to bring Level 3 highly automated driving into the mainstream," said Nicolai Martin, SVP Driving Experience BMW Group. 

CONEXPO Plants Trees as Part of Sustainability Initiative

CONEXPO-CON/AGG, the triennial construction equipment show put on by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), announced a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation for the 2023 edition. The goal was to plant a tree for every attendee of the event as part of an effort to reduce the environmental impact of putting on a large trade show like CONEXPO. 

Show organizers have now announced the three forests at which the over 139,000 trees will be planted as part of this partnership. Planting will take place over the next several months at three locations chosen for their reforestation needs: 

  • California Dixie Fire an area within Northern California where the Dixie Fire ripped through the area from July to October 202, leaving behind a burn scar of more than 963,000 acres, the second most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. The newly planted trees will begin to reestablish animal habitats disrupted by the fire. As the trees take root and grow into mature stands, root systems will prevent erosion while improving the water quality for nearby Lake Almanor.
  • Oregon/Washington  Over time, deforestation and flood control measures have degraded the rivers and watersheds which run through these states. Planting projects aim to use trees as a tool to restore these watersheds. CONEXPO-CON/AGG is helping to plant a diverse blend of tree species that will provide cooling shade and water filtration to protect critical salmon populations within these ecosystems.
  • Georgia Rare Habitat Longleaf pine was once the dominant tree species in the South, but early settlers cleared the forests for agriculture and lumber. Today, longleaf pine covers less than 3% of its original range and the loss of the ecosystem has been devastating to the nearly 600 animal and plant species that depend on it. Through CONEXPO-CON/AGG’s commitment to this large-scale restoration effort, longleaf and shortleaf pines will be planted across private and public lands in central Georgia.

"Natural climate solutions, such as planting trees, help to sequester carbon from the atmosphere while also providing cleaner air and water, soil stabilization, and protecting wildlife habitats. The 139,100 tress that are being  planted across the U.S. as part of our partnership will hopefully make our show attendees proud to know that this donation will help contribute to reforestation and biodiversity," said Dana Wuesthoff, CONEXPO-CON/AGG Show Director.

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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