There is much going on in the world of hydraulic, pneumatic and electronic 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 electronic motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.
NFPA Looks to Advance Strategy Agenda for Evolving Fluid Power Market
The National Fluid Power Association's (NFPA) Board continues to set out initiatives for the association so it can help to further strengthen the fluid power industry. During a recent meeting of the NFPA board, progress to date on the association meeting its Strategic Agenda was reviewed.
In addition, the board pinpointed three crucial areas which could help further support the association and its industry efforts:
- Creating new member categories to better take into account the increasing integration of electronics with fluid power systems due to growth in electrification, connectivity and more; a potential revision of the member categories could help bring more electrical and electronic manufacturers into the association which would help broaden industry connections and insight.
- Increasing connections between NFPA members and OEM engineers is seen as a vital way to help ensure effective industry partnerships and insights as well as the promotion of fluid power objectives. Finding ways to further grow these connections is necessary to the continued advancement of the industry and the development of technologies desired by OEM customers, especially as technology advances.
- Improving workforce connections by getting more members engaged in the various activities NFPA hosts or promotes to attract more talent into the industry. The association partners with various colleges and universities, as well as hosts activities to encourage younger generations to enter the fluid power workforce. However, NFPA notes not as many member companies are involved in these programs which could help them with their hiring initiatives.
The NFPA board will meet again in February 2024 during the NFPA Annual Conference to further discuss these and other initiatives. NFPA members who are interested in providing input on these strategies can contact the association.
Accelera by Cummins Partners with Daimler and PACCAR on Battery Production
Accelera by Cummins – the business unit of Cummins Inc. focused on zero-emissions technologies – is partnering with truck OEMs Daimler Trucks & Buses and PACCAR to improve the supply of battery cells in the U.S.
The three companies plan to form a joint venture which will manufacture battery cells for use in electric commercial vehicles and industrial applications. This will help to accelerate and localize battery production and supply in the U.S., improving supply chains and local manufacturing efforts in the region.
Each company will own 30% of the joint venture, as well as have joint control. Initial developments will be focused on lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries for battery-electric commercial trucks. According to Accelra's press release about the joint venture, this battery chemistry offers lower cost, longer life, and enhanced safety over other battery chemistries without the need for nickel and cobalt raw materials.
All of the companies, which have been developing electric vehicles and technologies for several years now, see demand for batteries growing in the coming years as uptake of electric vehicles increases.
igus Lubrication-Free Components Help Automate Restaurant Service
igus drylin ZLW-series toothed belt axes are being used in the Cook-e robotic kitchens. This French startup is aiming to help alleviate the labor challenges facing the restaurant industry by automating kitchen tasks.
Cook-e has designed its robotic kitchen to be as compact as possible to help save on space, which is often at a premium in restaurants. Once an order is received from a customer, the robotic kitchen assembles the ingrediants using metering containers which move along a shelf with storage modules. The ingredients are then poured into one of three rotating cooking modules resembling a wok pan that can rotate and tilt, mix, fry, and stir.
igus said in its press release announcing the partnership that initially a linear guide with ball-bearing-supported carriages was considered. But because that would have taken up too much space, igus' electric toothed belt axes and other lubrication-free components were chosen.
This helped to save on space as well as ensure food safety and hygienic requirements would be met.
Freudenberg Adds Battery Test Lab to Headquarters
Freudenberg Sealing Solutions has installed a state-of-the-art battery testing laboratory to its North American headquarters. The new lab will enable the company to conduct in-house battery and battery component testing to aid its knowledge base and development capabilities.
Among the tests Freudenberg can conduct are simulations to replicate battery cycling scenarios, enabling better testing of thermal runaway and other performance aspects.
The battery test lab includes two 8 x 8 ft. steel test chambers in a reinforced test room for housing battery cells, modules or fully battery systems during testing. This area was designed by explosives experts and are capable of withstanding thermal events in single cells, modules, and battery packs up to 25 kWh – the energy equivalent of several pounds of TNT said Freudenberg in its press release announcing the new test lab.
Numerous sensors and a multi-stage exhaust system are installed at the laboratory to ensure the safety of those working in it. The company said the new lab will not only aid its own knowledge of batteries but also better support customer collaborations.
"Our new lab enables us to conduct testing of different cell chemistries, cell types, battery configurations," said Chad Bauer, Senior Vice President of Technology and Innovation, in the company's press release. "This allows us to learn and gather data to use with the development of our products and materials – materials that can benefit many industries and many applications. Going forward, we will better understand what the customer needs and where we can offer more support with an evolving market and product portfolio."