Innovation Station

New companies, innovative ideas, product releases

When words like ‘efficiency’ and ‘solutions’ get oversaturated to the point of no meaning, and others like ‘groundbreaking’ and ‘innovative’ do the same, it’s easy to write off the thousands of press releases regarding new products that are distributed every day. However, if these aren’t given consideration, where would we find the next big idea? Might we not miss a truly innovative—or efficient—example of a new product? It’s been awhile since EA has done a round-up, so this feels due at the dawn of spring.

Stahwille’s electromechanical torque screwdriver. A new make of hand tool designed to alert you when desired torque levels have been reached debuted at a German trade show this month. Stahwille, the Wuppertal-Cronenberg-based company, unveiled its Torsiotronic device at the Cologne Hardware Fair. The company pitched it as “the only electronic torque screwdriver to feature a genuine mechanical trigger mechanism, which gives the user an unmistakable tactile stop signal when the digitally set target torque has been reached.” It provides a sound to accompany the trigger mechanism.  The compact tool comes from an engineering company with a 156-year history and is designed for screw tightening environments that require maximum accuracy and logging functions, the company said in a press release.

Stahlwille’s Torsiotronic, an electromechanical torque screwdriver, features a trigger mechanism to alert users of optimal torque.—Stahlwille photo.

CoolTech ‘generator truck’ demonstration coming in April. Cool Technologies, Inc., the Tampa-based mobile generation and cooling technologies company, announced March 22 that will hold a live demonstration of an innovative generator-equipped truck in April (no exact date given yet) in Fort Collins, Colorado at Czero, Inc, a mechanical engineering firm located at the Powerhouse Energy Campus of Colorado State University’s Energy Institute. Mexican representatives from specific sectors and industries will be in attendance for a witness test, enabling the purchasers to confirm firsthand that the truck meets all specifications. That, in turn, will allow the truck to go into production. CoolTech will begin by producing 25 trucks at a time, fulfilling purchase commitments that have already been signed by Jatropha, Inc., and Veracruz, Inc., for a total 259 trucks to be used in farming operations. “The successful completion of durability and reliability testing of the MG80 system in January provided the impetus and comfort level for Jatropha and Veracruz to agree to witness test live demonstrations in  Colorado,” explained Timothy Hassett, Chairman and CEO of Cool Technologies. “Equally important, it provides an opportunity to show the system to several other potential customers, which we expect will generate additional orders.” CoolTech’s key innovation is retrofitting generators to existing trucks, offering “a major advance over traditional tow-behind generators.” Because the system uses the truck’s engine to run the generator, “anywhere you can drive a truck, you can have power,” said Hassett.

Kyklo: a company proposing to take the electromechanical industry online. Two former Schneider Electric employees have founded a startup designed to connect OEMs to their clients through the internet. The “first online white label shop solution for distributors of electrical and mechanical components” comes from Kyklo, a Bangkok-based company started by CEO Remi Ducrocq and CTO Fabien Legouic. “When we pitch distributors on why they should digitize their sales operations, it is first about how you get your existing customers online. So you shift your business from offline to online and by doing so you’ll get better satisfaction and you’ll be able to saturate your customer base,” Ducrocq told TechCrunch on March 21, pointing out that the service has helped some customers add 20 percent more sales from existing customers. “Considering a distributor has 10 sales guys covering 1,000 customers, the truth is they only spend time with 50 guys who do 80 percent of the orders,” Ducrocq added. “On existing customers, a lot of the work is really admin [so] that’s something you can take off by making it digital.”

SMC Motors: Webinar demonstrating 30% HVAC energy savings through IoT control. In a webinar on Tuesday, April 3, Software Motor Company (SMC) will present how its ‘Internet of Things’ electric motor has demonstrated 30% energy savings in independent studies, compared to standard ‘induction’ type motors used in HVAC. The webinar will air at 2 PM Eastern (11 AM Pacific) next Tuesday. Mark Johnston, SMC’s CEO, told CleanTechnica’s Andrea Bertoli that “proximal sensing and control—close to the motor driving the HVAC system—is critical to better efficiency. That’s why we built a motor that is Internet-of-Things enabled out of the box.” SMC says its motors feature a patented, software commutated, high rotor pole switched reluctance motor system. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company calls itself “the LED of motors” and was founded in Silicon Valley to “bring the benefits of the Internet of Things, secure wireless networking, and big data to electric motors, which collectively consume over 45 percent of global electricity.”

The motors claim a new electric motor technology using switched reluctance technology, with a simplified physical design compared to existing motors but requiring sophisticated computer control that wasn’t possible until the recent wave of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

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