The technological service center Sirris and research lab FMTC, both founded by Agoria, the federation for the technology industry, have developed an audit to measure the ecological impact of machines that companies develop.
Ecomechatronics is the generic name for the technology needed to realise breakthrough innovations surrounding the three eco-pillars of 'energy-saving', 'performance and material-saving' and 'user-friendliness'. Due to rising energy prices and the increasing social awareness, customers of machine builders are more and more considering the 'total cost of ownership'. When developing new machines, this means that total energy and material consumption are important aspects and can no longer be ignored. An analogous social evolution is that towards higher user-friendliness of machines relative to noise and vibration emissions.
In practice, machine builders and their partners are being confronted every day with complex challenges – how, for example, to minimise energy losses (as a result of friction and wear), vibration and noise emissions – and with complex solution curves, such as integrating local energy storage and recuperation of renewable energy sources (such as batteries and solar cells).
A great deal of research has already been done into technologies that may offer a solution to these challenges, and a number of major pioneering companies have already successfully integrated some of those technologies into their products. From studying the literature, FMTC and Sirris are aware of recent innovations that demonstrate the feasibility of:
These state-of-the-art technologies undoubtedly offer major potential, but companies are often not up to date on the technological possibilities. So the average SME is also left sitting on a lot of questions when it comes to converting the latest research findings into practice.
To answer those questions, the state of the art needs to be brought closer to Flemish mechanical engineering companies and their partners. Sirris and FMTC have launched the 'Ecomechatronics' project with the goal of supporting the technology leap towards ecomechatronic products by developing practical cases.