This might seem out of place especially in the realm of industrial manufacturing which is usually governed by multitudes of power guzzling machinery and equipment that consume thousands of dollars worth of electricity in a single day. Well, believe it, for industrial scientists are trying to find alternative ways of running processing and handling plants minus the huge power bills. The new technologies being studied are part of efforts to lower the carbon footprint of industries who are the highest consumers of fossil fuel produced electricity. Pneumatics or using air and other liquids are being developed to work as replacements for current industrial technologies such as in conveyor systems that rely on tons of electronics and miles upon miles of wires that all have very critical requirements such as temperature and other factors.
Using air to power such systems has the benefit of using vegetable oil for pneumatic actuators or air, both of which are environmentally friendly and run no risk of pollution should they fail. Current technology relies on toxic materials used in the manufacture of wires and use corrosive fluids, a gallon of which has the ability to pollute vast areas.
The study being conducted in Germany aims to develop alternative methods of adapting current technologies based on actuators and pneumatic motors in place of electric and hydraulic fluid based systems. This is answer to the call by many environmental scientists that the time to change our ways in terms of how we use and treat the environment, which without swift action may become worse and so irreversible that it may lead to the demise of this our mother earth.
Many of the wonders of modern technology are indeed a huge leap from the technologies of the past but they are also more polluting and consume lots of energy. Most of that energy is produced using coal or other fossil fuels that releases more greenhouse gasses causing the heating of the earth that in turn leads to other environmental disasters and changes. Imagine a factory that uses air to power machinery, using solar panels to power the necessary equipment for it to operate. Now that’s the aim of the study and that might bring us a step closer to a greener industrialized future.