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Ready for innovation: the future is today

14 November 2022

Developing new products and markets in the electrical connection represents the first stage of a much broader renewal strategy of Techno’s organizational model

 

The business unit dedicated to the development of new products and markets, established in 2020/2021 and entrusted to the leadership of Mauro Nodari (Head of Product Marketing, Business Development and Innovation at Techno), represents the first stage of a much broader strategy of renewal of Techno’s organizational model. Reorganization of processes, development of IoT-ready solutions, diversification of the offer, and creation of technological and commercial partnerships are the main elements of a new course that have recently materialized in important investments: membership of the Zhaga Consortium, membership of the SPE Alliance (Single Pair Ethernet) working group, the preparation and renewal of a well-equipped test laboratory,  the establishment of a team of specialists in charge of researching and promoting innovation, the partnership with a prestigious contest for start-ups and developers.

Techno intends to make a breakthrough in terms of processes, offers and market orientation. To be closer to the interlocutors and to attract new ones it is necessary not only to identify further outlets for electrical connection solutions but also to provide for investments in human resources and technological equipment and focus on developing relationships and synergies with a wide audience.

For example, joining the international Zhaga consortium as an Associate member is an important milestone for Techno: the standards defined by the consortium are already indispensable prerequisites for participation in international specifications and the development of IoT-ready solutions cannot be separated from their transposition. Zhaga Consortium was established in 2010 by reference lighting manufacturers to define unique standards for LED interfaces (light motors, modules, power supplies, connectors, sensing and communication modules) so that they were interchangeable and subsequently interoperable in an Industry 4.0 perspective. These constantly evolving parameters allow the coexistence of electrical, electronic and mechanical technologies, and the interoperability between different components such as sensors and microprocessors.

 

Standards in Techno production

The standards of particular interest to Techno are those contained in Zhaga Books 18 and 20 (publications released by the consortium) which define – respectively for outdoor and indoor applications – the specifications of intelligent interfaces between lighting fixtures and related electronic interfaces (nodes) of detection and/or communication, together with aspects related to power, communication, mechanical adaptation and connection systems.

A significant example is the Zhaga-D4i standard, which makes LED drivers interoperable with sensors and connectors. These books also define the specifications to which the interfaces of one or more components present within an LED apparatus must comply, concerning operating conditions and other parameters.

 

Bluesky call for innovation: Techno’s contribution

With great pride Techno is committed to providing its contribution to innovation on several fronts, one of these is represented by the collaboration with a prestigious interlocutor such as the CNA of Varese for the 2021 edition of Bluesky Call for Innovation, a section of the Change Award, which aims to contribute to innovation and the relaunch of the production system, selecting,  rewarding and supporting entrepreneurial projects oriented to the development of technologies, digital solutions and innovative services, with low environmental and social impact in three areas of expertise: innovation of connection systems in outdoor environments (plant/industrial); innovation of management and monitoring systems (IoT) in agritech/agrifarm plants; innovation of the production process based on innovative techno polymers and recycling for medium-low edition projects.

For each of these focus areas, participants were asked to reinterpret the listed systems and processes innovatively. Techno, as Business Partner of the contest, has the opportunity to intervene in all the phases provided by the support programs to the companies that took part in the Calls, providing services, skills, equipment, opportunities for market outlet and investment capital, following the best Experiences of Open Innovation. In this way, Techno is placed on the national industrial scene as an innovator and business accelerator, as well as a partner of technological and commercial development, for markets where connectivity and smart technologies are now essential.

 

A new avant-garde pole: Techno Innovation Lab

Techno Innovation Lab was created to significantly increase the control of the production process and to open up to different markets. In this perspective, the laboratory is the fulcrum, evolving from a control area to a development and visibility tool for Techno’s products/market evolution. The laboratory area is equipped with machinery and equipment for measuring and carrying out mechanical, thermal, ageing and electrical stress tests.

Currently, it occupies an area of 50 sqm and includes several test areas, among which IP tests have a primary role to determine the compliance of products with IPX5-6-9 requirements, using equipment placed inside and outside the laboratory. Two special chambers allow to carry out the IP X7-8 tests even with the current passage. The R&D operators, as well as the engineers of the Techno Innovation Team, make up a working group that can be considered an internal start-up, equipped with the appropriate resources and requirements to face the challenges of today and tomorrow with determination and creativity.

One of the “fronts” on which it is currently working concerns, for example, electrical connectors suitable for aggressive operating conditions both from a mechanical and chemical point of views such as ATEX, HACCP, agriculture and other industrial processes. After the identification of the market needs are determined the specific materials suitable for that particular use, and the design that the products must have.

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