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Archive for January, 2012


Coming Soon to a Cornfield Near You – Electric Tractors

Posted on: January 31st, 2012 | Posted in: Uncategorized

Diesel-electric powered machines have acquired, by now, a long history. Diesel-electric technology has been incorporated everywhere from locomotives (making them more fuel efficient) to submarines (making them quieter and harder to detect by sonar). But now it seems that diesel-electric power is coming to America’s heartland in the form of diesel-electric powered tractors.

Photo from Farm Industry News

Unlike the traditional gas-guzzling platforms that have threshed America’s farmlands for a century, the diesel-electric powered tractor offers a fuel-efficient, price-savvy alternative. Electrified tractors have generally more control over their subset components; a diesel-electric tractor’s coolant pump and fan can be utilized at speeds no longer dependent on the amount of fuel being consumed, thereby allowing them to perform more efficiently and with higher overall power. Furthermore, several new platforms are more accurate in their fertilizer delivery. Since their distribution mechanisms operate independently of the speed of the engine, they can apply themselves that much better to their actual task: sowing fertilizer across fields.

Several diesel-powered tractors are gaining a global presence and customer-base. Being that we supply custom components and perform packaging services for the agricultural industry of America, we at Production Materials are eagerly watching these latest industry trends to see whether diesel-electric power is here to stay.

IKEA and the Future of Electroless Plating for the Solar Industry

Posted on: January 25th, 2012 | Posted in: Uncategorized

IKEA, the $29 billion-per-year home furnishings juggernaut, announced recently it would install a solar array on the rooftop of its Bloomington, MN location (see article). While industry experts estimate that the level of solar power generated by the new rooftop will be equivalent to the electricity requirements of a mere 112 homes, all the same, these same experts are willing to concede that IKEA’s new addition will increase Minnesota’s overall solar energy output by a whopping 20%.
 It’s true that solar energy has gotten off to a slow start, one of the foremost reasons being the sheer cost of metallization solutions for solar cell manufacturing. Since silver has been a key component in the solar cell panel fabrication process, the demand for the technology has necessarily been limited. But with new experiments underway in electroless plating tools, as well as chemical processes being developed that can replace the traditional silver paste grid line, not only is the price of massive sun-powered roofs expected to plummet, but the solar power that new solar cells can produce is expected to rise steadily.
Being that Production Materials has extensive experience in custom metal plating for power generation, and being that we offer high-quality electroless plating services to our customers, we follow these nascent developments in Midwestern solar power production eagerly and expansively. While IKEA can certainly afford to place any kind of solar paneling they wish on their store roofs, the time is fast approaching when homeowners, small businesses, and others can apply solar technology to their roofs as well. We at Production Materials will certainly be looking forward to offering our custom plating options to this ever-growing sector of the economy.
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