Thursday, September 28, 2023

Panasonic Energy e Mazda to supply automotive cylindrical lithium-ion batteries

Panasonic Energy e Mazda Motor Corporation have announced they have agreed to enter into discussions on establishing a medium- to long-term partnership to meet demand for battery EVs and automotive batteries.
Panasonic Energy and Mazda will commence discussions with a view toward Panasonic Energy supplying Mazda with automotive cylindrical lithium-ion batteries manufactured at Panasonic Energy’s plants in Japan and North America, and Mazda installing batteries procured from Panasonic Energy in battery EVs scheduled to be launched in the latter half of the 2020 decade.
“As the automotive industry rapidly advances electrification and is leading in this technology, collaboration with Mazda will be a major step towards the achievement of our mission of realizing a society in which the pursuit of happiness and a sustainable environment are harmonized. With our superior technology and extensive experience, we will drive growth of the lithium-ion battery industry and further accelerate our efforts to achieve zero emissions”, said Kazuo Tadanobu, President, CEO of Panasonic Energy.
“Mazda is working with its partners in three phases to flexibly respond to changes in regulatory trends, consumer needs, and other areas. We are delighted to collaborate with Panasonic Energy, which has been a pioneer in automotive lithium-ion batteries, developing high-quality products”, stated instead Masahiro Moro, Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer of Mazda.

More and more electric car sharing also in Rome

Recently, in Rome the fleet of Enjoy, the car sharing of Eni Sustainable Mobility has become also electric due to the introduction of 100 new zero-emission city cars on the road, with an unmistakeable lime green colour. The refuelling of electric vehicles is up to Enjoy, which so allows new customers to move in full freedom because they will find the new city cars with a battery recharge exceeding 30%.
“Enjoy car sharing has been present in Rome for nine years, during which it has consolidated as a service, complementary to the local public transport, useful to favour citizens’ simple displacement and able to share in making urban mobility more sustainable”, declared Stefano Ballista, managing director of Eni Sustainable Mobility. “Eni Sustainable Mobility shares in the course towards the Net Zero target by 2050 fixed by Eni: the car sharing, now also electric, is part of the many already available solutions to contribute to the decarbonization of transports, as the development of HVO biofuels, of the biomethane, of electric and of hydrogen”.

ZF presents the compact concept car EVbeat

The concept car EVbeat is based on a Porsche Taycan and is inspired, as benchmark, by the leader standard technology by ZF and by other market players. With the prototype of the new 800-volt electric motor by ZF it has a torque density of 70 Nm/kg with a power pack weight decreased by 30%.
The constant and peak power of the electric motor is respectively 206 and 275 kilowatts and the constant power is about 75% of the peak power. In terms of sizes, the transmission saves 50 millimetres of width due to the compact reducer and to the “Braided Winding” technology patented by Z: a further development of the so-called corrugated winding that allows 10% less of installation space in all.
The winding head alone is up to 50% smaller in comparison with conventional approaches, with the consequent copper saving by about 10%.
Concerning the cooling, ZF allows the oil to flow directly around copper bars, precisely in the point when most of the heating during the operation is generated. Such highly efficient cooling significantly enhances the performances with the same weight and the same installation space. Moreover, it is possible to give up the use of heavy rare earths and the electric motor can be manufactured in more sustainable manner.
In addition, a new coaxial gearbox transmits the driving forces of the electric motor via two planetary gears. Compared to conventional offset concepts, where input and output shafts are not on the same axis, the coaxial solution reduces weight and installation space without affecting efficiency, noise and vibrations.

The joint venture Nidec Aerospace LLC was born

Japan’s Nidec Corporation and Brazil’s Embraer have recently announced an agreement to establish a joint venture company, called Nidec Aerospace LLC to develop Electric Propulsion Systems for the aerospace sector. “The transaction combines the complementary synergies and distinct areas of expertise of two world-class engineering companies to spearhead a new era of air mobility”, Nidec informs.
The joint venture will develop and manufacture the Electric Propulsion System for electric Vertical Take-Off Landing (eVTOL) vehicles, with the aim of providing the system to non-eVTOL vehicles in the future.
Nidec Aerospace will be jointly owned, with Nidec owning a 51% share and Embraer the remaining 49%. The headquarters, located at Nidec Motor Corporation (NMC) in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, will be supported by both companies’ existing industrial footprint in Brazil and Mexico.
“Technological innovation will be a key contributor to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050. The JV is a natural extension of both companies’ respective and continual investments in green technologies across multiple industries to accelerate global carbon neutrality.” said Michael Briggs, Senior Vice President and President of the Motion & Energy Business Unit, at Nidec.
The companies expect their transaction to close at the second half of 2023.

MECSPE observatory: investing in efficiency and innovation


According to the MECSPE Observatory in Q1 2023, for 75 per cent of companies, turnover remains stable or is growing and the order book is considered adequate.

According to the MECSPE Observatory, the customary research that has been monitoring trends in the Italian manufacturing industry for 10 years, carried out at this stage also in view of the Bari edition of the benchmark fair for the supply chain organized by Senaf (Bari, Nov. 23-25. ’23), Q1 2023 was definitely marked by the difficulty in finding human resources (for 59 percent) and raw materials (40 percent), as well as rising interest rates, while in terms of performance, for almost three-quarters of the companies, turnovers remain stable or growing compared to the same period last year, and for 75 percent the order book is considered adequate.

Based on the findings, enterprises must become increasingly efficient to optimize costs, be economically sustainable and globally competitive.

Certainly, innovation is one of the main aspects of transforming companies and making them more modern, but for structural growth in the industry this is only one piece.

It will also be necessary to continue resource growth, an issue that is very much on the minds of businesses today, and on creating a green culture that focuses on people and society from an ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) perspective.

The three main pillars of MECSPE

Innovation, education, and sustainability are exactly the three main pillars of MECSPE, which returns for the second time to Bari as a reference point for the manufacturing sector in Central and Southern Italy.

«The industry is confirmed as a pillar of the Italian economy, and entrepreneurs have understood the importance of continuing to invest in innovation and the growth of resources with adequate training” says Maruska Sabato, MECSPE project manager. “Especially now, when new technologies such as AI are emerging that could revolutionize this industry but require specific skills that are difficult to find on the market. Today MECSPE has an important task: to accompany entrepreneurs during this journey of digital transformation by making available to them not only the exhibition part, which remains important, but all the connections that are created at the fair thanks to the presence of industry associations, companies, and experts. A comprehensive platform where companies can discover the latest solutions, touch them with their own hands, share experiences, and learn about industry news.»

Returning to the three pillars for businesses, where are we on the innovation and digitalization front, a factor that most directly impacts businesses in terms of efficiency?  Which are the emerging trends?

Digital growth and AI

Seven out of ten companies believe they experienced medium to high digital growth in Q1, and many are beginning to be “attracted” to new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, that could significantly “change” the industry: for six out of ten entrepreneurs, AI will have a positive impact (only 11 percent will be negative), 11 percent already use it, 13 percent will introduce it soon, and 37 percent are already inquiring about it.

Companies believe in it and invest in innovation, which is why MECSPE has planned a program full of dedicated initiatives to promote the benefits of digital culture and facilitate its implementation in business and production processes.


One example is the AIDAM Village-Italian Association of Mechanical Automation, a technological and innovative area representing the Italian mechatronics industry, a worldwide excellence. «The manufacturing industry in Italy certainly ranks high in Europe for technology and innovation. An achievement to which industrial automation has undoubtedly contributed, along with the customization of solutions that only Italian companies can create» says Michele Merola, AIDAM president. «The Industry 4.0 plan, now called Transition 4.0, has revolutionized our country and the way we produce. This was a process already underway in many Italian companies, and the plan only accelerated this transformation through which companies have understood the benefits of digitization. The challenges are not over: our industry, which serves virtually the entire world and a wide variety of supply chains, is continuing to innovate to maintain the excellence we are known for as the Italy brand.»

Alongside the AIDAM Village, there is also space for young companies—which represent an index of dynamism in the country’s entrepreneurial fabric—with the StartUp Factory initiative: an area tailored to foster networking between innovative and technology startups and small, medium, and large enterprises.

Digitisation, updating and training

The increasing focus on digitization, therefore, brings with it the need to acquire new skills and train human resources. What are companies doing today to grow internal skill sets?

Among the actions they have taken or will take, nearly six out of 10 companies are investing in refresher and training courses for existing staff, and nearly three out of 10 are focusing on young people by entering into agreements with ITS, IFTS and universities.

Indeed, the topic of young people is very much on the minds of entrepreneurs, as on the one hand it reflects a new model of industry more in line with Gen Z expectations, and on the other hand it is an interesting pool from which to draw resources that are in part already trained, as in the case of ITS.

To address this challenge, MECSPE and ITS A. Cuccovillo Mechatronics Puglia will bring to the fair for the second time the Piazza Formazione 4.0 (Training Plaza 4.0), a meeting point between students and partner companies that will highlight the importance of the link between business and education.

Confindustria Bari BAT, since the first edition of MECSPE, has also clearly shown the direction that entrepreneurs must follow for their own development: «Businesses in recent years are increasingly approaching the issues of innovation and training: there is a growing awareness that the quality of graduates, super-technicians from ITS, and especially our graduates is fundamental for the growth of companies» comments Cesare de Palma, president of the Electrical and Electronics Mechanics Section of Confindustria Bari BAT. «MECSPE has returned to Confindustria Bari BAT and its Mechanics Section the role of protagonist in the industrial history of our territory, guaranteeing support to SMEs for their need for innovation and technological development. It is necessary to have a hub for the enhancement of investment programs and to support the business system and academic research to develop technology transfer activities in the most innovative and up-to-date way, and this is done through the industrial confrontation and osmosis that develops at the fair.»

Green culture and ESG criteria

In addition to innovation and training, the issue that is growing most, at least on the awareness front, is that of sustainability. And here an important chapter opens up: if large companies have a more heartfelt green culture, partly as a matter of “obligation,” what is the picture among SMEs?  On this, according to the MECSPE Observatory, there are small improvements: the level of knowledge of ESG criteria rises to 41 percent of the sample (6 pp higher than the last survey), as do entrepreneurs who consider their companies fairly or very green, which rises to 45 percent from the previous 35 percent.

But there is still a long way to go, and it will be necessary to raise awareness among entrepreneurs of the direct and indirect benefits of a more pronounced green culture, which reflects positively on all areas of business.


A role fully grasped by MECSPE thanks to many initiatives such as the Eco-friendly Path – I do more, a real and virtual journey among exhibitors who stand out for green and sustainable business practices.

But the most important novelty on this front for the Bari edition is the Exhibition Heart “Energy Transition & Sustainability in the Manufacturing Industry: from Transportation to Business,” the most strategic area of the fair, which will be developed on three focuses: mobility, manufacturing and the hydrogen supply chain.

Through panel discussions, speeches, and discussion moments enriched by best practices and successful case histories, technology and market experts will illustrate the challenges that the automotive industry and companies will have to face in view of 2035, the possible impact of sustainable mobility on the supply chain, and what measures and solutions companies will have to adopt.

Finally, there will be no shortage of historical highlights, such as the Confartigianato Village and the ASCOMUT Village – Italian Association of Machine Technology and Tools, in addition to the participation of CNA Produzione and Confindustria Bari BAT and the support of the Municipality of Bari and the Puglia Region.

MECSPE makes an appointment at the New Fiera del Levante in Bari Nov. 23-25 to guide companies toward efficient practices.

The figures of MECSPE BARI 2019

20,000 square meters of exhibition area, 16,243 visitors including professionals and students, 656 companies attending, 54 conferences and workshops, 10 special initiatives, 6 exhibition areas, 3 pavilions, 1 exhibition heart “Intelligent WORKSHOP”.

Featuring efficiency by using a nanocrystalline soft magnetic alloy

Aisin Corporation has developed the prototype of a motor featuring efficiency by using Nanomet®, a nanocrystalline soft magnetic alloy that achieves both high saturation magnetic flux density and ultralow iron loss, invented at the Institute for Materials Research, Tohoku University. It is sold exclusively by TMI, a spin-out from Tohoku University.
The efficiency motor, made by transforming Nanomet® into the core of the motor and in the stator, has then been developed by joining the two realities’ forces. This technology halves the loss in comparison with conventional motors for BEV that use electromagnetic steel plates and should improve the vehicle’s overall energy efficiency by over 3%.
Aisin will further perfect the technology and will proceed with tests and assessments, with the goal of releasing this motor on the market of BEV within 2029. In the future, Aisin will speed up the development, with the goal of expanding the technology not only to the mobility field but also to various other sectors highly needing to improve the energy efficiency through the use of efficiency motors.

The tests for the solar electric propulsion in the space are starting

The solar electric propulsion is one of the crucial technologies to assure the success of the missions directed to the Moon, to Mars and the deep space. So, Nasa and Aerojet Rocketdyne have started the tests on the Advanced Electric Propulsion System (Aeps), the solar electric propulsion (Sep) that will be used on board of the moon Gateway. Sep is based on the combination of solar cells and electric thrusters that ensure the thrust of a spacecraft through the space. This technology has already been tested by various probes by Esa, Nasa and Jaxa.
In the specific case, the Advanced Electric Propulsion System supplies 12 kilowatts of energy and it is over twice more powerful than the current systems of electric propulsion in the space and allows an extremely high fuel saving at low thrust, unlike the traditional chemical propulsion ones.
The Gateway, the space station in cislunar orbit, which will be used as base by the future astronauts of Artemis mission, will be equipped with three Aeps thrusters that will be integrated in the Power and Propulsion Element. Tests have put the motors through their paces, subjecting them to various thermal shocks and extreme vibrations. Other tests will be carried out next year, for about 23 hours of operation overall inside the vacuum chamber of the Glenn Research Center of Nasa.

Great satisfaction for Formula SAE Italy

The events of Formula SAE Italy, which involve the teams of all participating classes, have recently ended. The automotive world has drastically changed in the last 5 years, as we could notice it also in some of the Business plan proposals submitted. One of the competing teams, for instance, has focused the project on the recovery of motors, motor components and car components to be reused to decrease wastes and costs.
In the 1C class, finalist teams are UniBo Motorsport of Bologna University, Race Up
Combustion of University of Padua and Bimasakti Racing Team of the University of Gadjah Mada, an Indonesian team who has taken part in the event for the first time.
Concerning the Driverless Class, finalists are the Driverless PoliTO Race Team of Turin Polytechnics, MoRe Modena Racing Driverless of University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and UniNa Races – Race Teams of the University of Naples Federico II.
In the 1E class (electric cars), the Dynamis PRC team of Milan Polytechnics is finalist together with E-team Race Team of University of Pisa and the ISC FS Racing Team of ICAI- Comillas Pontifical University. The Dynamis PRC team of Milan Polytechnics (Class 1 E) confirms to be a high-level team, among Italians. It stood out for the integration of the autonomous drive system in the car.

A new technological pole for the naval electric mobility

The collaboration between Reinova, company specialized in the development, test and validation of components for the electric powertrain, and E2C (Energy To Come), company in the sector of power electronics and energy conversion, has currently consolidated and resulted in the creation of a technological pole for the electric mobility and recharge infrastructures in the naval sector. The target consists in activities of research and development, manufacturing and services in the enlarged chain of the e-mobility in the naval sector. In particular, they intend to develop an infrastructural recharge system for electric boats that is expected to be safe, green and economically sustainable. To implement that, it will be necessary to integrate systems of prevention, monitoring and control that are intelligent. “We strongly believe in the electrification for boats and in the development of infrastructures. Our business plan identified a centrality of this market, starting from the development of solutions for the transport of people and freights with courses defined to optimize flows and recharge systems”, commented the CEO of Reinova Giuseppe Corcione.
“The collaboration concerns a chain of competences that involve the part of naval engineering, storage and propulsion, mutually correlated by expert systems that check their use state”, explained Luca Balbo, CEO of E2C. It was a Made in Italy project framed in the development of the Italian naval market and, at the same time, it makes use of its efficient provisioning chain and of its shipyard tradition.

Nidec has set up a new factory in Serbia

As response to the tightening of environmental regulations in Europe and to the more severe directives about CO2 emissions for cars in the main Countries, the demand for vehicles’ motors and inverters and for control units is steeply rising. This has communicated Nidec on the occasion of the inauguration of the new factory at Novi Sad, in Serbia, built to assure an efficient supply system in Europe.
The project complies with the “Western Balkans Cooperation Initiative” the Japanese Government is accomplishing in Serbia and in other regions.
Nidec Electric Motor Serbia plans to mass-produce automotive motors, and Nidec Elesys Europe plans to mass-produce automotive inverters and ECUs.
In order to this aim, the company will strengthen recruitment activities, mainly for technical personnel, and contribute to the revitalization of the regional economy the Novi Sad surrounding area in Serbia.
With the future view of mass production of the “E-Axle” traction motor system for electric vehicles in Europe, it is also promoting activities to attract suppliers and we will build an industrial cluster of automotive motors for the European market.