Loudspeakers Made from the Heat from the Sun
Technomad redefines sustainable AV with a new partnership that brings solar technology to its already-green plastic loudspeaker manufacturing process. The move slices production costs up to 30 percent while reducing the company’s carbon footprint — and introduces a revolutionary process to the professional audio and AV space.
Technomad has long been associated with sustainable manufacturing, producing durable, weatherproof MilSpec loudspeakers using recycled plastic. As a result, Technomad loudspeakers are often specified into AV projects with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) requirements.
Technomad recently teamed up with LightManufacturing LLC, which developed a unique-patent-pending method of molding plastic with solar heat. The company’s unique Solar Rotational Molding (SRM™) systems eliminate greenhouse gases associated with traditional rotational molding while reducing manufacturing costs — an unusual combination in a world that equates 'green' with unaffordable.
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“Technomad is the first company in the professional audio industry to take advantage of solar thermal energy,” said Rodger von Kries, vice president of Technomad. “We’ve always worked on the cutting edge of green manufacturing, being the first company to use 100 percent recycled plastic to make loudspeaker cabinets. The LightManufacturing partnership brings new advantages by reducing our costs while benefitting the environment.”
LightManufacturing’s SRM process uses computer-controlled mirrors to concentrate heat from the sun onto a mold and melt the plastic inside. The sun’s thermal energy is used directly, avoiding the costs of making electricity with photovoltaic panels. The process delivers higher quality parts at a lower cost than traditional rotational molding, with typical savings of 10 to 30 percent. The nearly silent SRM systems use no natural gas or external AC power, and the hardware costs less than traditional rotational molding systems.
“This partnership shows that the solar molding process can deliver high-quality, reduced-cost parts for manufacturers right out of the gate,” said Mark Severy, a consultant at LightManufacturing. “Technomad came to us with a 15 year history of making world-class products. We met their requirements for outstanding quality, lower cost — and zero carbon emissions.”
Edited by Carin Hall
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.