© Photo | Bavarian Optics

Daylight trans­porter

Sunlight in window­less rooms? What sounds impos­sible really exists in Nurem­berg – thanks to creative inven­tors and preci­sion motors


“Sollektor” sounds like the title of a Holly­wood film. And maybe the Sollektor will turn out to be just as successful in future as an action thriller. The prospects are really excel­lent, satis­fying as it does today’s demand for ecolog­ical, low-cost and inno­v­a­tive concepts. The recipe for success: It trans­ports natural sunlight indoors.

One of the two inven­tors, Sebas­tian Schütz, explains how the system works: “A module installed on the roof collects the light and trans­ports it to a window­less room.” This is done by way of fibre optic cables which – like power cables – can be routed as required to supply rooms with natural light. “Anyone using a Sollektor doesn’t need any elec­tricity for arti­fi­cial light,” explains the other member of the team, Alexander Kist. “What’s more, the true colours of sunlight create an atmos­phere of well-being!”

Angle of inci­dence and tracking

The major chal­lenge facing the system: The sunlight has to be fed into fibre optic cables. The lens system plays a signif­i­cant role, as a consid­er­able amount of energy and heat is gener­ated at the focal point. But a top quality Sollektor also needs the right motor and an appro­priate gear unit. “Light cannot be trans­ported by the Sollektor system without highly accu­rate solar tracking, in other words there is a need for corre­spond­ingly precise motors and gear units,” says Sebas­tian Schütz.

These constantly tilt and turn the lens system to keep it ideally posi­tioned with respect to the sun. The commands come from an elec­tronic system which detects the loca­tion of the sun at any given time and works out the neces­sary settings for the lens system. To guar­antee precise posi­tioning, Sebas­tian Schütz and Alexander Kist, who are now managing direc­tors of the company Bavarian Optics, went in search of suit­able motors and gear units.

sollektor-entwicklung-zeitlauf

Discus­sions in the Nurem­berg devel­op­ment centre: Sebas­tian Schütz, Martin Mika and Alexander Kist (from left) with a Sollektor

From a very early stage in the devel­op­ment of the Sollektor the two inven­tors approached ebm-papst ZEITLAUF in the hope of finding a way to meet this chal­lenge. Sebas­tian Schütz: “Our motto is: Use the best that is avail­able and there won’t be any prob­lems.” And so they set off, armed with the Sollektor concept, to visit the drive system manu­fac­turer in the neigh­bouring town of Lauf. Their aim: To further develop the system devised during their studies at the Georg-Simon-Ohm Univer­sity in Nurem­berg to a marketable stan­dard with the help of profes­sional experts.

The two devel­opers were welcomed with open arms at ebm-papst ZEITLAUF. Coop­er­a­tion with Bavarian Optics makes good sense for the drive engi­neering special­ists as well: “If the system goes into series produc­tion,” says Martin Mika, head of basic and series devel­op­ment at ebm-papst ZEITLAUF, “we will be in a good posi­tion to supply the number of gear units required.”

When they come across a good idea the people in Lauf are not afraid to take a bit of a risk, partic­u­larly as the company has recog­nised the demand for alter­na­tive energy systems and is involved in the creation of concepts for the devel­op­ment of ecolog­ical tech­nolo­gies. As Mika explains: “The whole idea has plenty of poten­tial and a real future. So of course we want to be involved when some­thing new is in the pipeline.” And that was not the only reason why ebm-papst ZEITLAUF was the right partner for the young start-up enter­prise at the exper­i­mental stage: The company was also able to supply the Sollektor inven­tors with small quan­ti­ties of stan­dard gear units: Zeit­lauf has the capacity to deliver 4,209 different gear unit versions within 48 hours. The right one for the Sollektor turned out to be the Flat­line 78 spur gear motor.

The Sollektor has since become estab­lished on the market. To ensure their continued success, Bavarian Optics have main­tained a lively dialogue with the experts at the univer­sity in Nurem­berg. And to top it all, an attrac­tive appear­ance and outstanding effi­ciency mean that the system stands out from other prod­ucts on the market. Good reason for assuming that the success story from northern Bavaria is far from finished.

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