© 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.


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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