How Clean Tech Companies Help Us Embrace Earth Day
Earth Day is a day that brings together leaders, organizations, and citizens from around the world to raise public awareness of creating a healthier and more sustainable environment. The theme for this year’s Earth Day is “Restore our Earth”—aimed at encouraging scientists, government agencies, and businesses to find ways to restore the world’s ecosystems, forests, and wildlife populations, rebuild soils, improve farming practices, and rid the oceans of plastics. In celebration of Earth Day, we’re providing an inside look at how some of our clean tech customers are using cloud-based product lifecycle management (PLM) software to develop innovative solutions that better the planet.
Reducing Our Carbon Footprint
Did you know that electricity and heat production account for approximately 25% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions? Industrial processes are not too far behind, accounting for 21%. With GHG emissions on the rise, we continue to experience the devastating effects of global warming. In 2020 alone, there were record-breaking wildfires in California and Australia, crops decimated by swarming locusts across parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, not to mention frequent occurrences of hurricanes, floods, and heat waves. To combat the climate crisis, companies like H2 PowerTech and Picarro have made it their mission to develop novel products that help monitor and reduce GHG emissions.
H2 PowerTech has developed a fuel cell technology, which uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity in lieu of traditional power generators. By providing an alternate and more sustainable energy source, this technology has enabled telecommunications companies to reduce their GHG emissions and carbon footprint across the globe. When H2 PowerTech decided to expand its operations to a new facility in South Africa, the company realized that it needed a scalable and cost-effective PLM solution that would eliminate siloed product information and ensure proper communication across different locations and time zones. Since implementing Arena PLM, the H2 PowerTech team has gained greater visibility into the entire product record. “Having our product data in a single, secure system that scales to our growth is key to our success and our ability to deliver products to market fast and without issues,” stated Alex Charney Cohen, Senior Manufacturing Development Engineer at H2 PowerTech.
Building on its mission to develop analytical tools that enable scientific research and improved industrial efficiencies, Picarro provides cutting-edge solutions to measure GHG concentrations, trace gases, and stable isotopes. By utilizing these systems, scientists can gather real-time insights into gases and pollutants that compromise air quality and impact our climate. When it came to product development, Picarro was also wrestling with silos of product information and a lack of visibility and traceability, which hindered its new product introduction (NPI) objectives. Now that they’ve adopted Arena PLM, Picarro’s key stakeholders can manage the entire product design and development process from one centralized system and ensure that new releases are completed on time. Additionally, the ability of Arena PLM to integrate with enterprise systems such as Q Point Green Data Exchange (GDX) has enabled Picarro to easily comply with RoHS and REACH environmental regulations.
Looking Beyond the Grid
As significant power outages continue to occur across states like California and Texas, it has become more evident in recent years that the nation’s electrical grid is aging and overstressed. Due to the weakening grid infrastructure and increased demand for more reliable and sustainable clean energy, there has been a rise in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as wind turbines, solar systems, fuel cells, electric vehicles (EV), and EV chargers. Companies such as ChargePoint, FreeWire Technologies, NEXTracker, and Enphase Energy are helping organizations across various industries adopt these alternate energy sources and look beyond the grid.
Recognized as the first EV charging provider to be ENERGY STAR certified, ChargePoint has pioneered a comprehensive EV charging network with hardware, software, and service solutions that can be used in a variety of settings. Its AC charging stations provide businesses and property owners the opportunity to generate new revenue while providing a necessary service to drivers. Used primarily in commercial and industrial settings, ChargePoint’s high-power DC charging stations enable businesses and government agencies to deliver fast charging when time is limited.
FreeWire Technologies is another company that’s delivering innovative EV charging products to service the automotive, corporate, electric utilities, entertainment, and fleet industries. Designed as a mobile alternative to the conventional stationary charging system, FreeWire’s MobiÒ EV Chargers can be quickly deployed without the need for complex infrastructure. Along those lines, the Mobi Gen solution offers clean and quiet on-site power to supplement traditional diesel generators for a variety of remote power needs. With high-quality products and speed to market being their top priority, FreeWire wanted a single, centralized PLM solution that would enable them to collaborate with contract manufacturers (CMs) in real time to avoid quality issues and launch delays. “We had to make it easy for our team and partners to communicate around the same design while providing an audit trail of activities and decisions,” stated Scott Bartlett, Director of Mechanical Engineering at FreeWire. Today, Arena PLM is used across a multidisciplinary engineering and operations team. “All of our teams are aligned with Arena, which makes certain we are procuring and building everything correctly,” added Mark Hanna, Vice President of Operations at FreeWire.
Considered one of the fastest-growing clean tech companies in solar today, NEXTracker, a Flex Company develops smart solar trackers, energy storage solutions, and TrueCaptureÔ software that enables plant owners to harvest the sun more efficiently. Due to its rapid growth and expanding customer demand, NEXTracker needed to take its product development practices to the next level. “We had to be able to iterate quickly on designs, track changes, and link related product information to scale and speed marketability,” stated Ratana Lee, NPI Archivist for NEXTracker. Also, the company needed the ability to seamlessly integrate to its design and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Arena PLM is now used by NEXTracker’s design, operations, quality, marketing, and executive teams to drive faster review and approvals. NEXTracker has also been able to automatically push the necessary product information to its ERP system immediately upon release to support its sales, purchase order (PO), and manufacturing processes.
Enphase Energy is another company in the solar power space that develops commercial and residential solutions to manage solar generation, storage, and communication on one intelligent platform. At the core of the Enphase solar system is its microinverter technology which safely and efficiently converts the sunlight absorbed by solar panels into electricity. Enphase adopted Arena PLM during its startup years to manage product development and quality processes internally and across its supply chain. Today, the Enphase team also utilizes Arena Analytics to gain insights into processes that are critical to helping them meet their product quality and cost goals.
Driving Clean Tech Innovation With PLM Software
By adopting a cloud-based PLM solution, our clean tech customers have been able to overcome the inherent challenges of product innovation and meet their new product development and introduction (NPDI) objectives. We’re proud to partner with these organizations and help them along their innovation journey, as they continue in their efforts to help restore our planet.
Happy Earth Day!
To learn more about our clean tech customers and their adoption of cloud-based PLM software, read our customer success stories.