YPN visits Maxon Motor and Biomass Technology Group - visitors Report


16 February 2016


YPN is part of the Dutch Society for Precision Engineering and aims to bring young and enthusiastic engineers in the field of precision technique together. A major part is the organization of visits to interesting companies that are free of charge.
More information about YPN.




On the 16th of February 2016, the Young Precision Network had a combined visit to Maxon Motor, known for its DC motors and years of experience on the technology of high-precision drives and systems, and Biomass Technology Group (BTG) BV, known for its specialization in the conversion of biomass into useful fuels.

After a warm welcome in the new building of maxon motor in Enschede, Steven van Roon gave an introduction to maxon motor. Maxon is known for its precision and reliable electrical motors, gearboxes, sensors and control systems. This combined knowledge makes maxon one of the best known companies for precision driving train systems. Steven discussed the use of two maxon motors in the Very Large Telescope (VLT) laser guide star optical tube assembly project, in which maxon motor assisted TNO with a custom solution. As it turned out, ¾ of all products from maxon are specials. This directly seems to be the strength of maxon motor and one of the advantages over competitors; maxon is transitioning more and more from a general motor supplier into a motor supplier with the knowhow to design custom solutions for the customer.
After the introduction, the YPN got a tour past the work desks of the employees, the assembly line, clean room, debugging line and logistics.

BTG CEO René Venendaal gave an inspiring presentation about the Biomass Technology Group (BTG) and its sustainable pyrolysis process, which is an (almost) self-supporting process to convert biomass into useful fuels and energy in seconds instead of millions of years. It can contribute to a more sustainable energy supply in the future in our 'energy-sick' world.
BTG has structured its know-how activities in two business units being: 1) Consultancy & Project Development and 2) Research and Technology Development. The company is a pioneer and thus finding financing is always hard, which results to be a very hands-on problem: if not enough partners and funding can be found, BTG will solve it themselves! New ideas, solutions, patents and spin-offs are the results.
After the presentation, René Venendaal gave a tour through their testing facilities, where they test and improve the pyrolysis process on a small scale. Although they are still piloting it and expect it to be fully operational in a few years, they are already researching the use of crude pyrolysis oil in diesel engines. The main problem of the use of pyrolysis oil in engines is due to its acidic properties; general engines are not suitable to run on it for longer than 15 minutes.
As a result, BTG showed a modified one-cylinder diesel engine with custom made parts (such as injector nozzles with precision holes down to 0.2 mm) from stainless steel and exotic materials. New experiments are planned for a 4 cylinder diesel engine, which was showed as well.

Afterwards, the group came together to share some thoughts about the visit during drinks.

YPN would again like to thank Maxon Motor and Biomass Technology Group BV for organising the visit and their inspiring talks.