Earl Muntz didn’t like extra cost, especially when it came to electronics. As a result, he would take any new development he or his team (or anybody else by some accounts) had developed and immediately start snipping away anything he thought might well be unnecessary. If it stopped working, he would quickly resolder the component back into place.
Sometimes he would carry on – other times he might stop.
Whilst this might sound slightly comical, the general point was very important – to make the electronics as efficient as possible with as little wasted money, components and space as possible.
Muntz’s motive at the time was largely financial but his methods have profound ramifications for us in the age of climate change and the clear and obvious need to reduce energy usage.
The concept of Muntzing is clearly recognisable as an important part of the way in which the electronics and automation industry could make itself more energy efficient in the immediate future. It is hard to make even a general guess at the number of unnecessary components being produced, bought and sold in the world today but the numbers must be in the millions.
The energy taken to produce, distribute, assemble and test these components can all, broadly speaking at least, be said to be wasted and potentially hugely damaging when taken as a whole.
For a large number of years, the electronics and motor control market has been dominated by ‘off the shelf’ motor controllers. These controllers are typically designed to a target price and a target market or markets and must therefore try and address a large range of application specific demands in one design.
The result is that there are a huge number of motor controllers still being bought and sold which contain large numbers of unnecessary components for the applications that they are being used in.
This is not something that would have impressed Muntz and it is something that we need to start thinking about more and more if we are to make the electronics industry more environmentally responsible.
It must naturally follow from the points made above that we start to think about how this state of affairs can be improved upon. Is it not inevitable that manufacturers will continue to require economies of scale on electronics that will ultimately necessitate a degree of ‘one size fits all’ thinking? Can technology begin to help us reverse this trend?
The one counterpoint to this is customisation.
With customisation or bespoke designed motor controllers it is possible to deliver literally the most environmentally and cost effective solution for any given application.
The reason is simple.
We work with you to develop a clear specification for what you need and then deliver this in the smallest possible footprint and using the least possible number of components. In this way, it is possible to save both financial and energy expenditure.
Muntzing alone will not address all of the problems we are currently faced with but it can serve as a component part (pardon the pun) of a broader solution. Together with broader commitments to improve energy efficiency in assembly and distribution as well as reducing air miles and carbon offsetting, ‘Muntzing’ certainly has a important part to play.