Sun powers local firm's conveyor system
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Sun powers local firm's conveyor system


Sun powers local firm's conveyor system

:: 03 October, 2009

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MAINEVILLE - A local firm that designs drive-thru conveyor systems for thousands of bank branches and pharmacies has developed and installed what's believed to be a first: A solar-powered model at LCNB's new South Lebanon branch.Privately held E.F. Bavis & Associates Inc., which employs about 50, today is introducing its solar-powered TransTrax system to its distributors and banking customers.

"This could be a huge product for banks, which are increasingly concerned about cutting costs and using "green-friendly' buildings," said William Sieber, president and part owner of Bavis.

The solar-powered unit is an adaptation of Bavis' standard TransTrax system introduced in 1989, which uses a specially designed push-pull plastic tape to move a carrier between the teller and the motorist. "Think of it moving back and forth like a lizard's tongue," Sieber said.

The traditional TransTrax system already uses only about a tenth of the power required for an old-fashioned pneumatic tube system.

Bavis, which started in 1957 fabricating Formica countertops, has secured a number of patents over the years for its systems. It began developing the solar-powered unit about a year ago in the face of growing interest in environmentally friendly "green" technology, Sieber said.

A 26-inch-by-36-inch solar panel on the bank's roof collects the sun's energy and converts it to direct current, which is sent to a battery. A microprocessor controls and monitors the current flow in the battery. The battery has enough power to handle about 1,000 transactions before requiring a recharge. The pilot system at LCNB's branch has a backup electric line if needed.

But Sieber said the company's lab tests show one solar panel can provide enough power to drive up to three drive-thru lanes at a time without backup power. Besides the solar collect, Bavis has designed a hybrid system, so the direct current motor continues to spin generating electricity fed back to the battery.

Over 10 years, the solar-powered system could save a bank $15,000 in electricity and maintenance costs, Sieber said.

Steve Foster, president of LCNB, said the solar-powered unit has been operating for two weeks in the outside lane of the branch's three drive-thru lanes and has performed flawlessly. An added benefit, he said, is that the hybrid delivery system is quieter than standard TransTrax units.

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