Re-Designing Thermal Fuses with VOITH

Together, we conceptualized replacement options for a thermal fuse that is used in large coupling casings and evaluated them under cost and functional aspects. 

Innovation Consulting

This is a great example of paying attention to detail. Although the fuse is just a small part of the final product, Voith didn't shy away from diving deep into the creative process. By challenging inherent assumptions, we arrived at simple, yet smart options that avoid harmful materials altogether.

Max Theilacker
Senior Innovation Consultant & Innovation Design Cluster Lead at Motius
The Outcome

Our Final Result


Team Size
Maturity Level





The Outcome

Our Final Result


A fully sustainable alternative solution to replace the current chemical compound, evaluated from a cost and functionality perspective. 

Fully sustainable
alternative at comparable or lower cost

Ideating & evaluating sustainable alternatives for a thermal fuse

  • Retaining performance and cost while optimising for sustainability 
  • Technological ideation using a morphological analysis 
  • Creative hardware ideation under constraints 

Due to a change in legislation, a new thermal fuse used for large coupling casings in heavy machinery had to be redesigned.

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The current thermal fuse utilized chemical compounds soon to be banned by EU legislation, a different, and sustainable option was required.

Adapting to New Legal Requirements

This posed multiple engineering challenges. The new fuse had to be fast acting, in a narrow temperature band while at the same time withstanding the strains and abuse in often rough mining environments.


A sustainable thermal fuse that provides comparable release performance without increasing costs.  


All About VOITH

Innovation for Drive Technology, Hydropower, and Papermaking

The family owned Voith Group is a global technology supplier with a broad portfolio of systems, products, services, and digital applications. Voith operates in the energy, paper, mining, and transport & automotive markets. Research and development traditionally have a high priority at Voith – the company holds several thousand active patents.

The Process

Tackling the Challenge in a Four-Step Process

Definition of Requirements and Constraints

In a workshop we considered and discussed the surrounding aspects the new solution needs to comply with. This included different use cases, environmental/thermal conditions, users and other operating constraints.

Ideation and Research

With a deep understanding of the usage situation, we used a number of creative techniques to elicit several dozen ideas. Particularly uncovering latent assumptions and turning those on their heads led to several fruitful directions for alternative operating principles. Morphological analysis was used to separate sub-functions, such as retaining pressure at certain temperatures while releasing it at others, and to ideate functional replacement options.


After re-combining and evaluating the resulting ideas for functionality, anticipated costs, sustainability, and manufacturability, we arrived at three alternative concepts. Some merely replaced the soldering materials, others built on completely new mechanical release mechanisms.


Using a simple yet realistic testing setup, the resulting concepts have since undergone the first prototype tests. Two solutions stand out – one for its simplicity and use of the current fuse design with merely an alternative solder; the other for its use of an alternative bursting mechanism, which has been adapted from its current use in sprinkler systems.