Eaton Corporation powers the world

Kelly Dawson
February 7, 2018
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If there’s one thing the modern world has in common, it’s power. Power illuminates our neighborhoods and skyscrapers, it puts our pedal to the metal and lifts passengers into the sky. It’s also the source behind our digital lives, the juice that keeps our documentation going. In all, it’s the general spark behind what makes our lives more efficient, more connected, and more knowledgeable.

But all of that power has to come from somewhere.

Eaton Corporation is the groundbreaking generator of most of these everyday needs. It is the lesser-known link that allows other companies to depend on power to flow through grids that charge cities and everything that could be found in and above them. Eaton’s command of electrical, mechanical, and hydraulic power has created a vital infrastructure across the globe, which touches almost every aspect of our lives.

When a company has this much control over something as essential as power, it is obligated to shift with the times. Eaton Corporation has done just that by continuously creating products that are ever-more worthwhile to various industries who need to be at the helm of change. That is part of the reason why it is one of the leading technology companies in the world. But aside from technological innovation, Eaton is also a global leader in the production of sustainable power that otherwise protects people and the environment. After all, Eaton knows that the modern world depends on power, but it can’t survive without the natural one.

All systems are go

Ok, so Eaton is in charge of power — that’s cool, but it’s also vague. The company itself made about $20 billion in 2016, and it employs 96,000 workers in 175 countries. in all, Eaton’s work supports a range of industries, from aerospace and government, to oil and gas, to transportation and healthcare, to food and beverage, and more. Essentially, where there’s a switch, there’s Eaton.

We’re not doing much to help narrow things down, are we? That’s because Eaton’s market is clearly so large, and its impact is so wide. Its vast array of products have made it a premier producer of the components and systems involved in aerospace, electrical grids, hydraulics, industrial brakes, plastic fabrication, and more. Its parts are essential to private and public life in more ways than we’re willing to count. (Really, we’d be here all day.)

But it wasn’t always that way. This behemoth company began more than a century ago with its namesake founder Joseph Eaton and a right-place-right-time idea. In 1911, just as mass transit was underway, Eaton created the first gear-driven truck axle. That idea pushed Eaton into the realm of transportation, an industry his company still involved in today. At this time, the Cleveland-based business was called Eaton Yale and Towne, Inc., and it didn’t change to its current name until 1971.

As the country and the world continued to evolve past the early days of personal vehicles, the business did too. Cars got more advanced, and cities grew. Planes filled more of the sky, and men went to the moon. In all of those instances, it was important for Eaton to provide power, of course, but it also strove to provide safety to the workers who installed the products and peace of mind to the consumers who used them. That sense of responsibility stretched across the world, and is now most readily apparent in the company’s approach toward sustainability.

Knowledge is power

According to Eaton, the environment is one of its “key stakeholders,” an otherwise integral part of its decision making. Its commitment to improving the natural world alongside the modern world is especially important, given that the world is increasingly interconnected.

In a 2016 report by the World Energy Council, the worldwide demand for energy — meaning, a person’s need for fuel to power transportation, heat, and electricity — will peak in 2030. Government policies and technological improvements will be behind this, even as more communities plug themselves into modern sources of power.  The report notes that “there will be a shift in final energy consumption with demand for electricity doubling by 2060. Solar and wind, which currently account for approximately four percent of power generation, will see the largest increase so that by 2060 they will represent between 20 percent and 39 percent of power generation.” So where does a company like Eaton fit in?

The World Energy Council states that companies have to adjust to this standard in order to survive into the future. Eaton has long been a company accustomed to change, whether it’s by leading industries in power production or the need to operate those systems sustainably. Since 2006, Eaton has reduced its operations’ total greenhouse gas emissions by more than 250,000 metric tons, which translates to removing more than 58,000 cars from the road for a year. It also converted 93 facilities to “zero waste-to-landfill” status, otherwise removing 1,000 full garbage trucks from landfills in the last eight years. Its products are being designed for higher efficiency, even incorporating solar and wind where possible, and their partnerships are including ways to lessen its overall impact. Its reach can be can still be vast, but its footprint will continue to shrink.

Power is the source that connects our modern world, and its many iterations are an impressive web of Eaton’s many parts and services. The need for power is also great, and the call for sustainable options will become increasingly pressing in the coming years. Nevertheless, Eaton’s historical expertise is ready for what the world may have in store, even as it continues to protect it.

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