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March News in Brief
Published:  01 March, 2008

º  Omron has added a glossary of more than 500 technical terms related to control devices and industrial automation systems, to its global Web site. Technical documents and other reference materials on the site have hyperlinks to the glossary, allowing visitors to find the meaning of technical terms without having to access the glossary first. Omron plans to expand the glossary and to add other languages, including Chinese and Japanese.

º  Global demand for industrial robots is predicted to reach nearly 149,000 a year by 2012, according to a new report from Global Industry Analysts. Europe and Japan together account for more than 70% of the market, with Japan representing 52% of the global market for assembly robots, the biggest application area. Some 27,000 industrial robots are expected to be sold in the Asia-Pacific region this year. The report says that there will be growing demand from new application areas such as toy manufacturing and medical uses.

º  The OPC Foundation has announced the opening of its first independent certification test laboratory, which will be run by AscoLab at Erlangen in Germany. All products certified by the lab will carry an OPC Foundation Certified logo, denoting that they should provide secure, reliable, plug-and-play interoperability with other certified OPC products.

º  Derby, UK-based Intelligent Distributed Controls (IDC) has won £10,000 in competition funded by the East Midlands Development Agency that will help it to develop its wireless technology for tracking components, materials and products in real time as they move around plants. Toyota is already trialling the Zigbee-based technology for logistics process monitoring.

º  The US robotics supplier Adept Technology has agreed to collaborate with Prosurgics, a specialist in image-guided surgical robots, to develop the next generation of robotic systems for neurological and soft-tissue surgery. The US surgical robotics market is growing by more than 40% a year, and is predicted to be worth $2.5bn by 2011. Already more than half of prostatetectomies in the US are performed by robots.

º  Connect One has announced two external device servers for secure machine-to-machine IP links. The Secure iLAN and Secure iWiFi servers allow any device with an RS-232/485 port to communicate over the Internet, and can be used to monitor and configure equipment remotely. They incorporate Web servers, allowing devices to be accessed remotely via browsers.

º  PLCopen is making its Safety Software User Guidelines available as a free download from its Web site. The guidelines, aimed at people implementing safety control systems, cover topics such as: creating safety plans; the use of safe drives; and examples of safety functions on production lines. There are also descriptions of PLCopen function blocks, and a glossary of terms and definitions.

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