A Californian company that specialises in data-recorders and sensors for crash-testing, has come up with a tiny device that can collect data from rotating components – such as drive shafts, rotors and reciprocating rods – without needing sliprings or telemetry.
Three companies, located on different continents, are collaborating on a project that is using the industrial Internet to track the presence of items on factory floors. The companies – Bosch in Germany, Cisco in the US, and Tech Mahindra in India – are all members of the Industrial Internet Consortium, and the project, called Track & Trace, is an IIC testbed.
A technology that allows automation devices to assign unique addresses to themselves automatically, without needing a central address server, will make its debut at the Hannover Fair in April. The technology, called Effortless Communication, is being developed by Siemens, which says that it will simplify the setting up, testing, and upgrading of machine and plant networks. It will also make it easier to replace devices and integrate series-production machines, as well as simplifying the deployment of remote maintenance services and enhancing their security.
A group of German organisations, backed by their Government, have announced plans to create a data space that will be available to industries around the world. Access to, and use of, this “Industrial Data Space” will be safeguarded by a set of standards. The aim is to develop a secure, decentralised system that can cope with increasing digitalisation and the rapid shifts in industrial manufacturing and business processes that come with it.
The Israeli motion control specialist ACS has developed a series of algorithms specifically to control closed-track transportation systems driven by linear motors. It says that such systems offer better performance than track systems based on moving magnets, at a fraction of the cost.
A UK consortium has developed an 85kW synchronous reluctance motor designed primarily for electric vehicle traction applications. The motor, which avoids the use of expensive rare-earth elements, is said to deliver uncompromised performance at a low cost.
The German sensor manufacturer Micro-Epsilon has developed a displacement measurement system for that is small enough to fit inside the spindle of high-speed milling and grinding machines to measure thermal and centrifugal force extension of the spindle. These measurements can be output to a CNC system as correctional values, allowing the machine to compensate for any spindle positioning errors.
Cognex has developed a technology for reading 2D matrix and DPM (direct part mark) barcodes even when they do not have visible perimeters. The texture-based PowerGrid location algorithm takes “a unique, inside-out approach” to reading codes, and is claimed to increase read rates “dramatically” in applications where a part’s geometry, poor lighting or print-registration errors make it difficult to capture an image of the entire code.
German researchers have developed an electric axle module for commercial vehicles that integrates a high-speed motor, gearbox and power electronics, and is claimed to be smaller, lighter and more cost-effective than most alternative technologies.
SKF has developed a bearing with a built-in encoder designed to provide smooth, accurate motor control for the next generation of electric and hybrid motor vehicles, including starter-alternators for stop-and-start duties.
Toyota is starting to road-test two electric vehicles in Japan that are using silicon carbide (SiC) power semiconductors in their motor controls and voltage converters. It says that SiC devices could lead to significant efficiency improvements in hybrids and other vehicles with electric powertrains.
The US motor manufacturer UQM Technologies has been granted a US patent for an electric and hybrid electric vehicle motor design that uses non-rare earth magnets and is claimed to deliver a similar performance to motors that use rare-earth magnets. The patent covers a “unique” rotor design and magnet geometry that enables the use of non-rare earth magnets and avoids the demagnetisation issues that would occur with these magnets if used in conventional motors. It also covers a motor manufacturing method.
By adding new track shapes to its linear-motor-based XTS (eXtended Transport System), Beckhoff says it has opened up many new potential applications for transporting items on production lines. For example, the new sections, with radii of 22.5 degrees, can be used in combination with the existing straight and curved modules, to create tracks in the form of circles, squares with rounded corners, or S shapes.
The German motors and drives manufacturer Nanotec, claims to have developed the first sensorless control for stepper motors. It uses a “virtual encoder” to determine the speed of the rotor, allowing the stepper motor to be operated as a servomotor, with no lost steps, no resonance and no risk of overheating.
Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a new type of magnetic rotary encoder that, it says, “redefines the boundaries of magnetic encoder technology”. The ENA58IL absolute encoder, designed for use in tough conditions, is claimed to achieve accuracies better than 0.1 degrees, and single- or multi-turn resolutions of up to 16 bits.