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19 August, 2017

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Sensorless control for stepper motors is ‘world's first’

05 January, 2015

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.


Effects combine to ‘redefine’ magnetic encoders

23 December, 2014

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.


Nidec develops ‘first magnet-free motor with SiC inverter’

22 December, 2014

The Japanese motor-maker Nidec claims to have developed the first motor-drive system in which a magnet-free switched reluctance (SR) motor is powered by an inverter incorporating silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor devices.


Google Glass gives a new angle on plant monitoring

22 December, 2014

At the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, the Italian software developer Progea was demonstrating a prototype version of a virtual reality application that uses Google Glass to view the parameters of an automation system in real time, via WiFi or a mobile broadband connection.


Flexible-finger gripper gets the thumbs-up

22 December, 2014

Festo has developed a hand-like flexible gripping system that uses opposable “thumbs” to adapt to a variety of objects. The MultiChoiceGripper, aimed at robotic and assembly tasks, combines two developments: adaptive fingers using Festo’s Fin Ray technology; and a mechanical linkage that changes the position of the fingers from “opposing” to “surrounding”.


Siemens drops its IPC OS for a commercial product

22 December, 2014

After using an in-house-developed operating system in its industrial PCs for many years, Siemens has moved to the VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS), developed by Intel subsidiary, Wind River.


New-generation matrix converter aims for much wider use

05 December, 2014

Yaskawa has unveiled a new generation of its high-efficiency matrix converter drive technology with integrated energy regeneration, harmonic suppression and a high power factor. The company is hoping that the new version will be used much more widely than earlier models, especially in applications involving large amounts of braking energy.


System recovers servodrive energy to cut peak demand

05 December, 2014

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a capacitor-based system that stores regenerative energy from servomotor installations and allows it to be re-used later. The company demonstrated a pre-production version of its Energy Assist Unit (EAU) at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany.


SiC-based regen system could pay for itself in two years

03 December, 2014

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Lenze demonstrated a new approach to recovering braking energy and feeding it back into the mains, that is designed to be efficient, compact and easy to apply. The technology, based on fast-switching silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductors, can achieve rapid paybacks and can be used in applications where regenerative braking has previously been considered too costly.


Linear motors replace ropes in future elevator system

01 December, 2014

The German elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp has announced a technology that will use linear motors instead of traditional ropes to move passenger cabins both horizontally and vertically. The technology, called Multi, will allow several self-propelled cabins to share the same shaft, thus boosting transport capacities by up to 50%, while slashing elevator footprints by up half.


24-core industrial PC is ‘world’s most powerful PLC’

01 December, 2014

At the SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the automation manufacturer Beckhoff has unveiled a 24-core industrial server which it describes as the world's most powerful PLC. The IPC can perform 20 PLC tasks in parallel with 100µs cycle times and perform its fastest cycles in 25µs.


Device bridges the gap between motor starters and VSDs

01 December, 2014

Eaton claims to have developed a new form of energy-saving motor controller that bridges the gap between fixed-speed starters and variable-speed drives (VSDs). It says that its “variable-speed starter” (VSS) combines the simplicity of a starter with ability to vary the speed of a motor.


Four 1.2MW motors power world’s biggest truck

19 November, 2014

The world's largest truck, a 360-tonne vehicle powered by four 1.2MW electric motors, has entered service at a mine in Siberia. The 20m-long truck, built by the Belarussian manufacturer BelAZ, has a top speed of 64 km/h when empty. It can carry around 450 tonnes of cargo – equivalent to seven fully-loaded Airbus A320-200 planes or 350 VW Golf cars, and 25% more than any other truck at the time it was designed.


Mini-motors touch down on comet’s surface

17 November, 2014

The Philae craft that landed on the 67P / Churyumo Gerasimenko comet recently was carrying tiny motors supplied by two Swiss manufacturers.


Two-armed robot adapts to changes on the factory floor

04 November, 2014

The US robot developer Rethink Robotics has announced a “groundbreaking” technology that will allow its Baxter collaborative robot to adapt to changing, real-world environments. The Robot Positioning System –­ part of the latest upgrade to Rethink’s Intera software ­– helps users to re-deploy robots after common plant-floor disturbances such as tables being bumped or fixtures being moved.


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