ABB in the UK has produced a handheld device designed to simplify the identification of housed pillow block and flanged bearings. The rotating disc-shaped calculator, designed to fit in a toolbox, helps users to select the most appropriate replacement bearings.
Engineers working for Danfoss in Denmark have developed a function that allows a single frequency converter to control winches that are designed to be driven by two or more motors. They have also applied the development to marine steering and propulsion systems, and to container cranes.
A Californian motion control specialist has developed a servo actuator that integrates a position feedback sensor into a high pole-count AC motor. QuickSilver Controls says that its Mosolver actuator will eliminate the need for costly encoder and resolvers, as well as eliminating most of the sensing electronics and the power needed to operate them.
The US-based control networking specialist Echelon has announced a chip designed to provide flexible, cost-effective connections for communities of devices in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IP-enabled, multi-protocol, multi-drop FT 6050 system-on-chip (SoC) is part of Echelon's IzoT platform for the IIoT, the next generation of the industrial control platform based on Echelon's ISO-standard Free Topology (FT) architecture.
The Israeli motion control specialist ACS has developed an algorithm that, it claims, will improve the performance of high-accuracy servo applications – reducing moving and settling times, eliminating cogging, and improving their ability to handle significant changes in load. This, in turn, will leads to higher accuracies and throughput. ACS reports that field trials of the ServoBoost algorithm have achieved performance improvements several times better than those of competing products.
A Dutch materials-handling specialist is investigating the possibility of using small drone aircraft to move products to end-of-line pallets in factories. Qimarox suggests that using the flying robots in this way could result in compact, flexible and scalable palletising systems.
A US specialist in moving coil actuators, SMAC, has announced a family of electrically-driven linear actuators that, it claims, take the technology into areas that were previously the domain of pneumatic cylinders. It says that the CBL cylinders, with prices starting at less than $500, overcome some of the limitations of pneumatic devices, particularly in packaging applications.
A Taiwanese company has developed a system for creating customised automation systems by assembling modular function blocks onto printed circuit boards.
Schneider Electric claims to have produced the first industrial controller with Ethernet built into its core. The Modicon 580 controller, developed in collaboration with the Swiss semiconductor specialist STMicrolectronics, is said to improve the transparency, consistency and throughput of industrial data.
Sick claims to have solved the problem of detecting and counting products reliably on production lines when there are no gaps between them.
A Chinese specialist in MV (medium voltage) drives and power electronics has developed a new MV motor starter technology that, it says, can double starting torques, dramatically reduce starting currents, and save space and weight compared to conventional MV motor starting technologies.
The German manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a photoelectric distance-measuring sensor that, it says, combines three breakthrough technologies into one device. The R2100 sensor, unveiled at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, is aimed at applications such as object positioning, and collision avoidance on robots and gantries.
Protean Electric, which specialises in developing in-wheel electric vehicle motors, has formed a partnership with FAW-Volkswagen Automotive (FAW-VW) to develop a new propulsion system for VW’s Bora sedan, based on two Protean motors in the vehicle’s rear wheels.
A Canadian company called LeddarTech has developed an LED-based presence detection and ranging technology for industrial applications which, it claims, offers a better cost/performance ratio than existing technologies such as lasers, radar, thermal imaging, ultrasonics and passive infrared.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Beckhoff drew crowds to its stand with a demonstration of how the emerging Google Glass technology could be used to provide machine operators with information such as dialogue messages, videos, Web pages or documentation, while they are working at their machines.