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18 August, 2017

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VSD-controlled chillers cut energy use by up to 70%

15 June, 2017

Rittal has developed a variable-speed system for chilling machine tool cooling liquids which, it says, marks “a huge leap in energy efficiency”, achieving energy savings of up to 70% compared to chillers that use hot gas bypass control systems.


Cloud-based motor monitor can cut downtime 'by 70%’

15 June, 2017

ABB’s wireless motor-monitoring technology, originally announced at last year’s Hannover Fair, is now entering the commercial phase, allowing users of many LV motors (not just ABB’s) to check the condition of their machines via a smartphone or Web portal. The quick-mounting Ability Smart Sensor, which does not needed any wired connections to the motor, transmits data to the cloud where predictive analysis reveals information on the motor and its performance.


New steel doubles bearing lives in tough applications

14 June, 2017

Schaeffler has developed a new steel for rolling bearings which, combined with a carbonitriding heat treatment process, offers both harder surfaces and a higher ductility than other steels. Compared to standard bearings, devices made from this material – called Mancrodur – can have 30% higher load ratings and operating lives that are up to six times longer.


Sick opens up its Hiperface DSL servodrive technology

06 June, 2017

The German sensor-maker Sick is opening up its single-cable Hiperface DSL (Digital-Servo-Link) motor feedback technology for use by any servodrive or motor manufacturer.  Since its launch in 2011, the technology has been adopted by more than 40 manufacturers, including ABB, Baumüller, Beckhoff, B&R, Kollmorgen, Lafert, LTI, Moog, NUM, Parker, Sigmatek, Stöber, and WEG.


Push-in busbar clamp challenges traditional connections

01 June, 2017

Rittal has invented a new method for connecting wires and cables to copper busbars which, it claims, is the fastest way of making such connections easily and securely. It adds that the technology will reduce the possibility of defects such as incorrect compression and clamp loosening, while its maintenance-free design should be more reliable and will cut maintenance costs.


IoT platform allows manufacturers to create their own apps

30 May, 2017

A US company has developed an IoT-enabled software platform that allows engineers to create shop-floor apps that connect workers, machines and IT systems.


AI machine control algorithm slashes set-up times

24 May, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a deep-reinforcement algorithm for artificial-intelligence (AI) based control of machinery that, it says, needs just one-fiftieth of the number of trials needed to set up conventional AI-based controls. The new algorithm will allow smart equipment such as industrial robots and vehicles to use sensors and cameras to learn rapidly about their environments to allow finely-tuned AI-based control.


Hygienic IP69K transport system opens up applications

23 May, 2017

At the Hannover Fair, Beckhoff unveiled a stainless-steel version of its XTS (eXtended Transport System) which, it predicts, will open up many new applications, especially in the food and pharmaceutical sector, and for processing and filling liquids. On its stand, Beckhoff was demonstrating how the IP69K-protected Hygienic Design version of XTS can even operate under a continuous water spray.


Cyber-attack detection protects real-time controls

17 May, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric says it has developed a technology for detecting cyber-attacks against critical control systems which can identify network traffic that deviates from normal commands. The technology detects cyber-attacks disguised as commands for critical infrastructure – such as electricity, gas, water and petrochemical installations – without affecting real-time control capabilities. The Japanese company says that this will help to ensure that the operation of such infrastructure remains stable.


Gear-free actuators could revolutionise robot designs

15 May, 2017

A Canadian company has developed a gearless, high-torque rotary actuator which, it claims, out-performs traditional gear-based actuators in many ways, while potentially being much cheaper. Genesis Robotics has invested C$28m (US$20.4m / £15.8m) in developing its LiveDrive technology, which it is aiming principally at robotics applications – it believes that the backlash-free technology could revolutionise the design of robotic arms, and halve their costs. The company adds that the lightweight, direct-drive actuators could have many other applications, ranging from prosthetics to vehicles.


IO-Link spawns a safety version

10 May, 2017

The IO-Link Community has announced a safety version of its technology, which is fieldbus and system-independent. The new IO-Link Safety achieves this by converting the many safety protocols on the market to IO-Link Safety in a master.


Schematics are generated ‘at the push of a button’

10 May, 2017

Eplan used the recent Hannover Fair to launch a software package that, it says, will generate electrical and fluid schematic diagrams automatically at the push of a button, without needing expert knowledge, programming abilities, or extensive training. The “unique” package, called Eplan Cogineer, does not require users to change their design methods, which “will simply become much faster”.


‘First’ autonomous container ship will be electrically powered

10 May, 2017

Two Norwegian companies have announced plans to build the world’s first fully electric and autonomous container ship, which will be able to navigate without needing any crew.


Retrofit gathers and analyses data from existing plants

09 May, 2017

B&R Automation used the Hannover Fair to launch a retrofit system that collects and analyses data from existing production sites. The technology, called Orange Box, allows machine operators to gather data from previously isolated machines and lines and use the data in smart factory applications. B&R says it is as easy to use as a smartphone.


Ballscrews, belts and bearings become ‘smart’

08 May, 2017

A noticeable trend at the recent Hannover Fair was the emergence of “intelligent” versions of previously “dumb” mechanical devices. Several exhibitors announced “smart” versions of traditional mechanical components, designed to connect to the Internet of Things and to Industry 4.0 applications.


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