Phoenix Contact’s automation software subsidiary, KW-Software, has developed a way of running Profinet IRT (isochronous real-time) on a standard Intel Ethernet controller. Until now, custom chips have been needed to provide sufficient precision.
SKF has developed a high-speed motor running on magnetic bearings that, it claims, can cut the energy consumed by aeration blowers in wastewater plants by up to 40%. The potential savings are substantial because aeration blowers can account for up to 80% of a wastewater plant’s total energy consumption.
The world’s biggest compressor manufacturer, Atlas Copco, has entered the electric motor design and manufacturing business by developing an oil-cooled permanent magnet motor for a new generation of variable-speed drive compressors that, it says, will halve energy use compared to idling compressors.
At the recent Hannover Fair, Lenze unveiled an integrated motor and controller that can be programmed and operated wirelessly from a smartphone. The Smart Motor will run at speeds from 500–2,600 rpm while maintaining constant torque, thus reducing the number of drive variants that users will need to stock by around 70%, according to Lenze.
Schaeffler’s direct-drive division, INA Drives & Mechatronics (Idam), has developed a technique for producing ironless linear motors in which the motor’s coils are “printed” layer by layer. The pioneering technique will allow the motors to be manufactured in volume at lower costs than before.
The Swiss logistics equipment specialist Interroll has announced a magnetically-based speed controller for pallets that, it says, “takes safe pallet-handling operations to a new level”. The company has spent three years developing the wear-free technology that works without uising friction pads
TE Connectivity has developed a technology that transmits power, signals and data in almost any environment without needing physical connectors or contacts. The Ariso system integrates wireless power and radio frequency (RF) technologies and is said to combine the reliability of contact-based connections with the flexibility of contact-free connections.
GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the first in a series of apps for mobile devices designed to deliver “real-time operational intelligence” (RtOI), and allowing users to transform data into “actionable knowledge”. The app, called Proficy Mobile, provides real-time access to operational data via Apple iOS or Android devices, and an interface with GE’s GEO-intelligence technology which provides intelligent information based on the user’s location, role and asset location.
The latest member of Festo’s mechatronic menagerie – a “dragonfly” that can hover, fly backwards, glide and take off from a standstill – will make its debut at next month’s Hannover Fair. The company has a tradition of unveiling a new mechatronic creature at the exhibition every year. Previous developments have included swimming penguins and jellyfish, as well as flying gulls and other birds.
A group of German organisations has built a novel system that can position a platform to accuracies of a few nanometres, based on the principle of magnetic levitation. The prototype platform, which levitates on a magnetic field generated by six coils, can be positioned to an accuracy of 10nm in three dimensions. By comparison, a human hair is about 100,000nm in diameter, a virus is 30-50nm wide, and a human fingernail grows 1nm every second.
An American technology firm claims to have developed software that can be added to almost any AC drive to cut the energy consumed by the motor up to 40%, as well as improving the motor's performance. AC Kinetics (ACK), based in New York State, contends that its technology represents a “third era” for variable speed drives, following V/f controls in 1960s and vector controls in the 1980s.
Rockwell Automation has released a free tool to help machine-builders and manufacturers to save time when designing machine safety systems. The Safety Automation Builder (SAB) guides them through the safety-system design process by providing layout options, analysing safety performance levels (PL) based on ISO 13849-1, and selecting appropriate Allen-Bradley safety products.
A US manufacturer has developed what it claims is the first handheld Bluetooth transmitter designed to gather production data and send it to Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, tablets and computers. The iBlue device, developed by Indiana Technology and Manufacturing Companies (Itamco), can replace tools such as temperature readers, micrometers and hardness testers.
Cobham Technical Services has extended the capabilities of its Opera-3D finite element software for electromagnetic design, by adding a new solver that can analyse natural vibration modes. The tool is expected to be particularly useful for developers of electrical machines, who can use it to investigate and minimise forces that might cause oscillations close to a machine’s natural frequencies. They can thus avoid excessive vibrations or collisions between rotating and stationary parts.
Yaskawa says it has developed an electric vehicle (EV) motor that avoids the need for neodymium magnets, using much cheaper and easier-to-obtain ferrite magnets instead. The development is intended to reduce the company’s dependence on rare-earth materials, such as neodymium and dysprosium, whose prices have fluctuated widely in recent years, with China dominating and controlling their supply.