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18 June, 2018

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Custom-build your automation systems like Lego

16 January, 2014

A Taiwanese company has developed a system for creating customised automation systems by assembling modular function blocks onto printed circuit boards.


Industrial controller is ‘first with Ethernet at its core’

07 January, 2014

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.


Sensing system detects items with no gaps between them

06 January, 2014

Sick claims to have solved the problem of detecting and counting products reliably on production lines when there are no gaps between them.


Multi-frequency MV starter doubles starting torques

03 January, 2014

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.


Distance sensors use three ‘breakthrough’ technologies

03 January, 2014

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.


Electric VW Bora will use Protean in-wheel motors

13 December, 2013

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.


LED-based position sensing technology ‘is a better buy’

09 December, 2013

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.


Google Glass ‘could revolutionise’ industrial automation

06 December, 2013

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.


Facial recognition could open up ‘no-touch’ controls

02 December, 2013

Omron has demonstrated a facial recognition technology that could open up new ways for humans to interact with machines and automation systems. On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, the company was showing how its Okao technology – originally developed for consumer applications – could be used to control access to machines and to enhance safety by only allowing recognised personnel to approach moving machines.


Distributed processing cuts I/O cycle times to 1µs

02 December, 2013

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Austrian automation manufacturer B&R unveiled a technology which, it claims, can reduce industrial automation cycle times down to 1µs. It says that, until now, the fastest response times achieved in the field – from receiving an input signal to sending an output signal – have rarely been less than 100µs.


Autonomous two-armed robot can see and feel

05 November, 2013

The Japanese robot-maker Seiko Epson has developed a prototype dual-arm robot that, it says, will expand the range of tasks that can be automated on the production floor. The robot, fitted with vision and force-sensing functions, can execute tasks autonomously by recognising objects, making decisions, and adjusting the amount of force applied, on the fly.


BLDC sensors avoid the need for chopper stabilisation

04 November, 2013

Honeywell Sensing and Control has developed a new sensor technology for brushless DC (BLDC) motors that removes the need to use chopper stabilisation. It claims that this results in faster response times, higher accuracies and minimal electrical noise levels, without needing extra filtering.


Silicon carbide devices could cost the same as silicon

31 October, 2013

A UK start-up company is developing a silicon carbide (SiC) technology for power semiconductor devices that could lead to devices offering SiC performance at the cost of silicon. Coventry-based Anvil Semiconductors has secured £1m of funding to develop and commercialise its low-cost SiC technology.


PM technology could save ship-owners €50,000 a month

31 October, 2013

The Switch, the Finnish developer of permanent magnet (PM) motor and generator systems, has entered the marine sector with a “next-generation” drivetrain for powering and propelling vessels efficiently. It says that the combination of PM and frequency converter technologies will allow ship-owners to cut their running costs by up to €50,000 per month.


Bearing and leadscrew combo slashes install times

15 October, 2013

Thomson has announced a linear motion technology that combines the functions of a linear bearing and a leadscrew in a single, compact package. The integrated and pre-aligned leadscrew and linear bearing – called the Glide Screw – is designed to actuate a moment load or side load smoothly and quietly, without additional support.


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