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23 October, 2017

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Blue-LED encoders ‘double signal quality’ at up to 12,000 rpm

08 May, 2017

By using specially-developed blue-light LEDs, Pepperl+Fuchs claims to have produced a range of incremental rotary encoders with the highest signal quality available. The ENI58IL encoders also offer higher resolutions, improved signal amplitudes, and the ability to operate with absolute accuracy at speeds of up to 12,000 rpm.


Omron develops ‘first’ machine controller with real-time AI

25 April, 2017

At the Hannover Fair in Germany, the Japanese automation supplier Omron has announced what it claims is the first machine controller to be equipped with a machine-learning artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm. The AI-powered controller is the first in a series of AI and IoT (Internet of Things) automation technologies that the company plans to launch in a bid to tackle manufacturing issues such as the shortage of skilled engineers and rising labour costs. Omron has set itself a goal of making all of its FA equipment AI-/IoT-capable by 2020, and believes that AI could help to replace the skills of experienced workers who are reaching the ends of their working lives.


Severe-duty electric motors can be linked to the cloud

13 April, 2017

Siemens has announced a new generation of severe-duty motors which will be able to link to its MindSphere cloud platform to analyse their status. The company says that users will be able to access data from the motors anywhere in the world to improve productivity through increased availability, improved performance and optimised servicing.


Electric plane sets two speed records and performs first tow

12 April, 2017

Siemens claims to have set two new world speed records for electrically powered aircraft, as well as performing the first tow of a glider by an electric plane. An adapted Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.5km/h over a 3km distance in Germany last month, thus beating the existing record for sub-1,000kg electric aircraft by 13.48km/h. A modified version of the craft, weighing more than 1 tonne, hit a top speed of 342.86 km/h.


Octopus tentacles inspire pneumatic gripper

30 March, 2017

A robotic gripper system with suction pads like those of an octopus is one of several pneumatically-powered robotic concepts that Festo will unveil at the Hannover Fair later this month. It will also be showing a collaborative robot arm with seven axes controlled pneumatically rather than using conventional servomotors, and a lightweight robot inspired by an elephant’s trunk.


‘First smart steel facility’ learns like a driverless car

30 March, 2017

Two new US companies, aiming to disrupt established industries, are using artificial intelligence to optimise operations at a recently completed $1.3bn scrap-metal recycling and steel production facility in Arkansas. In the mill’s first full month of production, in January, it produced more than 63,000 tons (57,152 tonnes) of hot-rolled steel. This is said to be a record for a plant of this type.


Spare PLC I/Os 'can enhance safety cheaply'

30 March, 2017

ABB has revealed a cost-effective way of using spare I/O channels on its AC500 PLCs to achieve higher levels of functional safety, without needing extra safety I/O modules or larger cabinets.


Wheel-hub motor is the ‘first’ with a built-in transmission

16 March, 2017

The Japanese bearings manufacturer NSK has demonstrated what it claims is the world's first wheel-hub motor for electric vehicles with a built-in transmission system. It says that the motor can deliver both high torque and high speeds, and predicts that the development will improve the environmental performance, safety and comfort of EVs.


‘Game-changing’ electric motors could power aircraft

14 March, 2017

An Australian company is developing a “game-changing” series of high-power-density electric motors that could be used to propel aircraft, and for other applications needing small, powerful motors. Queensland-based magniX has received an A$2.5m (US $1.9m) grant from the Australian Government as part of a A$12m (US $9.1m) collaborative project aimed at developing motors with power densities of more than 5kW/kg – more than twice as high as the best conventional motors. Magnix believes that it could eventually achieve power densities of 25kW/kg­ – three times higher than modern aircraft engines.


Compensation functions optimise winding applications

10 March, 2017

Siemens has released functions for its Simotion motion controllers that, it says, will improve the speed, reliability and quality of the winding operations used in converting applications such as processing corrugated cardboard or material webs, and manufacturing battery electrodes.


‘World’s smallest’ SiC inverter for HEVs will free up space

09 March, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a working model of an ultra-compact silicon carbide (SiC) inverter for hybrid electrical vehicles (HEVs) that, it believes, is the smallest of its type in the world, with a volume of just five litres. The inverter also is thought to offer the highest power density for two-motor HEVs of 86kVA per litre, thanks to its use of full-SiC power semiconductor modules with a high-heat-dissipation structure that solders the power semiconductor modules to heatsinks.


Automation platform will link people, processes and things

06 March, 2017

Mitsubishi Electric has announced the launch of an open platform for factory automation that is based on edge computing. It says that the FA-IT platform will simplify connections between factories and value chains via the IoT (Internet of Things), enabling the rapid collection, analysis and utilisation of data for smart manufacturing.


IIC publishes guidance on IIoT interoperability

02 March, 2017

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published its Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF) – a reference architecture for evaluating connection technologies when designing IIoT systems. The IIC says it developed the IICF to help unlock data in isolated systems, enabling interoperability between previously closed components and subsystems, and to accelerate the development of new applications within and across industries.


Cloud-based maintenance system acts in real time

01 March, 2017

Harman Connected Services has joined forces with Intel to offer a predictive maintenance system for rotating equipment that generates predictions based on real-time analyses of machine vibrations, rather than historical data collected over time. The system, called Quick Predict, uses an analysis algorithm originally developed by Intel to cut maintenance in its own plants.


Cyber-secure OS targets control systems

01 March, 2017

After 14 years of development, the cyber-security specialist Kaspersky Lab has launched a secure operating system for industrial control systems, network devices and the IoT (Internet of Things). Called KasperskyOS, the system has been built from scratch and is designed to minimise the risk of undocumented functions, thus thwarting the threat of cyber-attacks.


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