Festo has developed a dynamic gantry system that, it claims, is 30% faster than conventional Cartesian handling systems, with initial costs that are comparable. The EXCH planar surface gantry is aimed at high-speed assembly operations where small, light mass-produced items need to be positioned quickly and flexibly.
At next month’s Hannover Fair, Siemens will unveil an easy-to-commission servodrive system which uses a single-cable connection between the drive and motor which is just 9mm in diameter. The new system, based on the company’s Sinamics S210 converters and new-developed Simotics S-1FK2 servomotors, covers ratings from 50–750W in five sizes.
GE Automation & Controls has announced a range of modular industrial PCs (IPCs) which, it says, usher in “a new era of customised computing platforms”. The new PCs, which will make their debut at the Embedded World exhibition in Germany later this month, allow a higher level of customisation to suit users’ needs. According to GE, they mark the end of the era of maximising standardisation in IPCs.
The Swiss conveyor drives specialist Interroll has announced a new generation of modular drum-motors aimed principally at conveyor belt applications. The motors, offering a choice of synchronous or asynchronous technologies, will be available first in 80mm-diameter formats and will then be rolled out across the rest of the company’s portfolio.
The engineering plastics specialist igus has launched a service that will 3D-print bespoke carriages and end-blocks for linear axes to customer requirements. The components are printed using a laser sintering process within 48 hours of an order being placed, using a plastic said to be three times more abrasion-resistant than conventional SLS (selective laser sintered) materials.
The German controls manufacturer Vipa has announced a micro-PLC which, it claims, is the fastest on the market. It says that the Micro PLC sets new standards in terms of its size (at 72mm wide, it is up to half the size of other microcontrollers), channel density (it has 30 built-in digital and analogue I/O channels) and status display (users can view essential system information at a glance).
Danfoss Drives claims to have produced the world’s smallest air-cooled, standalone drives, with the highest power density, by redesigning the E-sized enclosures for its VLT drives, and making then 73% smaller. As well as saving space, the new design is said to be easier to install, commission and service.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, WEG unveiled a new range of medium-voltage drives which it plans to sell as complete systems integrated into cabinets, along with isolators, fuses, and multi-level feed transformers. This means that purchasers of the MVW3000 drives will not need to buy additional MV switchgear.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Taiwanese automation manufacturer Delta announced a range of IP55-protected vector control variable-speed drives for fan, pump and water treatment applications. The CFP2000 VSDs span ratings from 0.75–90kW and come with built-in EMC filters, DC chokes, real-time clocks and 10,000-step PLCs.
A new version of the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer has been announced which is targeted at engineers developing embedded control systems. The Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module (CM3) is based on the latest Raspberry Pi 3 architecture, with an ARM quad-core processor running at up to 1.2GHz, 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM and 4GB of on-board eMMC Flash storage. It has the same pin-out as the original Compute Module (CM1).
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, WEG unveiled a family of high-end soft-starters with built-in PLC functions that provide programmable control of induction motors. The soft-PLC allows the output torque to be adapted to the load, and start-up currents to be minimised.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Murrelektronik announced a modular current-monitoring system that can be adapted to suit an application. The Mico Pro system monitors control and load currents, identifies critical conditions, signals limit loads, and switches faulty channels off in a targeted way. A patented tripping process ensures that trips occur as late as possible, but as early as is necessary.
Mitsubishi Electric used the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany to preview a new inverter with a built-in Web server and Ethernet TCP/IP connections. The FR-A800-E drive, which is based on the existing FR-A800, will provide enhanced functions for remote monitoring and parameter adjustment, as well as easier integration into networks. Mitsubishi says that single drive could control an entire machine or process, saving time and money for SIs and OEMs.
Schneider Electric has developed a drive system for servomotors that, it claims, could cut the need for space in control cabinets by up to 90% compared to conventional servo amplifiers, as well as reducing energy consumption by up to 40%. It unveiled the Lexium 62 ILD system at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany.
At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Sick launched a camera that captures images and video sequences taken immediately before and after an event, to reveal the causes of plant malfunctions – such as safety barriers being ignored or items being removed from production lines. The camera can transmit event-controlled video sequences directly to the cloud, as well as storing them locally on an SD memory card.