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19 September, 2018

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‘Tiniest tool-changer’ and first cobot gripper join range

13 September, 2018

Just two months after the Danish firm OnRobot was formed by merging three robotics accessories businesses, it has acquired another company – Purple Robotics, which has developed the world’s first gripper specifically designed for collaborative robots (cobots), as well as “the world’s lightest and smallest robotics tool-changer”.


Twin-spring flexible coupling needs no maintenance

13 September, 2018

A US couplings manufacturer has announced a new type of flexible coupling which, it claims, needs no maintenance. Twin Spring Coupling’s TSC500 coupling is made from two counter-wound torsion springs and has no internal components or bearings, resulting in a maintenance-free design that can work at larger angles than traditional universal, Cardan, beam, bellows or other flexible couplings, at both low and high speeds.


£5,500 delta robot can pay for itself within six months

07 September, 2018

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has combined several of its standard components – including maintenance-free belt drives, encoders, Nema stepper motors and lubrication-free link rods – to create a delta robot that costs less than half as much as some rival systems (which can exceed £20,000 or $26,000) and can pay for itself in around six months.


IIoT gateways provide optional smart functions

06 September, 2018

Beijer Electronics has announced a series of IIoT gateways, protocol converters and edge controllers that allow users to add optional smart functions. The BoX2 devices are said to solve the challenge of finding smart ways to access data and to bridge the gap between the worlds of automation and IT.


Safety network controller is ‘first’ to support two protocols

28 August, 2018

Omron has announced a safety network controller that, it claims, is the first to support two safety protocols: CIP Safety (which adds safety functions to EtherNet/IP); and Functional Safety over EtherCat (FSoE). The NX-series controller provides modular safety control, avoiding the need to stop an entire production line for maintenance or when the layout is changed.


Gateway supports OSIsoft PI, easing data extraction

22 August, 2018

HMS Industrial Networks has announced an edge gateway with native support for the OSIsoft PI system, making it easier to extract data from existing machines and to capture data from remote facilities. The system is based on HMS’s Flexy edge gateway.


Bearing protectors ‘can eliminate half of all failures’

15 August, 2018

The seals specialist AESSeal has developed a bearing protection technology that, it claims, can eliminate more than half of all bearing failures. The MagTecta-S bearing protector combines AESSeal’s existing MagTecta and LabTecta technologies and incorporates a proprietary magnet seal technology.


Field controller simplifies upgrades of DC motor systems

13 July, 2018

Users of DC motors can upgrade their installations to modern systems with digital communications, without needing complex external devices, using a new DC field controller released by Rockwell Automation. The Allen-Bradley PowerFlex controller will help them to gather data on their DC installations via digital networks.


Vision sensors help robots to pick parts from belts or bins

12 July, 2018

At the recent Automatica exhibition in Germany, the German sensor-maker Sick showcased a series of 2D and 3D vision-guided parts-locating technologies for quick and easy set-up of robots picking items from a belts or bins. Various sensing options are available – including streaming cameras, vision sensors, and smart cameras – offering a choice of measuring ranges, fields of view, and resolutions to suit particular tasks.


Compact cobot ‘can be programmed by anyone’

10 July, 2018

Kuka has developed a lightweight collaborative robot (cobot) designed to be easy to program, even by non-experts. The LBR iisy cobot, which can handle payloads up to 3kg, adapts to the user’s knowledge of robotics – offering a choice of programming techniques from simple teaching of the arm using manual guidance, through to Java programming of complex activities.


Scara robots are ‘first’ with EtherCat and condition monitoring

05 July, 2018

Omron has announced a new generation of Scara robots which, it claims, are the first with a built-in condition monitoring and the ability to indicate when they need attention. It also says that they are the first with built-in EtherCat controls and communications, allowing them to synchronise their operation with other automation devices to perform fast, accurate assembly, insertion and mounting operations with high throughputs.


Next-generation cobots save time and improve accuracy

05 July, 2018

The collaborative robot (cobot) pioneer Universal Robots has announced a new flagship series of cobot arms with built-in torque/force sensors, easier programming, a high-speed system bus and extra safety functions. The new e-Series cobots look similar to the previous UR machines (which will continue to be available), offering a higher-specification alternative for applications that need improved performance.


Sensor skin adds safety to six-axis collaborative robot

03 July, 2018

Bosch Rexroth has entered the world of collaborative robots (cobots) with a six-axis arm, based on a Kuka design, which uses a capacitive sensor skin to avoid collisions, without needing to make physical contact with an object. Equipped with more than 120 sensors, the skin allows the robot to stop automatically at a safe speed of 0.5m/s with a typical secure switching distance of 50mm.


Conveyor roller-drive is ‘the first to offer digital feedback’

29 June, 2018

SEW-Eurodrive claims to be offering the first conveyor roller-drive that can be monitored constantly using a digital feedback system. It says that other roller-drives are controlled by analogue signals, providing no feedback on the motor’s temperature or speed, and making it difficult to isolate the cause of any errors.


Modular PLCs combine redundancy and safety

28 June, 2018

Mitsubishi has announced that its Melsec iQ-R modular PLCs are now available as redundant pairs of controllers for extra reliability. The PLCs also include functions for monitoring and managing safety.


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