22 Jul 2024


Hannover Fair 2015 exclusive show report

A key focus at the 2015 Hannover Fair, held from 13–17 April, was the integrated digital factory. On many stands there were demonstrations showing how Industry 4.0 is starting to progress from a theoretical concept to a practical reality.

In 2013, the Hannover Fair marked the public debut of a concept called Industry 4.0. At the time, this probably meant very little to most of the 225,000 people who visited the show.

Two years later, and you cannot escape Industry 4.0 and its implications. This year’s Fair placed a major emphasis on the digitisation of manufacturing and the vision of the “intelligent” factory, where information is exchanged seamlessly between machines and products.

According to Dr Jochen Köckler from the show’s organiser, Deutsche Messe, this year’s event “demonstrated that Industry 4.0 is far more than an inspirational buzzword ­– it’s a reality. For the first time, the smart-factory solutions advertised here can be bought for direct implementation in customers’ plants.”

Another theme at the 2015 Fair was the arrival of growing numbers of robots designed to work safely alongside human colleagues on production lines. “Robots have been uncaged and can now directly support production crews,” said Köckler.

This year’s show attracted around 220,000 visitors, 70,000 of them from outside Germany – setting a new record. There were around 6,500 exhibitors from 70 countries, some 350 of them from the 2015 “partner country”, India. In this report, we look at some of the technologies and products that they could see at Hannover.


New from ABB is an extended range of rib-cooled, high-voltage motors, with a new frame size and the option of IP66 protection – unusual for HV motors. The NXR motors (below), launched in 2014, now span frame sizes 355–450 and the power range 100kW–1.25MW. The motors, based on the earlier HXR range, have been redesigned with the size, shape and location of the cooling ribs optimised, and a new coil design helping to boost power density. More features and extensions are promised for “the near future”.

ABB has also extended its range of low-voltage IEC mining motors by offering Ex d flameproof protection for Group 1 applications. The VSD-compatible cast-iron motors, cover frame sizes 80–450, power ratings from 0.55–710kW, and are available with two to eight pole pairs (with higher pole combinations and two-speed versions available on request). Options include Class H insulation and a heater to avoid condensation.

Baumüller has enhanced its b maXX family of inverters with new functions, including enhanced encoder evaluation that samples encoder signals at a high frequency, helping to filter out malfunctions and improve control quality. Preloaded or dynamic axes – such as those in robotic arms or servo presses – can be stopped safely in the event of encoder errors. The drives also offer integrated soft-PLCs that can be programmed without needing separate tools.


Danfoss announced an option for its VLT AutomationDrives that provides safety up to Pl d Cat 3 / SIL 2 when used in a ProfiSafe network in combination with the VLT Profinet MCA 120 option. The new MCB 152 option allows certified safety functions to be integrated easily with minimal wiring. It has two safe digital inputs for connecting sensors, reducing the need for PLC safe I/O modules.

The Taiwanese manufacturer HiWin was showing a range of AC synchronous servomotors in ratings from 50–1,000W which, it says, can deliver high torque (with peaks from 0.48–14.3Nm) across the entire speed range up to 4,500 rpm. The FR series brushless, permanent magnet motors (below) have low torque ripple, high power densities and low mass moments of inertia, making them suitable for dynamic tasks such as high-frequency reversing.

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek made its Hannover debut and reports a high level of interest with visitors from more than 30 countries, most of them representing new potential business. There was particular interest in the new Optidrive E3 general-purpose drive which is due to enter production in August.

Lenze was demonstrating a family of synchronous servomotors with mid-level dynamic performance. The compact IP65-protected MCM motors (below) come in three sizes with power ratings from 0.2–2.5kW and torque ratings from 0.6–26.4Nm. Resolver feedback is standard, with multi-turn sin-cos encoders as an option. The smooth-bodied motors are aimed at simple positioning tasks.

Nord was celebrating its 50th anniversary with a racing car simulator on its stand actuated by six inverter-controlled axes. The simulator, capable of responding to steering commands in real time, demonstrated the dynamic, precise control of asynchronous motors. Visitors to the Nord stand included the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi (below).

The Swiss motor-maker Portescap launched a 16mm brushless, slotless motor which it claims to be one of the highest performing in its class. The 16ECH motor is optimised for high continuous torque at low to medium speeds, and has a rated speed of about 60,000 rpm. A high-efficiency magnetic circuit reduces iron and recirculation losses – the main causes of stator heating – while a patented EC motor coil helps to deliver more torque and mechanical power than similar motors.

SEW-Eurodrive was highlighting a range of inverters designed from the outset for recycling. At the end of their working lives, users can return the Movi4R-U inverters to SEW which will take them apart and recondition the reusable parts and feed them back into production. Other parts will be recycled.

SEW was also showing new encoder and fieldbus option cards for its IP55-protected Movitrac LTP-B inverters (below) which come in power ratings from 0.75–160kW. The cards for HTL/TTL encoders allow the inverters to be used in speed-controlled applications, expanding their setting range, and improving control quality. The fieldbus option cards support Profibus DP, Profinet, EtherCat, Ethernet/IP, Modbus/TCP, DeviceNet and BacNet.


SEW has added IE3 efficiency versions to its DRN family of AC motors, launched in 2008. The IE3 machines, which cover ratings from 0.75–200kW, are the same size as the IE2 versions of the same rating, simplifying the stocking of spares and upgrading the efficiency of existing machines.

Siemens has now completed its Simotics FD family of modular LV motors with outputs from 200kW–1.6MW and shaft heights from 315–450mm. They are optimised for inverter operation and are said to be particularly efficient at part loads. Users can choose between air and water cooling, and forced or self-ventilation. The water-cooled versions offer power densities up to 30% higher than air-cooled versions.

Siemens has also applied the modular concept to HV motors with the new Simotics HV M range, which includes four- and six-pole variants with outputs up to 16MW at 10kV and 18MW at 6kV. The motors can be equipped with predictive condition monitoring and combined with MV converters to form integrated drive systems. Options include special paint finishes, Ex p and Ex n variants, and low-temperature and vibration-resistant versions.

A range of liquid-cooled inverter cabinets from Siemens avoids the need for air-conditioning and saves floorspace compared to air-cooled versions. The IP55-protected, sealed Sinamics S120 cabinet modules are designed for use in harsh conditions.

The Turkish motor manufacturer Volt Electric Motors launched a choice of two IE4 ranges: one based on a permanent magnet (PM) design; the other, on synchronous reluctance. The latter machines offer high efficiencies at part loads and operate at low temperatures, resulting in high reliability and low maintenance costs. The PM motors dissipate even less power and have a higher performance than asynchronous motors of the same size.

Volt was also showing special motors including a brushless PM AC fan motor with an output up to 750W, and a sensorless speed-controlled brushless PM fan motor with an output of up to 75W.

WEG launched a series of robust, efficient synchronous motors covering the power range 5–35MW on supplies up to 13.8kV, 50 or 60Hz. The four-pole SM40 motors (below) have solid salient-pole rotors with the shaft and rotor made from one piece of forged steel. The high-efficiency motors have been designed to eliminate the risk of pole shoes detaching. They offer high starting torques and low starting currents and can be used in hazardous areas.

WEG has also added an IEC 800 frame model to its W22X series of high-efficiency (up to 97.4%) MV and HV explosion-proof motors. The motor is available in 2, 4, 6 and 8-pole versions in ratings from 2–5.6MW for supply voltages from 6.6–11kV, 50 or 60Hz. A tubular stainless-steel cooling system optimises airflow to cool the stator, rotor and bearings.

Yaskawa was showing two ranges first shown at the SPS IPC Drives show last November. They are: the latest version of its matrix converter technology aimed at asynchronous and permanent magnet applications requiring efficient regeneration of braking energy; and a new generation of its Sigma servodrives and motors, including a 400V version for the European market.



Another range first seen at SPS IPC Drives was Beckhoff’s C6670 industrial server (below) which distributes complex functions across up to 256 processor cores, each with its own memory. At Hannover, Beckhoff demonstrated this server being used not only to perform machine control functions, but also to control a robot and an XTS transport system, as well as performing measuring and condition-monitoring functions.

Beckhoff was also showing a range of all-in-one fanless industrial PCs and multi-touch panel displays. The CP27xx Panel PCs offer seven display sizes from 12–24” and well as a choice of processors with up to four cores.

The Taiwanese industrial conglomerate Delta was showcasing a PAC (programmable automation controller) with ready-to-use APIs for duties such as CNC and robot control. The company claims that the MH-1 PAC makes programming more flexible and simplifies control the implementation of complex industrial processes. It can perform multi-axis control with linear, arc, helical and high-speed continuous interpolations. It supports EtherCat as well as Delta’s own DMCNET high-speed motion control network.

Delta was also showing a range of HMIs with built-in PLC functions, capable of controlling up to 12 axes via DMCNET. The HMC series HMI-PLCs can be used with Delta’s Asda-M three-axis servodrives, which provide synchronous interpolation, acting as “smart slaves”. The platform can control five-axis robots and other complex applications.

Pilz was showing two new communication modules for its PNOZmulti 2 configurable control system for safety and standard applications (below). The modules allow the system to be connected to Profinet and Ethernet/IP networks and support two-way signalling and control. Virtual I/O for non-safety functions can be configured on a PC and there’s no need for cumbersome wiring.

Siemens unveiled an all-solid-state PC-based motion control system for tough operating conditions, claimed to have double the performance of its previous generation. Instead of conventional hard drives, the maintenance-free Simotion P320-4 uses a solid-state drive (SSD) or an optional CFast Card storage system. The compact controller – which can be mounted on a rail or a wall ­– offers a choice of processors, and includes a three-port Profinet interface as well as supporting USB 3.0, Ethernet, DVI-I and Displayport. Safety functions are built in.

Siemens also has a new range of entry-level industrial PCs (below), available with or without built-in widescreen touch-panel displays from 7–19”. The smallest version of the Nanobox PC Simatic IPC 227E and IPC277E IPCs has a volume of just 1 litre. Sealed metal enclosures and a fanless design allow continuous, maintenance-free operation in ambient temperatures up to 50°C. Rugged storage is provided by SSDs and CFast drives, and the PCs are equipped with RS-232/422/485, USB, Ethernet and DisplayPort interfaces. They can be mounted in a cabinet or on a machine.

SKF has teamed up with ecom to produce a range of Android tablets and smartphones that can be used in hazardous areas up to Zone 1 / Division 1 and Zone 2 / Division 2. The intrinsically safe devices, which can be operated wearing gloves, can be used in areas that were previously inaccessible using non-IS devices. They include front and rear cameras, barcode scanners and NFC technology.


UK-based Ubisense launched a module for its Smart Factory system that uses an accurate location technology to remove the need for barcodes or similar identification systems, thus making assembly lines more flexible. Another new module automates traditional manual tool identification tasks, and frees tools and their operators from workstations.

Weidmüller has two new safety modules for its u-remote remote I/O system. The 4DI/4DO and 8DI modules, which connect via ProfiSafe or FailSafe over Ethercat (FSoE), can switch off plant components selectively. Users can keep an eye on the status of their plant or machine via a Web server and, even after triggering an emergency stop, it is still possible to call up a plant’s status, allowing rapid restarts. E-stop circuits and light curtains can be connected to the modules’ inputs, while their outputs can control contactors and motors via a switching amplifier.  


ABB has completed its range of manual motor starters with the new MS165 model (below) which takes ratings up to 30kW (400V, 65A). Integrated differentiation between thermal and magnetic trips reduces troubleshooting and downtime. Accessories such as auxiliary contacts, under-voltage releases and shunt trips are harmonised across the range, simplifying stock-keeping. The 55mm-wide MS165 is suitable for single- and three-phase applications.

The new Fena-21 safety fieldbus adapter from ABB is said to simplify the design of larger safety systems based on its AC500-S PLC. An encoder-less plug-in module (FSO-12) provides safety up to SIL 3 and Pl e, and supports safety functions including SLS, SS1 and SBC.

Block claims to be offering the world’s first certified (Enec and VDE) failsafe transformer for 230V and 400V input voltages. The input side is protected against short-circuits or overloads, avoiding the need for additional protection.

Block also had a new range of isolation transformers available in combinations of control and safety, or control and isolating, transformers, with power ratings from 1–25kVA. The slimline TT1 transformers offer efficiencies of up to 98%.

Danfoss is offering its MCD 500 softstarter with an integrated bypass that allows switchover to DoL (direct-on-line) operation after an initial soft-start. By running partially DoL, losses are reduced and there is less need to dissipate heat. The device takes up less space than a soft-start with an external contactor, and payback time claimed to be “usually just a matter of months”.

Among the many new arrivals on the Phoenix Contact stand were: a high-current terminal block (called Power-Turn) for conductors from 35–150mm2, that offers the choice of making connections either using a screwdriver and lever, or inserting the conductors directly using a push-in connection (shown below); a compact marshalling system (called PTRV) claimed to achieve 20% higher packing densities, and allowing the colours of the connection points to be chosen freely from 11 colours; and a new generation of Trio single- and three-phase power supplies with output currents from 3–20A and a power boost function that can start difficult loads with 150% of nominal current for 5s.

Pilz is extending its PSENlock safety gate system with two new variants: one offers expanded diagnostics, allowing users to detect where a guard locking device has not been activated – due to contamination, for example; the other allows OSSD (output signal switching device) outputs to be switched independently from the guard locking device, giving more design flexibility.

Rittal was demonstrating its modular Ri4Power 185mm system which makes it easy to tailor power distribution installations to suit an application. The system, which complies with IEC 61439 for LV switchgear assemblies, can be used with Rittal’s TS8 bayed enclosures. The company has also added an Ri4Power 185mm module to the latest version (6.3) of its Power Engineering software.


Siemens was showing a range of safety relays with up to six safety functions that can be parameterised using drag-and-drop software. The Sirius 3SK2 relays (below) come in two variants: a 22.5mm-wide version with up to four safety functions, which Siemens claims is slimmer than any other software-configurable safety relay; and a 45mm-wide version with up to six safety functions and a diagnostics display. The relays’ output functions can be assigned independently, and they can be combined with standard industrial controls, such as motor starters.

Siemens also has a new modular range of command and signalling devices in four designs. The IP69K–protected Sirius Act devices include metal and plastic pushbuttons, switches and indicators in various colours. A snap-on design allows front elements to be assembled with rear holders quickly without tools. An online configurator simplifies selection and the devices can be connected via AS-i, IO-Link or standard cabling.

Steute has extended its family of self-powered wireless switches with several additions, including a tiny device that it calls “the smallest, self-sufficient wireless switch for industrial applications currently on the market”. The RF 16 device measures 49 x 40 x 21mm and is powered by a generator that converts the kinetic energy produced by actuating the switch into electrical energy which is used to transmit the signal. There is no need for batteries, cables or an external power supply.

Steute is also offering a range said to make it easier to install and operate switchgear in explosive environments. The Atex- and IECEx approved Wireless EX range avoids the need to use Ex-compliant cables.

Weidmüller has expanded its Termseries range of rail-mounting terminal blocks (below) to include three new 12.8mm-wide models capable of switching inductive and capacitive loads up to 16A without needing cross-connections. The new devices include NO, NC and CO versions and can be used to switch loads such as motors, contactors and pumps.

Another company offering DIN-rail terminal blocks at Hannover was Wieland, whose fasis WTP range uses push-in connections that accept conductors and accessories without needing tools. Conductors from 0.08–10mm2 are catered for using just two types of terminal.


Delta has a new Scara robot and controller which, together, can control four robot axes and six external axes. Delta says this can result in productivity improvements of up to three times in some applications. The 400mm-long DRS40L robot arm can carry loads up to 3kg, while the Asda-MS controller has built-in servodrive technology. Machine vision can be integrated to help with identification and inspection.

Gates has developed a static-dissipating version of its Poly Chain Carbon synchronous belt, which can be used safely in potentially explosive atmospheres. The teeth in the new Volt version (below) are covered with a graphite material that conducts static electricity. The belt, which complies with the ISO 9563 static conductivity standard, in available in 8M and 14M pitches and in the same widths and lengths as standard PolyChain Carbon belts. The belts are made of a tough, lightweight polyurethane compound and carbon tensile cords, resulting in almost no stretching throughout their lives. They are said to save space compared to conventional belt drives.

Igus has developed a linear guide made of carbon-reinforced plastic which, it claims, is up to 40% lighter than aluminium rail and up to 60% lighter than steel versions. The DryLin W-profile carbon guides are rigid and non-magnetic. They are available as completely metal-free toothed belt axes in lengths up to 2m. They need no external lubrication.

KTR has come up with a floating caliper brake that can be actuated either hydraulically or electromechanically. The two versions (below) are the same size and can be interchanged without having to redesign an application. The passive version of the XS brake generates clamping powers up to 15kN; the active one up to 16.5kN.


Mulco has developed a high-performance polyurethane timing belt which, it says, delivers 25% more force and 25% less friction than its standard belts, allowing belts to be up to 30% smaller and saving costs through the use of narrower pulleys. The BrecoflexMove AT10 belts incorporate a new, large-diameter steel cord tension member that increases tensile stiffness by nearly 70%, but is still flexible. The belts are available in widths from 25–100mm and lengths from 1.4–30.5m.

Schunk unveiled a new version of its PGN-plus gripper with a “unique” permanent lubrication function that distributes lubricant faster and more evenly, even for short strokes. This extends the lifespan of the PGN-Plus Permanent grippers (below), making them almost maintenance-free. Schunk claims a repeat accuracy of 0.01mm and is offering a 30-year warranty on the grippers.

SEW-Eurodrive had a clutch of new and enhanced mechanical products at Hannover, including: a range of industrial gears (the P-X series) that combine the advantages of planetary gears with bevel-helical gears to produce compact, low-weight drives with high stiffness and a torque range of 100–500kNm; an overhauled range of XP planetary gears, now based on a modular design and offering finely graduated gear ratios from 1–1,000, and a torque range of 600–5,200kNm; two new sizes (39 and 49) that extend the upper power range of its two-stage bevel-helical gears to achieve torque levels up to 500Nm; and a range of double disk brakes with built-in wear monitoring and a noise reduction system.

SEW has also extended its CMSB range of maintenance-free, oil-bath-lubricated electric cylinders to include the CMSB50 model with a maximum feed thrust of 8kN (below). The cylinder, which can be mounted directly on a motor, uses a ballscrew spindle and offers a maximum feed rate of 0.375m/s for stroke lengths from 70–600mm.

Siemens has expanded its planetary gear portfolio with the new ten-size Flender Planurex 3 family which, it claims, have the highest efficiency in their class and a torque density that is 17.2% higher, on average, than the previous series. The space- and weight-saving range spans ratings from 1.7–5.45MNm.

Siemens also announced a new elastic claw coupling with an optimised cam geometry and newly developed elastomers that result in torque ratings 10–20% higher than previous models, and longer service lives. The ten-size Flender N-Bipex range offers a choice of three shore hardnesses and will operate in temperatures from –50 to +100°C

Stieber has expanded its range of load-sharing and releasable backstops that it launched in 2013 to avoid the over-specification of gearboxes on conveyors. The original versions were designed to be flange-mounted onto the high-speed shafts of gear drives. The new self-contained models are externally mounted on a shaft extension with a torque arm.

New from Timken is a range of mid-sized spherical roller bearings with long operating lives. The bearings use cage pockets, rather a centre guide ring, to guide the rollers, thus eliminating a point of friction. This is said to reduce operating temperatures by an average of 5°C and running torque by up to 4%, and to extend operating lives.


Aventics ­– formerly Bosch Rexroth’s pneumatics operation – has developed a pre-adjusted cushioning system for pneumatic cylinders, which does not need any adjustments during installation, helping to boost productivity. The cushioning is­ being used in Aventics’ CSL-RD series of mini ISO cylinders (below).

Aventics has also expanded its safety portfolio with a device that uses springs to clamp pneumatic piston rods (or similar round bars) to prevent dangerous movements and protect against unexpected start-ups. The LU6 locking device comes in seven sizes covering rod diameters from 32–125mm, and stroke lengths up to 2.85m. It can exert a holding force of 12kN.

The recently renamed IMI Precision Engineering (formerly Norgren) made its public debut at Hannover, highlighting its capabilities – such as using proportional technology to control pilot pressures up to 15 psi with 6mW of power.

Parker Hannifin launched a series of direct-operating proportional control valves with a position feedback that is integrated into the valve body, eliminating the need for exposed feedback cables and facilitating precise control of the spool position. The D1FC/D3FC valves support high flow rates and provide precise and economical control of demanding applications.


New from Balluff is a range of position transducers in rod and profile housings that use standardised communications and automatic address assignment to simplify their integration into networks. The BTL transducers (below) avoid the need for complex programming and reduce machine start-up times. They offer 1µm resolution and can process up to 16 position encoders, providing position and speed outputs for each one. They support real-time Ethernet interfaces including ProfiNet and EtherCat.


Balluff was also showing a range of magnetically encoded absolute and angle measurement systems. The BML series can be used to adjust axes strokes and end-positions automatically and quickly. The range includes a tiny absolute encoder disk that can be integrated easily into motors and actuators, as an alternative to conventional magnetic or optical feedback systems.

Isra Vision introduced a 3D robot vision sensor which, it claims, can detect and pick complex parts rapidly. The Shapescan3D can pick any number of unsorted items at any height and can be commissioned in a few hours without expert knowledge. It uses stereo measurements to generate a 3D point cloud, with a simple scanning process that takes less than two seconds.

Parker Hannifin has a new system for detecting the presence of metallic wear debris in hydraulic and lubrication fluids. The second-generation Kittiwake sensor uses an inductive technology to sense particles of 40µm or larger, and uses smart algorithms to provide information about their distribution and whether they are ferrous or non-ferrous. The real-time system allows users to take early action to avoid system failures.

Pepperl+Fuchs was promoting new range of cable pull rotary magnetic encoders (below) which are said to deliver reliable results even in difficult conditions involving dirt, shock or vibration. The modular devices are available with various interfaces and surface coatings and can be fitted with brushes or blowers to remove dirt. Their measuring range is 1–60m.

A new range of Rogowski coil current transformers from Phoenix Contact can convert currents up to 4kA, 16–1,000Hz, into analogue signals. The two-piece PACT RCP transformers (below) can be installed on busbars and circular conductors and avoid dangerous open-circuit voltages that can occur with split-core CTs. A downstream measuring transducer allows the measuring range to be configured so that the output signal maps the full input signal width.

Weidmüller was demonstrating a true-rms current transducer for measuring AC and DC currents, even with distorted waveforms. The ACT20C module has a claimed accuracy of better than 0.5% and provides status data via Ethernet. Multiple threshold monitoring allows a variety of alarm conditions to be defined with main and secondary alarms.

Weidmüller was also showing a new analogue signal converter with a built-in display. The 12.5mm-wide ACT20P Pro DCDC II converter is said to be easy to configure. It converts and transfers measurement data with a claimed accuracy of 0.05%.


Belden was showing several new arrivals from its various brands, including: a bus coupler from Lumberg Automation for the LioN Link decentralised fieldbus system, with flexible options for accessing real-time and diagnostic data via Ethernet/IP; a high data-rate Ethernet switch from Hirschmann (called Octopus OS30/34), with gigabit ports, extended routing functions and bypass relays; and a security router from GarrettCom (the Magnum 5RX) that combines Layer 3 functions with network security.

Harting has a new range of high-bandwidth Ethernet switches that also carry power using the Power over Ethernet Plus technology. The Ha-Vis eCon switches (below) can transfer 1,000Mbit/s simultaneously on all ports. An option is an on-board DC/DC voltage converter that allows the switches to operate from 24V supplies, rather than 48/54V.

A small German company called Heinen Automation was demonstrating a Linux-based data-capture device, called the aHa.box, which can record, process, archive and visualise up to eight different analogue or digital measurements. The boxes can be linked via Ethernet to extend their capacity. The data is stored locally or on an external PC and can be exported as Excel files if required.

Pepperl+Fuchs has a space-saving new AS-i cabinet module with push-in terminals on the front, allowing quick assembly. The 19mm-wide KE5 terminals can be can be removed individually and are coded to prevent them from being mixed up. I/Os and diagnostics are shown as backlit numbers that can be read in the dark.

P+F also has a new optical coupler that can transmit data at 100Mbit/s over distances of up to 300m. The bidirectional communication is protocol-independent and the coupler can be integrated into networks such as Profinet, Ethernet/IP, EtherCat and Powerlink.

Phoenix Contact was promoting a pair of protocol converters for remote control duties. The Reysgate 1000 (for up %%PAGE_BR%%to 500 variables) and 3000 (for 4,000 variables) compile protocols including IEC 60870-5 and Modbus RTU and TCP.

At Hannover, Profibus and Profinet International (PI) announced a Profinet tester that creates test records and evaluates them automatically. The records can be used for test reports issued by accredited PI test labs and to issue certificates for Profinet devices.

Sercos International announced the availability of a Sercos III IP core for Xilinx 7 FPGAs and devices in the Zynq SoC (system-on-chip) family. The IP core is available for Sercos III master and slave controllers and includes hardware functions such as timing, synchronisation and processing of cyclic and non-cyclic data.

Siemens has added two wireless routers (below) to its portfolio. The Scalance M876-3 transmits data on 3G, achieving downlink speeds of up to 14.1Mbit/s and uplink speeds of up to 5.76Mbit/s. The Scalance M876-4 uses LTE networks and can achieve downlink speeds up to 100Mbit/s and uplink speeds up to 50Mbit/s. The routers incorporate four-port switches and can support multiple antennae for improved signal strength and bandwidth.

At Hannover, Steute launched a new generation of wireless receivers for mounting inside control cabinets. The 22.5mm-wide RF Rx SW868/915 receivers can provide up to four relay outputs and can be operated from the front.

Weidmüller has developed an industrial router that provides secure communications between Ethernet-based machines and systems. The IE-SR-2GT-LAN-FN firewall/NAT router has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and was designed for applications where security and NAT (network address translation) are a top priority. The built-in firewall provides two-way (inbound and outbound) filtering.


New from ABB is a modular energy monitoring package for its Ecosuite platform, which is Web-based, allowing it to be configured and operated via a browser without needing a costly client-side installation. It can also run on a smartphone or tablet. The software uses dashboards to visualise information about energy usage and can display key performance indicators and energy performance indicators.

Eplan has expanded its Data Portal with new updating, enhancing and filtering functions. The fee-based Eplan Data Portal Professional allows users to start designing without needing to go through the tedious process of setting up master data. They can update their data at the click of a button, without manually searching and replacing.

Eplan also announced a new package called Preplanning (below) that allows designers to define automation structures at an early stage in a project – for example, importing an initial list of drives for a conveyor system containing basic information. The user can define the central automation structures for a machine or plant, and position the drives within this structure.

IGE+XAO used the Hannover Fair to launch an electrical panel design package that, it says, will simplify the placement of components on DIN rails, the creation of drill templates, and CNC programming. The SEE Electrical 3D Panel package takes into account manufacturing constraints at the panel design stage. It flags up mounting inconsistencies, as well as detecting potential collisions. Advanced routing options optimise wire lengths and pathways, as well as wire-way filling. The software connects with other IGE+XAO packages as well as third-party software.

Lenze has produced a robotics module for its Fast application software toolbox that, it claims, makes it as easy to parameterise multi-axis robotic systems as a single positioning axis. At Hannover, it was demonstrating how the module (below) can be used to commission a gantry robot in just seven minutes. (It was also showing how the Fast system can commission a roller conveyor in three minutes, and a belt conveyor in five minutes.)

The pick-and-place robotics modules create an easy-to-parameterise drive system with a robotics core with six degrees of freedom. They can replace PLC-controlled gantries with sequential motion commands. Lenze says that the system produces intrinsically synchronous travel profiles that reduce wear on mechanical parts than point-to-point positioning. The machines can also operate more efficiently and faster with smaller drives that use less power.

The next Hannover Fair will take place from 25–29 April, 2016.