24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

January News in Brief

♦  Texas Instruments has announced a $149 solar energy harvesting development kit that converts ambient light into power for sensors used in industrial and other applications. The credit-card-sized kit combines a thin film battery technology with microcontrollers and RF transceivers. It allows developers to build self-powered wireless sensor networks that don’t need replaceable batteries and can run even under low ambient light conditions.  

♦  Bosch Rexroth and Sick have widened their technical collaboration on factory automation applications to include functional safety. They say that this will allow Sick’s safety-relevant sensors to be integrated easily into Rexroth automation systems. The two companies are also offering manufacturers a training package based on the new Machinery Directive and the new safety standards, ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061.

♦  TM4, a subsidiary of Canada’s Hydro-Québec utility, has been chosen to supply electric motors, power electronics and controllers for a project in which Miljø Innovasjon, a Norwegian subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors, will build more than 100 all-electric versions of Tata’s Indica Vista car. TM4’s motors have an inverted-rotor construction, with the rotor rotating outside the stator. This topology is said to result in large magnetic fields and high levels of torque, power density and efficiency.

♦  Avago Technologies has developed an optically isolated sigma-delta modulator that uses an external clock to provide direct measurement of current phase currents in inverters. This will allow synchronised data conversion between current sensors and controllers, simplifying motor control designs.

♦  The Profibus Group has released a new version of its Profisafe starter kit. The version 3.4 kit reflects the current status of the Profisafe profile. It contains driver source files, an implementation manual, and several cyclic redundancy check tools. Slow motion monitors allow Profisafe sequences to be observed in slow motion.