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October News in Brief
Published:  01 October, 2007

º  ABB and Phoenix Contact have signed an agreement for a long-term strategic co-operation to develop and promote Profinet and Ethernet technologies, especially for use in process applications. Phoenix’s KW-Software subsidiary will be responsible for the technical integration.

º  Softing has developed a fieldbus chip that will allow users to incorporate Profibus PA or Fieldbus Foundation technology into host or field devices. The UFC100-F1 chip can replace Yamaha’s similar YTZ420 device directly, but is claimed to perform better in terms of jitter and memory capacity.

º  The Japanese bearing manufacturer Koyo has developed a bearing for cleanroom applications which, it claims, produces half as many particles as conventional clean bearings, while lasting ten times longer. The Clean Pro PRZ bearing uses a special gel coating that acts as a lubricant for the rolling contact surfaces.

º  GE Aviation has announced a strategic partnership with the Universities of Nottingham and Warwick to conduct "revolutionary" research into electrical power and actuation technologies, targeted initially at aerospace applications. The Smartpact project will look at power conversion, actuation systems and aircraft electrical system power design, among other topics.

º  American Superconductor and Teco-Westinghouse have formed a research joint venture to develop high-temperature superconductor technologies for direct-drive 10MW wind turbine generators for offshore use. In a $6.8m, 30-month project, they hope to develop technologies that will cut the size and weight of offshore wind generators and boost their efficiency, resulting in lower electricity costs.

º  The power supply manufacturer Lambda UK is investing an initial $100,000 in a collaborative research project with the University of Sheffield to evaluate methods for improving substantially the power density of AC/DC power supplies. The year-long project is expected to produce commercial products in 3–5 years.

º  The US bearing manufacturer Timken has developed a set-screw locking system designed to eliminate problems such as nicks and other forms of shaft damage. The Shaft Guarding technology transfers pressure from the set-screws through a hardened stainless steel band.

º  Adept Technology has developed a PLC interface that allows its range of SCARA, articulated, Cartesian and parallel robots to be programmed using a Rockwell PLC-based language. The ePLC Connect interface, which provides an Ethernet/IP-based network for robots, eliminates the need to learn a new programming language.

º  LonMark International has opened its first authorised test centre in the UK. The centre, in Hertfordshire, will offer certification of products intended for use on Lon control networks.

º  The IEC has published a new edition of its IEC 60947-1 standard for low-voltage switchgear and controlgear. Changes in the fifth edition include new materials to support EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) tests, and an annex covering digital I/Os for compatibility with PLCs.

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