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August News in Brief

01 August, 2008

º  A US company Strata Capita says that its subsidiary, Green Home Inc, is negotiating to acquire the rights to an "eco-friendly" electric motor that uses a patented technology to reduce power consumption, while improving power output. Initial tests on a 12V DC version of the motor produced a 208% increase in speed while consuming 7% les power than currently available designs, according to Strata. Potential applications are said to include domestic appliances and electric cars.

º  Safety experts from Siemens in the US have teamed up with several technical publications to launch an interactive Web site that provides resources covering industrial automation safety issues. The SafetyBase site covers topics such as standards and regulations, as well as providing tips on improving machine, process and personnel safety. It includes white papers, case studies, blogs, Webcasts, videos and discussion forums.

º  Utah-based Raser Technologies is developing a 100mpg (2.8 l/100km) hybrid light truck that will use electricity as its main fuel. The truck, propelled by a 200kW motor and lithium-ion batteries, is expected to cut fuel costs by up to 75% by driving in an all-electric mode during typical daily fleet routes of up to 65km. Beyond this battery range, it can continue up to 650km by generating its own electricity. The Californian utility PG&E is planning to test two of the trucks.

º  Mitsubishi’s European semiconductor business group has announced a new version of software that helps design engineers to select power semiconductor modules for particular applications. Version 4.0 of the Melcosim software takes into account issues such as power losses that occur during specific application conditions, as well as junction temperature rises as a result of the power losses.

º  Elau, Schneider Electric’s packaging automation specialist, is simplifying the integration of its parent’s fieldbus-equipped automation components into its own modular automation systems. It is developing IEC 61131-3 compliant function blocks to provide bus connections by parameterisation, rather than programming. This will make it easier to integrate Schneider products such as variable speed drives, motor protection systems and I/O.

º  The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTM), the UK network for micro and nano technologies, has launched a HiperNano Sector Focus Group to raise awareness and promote developments in nanomaterials for the high-performance engineering industry. Members will find out about the benefits of using nanomaterials for components subjected to extreme environments such as high temperatures, friction, corrosion, erosion and impacts. Membership is free.

º  The PLCopen organisation is re-activating its TC4 technical committee to work on an IEC 61131-3 information model for use in the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture (UA) specifications. The goal is to define a model as part of the OPC UA specification. The model already exists in the standard IEC 61131-1 software model but needs to be re-specified according to the technical requirements of OPC UA, without changing its contents.

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