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October News in Brief

01 October, 2010

♦  Kuka Robotics has started a teaser campaign for a new robotics system that, it says, will change the face of the robotics industry, cutting costs, design and changeover times, and space. The “revolutionary” system, developed with Rockwell Automation, is due to be unveiled at the Pack Expo packaging show in Chicago at the end of October. A Web site has been set up to reveal some aspects of the system before the official launch and visitors can sign up to receive updates.
♦  The FDT Group has released a draft of its new FDT 2.0 standard for review by its members. This update moves the standard to a full .Net development environment and provides performance enhancements and new features. It also cuts the number of interfaces by almost 50%, making it easier to develop and maintain FDT-based applications. The approved final version is due to be released early in 2011.

♦  The Japanese bearing-maker NSK has developed a hybrid bearing with ceramic balls that boasts a long life and acts as an electrical insulator. The bearing, aimed at applications such as wind turbines, prevents electricity from passing through the power train, thus minimising damage from current surges or circulating currents that could cause electrical corrosion.

♦  Brunel University in the UK has inaugurated a £9m Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre which will develop advanced technologies for reusing, remanufacturing and recycling secondary metals. Some £4.6m of the funding is coming from 15 industrial partners, trade bodies and knowledge transfer networks, and £4.5m will come over five years from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge are partners in the project.

♦  More than 2,000 ePlan macros for Leuze electronics’ machine safety products – including light guards and curtains, interlocks and laser scanners – can now be downloaded from its UK Web site.

♦  The Zigbee Alliance, the group of more than 150 organisations behind the ZigBee wireless technology, has announced the establishment of a European headquarters, in Cambridge, and the appointment of Larry Taylor as its director of European standards development. More than 40% of the Alliance’s members have European operations working on ZigBee-related products. The Cambridge team will address EU energy management needs and smart grid activities.

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