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December News in Brief

01 December, 2010

♦  STMicroelectronics has developed a motor control module that mounts directly on a motor and incorporates an industrial Ethernet interface. The SPIMD20 module, developed with motion control specialist Robox, can drive brushless three-phase motors up to 2kW and could be used for robots, conveyors, packaging and other applications. It is expected to cut engineering costs and time-to-market.

♦  Sercos III is claimed to be the first high-performance real-time Ethernet communications system to support FDT technology, which standardises the communications interface between field devices and engineering tools. The development was announced at the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany. It will allow users to configure Sercos III devices via FDT’s DTM device drivers and graphical interfaces.

♦  The EtherCat Technology Group claims to have become the world’s largest fieldbus organisation, with more than 1,500 member companies from 52 countries, including more than 400 in Asia. At the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, a multivendor drives demo showed 35 axes of motion from 22 vendors operating synchronously on one EtherCat network.

♦  Siemens is opening its Drive-Cliq interface system to encoder manufacturers, allowing them to integrate its DQ100 interface chip into their products. Sensors with this chip will be able to connect easily to Siemens Sinamics S120 drives and to exchange parameterisation and control data. Components with the Drive-Cliq interface use electronic rating plates for error-free configuration.

♦  The openSafety standard is now available for Profinet, as well as Sercos III, Modbus TCP, Ethernet TCP/IP and Powerlink. The Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group says that this means that openSafety is now available for real-time Ethernet protocols covering 91% of the industrial Ethernet market. The TÜV-certified protocol is claimed to be the only ready-to-use safety technology that runs on all transport protocols. It is suitable for systems up to SIL3.

♦  SKF and Imperial College London have opened a technology centre for advanced modelling and measurements in tribology – the science of interacting surfaces. The centre will carry out research which will help SKF to prolong bearing lives. SKF will also support several PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

♦  Analog Devices has developed a vibration analysis device in a sugarcube-sized package that can operate autonomously to detect, identify and isolate possible vibration sources in equipment including bearings. The iSensor device is based on a three-axis Mems (micro-electromechanical system) accelerometer with programmable embedded programming.

♦  The power semiconductor specialist Semikron has developed a range of 1.2kV intelligent power modules for inverter applications up to 15kW which, it claims, are half the size of other IPMs in this power range. Semikron says that the MiniSkiip IPM, which weighs 55g and occupies 49cm3, will lead to the development of compact inverters with lower production costs.

♦  Endpoint Protector has released a free tool that prevents Autorun-based malware, such as the Stuxnet worm, from spreading through USB ports and other computer interfaces. These worms take advantage of unsecured USB ports to infect as many computers as possible. The AutoRun Disable tool can be downloaded from

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