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January News in Brief

01 January, 2012

♦  Sercos International has announced a single-chip controller for simple Sercos III slave devices. The FPGA-based Sercos EasySlave has a real-time channel with one input and one output connection, and supports cycle times as short as 31.25µs. The IP core contains all of the functions of a Sercos slave connection, including the associated software library for I/O devices such as encoders. I/O applications are synchronised in the Sercos cycle. An evaluation kit is available for an easy introduction to Sercos slave development.

♦  ODVA has defined an “energy object” that will help manufacturers to view energy usage at various levels of their enterprises. The object will allow them to build a virtual “energy usage tree” representing energy consumption. An electrical energy object provides data reporting and diagnostics capabilities for electrical energy users, while a non-electrical object reports data on other sources such as gas, fuel oil and steam.

♦  The US-based Power Efficiency Corporation has developed an energy-saving soft-start for hydraulic elevators, incorporating its patented E-Save technology. The electronically controlled, three-phase soft-starts with motor protection cover a wide range of currents and voltages. There are more than 700,000 hydraulic elevators in use in the US, 10% of which need new starters each year. There are also 14,000 new hydraulic elevators installed each year.

♦  Rockwell Automation has produced a tool that calculates the potential energy savings from using variable speed drives to power pumps and fans. It is available online or as a free app for iPhones, iPads, BlackBerry and Android systems from their online stores. The tool allows users to compare conventional control methods, such as pump valves and fan dampers, with VSDs and to see the potential savings.

♦  At the recent SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany, the Ethernet Powerlink Standardisation Group demonstrated the use of Powerlink and openSafety to communicate and transmit power and data simultaneously via a slipring to B&R drives mounted on a rotating machine part. The link was carrying a 24V power supply, a 750V DC bus and data transferred at 100Mbit/s via the slipring.

♦  Semikron has developed an inverter platform for renewable energy applications. The Semistack assembly is a three-phase inverter system that uses Semikron’s SKiiP intelligent power module (IPM) with integrated heatsink, IGBT, driver with protective sensors and functions. The modular topology supports applications from around 450kW to more than 3MW.

♦  The German actuator manufacturer Auma has developed a coating process which protects its products against corrosion, even when their housings have to be opened for installation, commissioning or other procedures. The two-layer powder coating process is used to coat parts before assembly. It replaces the previous procedure of applying a coating after final assembly. Auma has redesigned its components and revamped its manufacturing processes to implement the new approach.

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