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In Brief
Published:  01 October, 2006

In Brief

Profibus International has released a review version of the specification for its TCI (Tool Calling Interface) which will allow proprietary operating tools to be integrated into Profinet using an interface implemented in a central controller and the proprietary device tools. The technology, which various vendors are now implementing in prototypes, is aimed, in particular at variable speed drives and machine safety components. .

At last months` FachPack exhibition in Germany, Siemens launched a standardised software library for handling tasks in packaging machines. The Easy Application Top Loading software tool is said to reduce engineering and programming costs significantly.

• TM Robotics has announced a robotic system that automates the opening and cutting of cases, boxes and cartons. The ABOT system, developed in the US by Cornerstone, uses a vision system to analyse boxes moving along a conveyor and tailors its cutting operation to a pre-programmed pattern. The system can handle up to 1,200 boxes per hour in any order or combination. TM says the system can pay for itself in six months for a business handling 2,500 boxes per day.

• Schaeffler has developed a re-usable plastic container for shipping large roller bearings, instead of the traditional disposable wooden crates. One size of the new, stackable K-Boxes can be used for various sizes of bearing, using adjustable eccentric straps.

• Autodesk, the company behind AutoCAD, has launched an initiative that will allow engineering students to download its software products for free. The Student Engineering and Design Community will also allow students to take part in global forums, discussions and tutorials, as well as accessing a design library and finding out about job vacancies. More than 6,000 students have already signed up to a test site at

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