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19 June, 2021

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Collaboration brings immersive encounters to drives users

18 June, 2021

Siemens has joined forces with the German visual computing specialist Threedy to develop a technology that combines IIoT and 3D data to help drives users to understand their systems better and resolve faults more efficiently.


‘Last-mile’ technology stretches Ethernet range to 1.7km

18 June, 2021

The semiconductor manufacturer Analog Devices (ADI) has developed a technology that stretches the distance over which industrial Ethernet can operate to as much as 1.7km. ADI says the development will allow previously unavailable data to be accessed across networks, and used to assess data such as asset health, raw material usage, and process parameters, enabling cleaner manufacturing.


Delta robot behaves like a cobot and needs no guards

11 June, 2021

A Swiss company has developed a high-speed delta pick-and-place robot which behaves like a cobot (collaborative robot), allowing it to operate safely alongside humans without needing protective barriers or performance compromises. Wyzo – a subsidiary of the packaging specialist Demaurex, which was a pioneer of delta robot technology – claims that the development represents a new category of robot which it is calling a “sidebot” (a combination of sidekick and robot).


Gear-free actuators cut lubricants and costs, and save space

10 June, 2021

A Canadian firm has developed a series of direct-drive actuators that eliminate the need for gears and belts, thus simplifying drivetrains, reducing the need for maintenance and minimising the risk of lubricant leaks, while improving performance and cutting costs. Genesis Robotics & Motion Technologies’ LiveDrive LDD 1800 actuators are aimed at applications in robots and other machinery, particularly in the food, packaging, pharmaceuticals, and electronics industries where possible contamination by lubricants has to be avoided.


Braking simulator shrinks robot cells by up to 25%

10 June, 2021

ABB has added a virtual robot braking distance function to its RobotStudio offline programming and simulation software, that calculates and simulates real-world stopping distances, avoiding the need to add safety margins to cell designs, and allowing space savings of up to 25%.


Ballscrews reduce glitches during circular interpolation

26 May, 2021

NSK claims to have an answer to the problem of machine tool quadrant glitches that occur during circular interpolation routines. It has developed a “world-first” technology that stabilises friction when a ballscrew reverses its direction of motion, significantly reducing the occurrence of these glitches.

Circular interpolation is performed on machine tools such as CNC machining centres and milling machines, as well as EDM (electro-discharge machining) machines. Defined as motion along a circular arc, it requires precise coordination of two machine axes.


Cobot welding cell targets manufacturers with short runs

20 May, 2021

A Dutch machine-builder has developed a welding cell based on a cobot (collaborative robot) that makes it easier for manufacturers to automate the welding of small batches, to introduce new products, and to allow people and machines to work together safely.


‘Breakthrough’ motor combines strengths of different technologies

10 May, 2021

The German automotive powertrain supplier Mahle is developing a magnet-free motor that, it claims, will operate with an efficiency of more than 95% at almost all operating points. The motor uses an inductive – and thus contact-, wear- and maintenance-free – technology to transmit power between the motor’s stationary and rotating parts.


Ethernet/IP can now connect to simple devices like switches

06 May, 2021

The industrial communications standards organisation ODVA has extended its EtherNet/IP specification, allowing the network to connect with “resource-constrained” in-cabinet devices such as pushbuttons and contactors. Previously, cost, size, and power restrictions have limited the use of EtherNet/IP at the edge, where many nodes are still hardwired.


‘Control tower’ tracks people and vehicles on factory floors

05 May, 2021

The Israeli-Japanese automation joint venture MusashiAI has announced a spin-out company which claims to be offering the world’s first “control tower” for monitoring and managing the activity of robots, materials and people on factory floors. The flexible, modular system uses computer vision and AI (artificial intelligence) to control and monitor movements of goods, forklifts and fleets of AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) using spatial mapping. It avoids the need to install expensive tracking hardware on robots or machines, making it possible even for small companies to automate their indoor operations.


Thumbnail-sized linear actuator weighs just 3 grammes

21 April, 2021

PiezoMotor, the Swedish specialist in piezoelectric-based micromotors, has announced a tiny actuator for applications in production automation, medical engineering and laboratories. The Link linear drive, which weighs just 3 grammes and is barely larger than a thumbnail, needs no gears and is ideal for applications with restricted installation space.


‘Revolutionary’ cobot palletiser halves costs, opening SME market

19 April, 2021

Omron has collaborated with a UK robotics systems integrator Reeco Automation to develop a cobot-based palletiser that, they claim, costs up to 50% less than a conventional robot palletiser and has a 60% smaller footprint. They believe that the development will make end-of-line robotic automation economically attractive to producers of all sizes for the first time.


First ‘cyber-immune’ gateway protects IIoT data from attacks

16 April, 2021

The Russian cyber-security specialist Kaspersky has announced the first “cyber-immune” protection technology for industrial automation systems, designed to connect field devices such as sensors securely to industrial IoT (IIoT) services. The Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway 100 system avoids the need for extra protection for gateways and connected equipment, such as anti-virus software, device controls or data diodes.


New-era robot OS is ’as easy to use as a smartphone’

15 April, 2021

The German robot-maker Kuka has announced a new operating system for its machines that, it says, will be as easy to use as a mobile phone and will mark the start of “a new era in robotics”. The iiQKA.OS system, which was previewed at the 2021 virtual Hannover Fair, will be the basis for an entire ecosystem, providing access to programs, apps, services and equipment that are easy to install, operate and use, and will allow newcomers to implement automation without specialised training, while improving and simplifying the process for experts.


Levitating transport system can operate power-free for 2h

15 April, 2021

At the virtual Hannover Fair, Festo has unveiled a superconductor-based levitating transport system that can be separated from its electrical cooling system and operate autonomously for up to two hours. This will allow contact-free handling and movement of objects and is aimed, in particular, at applications requiring high levels of cleanliness, such as laboratory automation, biotechnology or semiconductor production.


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