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23 April, 2019

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$4.5m funding will help to market ‘revolutionary’ motor

27 March, 2019

A US start-up has raised $4.5m to help market a “revolutionary” electric motor that uses multiple rotors in “ways never before devised” and can adapt to conditions while in motion. Compared to the best permanent magnet motors, Linear Labs claims that its Hunstable Electric Turbine (HET) motor delivers twice the torque density, three times the power density, and twice the output for a given motor size.


Non-contact vibration sensors will open up new uses

18 March, 2019

An Israeli company has developed a non-contact, laser-based sensing technology that measures the vibrations emitted by industrial machinery to predict and prevent mechanical failures before they occur. VocalZoom says that because its sensors can monitor machine health without touching the equipment, they will have a much wider range of applications than traditional predictive maintenance systems, as well as avoiding the deployment and downtime costs associated with fixed sensors.


Soft robotic gripper can lift items 100 times its weight

15 March, 2019

Researchers in the US have developed a robotic gripper that’s soft and strong. The cone-shaped structure, called Magic Ball, collapses in on objects and can pick up items that are 100 times its weight. The gripper can grasp objects ranging from soup cans and wine glasses, to single florets of broccoli.


Automated loading of parcels into trucks tackles ‘the last mile’

08 March, 2019

Trials have begun of a system that can load parcels automatically into delivery trucks, thus reducing the amount of manual work needed, and saving time. The system, called PackMyRide, has been developed by the supply chain specialist, Dematic, and is being tested in a pilot project at distribution centre operated by the delivery company DPD in Nagold, Germany.


Mitsubishi reveals ‘first’ 102 products to support CC-Link TSN

07 March, 2019

Mitsubishi Electric has announced the release of 102 factory automation products that will be the first to support the next-generation CC-Link IE TSN industrial network that was announced at the end of 2018. The products – which include PLCs, servo amplifiers, robots, HMIs, inverters and CNCs – will start to reach the market in May 2019. They will include 65 new-generation servodrives and seven motion controllers.


Pneumatic ‘hand’ and ‘arm’ can collaborate safely with humans

01 March, 2019

Festo has unveiled its latest nature-inspired technologies: a pneumatically-operated “hand” and “arm” which can interact safely with people. Both will make their public debut at next month’s Hannover Fair.


Module links existing motors to the cloud for analysis

01 March, 2019

Siemens has announced plans for a technology that will transmit data from existing electric motors directly to the cloud for analysis, without needing any structural modifications. At next month’s Hannover Fair, the company will demonstrate a module that will allow plant operators to view the operational status of their drive systems and to plan servicing schedules, improve efficiency, as well as extending service lives. Typical applications will include pumps, fans and compressors.


RFID helps robots to track objects and could replace vision

27 February, 2019

Researchers at MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US have developed a system that uses RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags to help robots home in on moving objects with “unprecedented” speed and accuracy. Using the system, called TurboTrack, robots can locate tagged objects within 7.5ms on average, and with an error of less than 1cm.


AI slashes the automation set-up times by up to 66%

26 February, 2019

Mitsubishi Electric and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) have developed an artificial-intelligence (AI) technology that, they say, can cut the time needed to set up factory automation (FA) equipment by up to two thirds. The technology, which combines AIST’s AI expertise with Mitsubishi FA technologies, will be implemented in Mitsubishi's Maisart (Mitsubishi AI creates the State-of-the-Art in technology) products.


German project develops autonomous ‘free form’ sensors

25 February, 2019

A consortium of German organisations has completed a 3½-year project to develop compact, intelligent, autonomous, wireless sensors that can be adapted into any shape or form factor. The Freiform (free form) project covered all aspects of sensor design – for example, signal processing, wireless data transmission, power supplies and location awareness ­– and included an investigations into mechanical, electrical and software design.


Flexible robotic gripper works like a chameleon’s tongue

20 February, 2019

A robotic gripper that holds workpieces in a similar way to how a chameleon’s tongue grabs and holds onto insects, has been developed by Festo. The DHEF “adaptive shape gripper” can pick up and put down objects of many different shapes without needing any manual adjustments.


Siemens, Festo and Rexroth join forces on carrier system

18 February, 2019

At the Hannover Fair in April, Siemens and Festo will present an new linear motor drive and control concept, said to offer flexible, efficient and high-performance motion for short-cycle applications. Siemens and Festo have integrated their Multi-Carrier System (MCS), first announced in 2015, with Bosch Rexroth’s TS 2plus transfer system, adding the modular MCS to Rexroth's building-block system which is based on standardised units.


Busbar trunking will carry data as well as power

15 February, 2019

At the Hannover Fair in April, Siemens will unveil a technology that allows busbar trunking systems to carry not only current, but also data, reducing the need for data cables and complex cabling installations. The new form of data transmission will be available for Siemens’ BD2, LD, and LI busbar trunking systems in its Sivacon 8PS portfolio.


Polymer frames result in light, efficient, direct-cooled motors

05 February, 2019

German researchers are developing a new cooling concept for electric motors that uses polymers in the motor housings, resulting in lightweight motors with high power densities and efficiencies. The motors are aimed, in particular, at electric vehicle applications where these characteristics, combined with the motor’s small size, will help to save weight and space.


Deep-learning machine vision opens up new possibilities

04 February, 2019

The emergence of machine vision technologies that use “deep learning” is expanding manufacturers’ capabilities and flexibility, leading to greater cost efficiencies and higher production yields, according to a new report from ABI Research. It predicts that these technologies will achieve a CAGR of 20% between 2017 and 2023, with revenues reaching $34bn by 2023.


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