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30 May, 2024

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Large mobile robot opens up new options for flexible assembly

18 January, 2024

German researchers are developing a large mobile robot that, they believe, could bring much more flexibility to industrial applications than conventional fixed-base robot systems. The mobile platform, built by the German firm Broetje-Automation, carries a six-axis Comau robot arm with a 150kg load capacity.

Encoder with built-in vibration analysis avoids downtime

16 January, 2024

The German encoder specialist Heidenhain has developed a rotary encoder with a built-in accelerometer that allows position measurements and vibration analysis to be performed by a single component, thus simplifying condition monitoring and maintenance planning in high-wear automated systems.

‘Breakthrough’ in calculations could double bearing lives

08 January, 2024

The Japanese bearings-maker NSK claims that it can revise the basic dynamic load rating of many of its rolling bearings to double their rolling contact fatigue life without any changes to their design or materials, following a “breakthrough” in the way bearing lives are calculated – the first significant change to these calculations in more than 60 years. The development will help end-users to improve productivity, cut the frequency with which they need to replace their bearings, and reduce waste.

Project aims to offer a second life to motor components

04 January, 2024

A consortium of German organisations, led by Schaeffler, is developing techniques that will allow electric motor components to be re-used at the end of the motor’s life, rather than being shredded and recycled, as happens at present.

Low-cost bionic hand gives cobots human-like capabilities

02 January, 2024

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a humanoid hand gripper that allows its ReBeL family of low-cost collaborative robots (cobots) to take on human-like tasks. The hand, made of lubrication-free plastics, has been designed to imitate human hand movements, and costs from £2,668 ($3,367) in the UK.

UK start-up says it can boost drive efficiencies

21 December, 2023

A UK power semiconductor developer is one of two winners of a competition organised by ABB to find start-up companies that are pushing the boundaries of drives and motors technologies. Cambridge-based Quantum Power Transformation (QPT) is developing a power semiconductor technology based on gallium nitride (GaN) that, it believes, could deliver substantial energy and size savings compared to other technologies in variable-speed drives and other applications.

‘Paradigm-shifting’ in-wheel drive could revamp EV designs

29 November, 2023

The Korean automotive giants Kia and Hyundai have announced an in-wheel drive technology that they predict will revolutionise the design of future transport systems. The Universal Wheel Drive System – or Uni Wheel – moves reduction gears inside a vehicle’s wheel hub, and locates a compact motor close to the wheel, reducing the length of the drive shafts and freeing up space within the vehicle.

Solid-state breakers could open up novel DC applications

27 November, 2023

The use of DC (direct current) in industry promises new ways to simplify the integration of renewable energy and battery technologies, and to increase energy efficiencies.

IO-Link safety system is ‘the first’ to operate at the field level

27 November, 2023

Pilz claims to be offering the first safe field-level communication system based on the IO-Link communications system. Its new IO-Link Safety (IOLS) system comprises a master, field devices and accessories. The package is said to make it easier to integrate IO-Link Safety technology into plant and machinery, and to exploit the benefits of the non-proprietary IO-Link system for functional safety.

‘First’ reducer with built-in sensors adds IoT to mechanical kit

24 November, 2023

Nidec Drive Technology has developed a precision reducer for robots and machine tools, with built-in torque, temperature and angle sensors. The Smart₋-Flexwave device can detect the reducer’s output torque, its internal temperature and input axis angle while taking up no more space than a conventional reducer without sensors.

AI app identifies machines and suggests parts

22 November, 2023

Plastics specialist igus has developed an app that uses AI to identify machinery and to suggest lubrication-free components that could be used in it. The user simply takes a photo of an application and its surroundings on a mobile device, and the igusGo app identifies the equipment and searches through 10,000s of options to suggest which of igus’ products could have applications in the machine. It also suggests where there is potential to improve the machine’s technology and save money.

Tech creates bridge from motor switches to digital world

18 November, 2023

At the recent SPS show in Germany, ABB demonstrated a technology that offers a simple way to digitise AF contactors and motor starters and provide information about their loads. The Novolink system can be integrated easily with existing wiring and contactors, which can continue to be used. The system can be retrofitted at any time.

AI camera chip allows overlays in live video streams

13 November, 2023

The German machine vision specialist IDS has collaborated with Ambarella, a developer of consumer visual AI products, to produce a new class of intelligent industrial camera that acts as an edge device and generates AI overlays in live video streams.

Siemens develops AI manufacturing tool with Microsoft

13 November, 2023

Microsoft and Siemens have jointly developed an AI-powered assistant – called Siemens Industrial Copilot – aimed at improving human-machine collaboration in manufacturing. They are also integrating Siemens’ Teamcenter PLM (product lifecycle management) software with Microsoft Teams to simplify virtual collaboration between design engineers and others, thus helping to pave the way to the industrial metaverse.

Novel high-efficiency motor ‘will shake up the industry’

09 November, 2023

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG has invented a hybrid motor technology that, it says, combines the best technical characteristics of permanent magnet (PM) and synchronous reluctance (SynRM) motors, and will provide higher efficiencies at all speeds than induction motors. WEG predicts that the W23 Sync+ technology, which will be available in IE5 and IE6 efficiencies, “will shake up the industry”.

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