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17 July, 2019

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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.


Monitor stops dry running in hazardous area pumps

01 February, 2019

Siemens has developed a technology that prevents centrifugal pumps in hazardous areas from running dry. The technique said to need less hardware, to provide early detection of faults, and to avoid damage to pumps. It also claimed to cut the time and money spent on maintenance, and to result in higher system availabilities and efficiencies.


Using IO-Link for analogue signals cuts costs

31 January, 2019

Balluff has come up with a device that saves money by using IO-Link to handle analogue inputs and outputs, and uses unshielded three-conductor cables instead of shielded cables. It avoids the need for marshalling panels and expensive analogue interfaces, and is said to improve process quality by switching from analogue to digital data transmission.


System links sensors to any cloud in less than a minute

29 January, 2019

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show, a German start-up demonstrated a technology for connecting industrial sensors and actuators rapidly to almost any cloud platform, without needing edge gateways or fieldbuses. The system connects IO-Link-supporting sensors to the cloud using a plug-and-play approach. It recognises and configures IO-modules (such as IO-Link masters) and sensors automatically.


Machine-based edge platform cuts data costs

29 January, 2019

Siemens has developed a hardware platform for edge applications that captures and processes  manufacturing data at the point of production. Based on an embedded Simatic IPC227E industrial PC, the platform can process large volumes of data from machinery almost in real-time, bridging the gap between local and cloud-based data processing. Siemens says that, by processing large volumes of data in advance and sending only relevant data to the cloud or a company's own IT infrastructure, its Industrial Edge platform will help users to cut the costs of data storage and transmission.


Hybrid system integrates mechanical and touch controls

29 January, 2019

A UK specialist in touch sensors has developed a technology that integrates touch and physical controls. Newcastle-based Zytronic’s hybrid touch technology allows tactile buttons or mechanical dials to be incorporated in and around the active area of a projected capacitive touchscreen and to be connected invisibly through the viewable area of the screen. It claims that this is the first time that these two technologies have been integrated in this way.


Smart sensors will spot cable problems before they fail

29 January, 2019

ABB is developing a cable protection system that will be able to sense potential problems, such as condensation or rising temperatures, in the conduit that protects critical electrical cables. Using the analytical power and secure cloud-based communications of ABB’s Ability platform, the system will report and analyse data remotely, and allow facility managers to keep tabs on their electrical cables via smartphones, laptops or other remote devices.


‘First’ radar-based safety barrier is unaffected by dust

29 January, 2019

An Italian company claims to have developed the world’s first radar-based safety barrier system which, unlike optical systems, is not affected by smoke, dust, machining waste or liquid splashes. Inxpect’s LBK system is certified for SIL 2 / PL d for safety-critical applications.


Cobot automates the chore of applying attachment tapes

16 January, 2019

3M has collaborated with the American Industry 4.0 expert Eckhart to develop a system that uses a collaborative robot to apply attachment tapes automatically in industrial and automotive processes. The 3M Automated Taping System (ATS) uses a Universal Robots cobot to apply 3M Attachment Tapes – a process that is usually done by hand.


Flexible chain concept marks a ‘paradigm shift’ in light grids

14 January, 2019

The German sensor-maker Sick claims to have reinvented the industrial light grid with a flexible system consisting of up to 60 individual beams that are daisy-chained to each other and controlled by a single host. Unlike traditional rigid profiles with fixed send and receive modules, the transmitters and receivers in the new FlexChain system can be positioned flexibly with different photoelectric sensing technologies – through-beam, retro-reflective and proximity – being mixed freely to suit an application.


IE5 motors with PCB stators slash costs and weights

11 January, 2019

A US motor developer claims to have designed a “transformational” high-efficiency motor that will cost up to 25% less to produce and will weigh up to 60% less than comparable motors. Texas-based Infinitum Electric has just raised $1.8m of Series A financing, bringing its total funding since its founding in 2016 to $2.7m. It plans to use the funds to launch an integrated HVAC-specific version of the motor and to boost r&d for applications in the electric vehicle, and oil and gas, markets.


Levitating transport systems could be ‘a motion revolution’

19 December, 2018

A revolution in production machinery design in which components float between workstations on magnetically levitated movers was unveiled at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition by two different developers. On neighbouring stands, both Beckhoff and Bosch Rexroth were demonstrating their visions of the future in which components are carried smoothly, silently and friction-free on movers that have six degrees of freedom. As well as moving freely in X and Y directions, they can rotate, move up and down by a few millimetres, and even tilt – to avoid spilling liquids, for example.


CC-Link announces ‘first’ industrial network with TSN

19 December, 2018

The CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) claims that it will be the first organisation to offer an open industrial network that uses Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) technology. At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, it announced that it has completed a specification that adds TSN to its existing CC-Link IE Ethernet-based network, which supports operating speeds up to 1Gbit/s.


Beckhoff cranks EtherCat speeds up to 10Gbit/s

19 December, 2018

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Beckhoff announced the development of two new versions of EtherCat that will support Ethernet transmission rates of 1Gbit/s and 10Gbit/s. Known as EtherCat G and G10 (which is still at the proof-of-concept stage), the high-speed versions are aimed at data-intensive applications involving equipment such as machine vision, complex motion control systems and measuring equipment with high sampling rates.


Matrix composites slash motor rotor weights by 40%

19 December, 2018

A collaborative UK project has shown that the efficiency and performance of electric motors can be improved significantly, and their rotor weights cut by 40%, by using rotors formed from aluminium matrix composites (AMCs). Other potential benefits include faster assembly times, and optimised strength-to-weight and stiffness-to-weight ratios, even in continuous products. The technology could also have benefits for other rotating machines, including fans, flywheels and turbines.


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