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24 October, 2021

News » Technology News 

Electrostatic motors ‘will outperform magnetic machines’

12 March, 2021

The US engineering innovation company Draper is developing a family of electric motors that operate on fundamentally different principles from conventional motors. It says that the new machines will be more powerful and efficient, lighter, and less expensive to manufacture than standard motors. Underpinning the initiative is a recent patent awarded to Draper that covers aspects of the technology.


Self-teaching robot picks random items with 94% accuracy

01 March, 2021

Automation experts at the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre have developed a robot that can teach itself how to pick up unknown objects from a randomly-arranged tray or bin. They say that tests on a wide range of objects – including metal components, cosmetic containers and fruit – have achieved success rates of up to a 94% for attempted picks.


‘First industrial 5G router’ allows users to test the technology

23 February, 2021

The Swedish industrial communications specialist HMS Networks has announced what it claims is the first commercially available industrial 5G wireless router optimised for private industrial networks. The router supports Ericsson Industry Connect 5G networks and allows users to get started with 5G. HMS is also offering a starter kit for testing and evaluating 5G in industrial settings.


Project marries TSN with 5G to deliver real-time comms

15 February, 2021

A consortium of organisations including Mitsubishi Electric, Ericsson and Hirschmann, is developing an end-to-end real-time industrial communications infrastructure based on 5G mobile technology and TSN (Time Sensitive Networking). The partners in the German-based 5G-Comet project want to combine TSN, which was originally developed for wired networks, with wireless 5G technology in a real-time system which provides reliable, secure communications from field-level sensors and actuators, via 5G and Ethernet connections, to an edge cloud.


Lightweight gear-motor-drive kit could slash robot costs

04 February, 2021

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a lightweight, low-cost gearbox with an integrated motor and controls which, it says, could cut the cost of collaborative and service robots. The modular gearbox kit consists of a tribo-polymer strainwave gear, combined with a brushless, external-rotor DC motor and controller, force control electronics, and an absolute encoder.


Smart production line boosts performance of humans and robots

02 February, 2021

The Japanese automation supplier Omron claims to have taken human-machine collaboration to a new level with a “breakthrough” intelligent cell production line that integrates sensing, vision and robotics, and is designed to enhance the performance of both humans and robots as they learn from each other. Aimed, in particular, at high-mix, low-volume (HMLV) operations, the technology is said to accelerate employee training and knowledge transfer, eliminate defects in production, and enhance workflow efficiencies.


Shortwave IR camera detects defects that the eye cannot see

01 February, 2021

The German machine vision specialist Chromasens has launched its first shortwave infrared (SWIR) linescan camera, capable of picking out defects in the 950–1,700nm spectral range that are invisible to the human eye. For example, the sensor in the allPixa SWIR camera can detect fill levels in non-transparent containers, identify water and fat in foods, help to tackle counterfeiting, identify chemicals, and monitor plant moisture to prevent over- or under-watering.


‘Breakthrough’ robot can make decisions based on what it sees

21 January, 2021

Robotics experts at the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry have developed a flexible industrial robot that, they say, has the decision-making capabilities of a human operator. Using a combination of machine learning and visual recognition, the robot can be taught to make assembly decisions based on components put in front of it. The MTC is hailing this as “a breakthrough development” which could save manufacturers the costs of expensive fixed tooling.


Motor material ‘could eliminate ten 1GW power plants’

04 January, 2021

Researchers at Toshiba in Japan have developed a new magnetic material that, they say, will deliver major improvements in electric motor efficiencies at low cost and without needing any design changes, and could lead to significant reductions in power consumption. Toshiba estimates that if the material was used in all of the electric motors in use worldwide today, it could eliminate the need for ten 1GW power plants.


Pioneering process ‘prints’ sensors into plastic parts

22 December, 2020

The German engineering plastics specialist igus claims to be the first company that can integrate sensors into plastics components to help predict the need for maintenance and avoid downtime. The company’s engineers have combined additive manufacturing and Industry 4.0 technologies into a single production step that allows sensors to be incorporated into components such as polymer bearings using multi-material 3D printing techniques.


Drones and mics help to spot conveyor problems

22 December, 2020

The German conveyor belt manufacturer Continental has developed a technology that uses drones and acoustic monitoring to identify potential problems on large-scale conveyors before costly damage occurs. The technology replaces laborious manual inspections by using sensor-based technologies that allow precise inspection and enable predictive maintenance.


Edge app makes drives smarter and spots anomalies

01 December, 2020

Siemens has launched its first edge application for drives, claiming that it will make its Sinamics drive systems more intelligent, and will pave the way for new business models. The company has also announced an AI-based module for optimising the maintenance efficiency of motor-based systems.


First quantum sensors will deliver ‘unmatched accuracy’

11 November, 2020

The German sensor-maker Sick has signed an agreement with a specialist subsidiary of Trumpf called Q.ANT to make quantum optical sensor technologies available for industrial use, potentially allowing measurements to be made with previously impossible accuracy. They say they have already successful tested the world’s first quantum optical sensor for serial production. The first commercial versions, planned for 2021, will be used to analyse substances in the air with the ability to detect particles that are about two hundred times smaller than the width of a human hair.


VSDs are ‘first with on-board corrosive gas detection’

09 November, 2020

Mitsubishi Electric has released a new generation of variable-speed drives which, it claims, are the first to incorporate internal detection of corrosive gases which, combined with AI (artificial intelligence) functions, will extend their operating lives and reduce downtime. The compact FR-E800 drives also have built-in support for multiple networks – including CC-Link IE TSN (Time Sensitive Networking), Ethernet/IP, Profinet and Modbus TCP/IP – without needing costly option cards.


‘Revolutionary’ PCB windings halve the size of micromotors

27 October, 2020

A Belgian start-up, Mirmex Motor, has developed a new method for manufacturing high-power-density windings for micromotors that, it claims, will revolutionise traditional winding design and manufacturing methods. The technology, which is the result of seven years of r&d, uses windings formed from flexible printed circuits and is claimed to result in motors that are 50% smaller, 70% more dynamic, with a third of the heat losses of motors that use conventional copper windings, and can be assembled ten times faster.


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