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22 October, 2020

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Virtual reality demo gives remote control of a robot via 5G

12 June, 2019

Visitors to Rittal’s stand at the 2019 Hannover Fair could take part in a demonstration in which they used virtual reality (VR) glasses and two VR controllers to control a two-arm industrial robot, connected to an edge-based 5G network. The task was to plug a large replica of a conductor connection terminal onto a rail, insert a cable into the terminal, and disconnect it again. There was immediate optical and acoustic feedback on whether or not they were successful in the task.


Machine learning tool helps OEMs to deliver ROIs in ‘months’

12 June, 2019

At the 2019 Hannover Fair, Weidmüller presented an automated machine learning (ML) tool for machinery and plant engineering that will allow OEMs to create and develop models without having to rely on data scientists or external specialists. This will ensure that their knowledge of processes and machinery stays inside the company.


Now you can talk to a machine to tell it when to start

12 June, 2019

Iconics, the software developer recently acquired by Mitsubishi, has developed a voice interface for machinery that allows users to perform tasks such as starting and stopping equipment, changing temperatures, adjusting setpoints, and viewing work orders, without looking away from what they’re doing or lifting a finger. The Genesis64 Voice Machine Interface (VMI) allows them to use natural spoken commands to boost productivity and improve operational efficiency.


Gearbox data standard supports digital twins

12 June, 2019

Schaeffler, SEW-Eurodrive and FVA (the German research association for power transmission engineering) have collaborated to draw up a standard modelling system and nomenclature for gearboxes. Called REXS (reusable engineering exchange standard), the format will replace manual data exchanges between CAE (computer-aided engineering) tools, and eliminate the need for repeated gearbox modelling processes. This will cut development times, and the format can also be used to generate digital twins that can be used to analyse gearbox operating data.


Automated print inspection system avoids nuisance stops

10 May, 2019

A UK coding and print inspection specialist AutoCoding Systems has collaborated with the sensor-maker Sick to develop what they claim is the first fully-automatic smart vision inspection system for printed coding and markings on food, pharmaceutical and other consumer goods packaging.


Collab combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring

10 May, 2019

Schaeffler and Bonfiglioli are collaborating on a technology that combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring. At the recent Hannover Fair, they demonstrated the TorqueTracking technology being applied to geared motors used as yaw drives for wind turbines. They are developing a pilot project that will use the combined technology to monitor overloading of these yaw drives, thus increasing maintenance intervals and allowing a change from fixed-interval to load-based maintenance.


Project will develop electric propulsion for UK airship

09 May, 2019

The UK is leading a £1m project to develop electric propulsion technologies for aircraft, using a helium airship as the initial platform. The E-HAV1 project aims to develop a 500kW electric propulsor for the Airlander 10 airship which is being developed by Bedford-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). The intention is to replace the craft’s existing fuel-burning forward engines as the first step towards an all-electric version of the craft.


IIoT technology 'closes the factory-cloud gap'

08 May, 2019

HMS Networks has announced a technology that, it says, will close the gap between the factory floor and the cloud, allowing manufacturers to implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in an easy and secure way. The new “end-to-end” concept, combines Anybus Edge gateways that connect to industrial hardware, with HMS’ Hub, which provides secure data connections and integration wth IoT software, as well as a customisable Hub portal with data management and visualisation functions.


Smart sensor checks the condition of pillow block bearings

08 May, 2019

ABB has adapted its smart sensor technology, previously used to monitor the condition of electric motors, to help users of pillow block bearings to minimise downtime.


AI module plugs into controls to spot production problems

30 April, 2019

Rockwell Automation has announced an add-on module for its ControlLogix controllers that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect production anomalies and alert workers so they can investigate or intervene. The FactoryTalk Analytics LogixAI module fits into a controller chassis and streams control data over the backplane to build predictive models. It can monitor production operations continuously, detecting any anomalies.


$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.


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