22 Jul 2024


SPS IPC Drives 2013 exclusive show report

If the recent SPS IPC Drives show is an accurate indicator, the automation industry appears to be shaking off the effects of the recession and is investing in innovation.

Once again, the annual SPS IPC Drives show – held in Nuremberg, Germany, in late November – smashed attendance records for both exhibitors and visitors. By the time the three-day event closed its doors, it had attracted 60,027 visitors (up from 56,874 in 2012) who came to see 1,622 exhibitors – 164 more than the previous year.

The exhibition expanded into an extra hall, taking the total floorspace to 114,000m2, compared to 106,100m2 in 2012.

Although it is still a German-dominated event, non-German exhibitors represented 30% of the total at the 2013 SPS show – a slight increase from the 29% in 2012. The biggest foreign contingents came from Italy, China and Switzerland. The USA was in fifth position with 24 exhibitors, while the UK was seventh with 21 participants.

SPS IPC Drives already has a satellite exhibition in Italy, and this will be joined in February 2015 by a new event in Ahmedabad, India. This is designed to tap into the Indian automation industry, which is estimated to be worth $2.2bn at present, and is expanding by around 12% per year.

The 2013 SPS show in Nuremberg was marked by many suppliers announcing extensions to existing product ranges, rather than launching breakthrough new technologies. Over the next few pages, we report on of some of the items on show.


The German drives and motors manufacturer Baumüller has combined its b maXX 3000 converters with its DSD, DSP and DSC servomotors to create a compact decentralised drive called the b maXX 2500. The IP65-protected drives (below) will be available with outputs up around 6.5kW, nominal torque levels of 20Nm, maximum stall torques of 105Nm. They will operate from 760V supplies.

Beckhoff was demonstrating a complete servodrive in a standard EtherCat terminal housing that can deliver up to 4A rms, 50V DC. The EL7211 servo terminals include versions that support the single-cable technology used by Beckhoff’s AM8100 servomotors.

The Swedish HMI specialist Beijer Electronics, which entered the inverter market a year ago, was showing several additions to its range of inverters. These included “competitively priced” IP20-protected models for use inside cabinets. The DIN-rail-mounting drives are available in ratings up to 11kW. Beijer also offers IP55/IP66 inverters in ratings from 0.75–160kW, with single- or three-phase inputs and options such as filters and power switches.

Bonfiglioli has extended the power range of its Active Cube inverters up to 400KW for single inverters, or 1.2MW if three are used in parallel (occupying a panel width of 1,200mm). The drives are available in 400V or 690V AC versions. The Italian company was also showing a new range of active front-ends (AFEs) which feed braking energy back into the power supply. The AEC AFEs (below), which can be configured for sinusoidal or block feed currents, are available in six frame sizes covering ratings from 5.5–400kW.


Bonfiglioli has also added six new sizes to its BMD range of synchronous motors, which now cover the torque range 1.7–50Nm, and speeds from 1,500–6,000 rpm. The motors can be used with the company’s AgiLe inverters for open-loop speed control, or with its Active Cube inverters for positioning applications. They can be equipped with EnDat or Hiperface absolute encoders for high-end positioning applications.

Control Techniques was highlighting the scalability and performance of its recently launched Unidrive M machine automation drives, using the Codesys programming environment which is provided onboard the M400 to M810 models. The M400 to M600 versions have Codesys-based PLCs while the M700 adds a real-time capability for interfacing with a 1.5-axis controller with a 250µs cycle time. The M800 model adds Ethernet communications.

Danfoss is offering 690V drives from 11–30kW in IP20 enclosures which, it claims, are the smallest on the market (520 x 230 x 242mm). The company’s 690V drives are now available in ratings up to 1.2MW.

Delta Line has a new range of three-phase stepper motors in 42, 57 and 86mm versions, covering the torque range 80mNm–6Nm. The company is also offering a series of ultraflat (9.4mm high) stepper motors from Fulling, with a step angle of 1.8 degrees, and a holding torque of 0.98Ncm.

Elmo launched a new generation of rugged integrated drives and motors that combine high-performance servomotors with its Gold servodrives. The EtherCat-based Gold Duet motor-drives cover ratings from 30W–5kW and flange sizes from 40–130, and are said to save space and wiring, and to reduce EMI, as well as cutting labour and maintenance costs.

Elmo was also showing a range of compact, high-power-density AC bus servodrives, that deliver up to 25kW of continuous power from a rectified AC input of up to 3 x 528V, with 40A continuous currents. The servodrives incorporate Elo’s Gold Line servo core designed to optimise any mechanical load, even in demanding non-linear, high-resolution applications.

Lenze was demonstrating its Smart Motor technology, first seen at the Hannover Fair, which combines AC motors with onboard controls that can deliver speeds from 500–2,600 rpm, while maintaining constant torque. Lenze says that this capability can reduce the number of different motors that users need to stock by up to 70%. The Smart Motors (above) can be operated remotely from a smartphone using the contactless NFC (near-field communication) technology.

LinMot was previewing a new generation of servodrives that includes the C1100 series for simple applications, such as replacing pneumatics, and the C1200 for more complex tasks such as synchronising axes and numerical control. Both series support Profinet and EtherCat, with the C1200 adding a modular bus that can be used with Sercos III, Ethernet IP and Powerlink. There are up to 99 programmable motion profiles and 255 storable commands. Safe Torque Off is an option.

The Italian manufacturer Lovato has a new range of drives for use on 200–240V single-phase supplies, and capable of controlling three-phase AC motors from 0.2–2.2kW. The VE1 drives offer eight preset speed curves with independent acceleration and deceleration times. They cover output
frequencies from 0–650Hz and can handle 150% overloads for 60 seconds. PID functions are built in, along with analogue inputs and outputs and an RS-485 communications port.


Moog has extended its family of single- and multi-axis modular servodrives to include optional safety functions that comply with EN 61800-5-2. The drives also incorporate a safety PLC capability that eliminates the need for external safety PLCs and improves reaction times. There are pre-programmed modules for all common sensors, available as logic elements. A scalable design allows safe I/O to be distributed across several drives. The drives are available in frame sizes 1–4, covering ratings from 4–32A.

New from Rexroth is a range of large drives in ratings from 110–500kW, up to eight of which can be used in parallel to achieve drive powers up to 4MW. In multi-axis systems, the air- or liquid-cooled drives can distribute braking energy via a DC bus and feed it into the power supply, for improved efficiency. Safety functions are built in and there is an optional motion logic system that can handle complex tasks with up to ten axes.

SEW-Eurodrive has added two new models, with continuous power ratings up to 4kW, to its DRC series of permanent-field synchronous motors with integrated drive electronics (shown above). These modular “electronic motors”, said to exceed IE4 efficiencies, are aimed mainly at conveyor applications requiring decentralised drives with built-in electronics. There are 3kW versions (DRC3) that can handle brief overloads up to 250%, and 4kW versions (DRC4) that can handle 190%.

SEW is also offering a new safety option for its decentralised Movifit FC/MC drives. The S12 option adds support for STO, SS1a/s, SLS and SDI safety functions. It can be used independently or in slave mode and the inputs can be set as one- or two-channel. The safety functions are programmed using SEW’s Movitools MotionStudio software.

Siemens has added a series of naturally-ventilated built-in torque motors to its Simotics portfolio. The rugged, high-torque (34.4–339Nm) synchronous motors with encapsulated windings can be used in applications such as slow-running gearless drives, where water cooling is impossible. They are available with outer diameters of 159 or 184mm.

Siemens also has a new cabinet inverter for pump, fan and compressor applications up to 200kW. The Sinamics G120P Cabinet drives are optimised for use with Simotics severe- and flexible-duty motors and can reduce motor noise levels by 4dB as well as achieving system efficiencies of 98%.

Sprint Electric, one of the handful of British companies at SPS IPC Drives, was showing extensions to its range of DC servo controllers that take the motor current up from a previous top rating of 2A to a maximum of 12A. The XLV controllers, housed in DIN-rail-mounting enclosures, are designed for use with permanent magnet brushed DC servomotors. They can be used in either current (torque) or speed control modes.

The Swiss motion control manufacturer Technosoft was showing a compact new panel-mounting drive for controlling linear brushless, DC brushed, and stepper motors rated up to 800W and operating at up to 80V. The iPOS8010 BX-CAT drive can operate as an EtherCat drive using the CAN-over-EtherCat protocol, or as an intelligent drive that can be programmed to execute complex motion profiles at the drive level using a built-in motion controller.

WEG has added a bypass capability to its CFW701 HVAC drives. If there is an inverter fault, the output relay connects the motor directly to the mains through an external bypass circuit. A switch on the front of the cabinet allows users to configure the bypass for manual or automatic switching. A maintenance switch allows the inverter to be replaced, tested or programmed while the motor continues operating through the bypass. A fused disconnect switch eliminates the need for extra protection components, such as circuit breakers or fuses. The CFW701 with bypass function is optionally available in IP21 or NEMA1 protection rating, in addition to the standard IP20.


Yaskawa used SPS to launch a regenerative converter suitable for either individual drives or systems of drives, servo axes or robots. The D1000 feeds excess braking energy back into the grid instead of converting it into heat. A sinusoidal input current reduces stresses in power supply components such as transformers. The three-phase D1000 will be available in 200V versions from 5–­130kW and 400V versions from 5­–630kW.

Yaskawa was also previewing a new version of its energy-saving Matrix Converter drive, which feeds regenerative braking energy back into the power grid. It says that the converter is much smaller than conventional regenerative systems. The device will be available in 200V versions with ratings from 5.5–75kW and 400V versions from 2.2–500kW.


ABB has released a new version of its Freelance distributed control system for the process sector. At is heart is the AC 900F controller, which supports up to 1,500 I/O and 10 direct I/O modules, and offers faster connections, more data storage, and a faster processor.

New from Beckhoff is a family of IP65-protected all-in-one Panel PCs, designed to be installed on mounting arms. The CP23xx PCs have multitouch displays from 12–24”, in widescreen or 4:3 formats, and landscape or portrait orientations. There is a choice of processors from two-core Celeron to four-core i7 devices. Efficient cooling allows the PCs to be used up to 45°C.

Beckhoff also has a new range of DIN-rail-mountable embedded PCs which use the latest multicore Atom CPUs for improved performance. The fanless CX5100 PCs (above) have a low power consumption.

Beijer Electronics is offering two ranges of HMI-based soft controllers which combine its iX HMIs with Codesys programming software. For small-to-medium applications there is the iX TxA SoftControl which uses 400MHz ARM9 CPUs, while for medium-to-large applications there is the TxB version using 1.1GHz Atom CPUs and offering more memory. Both include touchscreens from 4–15 inches and offer a choice of remote I/Os and fieldbuses.

Bonfiglioli was demonstrating a new range of touchscreen 800 x 480 pixel HMIs in three sizes (3.5, 7 and 10”). The LED-backlit BMI displays include Ethernet, RS-232/485, and USB ports, and have IP65-protected front sides. 

B&R Automation has expanded its X20 control system to include two new controllers with integrated I/O and a choice of 200 or 400MHz x86 CPUs. The systems come with 30 digital I/O and two analogue input channels and integrated Powerlink. Ethernet, RS-232 and USB ports are available. B&R is
also offering Hart input and output modules for its X20 communication modules.

In addition, B&R has added new controllers and terminals to its Power Panel touchscreen HMI family. The C70 controller has a 333MHz Atom CPU and can achieve cycle times as low as 1ms. It comes in three display sizes from 5.7–10.1”. The T30 terminal has two Ethernet interfaces and offers four displays from 4.3–10.1”.

Eaton has new range of touchscreen Panel PCs with dual-core 1.65Ghz CPUs and integrated graphics cards. The fanless XP500 PCs (above) run on Windows 7 and offer a choice of 10.1, 15.6 or 21.5” widescreen displays.

Following its acquisition of Crouse Hinds in 2012, Eaton has also launched a modular remote PC terminal for use in hazardous areas. The GeCma Pathfinder terminal is available in three versions: remote (RT); thin client (TC) and PC, with Ex zone 1/2 (gas) and 22 (dust) variants. There is a choice between copper transmission for distances up to 500m and fibre optic for up to 10km.

Sweden’s HMS Industrial Networks has come up with an extension module that allows users of Siemens’ Simatic S7-1200 PLCs to integrate CANopen devices into their automation systems. Up to three of the CM modules can be plugged into a S7-1200 and 16 CANopen slave modules connected to each module. The modules, which act as masters or slaves, translate between CANopen nodes and the PLC.

New from ifm electronic is a 32-bit controller for mobile applications with 64 multifunctional %%PAGE_BR%%analogue and digital I/O. The ExtendedController has more than five CAN interfaces that support all of the main bus protocols.

Kontron used the SPS show to launch a range of four modular control cabinet industrial PCs. The KBox PCs span the range from fanless box PCs based on Atom processors, to booksize PLCs using Intel’s latest i5 and i7 processors.

Kontron also launched a series of multitouch monitors that can be mounted up to 30m from their host and connected via DVI-D and USB. The modular OmniView HMIs offer a choice of widescreen displays from 15.6–21.5” and have IP65 front protection.

Mitsubishi used SPS to announce the successor to its GOT1000 family of HMIs. The new GT2000 devices (above) offer multitouch functions and gesture controls. They include the new GT27 panels, which are twice as fast as the earlier GT16 series with four times the storage capacity. Their 8.4–12.1” screens can be operated while wearing gloves and they include Ethernet and serial ports, USB connections on the front or back, and an SD card slot, with WLAN support as an option. The lower-cost GT23 panels come in 8.4” and 10.4” versions.

Pilz is now offering a range of resistive (pressure-sensitive) touchscreen displays in seven sizes from 6.5–15”. The PMI terminals are based on 1GHz ARM CPUs and run the Windows CE 6.0 Professional operating system. When used with Pilz’s PVIS diagnostic system and control systems, the terminals can display troubleshooting messages in plain text.

Rexroth has unveiled a control system for modular machines that supports real-time processing of complex processes and networking with IT systems. The expandable IndraControl XM system is based on Intel Atom processors and can be combined with a real-time I/O system to offer update times of less than 6µs for up to 256 I/O. It supports Sercos communications and includes a Gigabit Ethernet interface.

Rexroth also has a new range of controllers with multitouch displays in sizes from 4–9”. The IndraControl V controllers are also available in single-touch versions.

The German automation manufacturer Schleicher announced an EtherCat-enabled machine controller that supports applications with up to 32 interpolated axes. The i3-based ProNumeric XCI 600 controller supports the CAN-over-EtherCat profile and is compatible with most EtherCat-enabled drives. It runs the VxWorks real-time operating system in parallel with Windows 8, facilitating visualisation and communications.

New from SEW-Eurodrive is a controller that can process up to 64 axes in 1ms, with capacity to spare. The UHX71B controller can run Windows 7 Embedded in parallel with a real-time PLC with independent programming, diagnostics and visualisation. Any Windows capacity spikes have no impact on the hard real-time section.

Siemens has extended its Simatic S7-1500 controls family by adding two news CPUs. The 1515-2 PN CPU for mid-level applications (shown on the right, above) has a 30ns bit performance and two Profinet interfaces. The 1518-4 PN/DP (shown on the left) is the most powerful controller in the range and can handle 128 drive axes and their isochronous operation in 250µs. Siemens has also issued new firmware (v1.5) for all of its S7-1500 models.

Siemens has developed 25mm-wide I/O modules for its Simatic ET 200MP distributed I/O system. Up to 30 of these modules can fit on a 830mm-long rail. There are also new positioning, measuring and counting modules for the distributed Simatic ET 200SP I/O system.

Other controls arrivals on the vast Siemens stand included: a new generation of operator panels from 4–12” for simple applications; communications modules for remote %%PAGE_BR%%access to Simatic S7-1200 controllers via GPSR and UMTS networks; a range of multi-core industrial PCs (the D generation) in box, rack and panel formats, for use in hostile environments; and an industrial PC for 19-inch rack systems (Simatic IPC547E).

Sigmatek has expanded its S-Dias I/O range with a 12.5mm-wide mini-CPU based on an 800Mhz processor. The CP111 controller uses the real-time Varan Ethernet system with a bus speed of 100Mbit/s. Individual I/O modules can be accessed within 1.12µs.

Stöber was demonstrating its sixth-generation motion controls with integrated drive controls. The MC6 motion controller and SD6 drive controls are complemented by hardware-independent Codesys programming software which is said to simplify the programming of multiple axes by centralising all drive functions.

Trio Motion Technology was demonstrating the latest developments in its Uniplay touchscreen displays (above) that it unveiled at the 2012 SPS show. The 7” and 10” displays are programmed
from Trio’s Motion Perfect v3 software, allowing users to develop applications faster by sharing motion control and GUI programming in a single environment. There is no need for separate HMI programming and no extra languages to learn.

Vipa, now owned by Yaskawa, has added a pair of CPUs to its SLIO I/O system, to create a full control system. The PLCs are based on the latest Speed7 technology from Vipa’s Profichip subsidiary which is even faster than before and, coupled with a 48Mbit/s backplane, can switch in ±1µs. The CPUs are programmed using Step7 code and can configured using Vipa’s new Speed7 Studio software

Vipa also launched a pair of panel PCs with dual-core Atom processors and multitouch HD displays measuring 15.6” and 21.5”. The PCs offer a choice of Windows Embedded Compact or Standard 7 operating systems. Vipa has also added touchpanel HMIs with 10” and 15” displays to its eco range. They can be used on two separate networks.


Datalogic has announced a range of type 4 safety light curtains with cascade, muting and blanking functions that can be programmed using either pushbuttons or a PC connected via Ethernet. The SG Extended curtains have a resolution of 14 or 30mm, controlled heights from 300–1,800mm, operating distances up to 20m, and have no dead zones. There are also Type 2 versions.

Eaton has introduced trip blocks for its PKE electronic motor protection breakers that turn them into IEC 60947-2 breakers for protecting cables and lines. The PKE-XTU…CP blocks (above) allow users to adapt the tripping threshold to different cable lengths and sizes. When used with Eaton’s SmartWire-DT system, the blocks can be used to monitor plant availability and energy consumption. There are two current ranges (15–36A and 30–65A) and two mounting widths (45 and 55mm).

Another Eaton development combines its BreakerVisu software with a 3.5 or 7” colour display to visualise up to 48 circuit-breakers and measuring devices. Users do not need to do any programming and separate displays for individual switches are no longer needed. The system can also: indicate the wear on NZM breaker contacts: connect third-party systems via Modbus RTU; and operate as a gateway for transferring data to a control centre.

Euchner was showing a configurable safety evaluation device (CES-CB) that can connect four read heads and includes 25 configurations with different logic functions, each of which can be expanded using a memory card. The devices have three safe outputs, four safe inputs, and six monitoring outputs. Several can be linked to create safety zones.

Other introductions from Euchner %%PAGE_BR%%include: a small transponder-coded safety switch (CES-AR-C04) with an AR interface for connecting up to 20 switches in series; and a Unicode version of its CES-FD field evaluation system for connecting to CKS safe lockout mechanisms.

At SPS, Festo was demonstrating a safety module (CAMC-G-S1) that allows Safe Torque Off functions to be achieved in its CMMP-AS-M3 motor controls. When used with the CMGA safety system, Safe Stop functions SS1 and SS2 and safely-limited speed (SLS) can also be achieved.

Hima Paul Hildebrandt previewed an expansion of its HiMax safety system for small-to-medium applications. The X-CPU 31 processor combines CPU and system bus functions in one module, saving costs and increasing the number of module slots available. The module uses secure communications via safeEthenet.

Kübler is offering a maintenance-free, contactless slip-ring system for transmitting up to three load and three signal channels in hygienic and packaging applications. The encapsulated, IP64-protected SR1085 slip-ring (above) is said to be easy to service. The 800rpm device can handle currents up to 25A.

Leuze electronic has released two ranges of safety light curtains designed to meet the connection requirements laid down by Aida (the Automation Initiative of German Automotive Manufacturers) which represents the big German car-makers. The MLC 511 (SIL 3, PLe) and MLC 311 (SIL 1, PLc) light curtains have four-pin M12 plugs and are designed to operate in IP6X environments. Leuze is also integrating Profibus interfaces in to its CML 700i measuring light curtains.

Leuze has also redesigned its MSI safety relays and fitted them with interchangeable plug-in terminal blocks that allow users to choose screw or spring-cage terminals.

Lovato has a new range of pushbutton control stations for up to six actuators, and offering IP66, IP67 or IP69K protection. The LPZ stations use screw and cage-clamp spring terminals. Also new is a range of industrial MCBs (miniature circuit breakers) with a choice of operating curves and capable of handling currents up to 125A.

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a range of compact MCCBs (moulded-case circuit-breakers) with high breaking capacities. The WS-V MCCBs are available in three sizes, as three- and four-pole models for fixed or plug-in installation. A German firm called Sedotec has developed a range of modular LV switchgear cabinets which, when used with the WS-V MCCBs, have passed tests including the type tests defined in EN 61439-2. Preassembled Vamocon cabinets containing the MCCBs thus offer Asta certification and conformance to EN 61439-2 as standard.

New from Pilz is a range of flexible, multifunction light barriers that allow muting, blanking or cascading to be carried using just one barrier. The PSENopt Advanced barriers, which comply with PLe, use single continuous light beams that make dead zones impossible and can be used close to an application, thus saving space.

It is now possible to implement interlinked, decentralised safety systems with tree or ring topologies using two new link modules for Pilz’s PNOZmulti 2 system. The PDP modules (above) can communicate signals from sensors to base units, while the Multi link modules support data exchange between multiple base units. The modules can be configured using the PNOZmulti Configurator tool.

Rittal is offering an alternative to costly dedicated industrial displays with a range of enclosures that house office-type TFT displays and protect them to IP65, thus shielding them from exposure to dust and water jets. The sheet-steel housings can accommodate widescreen TFT screens up to 24” and protect them behind a pane of safety glass.

Rittal %%PAGE_BR%%has also developed a device for
attaching Panel PCs and TFT screens easily to support arms. The Vesa 75/100 connection console can be assembled by one person. Another Rittal development is version of its SE 8 enclosure system with Nema 4/4x protection for the North American market.

The German safety specialist Schmersal has a new range of compact safety light curtains and light grids with a protection area covering the whole length of the 28 x 33mm profile, thus avoiding the need to leave an overhang. The SLC/SLG 440COM series includes six resolution variants and covers heights up to 1,770mm. The protection can be built into a machine’s housing profile without needing to consider dead zones. Another new series of light curtains and grids called SLC/SLG 445 adds functions such as muting and multiple scanning of protection zones.

Also from Schmersal is a safety sensor using an RFID-based failsafe technology that allows coding of individual actuators. The compact RSS260 sensors are available in various formats and with three levels of anti-tampering protection. Finally, Schmersal was also showing a new generation of safety hinged switches designed to replace conventional hinges on rotating protection doors and to monitor their position.

Siemens launched an entry-level motor management system that provides protection, control and monitoring functions for fixed-speed LV motors at “an attractive price”. The 22.5mm-wide Simocode pro module provides: direct and reverse starting functions; thermistor and overload protection; four digital inputs and two outputs; and monitoring of current limits, shutdowns and operating data.

The German safety equipment manufacturer steute was showing several additions to its wireless technologies, including a battery-free wireless module that allows existing cabled command devices, such as on/off switches, to be adapted for use in wireless networks. As the device (shown above) is actuated, a generator inside its contact block produces the power needed for the wireless transmissions, avoiding the need for a power supply. The module can convert devices with 22mm bayonet nut connectors to wireless operation.

Steute was also demonstrating a bidirectional Ethernet gateway that allows switchgear from its wireless range to be connected to terminals that communicate via TCP/IP. The receiver can accept and pass on signals from up to 40 sensors with a transmission rate of 100/10 Mbit/s. There are three versions of the gateway for various wireless networks, including EnOcean.

Wago announced a range of electronic circuit breakers with two, four or eight outputs and current ranges from 0.5–10A. The nominal output current of the Epsitron breakers can be adjusted in six levels for each channel using a rotary switch. Resetting of tripped channels and on/off switching can be carried out remotely. The eight-channel versions are 42mm wide, and the others are 45mm.

Weidmüller demonstrated a range of industrial relay modules for use where actuators experience high voltages and currents – when actuating motors, for example. The D series relays avoid arcing problems by using series contact connections, blowout magnets (to extinguish arcs), and low-wear contacts. They can handle loads up to 10A, 220V DC.

Werma has developed a new version of its Vocal Element signal tower accessory which can broadcast any audio file at a volume of 102dB – said to be loud enough to be heard in the noisiest factory. The device can store 15 different files. Werma also has a new slim LED signal tower (called Kompact 37) with five light colour combinations and a siren, and a range of compact LED beacons with a choice of seven colours.


Danfoss %%PAGE_BR%%has extended its VLT OneGearDrive ExtensionBox for geared motor applications such as conveyors with torque requirements of up to 1kNm. A simple 3:1 torque arm connection between the gearbox and OGD (shown below) allows higher torque levels to be achieved using the same number of motor variants, thus reducing parts inventories and manual conversion work. The oil-free system is said to be almost maintenance-free. Torque is transferred by a Kevlar toothed belt thus avoiding the drawbacks of gear stages.

The Swiss linear motion specialist Linmot was previewing a new series of linear motors that incorporate an encoder and servodrive, thus minimising wiring, and saving time, space and labour costs. The PSC01 motors will be able to deliver peak forces of up to 255N.

Linmot also has a new linear rotary motor with gearbox for torque requirements up to 80Nm. The gearbox allows precise, dynamic positioning, even for loads with high moments of inertia. Linear and rotary movements can be actuated independently of each other or synchronised using a higher-level controller.


Balluff has a rugged new magnetic linear measuring system which, it claims, can be used where optical systems would previously have been needed. The IP67-protected BML-S1G system consists of a magnetically encoded tape and sensor head. It offers resolution ranges of up to 1µm at system accuracies up to ±20µm and travel speeds up to 10m/s, over distances of up to 48m. The sensor has a BISS-C or SSI interface and can produce real-time analogue or digital signals.

Also new from Balluff is a vision sensor claimed to handle almost any inspection task. The BVS-E Universal sensor (above) has built-in processing electronics, lighting and two digital outputs, and can inspect many characteristics in one pass. It can simultaneously gauge brightness, compare contrasts, count edges, check positions, detect patterns and read codes. It can locate, read and verify up to 40 codes per second.

Baumer has expanded its NextGen portfolio of sensors to include ultrasonic types that are that are identical in shape and size to its O500 photoelectric devices, allowing them to be interchanged easily. The U500 ultrasonic sensors – available in proximity, distance measuring and reflective light barrier versions – have a 1m range, claimed to be the longest in its class. They can detect almost any object and have a narrow beam, allowing them to be used in cramped spaces.

Baumer also has a new range of inductive sensors that have the same sensing distance for all metals, simplifying adjustments and minimising the risk of damage. The Factor 1 sensors come in four cylindrical sizes from 6–18mm and have switching speeds of 0.5–3kHz. Finally, Baumer has a new range of programmable encoders (EIL580P) that can provide any pulse number from 1–65,536.

Belden has extended its Lumberg family to include IP67-protected machine-mounting distribution boxes that provide connections to sensors and actuators in
demanding environments. There are more than 20 versions of the boxes, with four or eight vibration-proof M12 ports.

At SPS, Datalogic launched a family of photoelectric sensors for diffuse proximity detection of transparent objects without needing a prismatic reflector, even for reflective materials such as glass. The S8 sensors, which include a patented background-suppression technology that can handle moving backgrounds, are available in laser versions with a range of 50–150mm or LED versions with a range of 100­–300mm.  

Datalogic also has a new generation of IP67-protected smart cameras for food, beverage and pharmaceutical applications. There are two families: the general-purpose A30 version with %%PAGE_BR%%a VGA sensor; and the more powerful T4x series with 1.1GHz processors and a choice of three resolutions. Finally, Datalogic has four new series of encoders, including incremental and absolute (single- or multi-turn) devices.

Eaton has launched a new range of rectangular IP66 photoelectric sensors for space-restricted applications. The 13mm-long, 38mm deep E71 NanoView sensors offer a choice of operating modes: polarised reflex sensing (with a 2.5m range); through-beam (1.5–6m); reflective (350mm); and clear object detection.

Hima Paul Hildebrandt claims to have the world’s first linear safety-related position sensor certified to SIL 3 / PLe. The PCV80A system uses a data matrix code strip and can position objects to a resolution of 1mm over distances of up to 10km. It includes detailed diagnostics and a Z coordinate for non-safety-related distance measurements.

New from ifm electronic is a range of wear-free capacitive touch sensors (above) that can be used to start and stop machines, to open and close gates, or as enable switches. Dynamic operation allows an approaching hand to be sensed (even when wearing a glove) and suppresses items such as water. Static operation can be used to detect objects even through glass.

The encoder manufacturer Kübler was highlighting several ranges at SPS including: Profinet IO encoders that can start up in less than 1s; a new generation of EtherCat-compatible absolute encoders that can update positions within 62.5µs; a range of incremental encoders that provide interpolable Sin/Cos differential signals so that even small rotary movements will produce continuous speed and position signals; incremental encoders with Atex and IECEx approval; and a range of draw-wire encoders, said to combine good performance with an attractive price.

Leuze electronic announced a range of IP67-protected ultrasonic sensors, available in switching versions (HTU 418B) with ranges of up to 1.3m and as measuring devices (DMU 418B and DMU 430B) with ranges up to 3m. The sensors, in M18 and M30 housings, are shorter than their predecessors and offer improved teach functions.

Leuze also has a new range of sensors (called 18B) for detecting small, thin and transparent objects which are smaller, tougher and faster than its previous range, with higher switching frequencies, improved adjustability of the switching point, and a tracking function for extending cleaning intervals 50-fold.

Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a series of measuring light grids that provide results in mm via an IO-Link interface and avoid the need to perform complex single-beam evaluations. The LGM light grids consist of IP67-protected emitter and receiver strips which cover a rectangular area with 8–50mm beam gaps and heights of up to 3.2m. There are 16 predefined evaluation methods and configuration can be carried out from a PC.

Sensopart has announced a range of laser autocollimation light barriers that use the same optical axis for both transmission and reception, thus avoiding blind spots and allowing them to detect objects through tiny bore holes. The FR 25/55-RLO sensors (above) can detect leading edges and parts as small as 0.2mm. They have operating ranges from 0mm–20m.

At the SPS show, Sensopart was also demonstrating an expanded range of sub-miniature sensors, including LED devices. These include a proximity switch with adjustable background suppression, and a blue-light version for objects that absorb light.

Sick has developed a photoelectric proximity sensor for transparent, shiny and reflective objects that avoids the need for a reflector and instead uses machine components as reference surfaces. The TranspaTect sensor adapts its switching threshold to compensate for contamination using an AutoAdapt function.


Another Sick debut at SPS was a range of 36mm-diameter programmable absolute encoders, including single- and multi-turn versions. The programmability reduces the number of variants needed and opens up various configuration and diagnostic options, such as configuring electronic cam switches. The AHS/AHM36 encoders offer a choice of mechanical interfaces as well as SSI or CANopen communications.


Balluff says that its new IO-Link Master modules for DeviceNet and EtherCat can cut hardware and cabling costs by more than 50%. The IP67 devices with M12 connectors can be used outside of cabinets. Up to 72 digital I/Os can be connected via IO-Link to the DeviceNet module, and up to 136 I/Os to the EtherCat module (shown below). The DeviceNet module has four IO-Link ports and the EtherCat version, eight. The latter also has a built-in Web server and a diagnostic display.

Baumüller is incorporating support for Profinet IRT (isochronous real-time) into its b maXX 3000 and 5000 controllers and inverters. This will allow the start of bus cycles in motion applications to have a maximum jitter of just 1µs.

The new EK9300 Profinet IO bus coupler from Beckhoff acts as a gateway that links different control networks in real time. It allows a Profinet controller to exchange data with one or more EtherCat, Profinet, Profibus or Ethernet/IP systems. The coupler (below) converts Profinet IO “telegrams” into EtherCat E-Bus signals and can use EtherCat to bridge distances of up to 100m.

Belden announced several new developments at SPS IPC Drives, including: an industrial security router (called the Hirschmann Eagle One) with a “unique” firewall learning mode that minimises process interruptions during device installation and helps to cut costs and prevent configuration errors; a Power-over-Ethernet injector (called Spider Giga 2TX Po
E EEC) for powering devices such as WLAN access points and IP cameras via Ethernet; a new operating system (HiOS 3.0) that provides extensive redundancy and security functions for high network availability and data security; and a smartphone and tablet app (HiMobile) that allows users to access status information about switches remotely.

The Swedish Bluetooth specialist ConnectBlue used the SPS IPC Drives show to launch a ready-to-embed multi-radio module for Internet of Things applications. The OWL355 module (below) operates across classic and low-energy Bluetooth as well as WLANs with support for the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.

ConnectBlue also announced a rugged Bluetooth serial port adapter that acts as a plug-and-play replacement for conventional serial cables over distances of up to 300m. The RBS421s adapter supports both classic and low-energy Bluetooth and can be used as a Bluetooth smart-ready client for any host.

Eaton is offering a gateway that links its SmartWire-DT communication and connection technology to Ethernet Powerlink networks. The EU5C-SWD-Powerlink gateway can exchange 1,000 bytes of I/O data from up to 99 stations with a controller in cyclical operation. It also supports acyclical communication. As well as a 100Mbit Powerlink hub, it includes a USB port for diagnostics.

Harting has introduced a range of managed Ethernet switches for harsh environments that allow synchronisation in the microsecond range. The Ha-VIS mCon 3000 switches have integrated Profinet I/O device stacks for easy integration into Profinet applications.

HMS Industrial Networks has launched a new generation of its Netbiter gateways, used to monitor and control industrial equipment remotely. The Netbiter EC350 supports communications via 3G networks, increasing its coverage. Users can open up secure connections to remote equipment, such as a PLC, and configure or %%PAGE_BR%%operate it using the same configuration software that they would normally use.

Under its IXXAT brand, HMS is offering a module that can be integrated into products or systems to provide simple, fast integration of safe I/O using a safe communications protocol. The IXXAT Safe T100 module uses HMS’s Anybus CompactCom modules to provide a safe pathway through an unsafe network. Initially, it is available for ProfiSafe and Profinet, and versions for CIP Safety on Ethernet/IP and Functional Safety over EtherCat are planned.

New from Molex is a range of communication and control modules for use with Rockwell ControlLogix XT PLCs in harsh environments. There are three versions of the CLXT modules for: Ethernet and serial connections; serial communications with four Modbus serial ports; and Profibus master/slave communications.

Molex also has a range of modules that link Rockwell Logix control systems to AS-i networks, providing a simple connection between the PLC backplane and field devices such as sensors and actuators. The Brad SST AS-i modules comply with the latest AS-i specification (3.0) and are compatible with old and new AS-i products.

Phoenix Contact has added a compact Profinet switch to its portfolio. The FL Switch SMN 8TX-PN switch (above), which can be used in both Profinet and Ethernet/IP networks, includes eight 10/100 Mb/s copper ports and can be configured and diagnosed using the PC Worx and Step 7 software tools.

Rockwell Automation has announced major expansions to its Allen-Bradley Stratix family of industrial switches and routers, including: a managed industrial Ethernet switch with embedded Network Access Translation; a services router that delivers VPN (virtual private network) and firewall capabilities simultaneously; and fibre and Power-over-Ethernet options for its Stratix 5700, 8000 and 8300 switches. More switches and wireless access points are due soon.

At SPS, Sick was demonstrating an optical data transmission system that allows protocol-free Fast Ethernet communications with bandwidths up to 100Mb/s in applications such as automated warehouses. The ISD400 Pro system (below) is designed for plug-and-play installation, both mechanically and electrically, and has a transmission range of up to 150m.

New additions to Siemens’ communications portfolio include: a firewall security module (Scalance S627-2M) that protects automation networks against unauthorised access; a family of Ethernet switches (Scalance XM-400) that includes devices for connecting eight or 16 network stations, and port extenders that add up to 24 further stations; and extensions to its Scalance W family of wireless machine networking products, including 150Mb/s and 300 Mb/s access points and client modules


Baumüller has announced a “global oscilloscope” tool that allows variables from controllers and drives to be recorded and displayed simultaneously via fieldbuses. It says that that the tool can improve diagnostics of multi-axis machines. The real-time display adjusts its resolution to the transmission speed between the controller and end devices.

On its SPS stand, the Austrian software developer Copa-Data was demonstrating a smartphone and tablet app that retrieves real-time data from HMI/Scada systems. The Everywhere app (shown above) provides information on plant status, performance indicators, and alarms, in the form of lists, with graphical progress bars and dynamic gauge elements.

Eaton has an Android app for its easy800 control relays that allows machine-builders to create their own control interfaces for their systems. The easyParameter app communicates with a control relay up to 10m away via Bluetooth. The designer of the operator interface can decide which parameters can be read and written, as well as specifying user interfaces %%PAGE_BR%%with different access rights. Up to 25 operator pages, each with 250 elements, can be created.

Eplan has a new version of its Engineering Centre One (EEC One) software for the automated creation of electrical and fluid power schematics which, it claims, can cut engineering times dramatically. The software, which uses the Excel environment, can access Eplan’s parts database directly. It is available in 17 languages and a new function provides access to the Eplan dictionary.

The US soft
ware developer Iconics announced an HMI/Scada client app for Apple, Google, and Microsoft smartphones and tablets. The MobileHMI visualisation app (below) provides real-time access to critical plant data and offers preconfigured templates and the ability to target specific devices. A patented configuration technology delivers secure visualisation to Windows 8 and HTML5-enabled devices. Iconics was also demonstrating the latest version (10.8) of its 64-bit Genesis64 HMI/Scada software platform, which now has OPC Foundation certification.

The Welsh drives developer Invertek launched a free iOS and Android app that allows users to estimate the potential savings – in energy, money and CO2 – that can be achieved by using its Optidrive VSDs to control fans or pumps in HVAC applications. The Energy Savings Calculator app is based on an existing online calculator.

Lenze has developed an “application template” that provides structures – such as error handling and machine state information – that users can assemble like bricks to create machine modules that are easy to understand and can be re-used. Lenze offers a library of standard modules for depicting machine functions such as feeding, unwinding, sealing and discharging.

At SPS, Mitsubishi was presenting the third generation of its Maps (Mitsubishi Adroit Process Suite) HMI/Scada lifecycle management software, designed to be used during both the engineering and integration phases of a project. V3.0 of the suite allows Mitsubishi’s GX Works2 PLC programming software to be integrated for the first time, cutting development and configuration times, and allowing PLC libraries to be re-used. The suite can now be used on touchscreen devices.

New from Molex is an iOS app that helps users to find industrial communications products and offers product videos, access to datasheets, diagnostic tools and other resources. The free Industrial Communications (IC) app can be downloaded from the App Store.

Phoenix Contact is offering a software PLC for basic tasks such as datalogging and switching. The PC Worx SRT software combines control, visualisation and programming functions and can communicate with I/Os via Profinet, Modbus/TCP and TCP/IP. A built-in Web server is used for visualisation.

Rexroth is another manufacturer offering an app that works with its existing software – in this case, its IndraMotion for Handling package. The Android tablet app (shown in use, below) can be used to operate and diagnose machines. Rexroth is also allowing machine-builders and systems integrators to access more than 500 functions via its Open Core Interface and to write their own iOS and Android apps which will differentiate their systems from their rivals by providing customised user interfaces and visualisations.

The latest version of Rittal’s Power Engineering planning software (v6.1) allows users to plan, configure and document switchgear in accordance with the IEC 61439-1/-2 standard that comes into force later this year. The software guides the user step-by-step through the planning and configuration process. Drawings can be exported using standard CAD formats.

Rockwell Automation has enhanced its free Connected Components Accelerator Toolkit (CCAT) and Workbench software tools which help machine-builders to cut design times and costs. The tools integrate the machine-control development process, allowing builders to focus on proprietary features. CCAT now provides a bill of materials electronically, while the Workbench is used to program controllers, configure devices and design HMI screens.

Siemens was demonstrating version 13 of its TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal engineering framework. There have been improvements to diagnostics and know-how protection, and functions to synchronise the collaboration of teams working on complex projects. Several of the tools within TIA Portal have also been enhanced.

And finally, Siemens has also added an optional WinCC/Performance Monitor package to its Simatic WinCC Scada software, allowing users to calculate and analyse plant-specific KPIs (key performance indicators) and thus to boost productivity.

The 2014 SPS IPC Drives show – the 25th in the series – will take place in Nuremberg from 25–27 November.