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Wheel-hub motor is the ‘first’ with a built-in transmission

The Japanese bearings manufacturer NSK has demonstrated what it claims is the world's first wheel-hub motor for electric vehicles with a built-in transmission system. It says that the motor can deliver both high torque and high speeds, and predicts that the development will improve the environmental performance, safety and comfort of EVs.

‘Game-changing’ electric motors could power aircraft

An Australian company is developing a “game-changing” series of high-power-density electric motors that could be used to propel aircraft, and for other applications needing small, powerful motors. Queensland-based magniX has received an A$2.5m (US $1.9m) grant from the Australian Government as part of a A$12m (US $9.1m) collaborative project aimed at developing motors with power densities of more than 5kW/kg – more than twice as high as the best conventional motors. Magnix believes that it could eventually achieve power densities of 25kW/kg­ – three times higher than modern aircraft engines.

Compensation functions optimise winding applications

Siemens has released functions for its Simotion motion controllers that, it says, will improve the speed, reliability and quality of the winding operations used in converting applications such as processing corrugated cardboard or material webs, and manufacturing battery electrodes.

‘World’s smallest’ SiC inverter for HEVs will free up space

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a working model of an ultra-compact silicon carbide (SiC) inverter for hybrid electrical vehicles (HEVs) that, it believes, is the smallest of its type in the world, with a volume of just five litres. The inverter also is thought to offer the highest power density for two-motor HEVs of 86kVA per litre, thanks to its use of full-SiC power semiconductor modules with a high-heat-dissipation structure that solders the power semiconductor modules to heatsinks.

Automation platform will link people, processes and things

Mitsubishi Electric has announced the launch of an open platform for factory automation that is based on edge computing. It says that the FA-IT platform will simplify connections between factories and value chains via the IoT (Internet of Things), enabling the rapid collection, analysis and utilisation of data for smart manufacturing.

IIC publishes guidance on IIoT interoperability

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published its Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF) – a reference architecture for evaluating connection technologies when designing IIoT systems. The IIC says it developed the IICF to help unlock data in isolated systems, enabling interoperability between previously closed components and subsystems, and to accelerate the development of new applications within and across industries.

Cloud-based maintenance system acts in real time

Harman Connected Services has joined forces with Intel to offer a predictive maintenance system for rotating equipment that generates predictions based on real-time analyses of machine vibrations, rather than historical data collected over time. The system, called Quick Predict, uses an analysis algorithm originally developed by Intel to cut maintenance in its own plants.

Cyber-secure OS targets control systems

After 14 years of development, the cyber-security specialist Kaspersky Lab has launched a secure operating system for industrial control systems, network devices and the IoT (Internet of Things). Called KasperskyOS, the system has been built from scratch and is designed to minimise the risk of undocumented functions, thus thwarting the threat of cyber-attacks.

Cyber-security extends from controls to networks and apps

Bedrock Automation, the Californian manufacturer of cyber-secure controls products, has announced a firmware upgrade that extends its cyber-security protection to networks, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and third-party applications.

Real-time Ethernet chip supports a variety of protocols

Yaskawa’s Profichip subsidiary has developed a multi-protocol, real-time Ethernet communications chip that supports Yaskawa’s own Mechatrolink-III master/slave system, as well as Profinet IO RT/IRT, and EtherCat. The Antaios chip also supports Profibus, CANopen, RS-485 and USB, while Ethernet/IP adaptors are being developed.

19.9mm-tall robot cuts generator inspections to 6 days

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a 19.9mm-tall robot that can inspect electricity generators by passing through the narrow gap between the rotor and stator. By eliminating the need to remove the rotor for inspections, it cuts the time taken for these inspections – which typically happen once every four years – from around 34 days, to just six days.

Digitalisation will be applied to LV motor production

A group of four German companies and organisations, including Siemens and the Fraunhofer institute, have embarked on a 26-month project aimed at developing technologies, interfaces and infrastructures for implementing digital industrial production. At the end of the project, the partners plan to test the concepts on a line assembling low-voltage motors at a Siemens factory in Nuremberg.

‘New approach to automation’ uses robots to control cells

Rethink Robotics, the US company behind the Baxter and Sawyer collaborative robots, has developed a new software platform that, it says, can co-ordinate an entire work-cell from a single robot. A team of about 30 engineers has spent two years developing the Intera 5 platform, which reduces the need for conventional PLCs and for integration, allowing manufacturers to deploy automated work-cells in a matter of hours, rather than weeks.

UK technology will ‘revolutionise’ soft-starter market

A British soft-starter specialist has developed a new technology which, it believes, will revolutionise the global soft-starter market, which is predicted to be worth more than $1.6bn by 2020. Fairford Electronics’ patented technology allows two or more soft-starters to work together to control higher-power motors. It says that the technology, which it calls Fairford Pluss, will result in longer operating lives, cost savings and improved reliability for soft-starter applications.

PLC safety concept ‘can save $300,000 a year'

A new concept for safety PLCs can distinguish between a real reaction to a hazard – when the machine must stop – and those that trip a machine during non-critical events. Its developer, ABB, claims that it will cut downtime costs.