Siemens has announced a new generation of severe-duty motors which will be able to link to its MindSphere cloud platform to analyse their status. The company says that users will be able to access data from the motors anywhere in the world to improve productivity through increased availability, improved performance and optimised servicing.
Siemens claims to have set two new world speed records for electrically powered aircraft, as well as performing the first tow of a glider by an electric plane. An adapted Extra 330LE aerobatic aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.5km/h over a 3km distance in Germany last month, thus beating the existing record for sub-1,000kg electric aircraft by 13.48km/h. A modified version of the craft, weighing more than 1 tonne, hit a top speed of 342.86 km/h.
A robotic gripper system with suction pads like those of an octopus is one of several pneumatically-powered robotic concepts that Festo will unveil at the Hannover Fair later this month. It will also be showing a collaborative robot arm with seven axes controlled pneumatically rather than using conventional servomotors, and a lightweight robot inspired by an elephant’s trunk.
Two new US companies, aiming to disrupt established industries, are using artificial intelligence to optimise operations at a recently completed $1.3bn scrap-metal recycling and steel production facility in Arkansas. In the mill’s first full month of production, in January, it produced more than 63,000 tons (57,152 tonnes) of hot-rolled steel. This is said to be a record for a plant of this type.
ABB has revealed a cost-effective way of using spare I/O channels on its AC500 PLCs to achieve higher levels of functional safety, without needing extra safety I/O modules or larger cabinets.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.