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Berlin will get world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevators

The world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevator system, using cabins that can move sideways, as well as up and down, is to be installed in a project in Berlin, Germany, described as “the world’s most sustainable office building”. The first functional version of the Multi system, developed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator, is being tested in a 246m-tall tower which the company has just inaugurated in Rotweil, Germany.

Anti-sloshing tech moves liquids faster without spills

B&R Automation has announced a technology that, it says, will allow liquids to be moved quickly on production and packaging lines without any spillages. It claims that its Super-Trak linear transport system is the only one on the market to offer an anti-sloshing technology.

Tinder inspires automation diagnostics app

At the recent Hannover Fair, Rockwell Automation was demonstrating a variety of automation concepts that make use of consumer technologies such as virtual reality headsets, social media apps and interactive “bots”.

Software tool sends sensor data direct to higher-level apps

The sensor manufacturer ifm has developed a software tool that transmits data from IO-Link-equipped sensors directly to high-level systems, such as SAP, for applications including predictive maintenance and energy management. Ifm argues that argues that around 90% of the sensor data required for such applications is not needed for control tasks and is not available from shopfloor PLCs.

Kit ensures that human-robot interactions are safe

Pilz has come up with a package for measuring forces and pressures in accordance with ISO/TS 15066 to ensure the safety of human-robot collaborations (HRCs).

VSD-controlled chillers cut energy use by up to 70%

Rittal has developed a variable-speed system for chilling machine tool cooling liquids which, it says, marks “a huge leap in energy efficiency”, achieving energy savings of up to 70% compared to chillers that use hot gas bypass control systems.

Cloud-based motor monitor can cut downtime 'by 70%’

ABB’s wireless motor-monitoring technology, originally announced at last year’s Hannover Fair, is now entering the commercial phase, allowing users of many LV motors (not just ABB’s) to check the condition of their machines via a smartphone or Web portal. The quick-mounting Ability Smart Sensor, which does not needed any wired connections to the motor, transmits data to the cloud where predictive analysis reveals information on the motor and its performance.

New steel doubles bearing lives in tough applications

Schaeffler has developed a new steel for rolling bearings which, combined with a carbonitriding heat treatment process, offers both harder surfaces and a higher ductility than other steels. Compared to standard bearings, devices made from this material – called Mancrodur – can have 30% higher load ratings and operating lives that are up to six times longer.

Sick opens up its Hiperface DSL servodrive technology

The German sensor-maker Sick is opening up its single-cable Hiperface DSL (Digital-Servo-Link) motor feedback technology for use by any servodrive or motor manufacturer.  Since its launch in 2011, the technology has been adopted by more than 40 manufacturers, including ABB, Baumüller, Beckhoff, B&R, Kollmorgen, Lafert, LTI, Moog, NUM, Parker, Sigmatek, Stöber, and WEG.

Push-in busbar clamp challenges traditional connections

Rittal has invented a new method for connecting wires and cables to copper busbars which, it claims, is the fastest way of making such connections easily and securely. It adds that the technology will reduce the possibility of defects such as incorrect compression and clamp loosening, while its maintenance-free design should be more reliable and will cut maintenance costs.

IoT platform allows manufacturers to create their own apps

A US company has developed an IoT-enabled software platform that allows engineers to create shop-floor apps that connect workers, machines and IT systems.

AI machine control algorithm slashes set-up times

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a deep-reinforcement algorithm for artificial-intelligence (AI) based control of machinery that, it says, needs just one-fiftieth of the number of trials needed to set up conventional AI-based controls. The new algorithm will allow smart equipment such as industrial robots and vehicles to use sensors and cameras to learn rapidly about their environments to allow finely-tuned AI-based control.

Hygienic IP69K transport system opens up applications

At the Hannover Fair, Beckhoff unveiled a stainless-steel version of its XTS (eXtended Transport System) which, it predicts, will open up many new applications, especially in the food and pharmaceutical sector, and for processing and filling liquids. On its stand, Beckhoff was demonstrating how the IP69K-protected Hygienic Design version of XTS can even operate under a continuous water spray.

Cyber-attack detection protects real-time controls

Mitsubishi Electric says it has developed a technology for detecting cyber-attacks against critical control systems which can identify network traffic that deviates from normal commands. The technology detects cyber-attacks disguised as commands for critical infrastructure – such as electricity, gas, water and petrochemical installations – without affecting real-time control capabilities. The Japanese company says that this will help to ensure that the operation of such infrastructure remains stable.

Gear-free actuators could revolutionise robot designs

A Canadian company has developed a gearless, high-torque rotary actuator which, it claims, out-performs traditional gear-based actuators in many ways, while potentially being much cheaper. Genesis Robotics has invested C$28m (US$20.4m / £15.8m) in developing its LiveDrive technology, which it is aiming principally at robotics applications – it believes that the backlash-free technology could revolutionise the design of robotic arms, and halve their costs. The company adds that the lightweight, direct-drive actuators could have many other applications, ranging from prosthetics to vehicles.