Drives and Controls Magazine
Home
Menu
Vibration isolators can vary stiffness 100-fold in less than 10ms

A Californian research-and-development organisation owned by Boeing and General Motors has developed an active variable-stiffness vibration isolator capable of 100-fold changes in stiffness and actuation times of less than 10ms, independent of the load.

£1.7m project will use magnetic gears for marine propulsion

Three UK companies are collaborating in a £1.7m project to develop compact, efficient electric drives for marine applications. Rolls-Royce, the magnetic gear developer Magnomatics, and the high-voltage motor manufacturer ATB Laurence Scott, will design, manufacture and test a 2.5MW magnetically geared propulsion motor (MGPM), using Magnomatics’ Pseudo Direct Drive (PDD) technology. The project is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Soft gripper can pick up fragile objects of almost any shape

Swiss researchers have developed a flexible gripping technology that can bend to pick up delicate objects such as eggs and paper without needing to know anything about the type of object or its shape. It could, for example, be used to handle food, to capture debris in outer space or be incorporated into humanoid robots.

New cooling technology ‘shrinks motor sizes by 75%’

Two US companies have announced plans to produce electric motors with a novel cooling technology that results in them being 75% smaller, and much lighter, than conventional motors with a similar power rating. They say that the motors, aimed principally at automotive applications, will deliver the power and torque to drive a passenger car from a package the size of a one-gallon can of paint.

Control system cuts robot programming times to ‘minutes’

A Finnish research organisation has developed a control system for the industrial robots that, it claims, can cut the time taken to set up and program robots to “minutes”, rather than the hour or more needed when using traditional programming methods.

PI announces plans to merge Profibus PA with Profinet

Profibus and Profinet International (PI) has announced plans to merge its Profibus PA and Profinet technologies to allow plant operators to continue using installed technologies while giving them access to the latest technologies, including Industry 4.0.

Control system extends the lives of grinding rollers

ABB has developed a torque and speed control system for high-pressure grinding rollers (HPGRs) used in mineral-crushing applications that, it says, will improve their lives and performance.

Software Sercos master avoids the need for custom chips

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Sercos International (SI) demonstrated a software-based Sercos III master that avoids the need to use a hardware master based on FPGA or ASIC chips. Instead, the Sercos III hardware functions are emulated in host-based driver software running on a standard Ethernet controller.

Technology eliminates the need for muting sensors

Leuze electronic has developed a technology which, it says, avoids the need for the muting sensors that are usually required to detect the approach of goods to a light curtain. It says that its Smart Process-controlled Gating (SPG) system will make muting cheaper, simpler and safer.

Servomotors act as sensors for more precise control

Bosch Rexroth has developed a range of synchronous servomotors which provide data on their temperature and saturation to the company's IndraDrive controllers, allowing them to improve torque precision and making operating tolerance ranges much tighter than previously possible. Rexroth says that, for the first time, the servomotor can act as a reliable sensor, as well as a data source.

Scanner brings safety to unprotected robots

On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, Mitsubishi Electric was demonstrating a robot safety system that it is developing with a German integrator, MH Elektro-Steuerungstechnick, that will allow humans and robots to work together safely during batch production processes.

Energy harvesting cuts DC motor lengths by more than half

By using an energy-harvesting technology, the German drives manufacturer Wittenstein has been able to develop two series of brushless DC motors with miniature multi-turn encoders that do not need a battery or a gearhead. It says that the motors are less than half the length of comparable machines and 20% smaller in diameter. Eliminating the gearhead and battery from the 32mm and 40mm diameter motors also extends their operating lives.

Linear axis is ‘as easy to set up as making a cup of coffee’

The German clamping and gripping specialist, Schunk, has developed a compact linear axis with a 24V linear motor drive which, it claims, is as easy to commission as making a cup of coffee and will revolutionse automated assembly.

Customisable drives can be configured from a smartphone

The German automation manufacturer Lenze has announced a family of customisable frequency inverters that users can configure from their smartphones. Lenze says that the functions and power of the i500 inverters can be tailored to almost any application or environment. The drives comply with the IE2 VSD efficiency class (as defined in the new EN 50598-2 standard), and cover the power range 0.25–45kW.

Light curtains detect direction of travel without sensors

The Austrian automation specialist B&R has joined forces with the Italian sensor-maker Datalogic to develop a safety light curtain that can sense the direction in which an object is travelling, and determine its height and length, without needing the position sensors that have traditionally been used for muting and blanking applications.