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‘First heavy-duty collaborative robot’ can lift 35kg

Fanuc claims that it is the first robot manufacturer to produce a heavy-duty robot designed to work safely alongside humans. Its CR-35iA robot can perform tasks involving payloads of up to 35kg without needing the protective guards and fences that have previously been needed for robots with similar lifting capacities.

Contact-free transfer system can transmit 240W across 5mm

Weidmüller has developed a contact-free energy transmission system designed specifically for industrial applications. The FreeCon Contactless system uses inductive resonance coupling to transmit up to 240W of power (10A at 24V DC) across an air gap of up to 5mm, with a transmission efficiency of up to 90%.

Wireless sensor and app simplify analysis of machine problems

SKF has developed a machine analysis package that combines a Bluetooth-enabled sensor with a powerful mobile app to allow non-experts to gather vibration and temperature data from machines. The Enlight system, which made its debut at the Hannover Fair, can perform on-the-spot assessments or can send the data to SKF experts for analysis.

‘Quantum leap’ in enclosure cooling cuts energy use by 75%

The German enclosures giant Rittal has developed a new way of cooling enclosures that it describes a “quantum leap”. Initial results from a pilot installation at Audi are showing energy savings of 75% compared to Rittal’s previous TopTherm Blue e cooling systems. The new Blue e+ system is also claimed to deliver benefits in terms of flexibility, safety and ease of use.

Fixed-speed SynRM motors bring savings to smaller machines

At the Hannover Fair, ABB has unveiled a variant of its SynRM (synchronous reluctance) motor technology aimed at fixed-speed applications. Since the SynRM technology was introduced in 2011, it has been applied to variable-speed duties such as pumps, fans, compressors and extruders. But most of the world’s motors still operate at fixed speeds, so ABB argues that the new DOLSynRM motor will allow more users to benefit from the technology.

Festo floats three superconducting ideas at Hannover

At next week’s Hannover Fair, Festo will be demonstrating its latest ideas for using superconductor technology in industrial applications. In three different demonstrations, it will show how superconductors can be used: to store and move objects on suspended rollers (in effect, acting as superconducting bearings); to transport workpieces using a rotating helical conveyor shaft; and to achieve contact-free transfer of objects from one automation module to another.

Linear motors power flexible machinery transport system

Siemens and Festo have jointly developed a system that uses carriages driven independently by linear motors to transport items around production machinery. The flexible multi-carrier system (MCS) allows machine-builders and manufacturers to adapt their production lines and machines quickly to suit different product sizes and types.

‘First’ FDI tool slashes device integration time to 3 minutes

ABB claims that it will be the first automation supplier to offer a device management tool that supports the new FDI (Field Device Integration) specification, announced recently by the FieldComm Group. The first version of ABB’s “Field Information Manager” (FIM) software, which will make its debut at the 2015 Hannover Fair, is claimed to slash device management times from up to 90 minutes, to as little as three minutes.

IoT controller will link future factories via the cloud

Mitsubishi Electric is developing an industrial control technology that will use the Internet of Things (IoT) to collect shopfloor data and will link factory sites via the cloud. The IoT Factory Controller is currently being tested and is expected to reach the market in April 2016.

‘Revolutionary’ gearhead wins €100,000 technology award

UPDATED: The German motion specialist Wittenstein has won a €100,000 technology award for a new generation of compact, zero-backlash gearheads with independently movable teeth that, it claims, will outperform any previous gearhead technology in terms of torque density, torsional stiffness and energy efficiency. When the Galaxie gearhead is combined with a new high-speed motor and Industry 4.0 connections, it will pave the way to “an entirely new class of drive system”, says the company.

Bionic ants and butterflies head for Hannover

At next month’s Hannover Fair in Germany, Festo will unveil the two latest additions to its menagerie of bionic creatures: piezo-powered ants that collaborate with each other to perform tasks; and lightweight butterflies that use an infrared tracking system to fly around freely without colliding with each other.

Six-axis table-top robot gives a ‘third hand’ to workers

The Danish robot-maker Universal Robots has announced a compact, six-axis, table-top robot that weighs just 11kg, but has a payload of 3kg, 360-degree rotation on all wrist joints, and infinite rotation on the end joint. The company claims that these characteristics make the UR3 robot, the most flexible, lightweight, table-top robot available that can work safely alongside humans.

Record-breaking motor is ‘five times more powerful’

Researchers at Siemens have developed an electric motor that weighs just 50 kilograms, yet delivers a continuous output of about 260kW – about five times more than conventional drive systems of a similar weight.

Baxter robot gets a precision, one-armed brother

Rethink Robotics, the US developer of the human-friendly, twin-armed robot called Baxter, has announced a new device: a single-arm, high-performance robot aimed at precision tasks, such as machine tending and circuit board testing, that have traditionally been difficult to automate using conventional industrial robots.

Novel water-cooling system shrinks motors by up to 30%

AKH, the German motor manufacturer bought by WEG last year, has patented a water-cooling system for high-speed motors which, it claims, will result in motors that are 20–30% smaller and lighter than conventional water-cooled machines.