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IoT partners offer cloud-based predictive monitoring

The US networking equipment supplier B&B Electronics has formed a partnership with an Internet-of-Things (IoT) specialist, SeeControl, to offer predictive monitoring systems for industrial applications. This is the first of several strategic relationships that B&B is planning with cloud-based data analysis companies.

Battery plane could lead to take-off for electric aircraft

The European plane-maker Airbus has flown an battery-powered plane that could be the forerunner of a new generation of small electric and hybrid powered aircraft, as well as hybrid airliners capable of carrying 80 passengers.

Smaller, $30 Raspberry Pi targets industrial users

The organisation that developed the tiny, low-cost Raspberry Pi computer has announced the development of an even smaller version aimed at industrial and commercial applications. The Rasbperry Pi Compute module, which is expected to cost around $30 in batches of 100, is essentially a Raspberry Pi shrunk down to fit onto a SODIMM board, along with onboard memory.

ABB cuts SynRM losses by a further 20% to reach ‘IE5’

At the 2014 Hannover Fair, ABB has unveiled a new version of its high-efficiency synchronous reluctance (SynRM) motor technology which reduces losses by a further 20%, potentially allowing it to comply with as-yet-unpublished IE5 (“ultra premium”) efficiency norm.

Crowd-funded project hopes to create $700 3D printer

UPDATED: A group of German open-source motion engineering enthusiasts has raised more than €20,000 via the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to produce a motion control board that could be used to create a 3D printing platform for less than $700. By the time the appeal ended on 1 May, they had raised €20,621.

Multi-mode wireless sensor system can run for 20 years

Panasonic in Japan has developed a low-power wireless communication technology for M2M (machine-to-machine) sensor networks, which will allow devices using different communications standards to communicate with each other without human intervention, and operate for 20 years on one battery.

Car will tour the world using polymer bearings

The German engineering polymer specialist igus has replaced many of the conventional bearings in a small car with its own polymer-based plain bearings and is sending the vehicle on a global tour to demonstrate their capabilities.

UPDATED: Bionic kangaroo hops into view at Hannover Fair

The latest creature to join Festo’s mechatronic menagerie is a hopping kangaroo that will make its public debut at the Hannover Fair in April. The company has a tradition of unveiling a new mechatronic version of a living animal at the exhibition every year and the BionicKangaroo is the latest in a long line that has included swimming penguins, flying gulls and floating jellyfish.

Mechanical relay is ‘reborn’ as a tiny MEMS device

GE claims that the mechanical relay has been reborn at its Global Research Center where researchers are using MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) technology to create tiny switches that could have a major impact on the future design of a wide range of industrial and consumer applications.

Simulated ‘island’ shows where and how to use drive systems

Siemens Industry has developed a Web-based tool that uses an online simulation of an island to show how and where drives can be used in the oil and gas, mining, cement, power generation, metals and marine industries.

Phone-driven machine smashes Rubik’s Cube record

A machine built from Lego Mindstorms components and controlled by a Samsung smartphone has set a new world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube. The Cubestormer 3, which took its British co-inventors David Gilday and Mike Dobson 18 months to build in their spare time, solved the Cube in 3.253 seconds, beating the previous record of 5.27s set two years ago by the same team.

Module sends Ethernet comms on two-wire cables

Siemens has developed a device that allows two-wire cables, such as Profibus cables, to be used to carry Ethernet communications over distances of up to 1km without needing extra hardware, such as modems. The MM992-2VD media module can be used to convert existing cable infrastructures in machinery and plants quickly and economically to Ethernet networks.

Phone-driven robot aims to break Rubik’s Cube record

A robot controlled by a mobile phone will attempt to break the world record for solving a Rubik’s Cube at science fair in the UK on March 15. The dedicated cube-solving robot, called CubeStormer 3, will attempt to break the current record of 5.27 seconds, which was set two years ago by its predecessor, CubeStormer II.

IE5 permanent magnet motor will make Hannover debut

At next month’s Hannover Fair, the Brazilian motor manufacturer WEG is launching an “IE5” permanent-magnet (PM) motor with a rated efficiency of 96.6% and “significantly” lower losses than IE4 motors. This is one of several new ranges that WEG is premiering at the event, including IE4 explosion-proof motors.

Robot ping-pong match video draws viewers – and critics

A video of a highly-publicised table-tennis “match” between a human and an industrial robot has attracted more than a million YouTube viewings in its first two days online.