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DIN standard will ease IT to factory comms

A group of automation and IT organisations has joined forces to develop a standard to help ensure streamlined communications between IT systems and physical devices. Under the leadership of the German DIN standards body, they plan to draw up a DIN Spec standard – a way of fast-tracking the standardisation process, which could lead to the standard being completed by the end of this year.

Smaller LiveDrive actuator will open new applications

Genesis Robotics, the Canadian company which unveiled a “revolutionary” direct-drive actuator technology at the 2017 Hannover Fair, has developed a smaller version of its LiveDrive actuator, broadening its potential applications. Genesis has also announced that US-based Koch Industries has taken a controlling interest in the business, which will help it to commercialise its technologies.

AI software compensates for faults in motors

Two Canadian companies have joined forces to commercialise an AI (artificial intelligence) technology designed to detect, and compensate for, faults in electric motors. The technology allows motors to generate near-normal torque even when there are inverter or motor phase faults. It can be applied to permanent magnet synchronous motors and to brushless DC motors (three-phase or multi-phase).

Smart motor sensor is adapted to monitor pumps

ABB has collaborated with a Swiss pump-maker, Emile Egger, to adapt its smart motor-sensing technology to monitor pumps remotely.

Wireless predictive maintenance system is ‘world’s first’

A US company that specialises in wireless power transmission claims to have developed the world’s first wirelessly powered, predictive maintenance sensor technology. Nikola Labs’ PfM system captures vibration and temperature readings remotely to monitor the condition of equipment and to optimise maintenance in industrial and manufacturing facilities.

Cloud-based app analyses drivetrain performance

Siemens is launching a cloud-based app that monitors industrial drives and gives insights into the performance of machinery drivetrains. The Analyze MyDrives app captures and analyses operating data – such as power consumption, torque and frequency – to determine when maintenance is needed and to help cut energy consumption.

Fin-mounting motor monitor helps to predict problems

At the recent Drives & Controls Show in the UK, the Brazilian motor-maker WEG unveiled a device that attaches to an electric motor to monitor its performance in real time via an app running on a tablet or smartphone. The Motor Scan device measures vibration and surface temperature to detect any anomalies. It can also monitor running hours, and provide data on motor operating speeds and start/stop times. WEG is planning to add the ability to monitor loads, efficiencies, rotor imbalances, misalignments and bearing condition.

Safety comms system improves diagnostics and cuts wiring

Rockwell Automation has announced a safety communication protocol that, it says, will help users to improve machine diagnostics, reduce downtime and increase productivity, as well as cutting wiring by up to 38%. The Allen-Bradley Guardmaster GuardLink system allows safety devices to share diagnostics and status information with higher-level controls, allowing users to access information from an entire safety installation.

Superconducting motor uses solid-state cooling

At the upcoming Hannover Fair, Festo will be demonstrating a superconducting claw-pole motor with solid-state cooling. Details are sketchy, but the company says that the SupraMotor’s technology is characterised by a compact design, a high holding torque and a long-life, coolant-free electrical direct-cooling system.

80MW two-pole motor targets LNG applications

GE has completed no-load testing on an 80MW two-pole induction motor designed for use in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry. The 11kV motor – claimed to be one of the largest of its type – has been designed to operate at speeds from 2,500–4,000 rpm with an efficiency of up to 98.1%. GE’s previous largest induction motor was rated at 22MW.

Bionic spider will roll or run, while fruit bat flies overhead

A camera-guided flying fruit bat, and a spider that that can both walk and roll, are the latest additions to Festo’s menagerie of bionic creatures that will make their debuts at this year’s Hannover Fair in April. Festo has established a tradition of developing bionic versions of real animals that attract vast number of visitors to its stand at Hannover every year.

Water-based gearbox lubricant is ‘the world's first’

Last year, the German lubricant specialist Klüber Lubrication announced that it had developed a water-based lubricant that, it predicted, could revolutionise the future of lubrication, and solve challenges with regard to performance, energy efficiency and environmental compatibility of lubricants. Initially, the Hydro Lubricant technology was available only in the form of a specialised lubricant for conveyor belts.

Built-in sensors automate lubrication of linear axes

Schaeffler has developed a system that automates the lubrication of linear recirculating ball bearing and guideway assemblies using built-in lubrication and vibration sensors, thus eliminating the need for manual lubrication. The system, called DuraSense, provides individual linear axes with the precise level of lubrication they need, based on their loads and other factors. Up to six carriages can be monitored on one axis.

Cloud-based platform will enhance VSD performance

At the Hannover Fair in April, Siemens plans to unveil a digital platform for using and evaluating VSD (variable-speed drive) data, based on its MindSphere cloud-based open IoT operating system. Called Sidrive IQ, it will give users of networked drive systems direct access to functions designed to support production and maintenance tasks. Siemens says it will improve the productivity, reliability and serviceability of drive systems over their entire lifecycles.

Replacing neodymium could slash PM motor costs

The Japanese car-maker Toyota says that it has developed a magnet that uses much less of the costly rare-earth material neodymium than is normally needed for high-power PM (permanent magnet) motors used in electric vehicles, robots and other applications. It has replaced up to half of the neodymium (Nd), which currently costs around $100 per kilogram, with two other rare-earth materials, lanthanum (La) and cerium (Ce), each costing around $5-7/kg, potentially cutting the cost of PM motors – and their applications – substantially.