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Multi-frequency MV starter doubles starting torques

A Chinese specialist in MV (medium voltage) drives and power electronics has developed a new MV motor starter technology that, it says, can double starting torques, dramatically reduce starting currents, and save space and weight compared to conventional MV motor starting technologies.

Distance sensors use three ‘breakthrough’ technologies

The German manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a photoelectric distance-measuring sensor that, it says, combines three breakthrough technologies into one device. The R2100 sensor, unveiled at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, is aimed at applications such as object positioning, and collision avoidance on robots and gantries.

Electric VW Bora will use Protean in-wheel motors

Protean Electric, which specialises in developing in-wheel electric vehicle motors, has formed a partnership with FAW-Volkswagen Automotive (FAW-VW) to develop a new propulsion system for VW’s Bora sedan, based on two Protean motors in the vehicle’s rear wheels.

LED-based position sensing technology ‘is a better buy’

A Canadian company called LeddarTech has developed an LED-based presence detection and ranging technology for industrial applications which, it claims, offers a better cost/performance ratio than existing technologies such as lasers, radar, thermal imaging, ultrasonics and passive infrared.

Google Glass ‘could revolutionise’ industrial automation

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Beckhoff drew crowds to its stand with a demonstration of how the emerging Google Glass technology could be used to provide machine operators with information such as dialogue messages, videos, Web pages or documentation, while they are working at their machines.

Facial recognition could open up ‘no-touch’ controls

Omron has demonstrated a facial recognition technology that could open up new ways for humans to interact with machines and automation systems. On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, the company was showing how its Okao technology – originally developed for consumer applications – could be used to control access to machines and to enhance safety by only allowing recognised personnel to approach moving machines.

Distributed processing cuts I/O cycle times to 1µs

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Austrian automation manufacturer B&R unveiled a technology which, it claims, can reduce industrial automation cycle times down to 1µs. It says that, until now, the fastest response times achieved in the field – from receiving an input signal to sending an output signal – have rarely been less than 100µs.

Autonomous two-armed robot can see and feel

The Japanese robot-maker Seiko Epson has developed a prototype dual-arm robot that, it says, will expand the range of tasks that can be automated on the production floor. The robot, fitted with vision and force-sensing functions, can execute tasks autonomously by recognising objects, making decisions, and adjusting the amount of force applied, on the fly.

BLDC sensors avoid the need for chopper stabilisation

Honeywell Sensing and Control has developed a new sensor technology for brushless DC (BLDC) motors that removes the need to use chopper stabilisation. It claims that this results in faster response times, higher accuracies and minimal electrical noise levels, without needing extra filtering.

Silicon carbide devices could cost the same as silicon

A UK start-up company is developing a silicon carbide (SiC) technology for power semiconductor devices that could lead to devices offering SiC performance at the cost of silicon. Coventry-based Anvil Semiconductors has secured £1m of funding to develop and commercialise its low-cost SiC technology.

PM technology could save ship-owners €50,000 a month

The Switch, the Finnish developer of permanent magnet (PM) motor and generator systems, has entered the marine sector with a “next-generation” drivetrain for powering and propelling vessels efficiently. It says that the combination of PM and frequency converter technologies will allow ship-owners to cut their running costs by up to €50,000 per month.

Bearing and leadscrew combo slashes install times

Thomson has announced a linear motion technology that combines the functions of a linear bearing and a leadscrew in a single, compact package. The integrated and pre-aligned leadscrew and linear bearing – called the Glide Screw – is designed to actuate a moment load or side load smoothly and quietly, without additional support.

Free software brings 3D CAD to non-experts

RS Components and its North American sister company Allied Electronics have released a free 3D solid modelling and assembly tool that can be used by CAD novices and is said to make it easy to move from 2D to 3D design. The DesignSpark Mechanical package, developed for RS and Allied by the 3D software specialist SpaceClaim, uses a gesture-based modelling technique to create concept designs quickly.

Reconfigurable windings allow motors to be used globally

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG and its Austrian subsidiary Watt Drive have developed a modular motor with a special winding design which allows the operating voltage to be reconfigured from the terminal box, allowing the same motor to be used around the world at voltages from 100–690V, and on 50 or 60Hz systems.

PLCopen aims to draw up control software guidelines

PLCopen has launched an initiative to draw up coding guidelines for industrial control software. It says that although such guidelines exist for many programming languages, there is no equivalent for IEC 61131-3 and its PLCopen extensions.