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FF aims to make digital buses easier to use than analogue

The Fieldbus Foundation has announced a technology development initiative, called Project Gemstone, intended to make digital fieldbus automation easier to use than analogue control systems in every way, from device setup to device replacement and daily maintenance practices.

Power storage modules support DC buses in servo systems

Kollmorgen has developed a range of power storage modules incorporating a novel capacitor technology designed to improve the performance of servo motion systems by re-using braking energy and bridging short power outages safely.

Rare earths are recycled from batteries to motors

Three Japanese companies – Honda, TDK and Japan Metals & Chemicals – are working together on a scheme to recycle rare-earth metals extracted from batteries to produce magnets for new electric vehicle motors.

Platform is ‘first to manage big industrial data in the cloud’

General Electric claims to be offering “the first big data and analytics platform robust enough to manage the data produced by large-scale, industrial machines in the cloud”. It says that the platform, built to support the Industrial Internet and turn big data into real-time insights, will benefit industries such as energy production, transportation and manufacturing.

Carbon fibre rope heralds the 1km elevator ride

The Finnish elevator manufacturer Kone has developed a lightweight carbon-fibre-based lifting rope that will allow elevators to travel through heights of up to 1km – twice as far as is possible at present. The UltraRope hoisting technology will also result in energy savings of up to 45%.

Novel insulation allows motors to operate twice as long at full power

Japanese researchers have developed a new insulating material for motor coils that allows a motor to operate at maximum power for more than twice as long as conventional insulation. The new material also improves the motor’s efficiency by about 1%.

Software bridge links robots and machine tools

Researchers in the US have demonstrated an open-source software technology that collects and communicates real-time information from manufacturing processes and factory-floor equipment supplied by a variety of vendors.

Integrating EV motor with charger saves time and cuts costs

Swedish researchers have integrated an electric vehicle’s motor and inverter with its battery-charging circuit in a way that reduces charging times from eight to two hours, and cuts the EV cost by around $2,000.

Hybrid aircraft drive ‘could scale up to 100-passenger planes’

An aircraft powered by a serial-hybrid electric drive system has been shown at the Le Bourget air show in Paris, France, this week, with the claim that it could cut fuel consumption and emissions by up to 25%, as well allowing quiet takeoffs.

Sensor is ‘first’ to monitor grease in running bearings

Schaeffler has developed a technology that, for the first time, analyses lubricating grease in rolling bearings while they running. The FAG GreaseCheck sensor monitors the condition and quantity of the grease and sounds and alarm if levels fall too low.

Magnetic bearings are on a roll

Schaeffler has developed an active magnetic bearing technology that uses rolling bearings to support large shafts if the power fails and the magnetic levitation effect is lost. In the past, most large-diameter magnetic bearings have relied on plain bearings to act as back-ups but, following a failure, these usually need to be replaced or repaired.

Compact rival to cable drums has a novel twist

The energy chain specialist igus has come up with a novel, space-saving way to pay out and rewind working cables, tubing and other media over distances of up to 14m, without needing sliprings.

Inductive coupler carries IO-Link signals and power through the air

Balluff has developed a contact-less inductive coupler that can transfer energy and IO-Link signals across an air gap of up to 55mm. The bidirectional coupler can be used where fixed wiring of sensors and actuators would be difficult, or subject to wear caused by fatigue – for example, on rotary tables and interchangeable tools.

Ceramic spindles offer advantages over steel

Maxon motor has produced a pair of spindle drives with the option of wear-proof ceramic spindles that, it claims, offer many advantages over steel spindles or costly ballscrews.

Sercos releases IO-Link mapping guide

Sercos international has published a guide that will help automation engineers to integrate sensors and actuators with an IO-Link interface into a sercos system. It has also released an updated specification for the sercos III real-time Ethernet-based bus.