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Nine-seater electric aircraft will have a range of 965km

At the recent Paris Air Show, an Israeli aircraft developer unveiled a prototype of an all-electric aircraft that could carry nine passengers and two crew a distance of up to 965km (600 miles) at speeds of up to 445 km/h (240 knots). Eviation Aircraft hopes to start trial flights of its Alice Commuter plane in late 2018 and to put it on sale in 2021.

Planetary motor-gearbox could raise power density by 50%

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) have developed a novel motor with an integrated gearbox. Instead of a single rotor, four mechanically linked rotors are used, creating what the developers call a “planetary motor”. They say that it offers high efficiency, a power density up to 50% higher than that of a conventional motor of a similar size, ease of use, and failsafe operation, at a relatively low cost. The motor made its global debut at the Hannover Fair earlier this year.

Berlin will get world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevators

The world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevator system, using cabins that can move sideways, as well as up and down, is to be installed in a project in Berlin, Germany, described as “the world’s most sustainable office building”. The first functional version of the Multi system, developed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator, is being tested in a 246m-tall tower which the company has just inaugurated in Rotweil, Germany.

Anti-sloshing tech moves liquids faster without spills

B&R Automation has announced a technology that, it says, will allow liquids to be moved quickly on production and packaging lines without any spillages. It claims that its Super-Trak linear transport system is the only one on the market to offer an anti-sloshing technology.

Tinder inspires automation diagnostics app

At the recent Hannover Fair, Rockwell Automation was demonstrating a variety of automation concepts that make use of consumer technologies such as virtual reality headsets, social media apps and interactive “bots”.

Software tool sends sensor data direct to higher-level apps

The sensor manufacturer ifm has developed a software tool that transmits data from IO-Link-equipped sensors directly to high-level systems, such as SAP, for applications including predictive maintenance and energy management. Ifm argues that argues that around 90% of the sensor data required for such applications is not needed for control tasks and is not available from shopfloor PLCs.

Kit ensures that human-robot interactions are safe

Pilz has come up with a package for measuring forces and pressures in accordance with ISO/TS 15066 to ensure the safety of human-robot collaborations (HRCs).

VSD-controlled chillers cut energy use by up to 70%

Rittal has developed a variable-speed system for chilling machine tool cooling liquids which, it says, marks “a huge leap in energy efficiency”, achieving energy savings of up to 70% compared to chillers that use hot gas bypass control systems.

Cloud-based motor monitor can cut downtime 'by 70%’

ABB’s wireless motor-monitoring technology, originally announced at last year’s Hannover Fair, is now entering the commercial phase, allowing users of many LV motors (not just ABB’s) to check the condition of their machines via a smartphone or Web portal. The quick-mounting Ability Smart Sensor, which does not needed any wired connections to the motor, transmits data to the cloud where predictive analysis reveals information on the motor and its performance.

New steel doubles bearing lives in tough applications

Schaeffler has developed a new steel for rolling bearings which, combined with a carbonitriding heat treatment process, offers both harder surfaces and a higher ductility than other steels. Compared to standard bearings, devices made from this material – called Mancrodur – can have 30% higher load ratings and operating lives that are up to six times longer.

Sick opens up its Hiperface DSL servodrive technology

The German sensor-maker Sick is opening up its single-cable Hiperface DSL (Digital-Servo-Link) motor feedback technology for use by any servodrive or motor manufacturer.  Since its launch in 2011, the technology has been adopted by more than 40 manufacturers, including ABB, Baumüller, Beckhoff, B&R, Kollmorgen, Lafert, LTI, Moog, NUM, Parker, Sigmatek, Stöber, and WEG.

Push-in busbar clamp challenges traditional connections

Rittal has invented a new method for connecting wires and cables to copper busbars which, it claims, is the fastest way of making such connections easily and securely. It adds that the technology will reduce the possibility of defects such as incorrect compression and clamp loosening, while its maintenance-free design should be more reliable and will cut maintenance costs.

IoT platform allows manufacturers to create their own apps

A US company has developed an IoT-enabled software platform that allows engineers to create shop-floor apps that connect workers, machines and IT systems.

AI machine control algorithm slashes set-up times

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a deep-reinforcement algorithm for artificial-intelligence (AI) based control of machinery that, it says, needs just one-fiftieth of the number of trials needed to set up conventional AI-based controls. The new algorithm will allow smart equipment such as industrial robots and vehicles to use sensors and cameras to learn rapidly about their environments to allow finely-tuned AI-based control.

Hygienic IP69K transport system opens up applications

At the Hannover Fair, Beckhoff unveiled a stainless-steel version of its XTS (eXtended Transport System) which, it predicts, will open up many new applications, especially in the food and pharmaceutical sector, and for processing and filling liquids. On its stand, Beckhoff was demonstrating how the IP69K-protected Hygienic Design version of XTS can even operate under a continuous water spray.