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Low-cost concept takes Ethernet to the sensor level

Innovasic, the US developer of industrial Ethernet silicon products, has demonstrated a “low-complexity” Ethernet concept designed to take Ethernet to the edge of industrial, building, transport and automotive networks.

Profibus International announces encoder certification testing

Profibus & Profinet International (PI) has introduced certification of products that use its encoder profile, thus ensuring the interoperability of drive and motion control applications. Together with PI’s PROFIdrive profile, the encoder profile defines interoperable application interfaces for various drive and motion control technologies based on Profinet and Profibus.

Industry leaders join forces to test TSN infrastructure

Leading automation suppliers, including Bosch Rexroth, Kuka, National Instruments and Schneider Electric, have joined forces with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to develop the world’s first Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) testbed. The aim is to demonstrate the new Ethernet IEEE 802 standards – referred to as TSN – being used in manufacturing applications.

Vibration isolators can vary stiffness 100-fold in less than 10ms

A Californian research-and-development organisation owned by Boeing and General Motors has developed an active variable-stiffness vibration isolator capable of 100-fold changes in stiffness and actuation times of less than 10ms, independent of the load.

£1.7m project will use magnetic gears for marine propulsion

Three UK companies are collaborating in a £1.7m project to develop compact, efficient electric drives for marine applications. Rolls-Royce, the magnetic gear developer Magnomatics, and the high-voltage motor manufacturer ATB Laurence Scott, will design, manufacture and test a 2.5MW magnetically geared propulsion motor (MGPM), using Magnomatics’ Pseudo Direct Drive (PDD) technology. The project is being co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Soft gripper can pick up fragile objects of almost any shape

Swiss researchers have developed a flexible gripping technology that can bend to pick up delicate objects such as eggs and paper without needing to know anything about the type of object or its shape. It could, for example, be used to handle food, to capture debris in outer space or be incorporated into humanoid robots.

New cooling technology ‘shrinks motor sizes by 75%’

Two US companies have announced plans to produce electric motors with a novel cooling technology that results in them being 75% smaller, and much lighter, than conventional motors with a similar power rating. They say that the motors, aimed principally at automotive applications, will deliver the power and torque to drive a passenger car from a package the size of a one-gallon can of paint.

Control system cuts robot programming times to ‘minutes’

A Finnish research organisation has developed a control system for the industrial robots that, it claims, can cut the time taken to set up and program robots to “minutes”, rather than the hour or more needed when using traditional programming methods.

PI announces plans to merge Profibus PA with Profinet

Profibus and Profinet International (PI) has announced plans to merge its Profibus PA and Profinet technologies to allow plant operators to continue using installed technologies while giving them access to the latest technologies, including Industry 4.0.

Control system extends the lives of grinding rollers

ABB has developed a torque and speed control system for high-pressure grinding rollers (HPGRs) used in mineral-crushing applications that, it says, will improve their lives and performance.

Software Sercos master avoids the need for custom chips

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Sercos International (SI) demonstrated a software-based Sercos III master that avoids the need to use a hardware master based on FPGA or ASIC chips. Instead, the Sercos III hardware functions are emulated in host-based driver software running on a standard Ethernet controller.

Technology eliminates the need for muting sensors

Leuze electronic has developed a technology which, it says, avoids the need for the muting sensors that are usually required to detect the approach of goods to a light curtain. It says that its Smart Process-controlled Gating (SPG) system will make muting cheaper, simpler and safer.

Servomotors act as sensors for more precise control

Bosch Rexroth has developed a range of synchronous servomotors which provide data on their temperature and saturation to the company's IndraDrive controllers, allowing them to improve torque precision and making operating tolerance ranges much tighter than previously possible. Rexroth says that, for the first time, the servomotor can act as a reliable sensor, as well as a data source.

Scanner brings safety to unprotected robots

On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, Mitsubishi Electric was demonstrating a robot safety system that it is developing with a German integrator, MH Elektro-Steuerungstechnick, that will allow humans and robots to work together safely during batch production processes.

Energy harvesting cuts DC motor lengths by more than half

By using an energy-harvesting technology, the German drives manufacturer Wittenstein has been able to develop two series of brushless DC motors with miniature multi-turn encoders that do not need a battery or a gearhead. It says that the motors are less than half the length of comparable machines and 20% smaller in diameter. Eliminating the gearhead and battery from the 32mm and 40mm diameter motors also extends their operating lives.