Rockwell Automation has announced an alternative to managed industrial Ethernet switches for manufacturers that use unmanaged switches but struggle with downtime or security concerns. The new “lightly-managed” Allen-Bradley Stratix 2500 switch provides the security, resiliency, segmentation and bandwidth-optimisation of a managed switch, without needing extensive configuration.
A Finnish drive manufacturer called Granite Devices claims to have set a new benchmark for servodrive compactness with a snap-on board-format 700W drive that measures just 70 x 37 x 7mm, yet has built-in motion control and SIL2 safety functions. Granite describes the Ioni drive as “the Swiss Army knife for motion control”, adding that it represents “a new era for servodrives” that will bring time and cost savings to machine automation.
Rockwell Automation has developed what it claims is the world’s first solid-state cable-pull emergency-stop device, which uses a microprocessor-based technology to monitor and compensate for any thermal expansion or sagging of the trip-wire.
The German safety expert Pilz has developed an electrically-operated emergency-stop pushbutton which, it says, can save time and energy, and allow machines to be returned to service more rapidly after a shutdown. The PITestop active device has a built-in light ring to indicate its status.
Molex, Phoenix Contact, Murrelektronik and Binder have agreed to work together to drive the standardisation of M12 push-pull connectors which interlock automatically when plugged in, avoiding the need for traditional screw connections. The interlock is based on Molex’s Brad Ultra-Lock technology, which is designed to bring the ease push-pull connections to IP67/68/69K sealed connections. It can be used without tools, simplifying mounting, especially in confined spaces.
A Dutch specialist in Profibus and Profinet technologies has developed a diagnostics tool for Industrial Ethernet installations which can display all of the devices on a network and how they are connected, and provide an overview of the network’s health. Procentec says that its Atlas module will help to prevent unexpected and expensive downtime.
Eaton has announced what it describes as “the first clamping enclosure for hazardous industrial environments”, and is hailing it as “a major safety enhancement” for explosion-proof enclosures.
New from Lenze is a compact mechatronic drive that combines a motor with control electronics and software, and a gearbox that is integrated into the motor housing. The g350 drive is aimed, in particular, at materials-handling applications, where is it said to deliver high efficiencies.
Beckhoff has expanded into process control applications with a series of EtherCat terminals with IS (intrinsically safe) I/Os that can connect directly to field devices in Zone 0, 1 and 2 hazardous areas. Using the company’s PC-based controllers, automation and process technologies can now be combined, and EtherCat benefits such as diagnostics applied in hazardous areas.
Two US companies have stepped in to offer substitutes for controls products that Rockwell Automation has made obsolete. Real Time Automation is offering a replacement for the Allen-Bradley 1761-NET-AIC communications interface, which Rockwell discontinued in January, while AMCI (Advanced Micro Controls Inc) has an alternative for the Allen-Bradley 1746-HSTP1 motion module for SLC500 PLCs, also made obsolete recently.
The German sensor-make Sick has announced an open software platform that allows systems integrators and OEMs to develop tailor-made applications based on the company's programmable devices, including smart vision systems and intelligent sensors. The AppSpace platform is supported by a multi-core processor, called the SIM4000 sensor integration machine, that can integrate multiple cameras and sensors together with powerful image processing.
Rockwell Automation has announced a line of permanent magnet servomotors with efficiencies of at least IE4, designed to deliver high levels of continuous torque at high speeds for long periods of time, thus helping manufacturers to achieve high machine throughputs. The Allen‑Bradley Kinetix VPC motors are aimed at processes such as converting, printing and web-handling.
Siemens has developed functions for its Simotion motion controllers that, it says, will improve the speed, reliability and quality of the winding operations used in converting applications such as processing corrugated cardboard or web materials, and manufacturing battery electrodes.
Wind River, the Intel-owned specialist in IoT (Internet of Things) software, has announced a platform that will allow ageing control systems, not originally designed to support the IoT, to link into IoT networks.
Festo has developed a dynamic gantry system that, it claims, is 30% faster than conventional Cartesian handling systems, with initial costs that are comparable. The EXCH planar surface gantry is aimed at high-speed assembly operations where small, light mass-produced items need to be positioned quickly and flexibly.