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Low-cost modular motors cut delivery times 'by weeks’

ABB has announced a range of large modular induction motors with delivery times that, it claims, are several weeks shorter than those for more highly specified machines. The low-cost NMI motors, spanning ratings from 315kW to 8MW in frame sizes 400–630, are aimed at safe-area pump and fan applications that do not need highly specified motors.

Cognex expands into mobile terminals with phone-based system

The machine vision market-leader and barcode reader specialist, Cognex, has expanded into a new product area – rugged mobile terminals – which, it says, offer a “revolutionary” way of performing tasks such as inventory management, logistics and field service.

Acquisition leads to launch of 49 robots in three families

Following Omron’s $200m acquisition last year of the US robot-maker Adept, a newly-formed business, Omron Adept Technologies, is launching a total of 49 industrial robots in 39 countries around the world.

Handheld 'scope shows the most relevant readings

Fluke has announced what it claims is the first handheld oscilloscope with an “intelligent” measurement detection function that displays the most relevant measurement value automatically. The ScopeMeter 120B instrument is designed to improve the speed, efficiency and accuracy of troubleshooting electromechanical systems.

Dual-role industrial controller simplifies machine safety

Rockwell Automation has announced a machine controller that combines safety and motion functions on a single EtherNet/IP network. It says that the Allen-Bradley Compact GuardLogix 5370 controller will make it easier to design safety into machines with up to 16 axes, and will result in simpler system architectures.

Simple controllers add safety CPU and energy monitoring

Siemens has added new modules and functions to its Simatic S7-1200 family of Basic Controllers, including a new CPU for failsafe applications in the lower power range, and a module that records energy flows on machines. In addition, the controllers’ firmware has been updated with extra functions including support for the Media Redundancy Protocol (MRP) and a backup/restore function.

Ethernet switches cut configuration times by ‘up to 90%’

The Taiwanese automation specialist Advantech has announced the first managed industrial Ethernet switch to support a new device management technology, called IXM, that allows users to assign a fixed range of IP address to many devices at the same time, and to copy the same switch configuration simultaneously to many switches. The company claims that the technology will cut configuration times by up to 90%, as well as preventing mistakes.

Gravity conveyor speed controller uses eddy current brakes

The Swiss materials-handling specialist Interroll has developed what it claims is the world's first device that uses a built-in eddy current brake to control the speed of gravity roller conveyors. It says that the easy-to-install, maintenance- and wear-free MSC 50 magnetic speed controller is a response to the demand for more efficient and cost-effective materials-handling systems.

Control system is ‘first’ with built-in fieldbus diagnostics

Siemens has announced what it claims is the first control system with integrated fieldbus diagnostics. Its Simatic AFDiSD “active field distributor” provides extended fieldbus diagnostics for Profibus PA installations operating under its Simatic PCS 7 process control system. Siemens says this will allow faster plant start-ups and rapid identification of bus interruptions.

New-generation servos are smaller, lighter and faster

Panasonic has announced a new generation of servodrives with a velocity response of 3.2kHz, resulting in faster reaction times. There is also a news series of matching servomotors, with built-in 23-bit encoders, which are claimed to be 30% shorter and 10% lighter than their predecessors.

Combined thermal imager and clamp meter spots faults

The thermal imaging specialist Flir has announced what it claims is the world’s first combined thermal imager and clampmeter. The Flir CM174’s thermal camera guides the user to hotspots and pinpoints temperature anomalies, which they can then investigate using the 600A AC/DC clampmeter.  

Gateways make it easier for automation and IT worlds to talk

The Swedish industrial networking specialist HMS has announced a series of “edge connectivity” gateways designed to make it easier for automation and IT specialists to communicate with each other’s networks. The gateways allow real-time data from industrial machinery to be presented to .Net-based IT applications, giving .Net programmers direct access to data from PLC systems, while automation engineers keep full control over what the IT side is allowed to do. The first of the .Net gateways are for the Profibus and Profinet networks.

Software controller with failsafe PC-based control is ‘first’

At the Hannover Fair in Germany in April, Siemens will unveil what it claims is the world's only software controller with failsafe PC-based control that is independent of the operating system. The new Simatic 1507S F controller is essentially a S7-1500 software controller with built-in safety.

Sensors ‘can detect any object on a high-speed line’

The German sensor-maker Sick says it has achieved a step change in sensing performance and value with a range of distance sensing, proximity and object detection sensors that, it claims, can detect any object on a high-speed production line. The family of four PowerProx sensors, which are based on laser time-of-flight (ToF) technology, cover a distance range from 50mm to 3.8m and can replace most distance and proximity sensors in a production plant. The family includes what is claimed to be the world’s smallest ToF sensor.

Vibration sensor targets low-speed applications

The British vibration monitoring specialist, Sensonics, has developed a sensor specifically designed to monitor vibrations on slow-speed machinery ­– typically rotating at less than 300 rpm. It says that traditional piezoelectric-based velocity vibration sensors are susceptible to various forms of interference in low-frequency applications that can result in spurious readings and alarms.