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Bespoke drives are ‘first’ with 3-level harmonics technology

At this month’s Hannover Fair, Schneider Electric unveiled a range of engineered-to-order modular system drives incorporating a newly developed three-level harmonics technology that, it claims, cuts total current distortion (THDi) to less than 5%. The Altivar Process Drive Systems span ratings from 110–800kW, and there are plans to extend them to 1.5MW

Quad-core machine controller is ‘industry’s fastest’

Omron has announced a new machine automation controller which, it claims, offers the industry's fastest processing speeds, thanks to its use of an Intel i7 quad-core processor and 260MB of memory, allowing data collection and analysis to be performed in parallel with control functions. The Sysmac NX701 controller is aimed future production applications based on the Internet of Things (IoT), and is said to offer scalability beyond controllers such as PLCs.

6mm-wide safety relays are the ‘world’s thinnest’

At the Hannover Fair, Phoenix Contact has unveiled a 6mm-wide safety relay which, it claims, is the world’s narrowest and could result in space savings of up to 70%. The new PSRmini relays are small enough to be integrated directly in devices such as motor starters and are claimed to deliver a similar performance to larger safety relays.

Fieldbus analyser is ‘as easy to use as a multimeter’

Pepperl+Fuchs has unveiled a handheld device designed to simplify the commissioning and troubleshooting of fieldbus installations. The FieldConnex diagnostic device (FDH-1) has been designed to be easy to use without needing expert fieldbus knowledge, and can check a Profibus PA or Foundation Fieldbus H1 segment at the press of a button.

Wimes motors are designed for the UK water industry

ABB has announced a range of low-voltage motors designed specifically to comply with the latest version of the UK water industry’s Wimes (Water Industry Mechanical and Electrical Specification) standard. Wimes 3.03 issue 6, created by The Pump Centre and 17 UK water companies, was issued in October 2014 and defines the mechanical and electrical requirements for equipment used in the industry.

2016 edition of flagship CAD package makes its debut

Autodesk has announced the availability of a new version of its flagship CAD (computer-aided design) application, AutoCad. The 2016 edition includes scores of new functions, claimed to accelerate 2D and 3D design, documentation and collaboration, while “enriching the on-screen experience” when creating almost any shape.

‘Smart’ incremental encoders will cut the need for spares

The US encoder manufacturer, TR Electronic, has announced a new generation of programmable incremental rotary encoders that allow users to adjust and display absolute position, RPM, over-and under-speed, and count direction. TR calls the I__58:2 series encoders “intelligent” and says that they can do everything that an absolute rotary encoder can do.

Graphic touchscreen terminals boot up ‘twice as fast’

Rockwell Automation has announced a family of space-saving graphic terminals, which, it says, will cut boot-up times as well as improving touchscreen responsiveness. The Allen-Bradley PanelView 800 terminals, available in 4, 7 and 10-inch sizes, are powered by 800MHz processors and offer up to 256MB of flash and dynamic memory.

Next-generation PACs and PLCs share programming tools

Mitsubishi Electric has released new generations of two of its key controls ranges – Melsec iQ-R programmable automation controllers (PACs) and iQ-F compact PLCs. While they address different segments of the machine control, process control and automation markets, they share the same programming environment with other iQ models and are said to offer an improved user experience.

‘First full family’ of safe robots will open up new applications

The Californian robot-maker Precise Automation is launching what it describes as “the first full family of intrinsically safe benchtop collaborative robots”. The robots – which include Scara, six-axis articulated and Cartesian types – have been designed from scratch to work safely with humans, without needing costly, bulky and awkward safety barriers.

Card connects PCs to any industrial Ethernet network

The Swedish industrial communications specialist HMS Industrial Networks has announced a plug-in card that that can connect a PC to any industrial Ethernet network. The IXXAT INpact is a PCIe card that support numerous industrial Ethernet standards using a uniform protocol and a card-spanning API (application programming interface).

Compact controllers integrate displays and up to 64 I/O

At next month’s Hannover Fair, Siemens will be launching a pair of compact industrial controllers with integrated I/O and displays, as well as built-in measuring, metering and positioning functions. The Simatic S7-1511C, with 32 digital I/O ports, is just 85mm wide and offers a 60ns bit performance, while the S7-1512C, with 64 digital I/O, is 110mm wide with a 48ns bit performance.

PLC-free system is an alternative to replacing MCCs

US-headquartered Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has announced a centralised control system that monitors, controls and protects low-voltage motor installations. The motorMax system offers a low-cost alternative to replacing existing motor control centres (MCCs), while allowing users to keep up with modern safety requirements. It also eliminates the need for PLCs, thus simplifying motor management.

Two-speed gearbox offers efficient direct-drive option

The German drives specialist Stober has developed a two-speed gear gearbox that, it says, will improve the energy efficiency of machine tools. The PS box, which is available in two sizes (PS25 and PS30), was developed especially for use in the main spindle drives of machine tools. It offers a loss-optimised direct-drive mode (with a ratio of i=1) that delivers high speeds suitable for fine machining.

Vibration meter transmits motor data wirelessly

Fluke has announced a handheld vibration instrument that gathers data on the bearings and general health of motors and other rotating equipment, and can share it wirelessly in real time. The multifunction Fluke 805 FC meter can be used by troubleshooting personnel who need reliable, repeatable measurements of rotating equipment to make go/no-go maintenance decisions.