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Customised linear axes are 3D-printed to order

The engineering plastics specialist igus has launched a service that will 3D-print bespoke carriages and end-blocks for linear axes to customer requirements. The components are printed using a laser sintering process within 48 hours of an order being placed, using a plastic said to be three times more abrasion-resistant than conventional SLS (selective laser sintered) materials.

72mm-wide micro-PLC is ‘fastest on the market’

The German controls manufacturer Vipa has announced a micro-PLC which, it claims, is the fastest on the market. It says that the Micro PLC sets new standards in terms of its size (at 72mm wide, it is up to half the size of other microcontrollers), channel density (it has 30 built-in digital and analogue I/O channels) and status display (users can view essential system information at a glance).

Redesigned drives shrink by 73% to become ‘world's smallest’

Danfoss Drives claims to have produced the world’s smallest air-cooled, standalone drives, with the highest power density, by redesigning the E-sized enclosures for its VLT drives, and making then 73% smaller. As well as saving space, the new design is said to be easier to install, commission and service.

All-in-one MV drives use LV components to cut costs

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, WEG unveiled a new range of medium-voltage drives which it plans to sell as complete systems integrated into cabinets, along with isolators, fuses, and multi-level feed transformers. This means that purchasers of the MVW3000 drives will not need to buy additional MV switchgear.

IP55 vector drives have built-in 10,000-step PLCs

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Taiwanese automation manufacturer Delta announced a range of IP55-protected vector control variable-speed drives for fan, pump and water treatment applications. The CFP2000 VSDs span ratings from 0.75–90kW and come with built-in EMC filters, DC chokes, real-time clocks and 10,000-step PLCs.

$30 Raspberry Pi computer module targets industrial uses

A new version of the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer has been announced which is targeted at engineers developing embedded control systems. The Raspberry Pi 3 Compute Module (CM3) is based on the latest Raspberry Pi 3 architecture, with an ARM quad-core processor running at up to 1.2GHz, 1GB of LPDDR2 RAM and 4GB of on-board eMMC Flash storage. It has the same pin-out as the original Compute Module (CM1).

Soft-starters with onboard PLCs adapt torque to the load

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, WEG unveiled a family of high-end soft-starters with built-in PLC functions that provide programmable control of induction motors. The soft-PLC allows the output torque to be adapted to the load, and start-up currents to be minimised.

Current monitor adapts to suit its application

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Murrelektronik announced a modular current-monitoring system that can be adapted to suit an application. The Mico Pro system monitors control and load currents, identifies critical conditions, signals limit loads, and switches faulty channels off in a targeted way. A patented tripping process ensures that trips occur as late as possible, but as early as is necessary.

VSD enhanced by Ethernet port and Web server

Mitsubishi Electric used the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany to preview a new inverter with a built-in Web server and Ethernet TCP/IP connections. The FR-A800-E drive, which is based on the existing FR-A800, will provide enhanced functions for remote monitoring and parameter adjustment, as well as easier integration into networks. Mitsubishi says that single drive could control an entire machine or process, saving time and money for SIs and OEMs.

Triple servoamps cut space requirements by up to 90%

Schneider Electric has developed a drive system for servomotors that, it claims, could cut the need for space in control cabinets by up to 90% compared to conventional servo amplifiers, as well as reducing energy consumption by up to 40%. It unveiled the Lexium 62 ILD system at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany.

Camera grabs videos before and after incidents

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Sick launched a camera that captures images and video sequences taken immediately before and after an event, to reveal the causes of plant malfunctions – such as safety barriers being ignored or items being removed from production lines. The camera can transmit event-controlled video sequences directly to the cloud, as well as storing them locally on an SD memory card.

Gateway links plants to the IoT, without any programming

New from Bosch Rexroth is a gateway that links new or existing plants to the Internet of Things (IoT) without affecting the automation logic. The Linux-based IoT gateway uses Java apps and open interfaces. Configuration is Web-based, and needs no programming.

Motion control software adds support for OPC-UA

Siemens has updated its Simotion motion control software, equipping it with object-oriented programming (OOP) and communications via OPC UA.

Next-generation motion engineering system is unveiled

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, SEW-Eurodrive unveiled the first elements in a next-generation modular motion engineering system that will encompass all elements from controls, software and inverters, to motors. The new Movi-C products will be programmed using a single engineering software package, called Movisuite, that combines planning, configuration and diagnostics functions and will be used to set up everything from single inverters to complete machines.

45mm-wide twin-axis servodrive is ‘world’s thinnest’

The German motion engineer Stober has developed what it claims is the world’s narrowest multi-axis servodrive. The modular, rack-based SI6 system includes double-axis modules (2 x 5A) that are 45mm wide, resulting in six-axis systems that are 18cm wide, and 20-axis systems that are less than 50cm wide, including power supplies. The drives have a position, speed and current cycle time of 62.5µs.