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Family of 600 control devices could cut panel sizes by 20%

Omron is introducing around 600 different control panel devices, in 18 different product categories, all built to a common design platform and incorporating a proprietary rapid wiring technology. It says that the components, which are all the same height, will reduce dead space in panels by up to 50% and cut panel sizes by up to 20%.

Modular robot control system allows users to mix-and-match

The Taiwanese automation manufacturer Nexcom has announced an open, modular robot control technology that allows users to mix-and-match components such as controllers, robots, and servodrives to suit their applications.

Micro-PLC with Web server packs the power of a PAC

Japan’s Idec Corporation has released a micro-PLC which, it claims, offers the power of a PAC (programmable automation controller) and supports up to 520 I/O. The FC6A MicroSmart controller can execute basic instructions in 0.042µs, has a 640kB program memory, incorporates 1,024 timers and 512 counters (including six high-speed timers capable of up to 100kHz), has a built-in Web server, and can handle large programs with complex control requirements such as PID, flow totalisation and recipes.

VSD-based hydraulic pack cuts energy use by up to 80%

Rexroth has developed a hydraulic power pack for machinery that integrates all of the hydraulic and electrical components, along with a variable-speed drive, to produce a compact system that can cut energy consumption by up to 80%. The plug-and-run CytroPac system also simplifies commissioning and maintenance.

‘First’ type 3 safety light grids will cut machine costs

The German safety specialist Pilz says it has developed the world’s first type 3 light grids, thus closing the “type gap” in the revised version of IEC 61496-1. The new PSENopt II grids offer level d (PL d) performance, avoiding the need to switch to type 4 grids to achieve PL d. They can be used to implement the performance level that precisely matches the safety requirement, without costly over-sizing.

‘Game-changing’ soft-starts act as complete control systems

At the recent Hannover Fair, the New Zealand soft-start specialist AuCom announced a  “game-changing” range that, it predicts, will challenge industry approaches to fixed-speed motor control. The EMX4i low-voltage soft-starts offer the option of plugging in application-specific cards.

Single-tool valve system is fast and easy to assemble

At the recent Hannover Fair, Aventics launched a modular pneumatic valve system designed to cut the number of components needed and to simplify assembly by using a single tool. The time-saving ES05 Essential Valve System is said to reduce the risk of faults and to offer a cost-effective, tailored way of meeting users’ needs.

Compact 20-axis controller promises big-system benefits

Rockwell Automation has announced a compact industrial controller for high-speed applications with up to 20 axes of motion which, it claims, has up to 20% more application capacity than its previous CompactLogix controllers. The new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5380 controller offers the benefits of Rockwell’s high-performance Integrated Architecture portfolio in a small format.

Inductive system reads absolute linear positions to ±4µm

Rexroth has developed a robust linear measuring system that reads absolute positions inductively to an accuracy of ±4µm – similar to that of glass scales. The company is building the IMS-A system into its linear guides, thus avoiding the need for external measurement or air purge systems. It says that the system is immune to contamination, vibrations, shocks and magnetic interference and needs no buffer batteries in the event of a power failure.

Connector with ‘first’ with built-in Ethernet switch

Harting claims to have developed the first connector with a built-in Ethernet switch. Its new Han-Modular US4 connector can be used to network up to four EtherNet/IP or Profinet nodes with transmission speeds of up to 1,000 Mbit/s.

Tester analyses running motors without using sensors

Fluke has announced a motor tester that analyses a motor’s electrical and mechanical performance while it is running, without needing any mechanical load sensors. The Fluke 438-II power quality and motor analyser uses “innovative” algorithms to analyse not only three-phase power quality, but also torque, efficiency, and speed, to determine a motor's performance and to detect overload conditions.

Plug-in drives modules save space and cut costs

At the recent Hannover Fair, Beckhoff announced a series of space-saving drives modules in a plug-in format for machines being built in volume production runs. The EtherCat-based EJ series modules make it possible to achieve high-volume runs without sacrificing customisation.

Ł2m investment in machinery leads to a trio of couplings

Following a Ł2m investment in new production machinery, the UK manufacturer Renold Couplings announced three new ranges of couplings at the recent Drives & Controls Show.

Build your own robot arms from €243 per axis

The German engineering plastics specialist igus is pushing further into the world of robotics with a kit system that will allow users to create plastic-and-aluminium robot arms with up to six degrees of freedom at costs starting from €243 ($281) per axis. At the recent Hannover Fair, igus had a stand dedicated to the robot kits, which have articulated joints driven by worm gears with stepper motors optionally built into the joints. The arms have been designed to operate safely in “collaborative” applications with human co-workers.

MCC is ‘first’ to marry arc prevention and resistance

Eaton has announced an arc-resistant version of its FlashGard MCC (motor control centre) technology, designed to prevent arc flash events and to protect personnel if an arc flash occurs. Eaton claims that it is the first manufacturer to combine arc-preventative and arc-resistant technologies in one MCC.