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Tiny PLC board will ‘unleash’ the power of the IIoT

The electronics developer Maxim Integrated has produced a reference PLC design that packs 17 configurable IOs into a space half the size of a credit card. It says that the Go-IO board will “unleash” the full power of the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and allow designers to bring greater intelligence into Industry 4.0 factory equipment, while meeting the stringent size and power demands of PLCs.

Google reveals plans to launch cloud robotics platform

Google has announced that it is working on a cloud robotics platform that will combine the power of artificial intelligence, robotics and the cloud. It says that initiative, due to go commercial in 2019, will create “an open ecosystem of automation solutions” using cloud-connected collaborative robots. It will enable efficient robot automation in dynamic environments.

TSN core could simplify real-time Ethernet networks

Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) has developed a TSN IP core to simplify the implementation of endpoints in TSN-capable Ethernet networks. The core consists of modules for time synchronisation, traffic-shaping and Ethernet MAC communications.

Rockwell announces first control devices to support CIP Security

Rockwell Automation has announced the first industrial control products that support CIP Security – the protocol developed by ODVA to protect critical industrial communications as part of a defence-in-depth security strategy

Extending OPC UA to the field level ‘will end fieldbus wars’

The OPC Foundation has announced plans to extend vendor-independent end-to-end interoperability down to field-level devices such as sensors and actuators. This is part of a wider initiative aimed at delivering an open, cohesive approach to implementing OPC UA, including TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) and associated application profiles, with the ultimate aim of creating a global industrial interoperability standard that integrates field devices with the shop floor.

Novel Hall sensor chip will ‘transform’ brushless DC motors

A Japanese chip-maker has developed a magnetic sensor IC (integrated circuit) that it predicts will “transform” the development, manufacture and performance of brushless DC motors. Ablic, located in Chiba City, claims that its ZCL Hall IC overcomes a weakness with existing bipolar Hall effect ICs, which cannot detect signals passing the 0mT (zero millitesla) south- and north-pole switching points, thus delaying the signal output.

Deep learning machine vision camera is ‘the first’

Flir has announced “the industry’s first deep-learning, inference-enabled machine vision camera”. Called the Firefly, it uses deep learning for more accurate image analysis decisions, and faster, easier development.

Robotic box-builder can handle eight sizes, without changeovers

A US packaging machinery specialist claims to have developed the first machine that can randomly erect boxes of different shapes and sizes, without needing any changeovers. New Jersey-based Xpak says that its Coboxx case erector can handle up to eight different box sizes, without needing to make any manual adjustments or perform any programming. Users can add new sizes via software that allows them to input lengths, widths and heights.

Joystick device is ‘the easiest way to program a robot’

A Texas company claims to have come up with simplest and possibly the quickest way to program almost any industrial robot. Sisu, which describes itself as an “innovator of electromechanical machines and robotic automation”, says that its patent-pending Vudu programming system does not need robot programming expertise, and can be programmed by machinists, welders and other non-programming professionals.

Rare-earth magnets from hard drives are re-used in motors

US researchers have succeeded in recovering rare-earth magnets from old computer hard drives and re-using them, without alteration, in motors. A second group of researchers has developed an acid-free technique for recycling rare-earth magnets and recovering more than 99% pure rare-earth elements.

Tool helps to pinpoint causes of machine failures

Itris Automation, the French software firm that specialises in tools for verifying and troubleshooting PLC codes, has released a real-time diagnostics tool that helps to pinpoint the causes of breakdowns in PLC-controlled machines. Called ICS Monitoring, the tool helps users to find the origin of problems faster, thus reducing downtime.

New Power-over-Ethernet spec triples power ratings

A new version of the IEEE’s Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) standard has added three new classes of operation and tripled the maximum amount of power that can be transmitted via Ethernet cables from 30W to 90W. According to the Ethernet Alliance, the ratification of IEEE 802.3bt - Amendment 2: Power over Ethernet (PoE) over 4 Pairs, “heralds a new era of robust market opportunity for PoE-enabled technologies”.

Microsoft releases Robot Operating System for Windows

Microsoft has announced an experimental release of the open-source Robot Operating System (ROS) for Windows. ROS is a set of libraries and tools that help to build complex robots, and is used in many robot projects around the world. Microsoft says that the development will bring the manageability and security of Windows 10 IoT Enterprise to ROS.

Hydrogen-electric plane could carry 4 passengers 5,000km

A French-Singaporean specialist in hydrogen-based propulsion systems for drones has announced plans to develop world’s first hydrogen-electric passenger aircraft designed to serve regional routes. HES Energy Systems says that its Element One aircraft will be able to carry up to four passengers for distances of 500–5,000km, depending on whether it stores hydrogen in a gaseous or liquid form.

Smart TV operating system will be applied to robots

The webOS operating system developed by South Korea's LG Electronics and used in more than 60 million of its smart TVs and digital displays, is going to be applied to other fields, including robotics, under a new partnership that LG has formed with the IT service provider, Luxoft.