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AR app shows machine data on phone or tablet

Sick has unveiled an augmented reality (AR) app that merges machine, sensor and diagnostic information with images of a real environment to display machine data and errors where they are occurring. The Sara (Sick Augmented Reality Assistant) app takes data from any source, maps it into an AR engine and displays it on a tablet or smartphone, without needing costly devices such as headsets or fixed HMIs. It overlays the information on a view of the machine, showing operating data or where maintenance is needed.

UK project uses AI to analyse industrial video to cut errors

UK researchers have embarked on a project that will use AI-powered analysis of industrial video images to help plant operators to avoid human errors and to improve safety, productivity and efficiency.

ABB motor is ‘first’ to achieve IE6 efficiency without magnets

ABB claims to be the first electric motor manufacturer to have achieved IE6 levels of efficiency from a synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM) motor without needing to use magnets.

$170m investment delivers next-gen robot platform

ABB Robotics has announced a new-generation intelligent robotics automation platform that, it says, is faster, more precise and more sustainable. The OmniCore platform – the result of more than $170m of investment in next-generation robotics – is a step change to a modular, futureproof control architecture that will integrate AI, sensors, cloud and edge computing systems to create advanced and autonomous robotic applications.

Automated machine sets new record for solving Rubik’s Cube

Mitsubishi Electric says it has set a new record for the fastest robotic machine to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Its custom-built machine took just 0.305 seconds to complete the puzzle – beating the previous record of 0.38s, which Mitsubishi itself set in 2021. The new record has been ratified by the Guinness World Records organisation.

Regen electric motor gives e-bike a range of up to 1,000km

A Japanese electronic components manufacturer has developed an electrically-assisted bicycle that uses a regenerative electric motor to deliver a potential range of up to 1,000km on one charge. Taiyo Yuden says that its Feremo (Future Energy Recycling system for Mobility) e-bike recovers energy during braking or deceleration to charge its on-board battery, thus extending its range and helping to slow the bike when it is going downhill. The company is developing a “energy self-sufficient” version that could avoid the need to charge the battery altogether.

Nikon’s vision system uses camera expertise to solve problems

The Japanese camera-maker Nikon has announced an industrial robot vision system which, it claims, will overcome problems associated with existing vision systems. As well as performing static applications such as bin-picking, the system, which mounts on a robot arm, can also track and pick items moving on equipment such as conveyors, AGVs and AMRs.

AI-driven servo tuning ‘outperforms human experts’

Panasonic Industry has announced a servodrive system that uses AI to achieve precision tuning that, it claims, is better than can be done by human experts. It also says that the Minas A7 servo system delivers the industry's best motion performance with a 27-bit encoder resolution (equivalent to 134,217,728 pulses) and a response frequency that hits an industry high of 4kHz or more (1.25 times higher than Panasonic’s earlier Minas A6 servomotors).

AI-powered AMRs boast high speed and accuracy

ABB Robotics has announced an AMR (autonomous mobile robot) equipped with AI-based Visual Slam (simultaneous localisation and mapping) navigation technology, allowing first-time robot users to program and operate entire fleets of AMRs. The new capabilities simplify configuration of the AMR T702 trolley robot and can cut commissioning times by up to 20%.

Carbon fibre rings tackle the scourge of bearing currents

Bearing currents – a longstanding problem for some industrial motors – can also affect electric vehicle drivetrains, potentially leading to premature failure of bearings and other components. SKF has come up with a way to tackle the problem using conductive brush rings that provide a reliable electrical connection between an EV rotor shaft and its housing. When used in combination with ceramic ball bearings, they can alleviate bearing current effects, making EV drivetrains more reliable and longer-lasting.

IE6 motor is ‘the most efficient industrial motor ever created’

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG has announced an electric motor that version combines two technologies – permanent magnet (PM) and synchronous reluctance (SynRM) – to make it “the most efficient industrial motor ever created”. The W23 Sync+ Ultra delivers IE6 efficiency levels and achieves this “unparalleled” efficiency across varying speed and load conditions.

Festo creates a buzz at Hannover with its swarming bionic bees

At the Hannover Messe, Festo unveiled the latest in a long line of bionic versions of living creatures – this time, a bionic bee which weighs around 34 grams, is 220mm long and has a 240mm wingspan, making it the smallest flying object created so far by Festo’s Bionic Learning Network. The bees can fly in large numbers and move autonomously in swarms, following paths specified by a central computer.

Apple’s Vision Pro guides you to install motor starters

People working on equipment such as motor starters and electrical panels will soon be able to receive guidance and tuition via Apple’s recently launched Vision Pro “spatial computer” headset, which provides ultra-high-resolution 3D images that merge the real and digital worlds and can be controlled by natural inputs such as a user’s eyes, hand gestures or voice.

Hydraulic humanoid retires and electric successor is revealed

Boston Dynamics, the developer of the pioneering Atlas humanoid robot which has starred in many YouTube videos, has retired the original hydraulically-powered version and replaced it with a new electrically-powered successor.

Software-based motor control ‘boosts efficiency by up to 3%’

A Californian company has demonstrated a software-based motor control technology which, it claims, can boost motor efficiencies while avoiding the need for rare-earth materials. At a symposium in Austria, Tula Technology showed a Tesla Model 3 vehicle retrofitted with an externally excited synchronous motor (EESM) running its Dynamic Motor Drive (DMD) software, and claimed that this could cut the EV’s energy consumption by up to 3%.