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Synchronised actuators can lift loads faster

Thomson Industries has developed a way of synchronising up to four heavy-duty electromechanical linear actuators to allow large or awkward loads to be moved repeatedly and evenly. It has built the capability into its Electrak HD actuators, resulting in what, it claims, will be more stable and potentially quicker lifts, the avoidance of additional guides, and improved handling of uneven loads.

EU project could result in machinery that repairs itself

Engineers and researchers from six European countries have been taking part in a collaborative project aimed at developing maintenance technologies capable of predicting when production machinery is going to fail. This will allow plant managers to rectify faults before the breakdowns occur. In some cases, the system will even be able to correct defects automatically.

Standard will integrate IO-Link with OPC UA

The IO-Link community has set up a technical working group to specify the integration of IO-Link into OPC UA. The Industry 4.0 platform sees OPC UA as a suitable architecture model for implementing IT at the field level. The IO-Link community has therefore decided to develop a standard for a data and function model that will represent future IO-Link devices and masters accurately in OPC UA. The working group will follow the general recommendations for developing OPC UA companion standards.

Sercos master is made available as free, open-source software

A software-based Sercos industrial Ethernet master that can be implemented on industrial automation controllers instead of needing dedicated hardware, is now available as free, open-source software. The Sercos SoftMaster package is said to offer more than 95% of the capabilities of a Sercos HardMaster hardware version.

Database covers more than 80% of all IO-Link devices

A recently-launched database containing technical descriptions of IO-Link devices is claimed to cover more than 80% of all known IO-Link devices. The IODDfinder service, launched by the IO-Link community earlier this year, is being supported by more than 30 manufacturers of IO-Link devices who, between them, have stored about 1,900 IODDs (IO-Link Device Descriptions), which can be used to parameterise more than 3,900 different IO-Link devices.

Technique cuts linear stage thermal errors by up to 90%

Aeorotech has come up with a software-driven technique that, it claims, can eliminate up to 90% of the thermal errors that can affect the accuracy of precision linear positioning stages. It can be applied to both linear motor and ballscrew-driven linear stages, and operates regardless of the range of temperature change.

Bluetooth adds a mesh networking capability

The Bluetooth wireless communication system now supports mesh networking, allowing “many-to-many” device communications. The new version, announced by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), is optimised for creating large-scale networks of devices such as sensors, where tens, hundreds, or thousands of devices need to communicate with each other reliably and securely.

PLCopen releases safe motion specification to plug a gap

PLCopen has released version 1.0 of its PLCopen Safe Motion specification which fills a gap in specifications released earlier by PLCopen’s motion and safety activities, which only partially described the safety aspects involving motion.

Multibeam antenna boosts RFID accuracy and reliability

German researchers have developed a multibeam antenna for RFID (radio frequency identification) systems which, they claim, provides high levels of accuracy when capturing data from transponders, as well as improving reliability, especially in challenging environments. The antenna, which is compatible with all common RFID readers, is about to start pilot trials.

First servomotor with built-in GaN amp ‘is half the size’

Yaskawa Electric says it has developed the world’s first servomotor with a built-in amplifier equipped with gallium arsenide (GaN) power semiconductors. It claims that the motor and amplifier are half the size of the amplifier portion of a conventional servopack, and will lead to smaller and more efficient servodrive systems.

Sensorless motor control system solves problems with others

A German start-up company is marketing a sensorless technology for determining the position of rotors in electric motors that, it claims, overcomes problems with other sensorless control technologies, such as reduced bandwidths, high noise levels, and difficulties transitioning between high and low speeds. The company, Bitflux, says that these drawbacks have limited sensorless control applications, and made them expensive to develop.

Camera captures 3D snapshots without an object having to move

The German sensor specialist Sick has announced an industrial camera that captures high-resolution 3D images of stationary or moving objects with a single “snapshot”. Unlike systems based on laser triangulation, the Visionary-T camera captures 3D images using a single shot of light, without needing to profile a moving object.

Nine-seater electric aircraft will have a range of 965km

At the recent Paris Air Show, an Israeli aircraft developer unveiled a prototype of an all-electric aircraft that could carry nine passengers and two crew a distance of up to 965km (600 miles) at speeds of up to 445 km/h (240 knots). Eviation Aircraft hopes to start trial flights of its Alice Commuter plane in late 2018 and to put it on sale in 2021.

Planetary motor-gearbox could raise power density by 50%

Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) have developed a novel motor with an integrated gearbox. Instead of a single rotor, four mechanically linked rotors are used, creating what the developers call a “planetary motor”. They say that it offers high efficiency, a power density up to 50% higher than that of a conventional motor of a similar size, ease of use, and failsafe operation, at a relatively low cost. The motor made its global debut at the Hannover Fair earlier this year.

Berlin will get world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevators

The world’s first rope-less, direct-drive elevator system, using cabins that can move sideways, as well as up and down, is to be installed in a project in Berlin, Germany, described as “the world’s most sustainable office building”. The first functional version of the Multi system, developed by ThyssenKrupp Elevator, is being tested in a 246m-tall tower which the company has just inaugurated in Rotweil, Germany.