Drives and Controls Magazine
30-tonne rack-and-pinion is ‘world’s most powerful’

A Swedish manufacturer has developed what it claims will be the world’s most powerful rack-and-pinion drive, capable of handling loads of more than 30 tonnes. Stockholm-based Cascade Drives believes that its “pioneering” electromechanical actuator technology has many advantages over hydraulic-based systems, including better pressure stabilisation in pumping applications, reduced need for maintenance, a lower risk of contamination by hydraulic fluid leaks, and energy savings of up to 60%.

Speckle-free laser doubles 3D image processing speeds

Cognex claims to have eliminated the speckle effect from laser lines, thus improving triangulation-based 3D imaging. It has incorporated its patented speckle-free technology into an embedded vision system which, it says, can achieve inspection speeds twice as fast as rival products.

Industrial edge 'first' will accelerate journey to I 4.0

Nokia has launched what it describes as industry’s first off-the-shelf, mission-critical industrial edge, designed to accelerate the journey to Industry 4.0 for asset-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, energy and transportation, helping them to digitalise their operations with high performance, reliability and security. The scalable Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) addresses a new category of I4.0 applications that require increased capabilities and performance at the network edge, and tight integration with industrial and networking systems.

UK coil-winding tech ‘could transform motor production’

UPDATED:  A UK company has developed a coil-winding machine that allows rectangular wire to be formed on its edge, and used instead of multi-turn round-wire windings. Electrified Automation, based in Bridgwater, Somerset, believes that this development will transform the way that electric motors are manufactured at scale.

Demo shows SPE operating over 400m of twisted-pair cable

A US developer of network infrastructure technologies has demonstrated 10Base-T1L Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) operating over 400m of balanced twisted-pair copper cabling. Connecticut-based Siemon says that the demonstration, at a conference in Las Vegas, is “a milestone step” in confirming SPE’s ability to bring Ethernet network connections – including operation over a standardised, non-proprietary cabling infrastructure – to a wide range of devices operating at 10Mb/s or less, such as sensors, actuators and relays.

John Lewis pilots flexible robotic storage system

ABB has announced a robotic storage system that can sequence, buffer, store and consolidate a wide variety of items for organisations of all sizes. It says that the FlexBuffer cell will bring new levels of flexibility to sectors including logistics, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods and retailing.

Tests start on 2MW aircraft motor that is ‘twice as powerful’

Wright Electric, a US company developing zero-emission commercial aircraft, has started to test a 2MW electric motor that it plans to use in the 186-passenger Wright 1 all-electric aircraft that it hopes will enter service in 2030 with a range of 800 miles (1,287km). The 2MW motor is twice as powerful as any other aircraft motor to date, and has a specific power of 10kW/kg – said to be twice as high as previous motors.

UK 5G sensors are first to connect to factory devices

Engineers at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West have designed and built a native 5G sensor designed to unlock the low latency and productivity potential of 5G in manufacturing.

Process recovers 98% of rare-earths from assembled motors

The car-maker Nissan has tied up with researchers at a Japanese university to develop a process for recovering rare-earth materials from electric motor magnets. They have started testing the process with the aim of making it a commercial reality by the mid-2020s.

UK project leads world in industrial 5G slicing and splicing

In what they claim is a world first, UK developers have begun testing an industrial 5G networking technology that “slices” and “splices” networks, allowing users to create multiple virtual networks that can be customised according to specific services and traffic levels needed. The networks can therefore be optimised to meet the needs of different processes to improve efficiency, performance and business output.

UK team leads the way towards 3D printed motors

A team from the UK’s Manufacturing Technology Centre has developed a way of producing key components for electric motors using additive manufacturing (3D printing) techniques. They say the result is a motor which, despite the parts being smaller and lighter, has a higher output power. It also has fewer components, potentially simplifying supply chains, increasing manufacturing efficiencies, cutting running costs, and reducing assembly and inspection time and costs.

Hybrid M12 SPE connectors will power small drives

The SPE Industrial Partner Network is developing M12-size hybrid connectors that will combine SPE (single-pair Ethernet) connections with power connections capable of powering DC servodrives, small three-phase drives and similar loads. It says that the hybrid system – which will be specified in the IEC 63171-7 standard – will combine the advantages of a direct supply of data and power, with the lower cost and compactness of a single cable and interface.

12,000 sensors on existing machines can connect to the cloud

Microsoft has teamed up with a German start-up, CloudRail, to integrate almost any sensor on existing or new machines with its IoT Plug & Play services such as IoT Central. CloudRail estimates that there are about 12,000 industrial sensors from suppliers such as ifm, Sick and Pepperl+Fuchs that could be connected in this way.

3D printing of motor windings eliminates traditional drawbacks

Two US companies have developed a new way of producing copper windings for motors using 3D printing that, they say, eliminates many of the limitations of traditional techniques for manufacturing windings. Pennsylvania-based ExOne, which specialises in 3D metal and sand printers using a binder jetting technology, is collaborating with a Tennessee-based start-up called Maxxwell Motors to develop “unique” copper windings for Maxxwell’s axial-flux motors, which avoid the need for magnets and rare-earth materials.

Efficiency of 105MW two-pole motor will exceed 98%

Siemens Large Drives Applications (LDA) is building a “world-leading” 105MW two-pole motor-generator with an efficiency of more than 98% for use in a Chinese energy storage project.