Drives and Controls Magazine
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.

AI will pool machine user data to improve maintenance

Bosch Research has teamed up with the UK AI (artificial intelligence) specialist to test a technology that will gather data from multiple machine users to build up a bigger picture of potential failures. The aim is to overcome the problem of relying on data from a single machine user where problems do not occur often.

600kW fuel cell aircraft powertrain pulls 15-ton platform

Engineers working for the British-American fuel-cell-powered aircraft developer ZeroAvia have used a 600kW propellor powertrain to pull a 15-ton mobile testing platform at the company’s Californian facility in Hollister. The test was part of the development programme that should see a 19-seater fuel cell aircraft powered by two of the 600kW powertrains taking off from ZeroAvia’s UK site in Kemble later this year.

EnDat 3 interface is designed for digital manufacturing

The German sensor-maker Heidenhain has released the third generation of its EnDat serial communications interface, specifically designed to meet the needs of digital manufacturing. EnDat 3 is said to offer faster data transmission, improved reliability and improved diagnostics, combined with additional sensor data (from encoders or other external devices).

Programming robots inside Siemens controls will cut costs

The Italian robot-maker Comau has released a protocol that allows users of Siemens control systems to program Comau robots without leaving their Siemens ecosystem, thus saving time and cutting costs. The Next Generation Programming Platform (NGPP) works with Siemens’ Simatic robot library to eliminate the need for dedicated robot programming.