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€145 controller uses AI to generate code within seconds

A Greek automation start-up has announced an IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) controller that can be programmed and monitored via a smartphone, and avoids the need for programming expertise. Erqos says that the €145 EQSP32 controller can be used for industrial or home automation applications, as well as for instrumentation and for remote monitoring and control.

AI tool analyses production line tasks up to 99% faster

Mitsubishi Electric has developed an AI tool that analyses manual tasks on production lines in a few minutes and visualises how the tasks could be performed more efficiently to improve productivity. The company says that tool can cut the time needed to analyse such tasks by up to 99%.

Magnetic powder could be used to 3D-print motor parts

A European project has developed an iron silicon powder which can be used to 3D-print components for electric motors. This could increase their efficiencies and reduce the consumption of materials compared to the standard practice of cutting and moulding sheet metal to create motors. The powder, produced using a laser-based bed fusion technology, could also cut motor weights “significantly”, without affecting their performance.

Per cycle energy monitoring is built into servodrives

The German drive and automation specialist Baumüller has developed a smart energy monitoring function which can be incorporated into its servodrives, allowing users to analyse energy consumption per cycle without needing external hardware, thus saving both space and costs of wiring and hardware.

Large mobile robot opens up new options for flexible assembly

German researchers are developing a large mobile robot that, they believe, could bring much more flexibility to industrial applications than conventional fixed-base robot systems. The mobile platform, built by the German firm Broetje-Automation, carries a six-axis Comau robot arm with a 150kg load capacity.

Encoder with built-in vibration analysis avoids downtime

The German encoder specialist Heidenhain has developed a rotary encoder with a built-in accelerometer that allows position measurements and vibration analysis to be performed by a single component, thus simplifying condition monitoring and maintenance planning in high-wear automated systems.

‘Breakthrough’ in calculations could double bearing lives

The Japanese bearings-maker NSK claims that it can revise the basic dynamic load rating of many of its rolling bearings to double their rolling contact fatigue life without any changes to their design or materials, following a “breakthrough” in the way bearing lives are calculated – the first significant change to these calculations in more than 60 years. The development will help end-users to improve productivity, cut the frequency with which they need to replace their bearings, and reduce waste.

Project aims to offer a second life to motor components

A consortium of German organisations, led by Schaeffler, is developing techniques that will allow electric motor components to be re-used at the end of the motor’s life, rather than being shredded and recycled, as happens at present.

Low-cost bionic hand gives cobots human-like capabilities

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a humanoid hand gripper that allows its ReBeL family of low-cost collaborative robots (cobots) to take on human-like tasks. The hand, made of lubrication-free plastics, has been designed to imitate human hand movements, and costs from £2,668 ($3,367) in the UK.

UK start-up says it can boost drive efficiencies

A UK power semiconductor developer is one of two winners of a competition organised by ABB to find start-up companies that are pushing the boundaries of drives and motors technologies. Cambridge-based Quantum Power Transformation (QPT) is developing a power semiconductor technology based on gallium nitride (GaN) that, it believes, could deliver substantial energy and size savings compared to other technologies in variable-speed drives and other applications.

‘Paradigm-shifting’ in-wheel drive could revamp EV designs

The Korean automotive giants Kia and Hyundai have announced an in-wheel drive technology that they predict will revolutionise the design of future transport systems. The Universal Wheel Drive System – or Uni Wheel – moves reduction gears inside a vehicle’s wheel hub, and locates a compact motor close to the wheel, reducing the length of the drive shafts and freeing up space within the vehicle.

Solid-state breakers could open up novel DC applications

The use of DC (direct current) in industry promises new ways to simplify the integration of renewable energy and battery technologies, and to increase energy efficiencies.

IO-Link safety system is ‘the first’ to operate at the field level

Pilz claims to be offering the first safe field-level communication system based on the IO-Link communications system. Its new IO-Link Safety (IOLS) system comprises a master, field devices and accessories. The package is said to make it easier to integrate IO-Link Safety technology into plant and machinery, and to exploit the benefits of the non-proprietary IO-Link system for functional safety.

‘First’ reducer with built-in sensors adds IoT to mechanical kit

Nidec Drive Technology has developed a precision reducer for robots and machine tools, with built-in torque, temperature and angle sensors. The Smart₋-Flexwave device can detect the reducer’s output torque, its internal temperature and input axis angle while taking up no more space than a conventional reducer without sensors.

AI app identifies machines and suggests parts

Plastics specialist igus has developed an app that uses AI to identify machinery and to suggest lubrication-free components that could be used in it. The user simply takes a photo of an application and its surroundings on a mobile device, and the igusGo app identifies the equipment and searches through 10,000s of options to suggest which of igus’ products could have applications in the machine. It also suggests where there is potential to improve the machine’s technology and save money.