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‘First’ AI-based diagnostics will cut downtime and boost productivity

Mitsubishi Electric claims to have developed the world's first diagnostic technology that uses machine learning to analyse sensor data, thus detecting machine abnormalities rapidly and accurately, and helping to improve productivity. The development is based on the company's Maisart  AI (artificial intelligence) technology.

Ceiling-mounted LEDS guide AGVs around factories

A group of German organisations have shown that using beams of light to locate and guide autonomous vehicles, such as AGVs, is a practical, flexible and reliable technique. In a three-year collaborative research project, backed by the German Federal Ministry of Education & Research (BMBF), the researchers demonstrated that ceiling-mounted LED lights can be used to guide driverless transport vehicles reliably through production or storage areas.

Production transport system carries five times more load

Rockwell Automation has upgraded its MagneMover Lite production transport system, allowing it to move heavier products and support larger-scale applications. The system, which uses independent carts to move items along production lines, can now carry loads of up to 10kg ­­– five times more than before – and supports larger applications.

Future grippers will harness AI to operate autonomously

At the 2019 Hannover Fair, the gripper specialist Schunk announced that it is collaborating with the French artificial intelligence (AI) expert, AnotherBrain, to develop the world's first autonomous gripping system. The technology will allow handling operations to be performed without any manual programming.

Ferrari picks UK motors for 340km/h hybrid supercar

Ferrari has chosen the UK electric motor manufacturer Yasa to supply the motors for its first series production hybrid sportscar – the 340km/h SF90 Stradale. Each vehicle will contain three motors, with a combined capacity of 162kW, helping to propel the  four-wheel-drive vehicle to 100 km/h in 2.5 seconds, and 200 km/h in 6.7s.

Deep learning allows smart sensors to adapt to their task

The German sensor-maker Sick is using deep learning techniques to create “intelligent” sensors that can perform automated detection, testing and classification of objects and features. At the Hannover Fair, it announced an application that uses deep learning to detect whether a sorting tray in a logistics hub is loaded with an object.

Virtual reality demo gives remote control of a robot via 5G

Visitors to Rittal’s stand at the 2019 Hannover Fair could take part in a demonstration in which they used virtual reality (VR) glasses and two VR controllers to control a two-arm industrial robot, connected to an edge-based 5G network. The task was to plug a large replica of a conductor connection terminal onto a rail, insert a cable into the terminal, and disconnect it again. There was immediate optical and acoustic feedback on whether or not they were successful in the task.

Machine learning tool helps OEMs to deliver ROIs in ‘months’

At the 2019 Hannover Fair, Weidmüller presented an automated machine learning (ML) tool for machinery and plant engineering that will allow OEMs to create and develop models without having to rely on data scientists or external specialists. This will ensure that their knowledge of processes and machinery stays inside the company.

Now you can talk to a machine to tell it when to start

Iconics, the software developer recently acquired by Mitsubishi, has developed a voice interface for machinery that allows users to perform tasks such as starting and stopping equipment, changing temperatures, adjusting setpoints, and viewing work orders, without looking away from what they’re doing or lifting a finger. The Genesis64 Voice Machine Interface (VMI) allows them to use natural spoken commands to boost productivity and improve operational efficiency.

Gearbox data standard supports digital twins

Schaeffler, SEW-Eurodrive and FVA (the German research association for power transmission engineering) have collaborated to draw up a standard modelling system and nomenclature for gearboxes. Called REXS (reusable engineering exchange standard), the format will replace manual data exchanges between CAE (computer-aided engineering) tools, and eliminate the need for repeated gearbox modelling processes. This will cut development times, and the format can also be used to generate digital twins that can be used to analyse gearbox operating data.

Collab combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring

Schaeffler and Bonfiglioli are collaborating on a technology that combines vibration analysis and torque monitoring. At the recent Hannover Fair, they demonstrated the TorqueTracking technology being applied to geared motors used as yaw drives for wind turbines. They are developing a pilot project that will use the combined technology to monitor overloading of these yaw drives, thus increasing maintenance intervals and allowing a change from fixed-interval to load-based maintenance.

Automated print inspection system avoids nuisance stops

A UK coding and print inspection specialist AutoCoding Systems has collaborated with the sensor-maker Sick to develop what they claim is the first fully-automatic smart vision inspection system for printed coding and markings on food, pharmaceutical and other consumer goods packaging.

Project will develop electric propulsion for UK airship

The UK is leading a £1m project to develop electric propulsion technologies for aircraft, using a helium airship as the initial platform. The E-HAV1 project aims to develop a 500kW electric propulsor for the Airlander 10 airship which is being developed by Bedford-based Hybrid Air Vehicles (HAV). The intention is to replace the craft’s existing fuel-burning forward engines as the first step towards an all-electric version of the craft.

IIoT technology 'closes the factory-cloud gap'

HMS Networks has announced a technology that, it says, will close the gap between the factory floor and the cloud, allowing manufacturers to implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in an easy and secure way. The new “end-to-end” concept, combines Anybus Edge gateways that connect to industrial hardware, with HMS’ Hub, which provides secure data connections and integration wth IoT software, as well as a customisable Hub portal with data management and visualisation functions.

Smart sensor checks the condition of pillow block bearings

ABB has adapted its smart sensor technology, previously used to monitor the condition of electric motors, to help users of pillow block bearings to minimise downtime.