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Chip ‘will speed move to the Industrial Internet of Things’

The US-based control networking specialist Echelon has announced a chip designed to provide flexible, cost-effective connections for communities of devices in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The IP-enabled, multi-protocol, multi-drop FT 6050 system-on-chip (SoC) is part of Echelon's IzoT platform for the IIoT, the next generation of the industrial control platform based on Echelon's ISO-standard Free Topology (FT) architecture.

Algorithm boosts servo performance in precision applications

The Israeli motion control specialist ACS has developed an algorithm that, it claims, will improve the performance of high-accuracy servo applications – reducing moving and settling times, eliminating cogging, and improving their ability to handle significant changes in load. This, in turn, will leads to higher accuracies and throughput. ACS reports that field trials of the ServoBoost algorithm have achieved performance improvements several times better than those of competing products.

Will drones take off for end-of-line palletising?

A Dutch materials-handling specialist is investigating the possibility of using small drone aircraft to move products to end-of-line pallets in factories. Qimarox suggests that using the flying robots in this way could result in compact, flexible and scalable palletising systems.

Sub-$500 electric cylinders challenge pneumatics

A US specialist in moving coil actuators, SMAC, has announced a family of electrically-driven linear actuators that, it claims, take the technology into areas that were previously the domain of pneumatic cylinders. It says that the CBL cylinders, with prices starting at less than $500, overcome some of the limitations of pneumatic devices, particularly in packaging applications.

Custom-build your automation systems like Lego

A Taiwanese company has developed a system for creating customised automation systems by assembling modular function blocks onto printed circuit boards.

Industrial controller is ‘first with Ethernet at its core’

Schneider Electric claims to have produced the first industrial controller with Ethernet built into its core. The Modicon 580 controller, developed in collaboration with the Swiss semiconductor specialist STMicrolectronics, is said to improve the transparency, consistency and throughput of industrial data.

Sensing system detects items with no gaps between them

Sick claims to have solved the problem of detecting and counting products reliably on production lines when there are no gaps between them.

Multi-frequency MV starter doubles starting torques

A Chinese specialist in MV (medium voltage) drives and power electronics has developed a new MV motor starter technology that, it says, can double starting torques, dramatically reduce starting currents, and save space and weight compared to conventional MV motor starting technologies.

Distance sensors use three ‘breakthrough’ technologies

The German manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs has developed a photoelectric distance-measuring sensor that, it says, combines three breakthrough technologies into one device. The R2100 sensor, unveiled at the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, is aimed at applications such as object positioning, and collision avoidance on robots and gantries.

Electric VW Bora will use Protean in-wheel motors

Protean Electric, which specialises in developing in-wheel electric vehicle motors, has formed a partnership with FAW-Volkswagen Automotive (FAW-VW) to develop a new propulsion system for VW’s Bora sedan, based on two Protean motors in the vehicle’s rear wheels.

LED-based position sensing technology ‘is a better buy’

A Canadian company called LeddarTech has developed an LED-based presence detection and ranging technology for industrial applications which, it claims, offers a better cost/performance ratio than existing technologies such as lasers, radar, thermal imaging, ultrasonics and passive infrared.

Google Glass ‘could revolutionise’ industrial automation

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Beckhoff drew crowds to its stand with a demonstration of how the emerging Google Glass technology could be used to provide machine operators with information such as dialogue messages, videos, Web pages or documentation, while they are working at their machines.

Facial recognition could open up ‘no-touch’ controls

Omron has demonstrated a facial recognition technology that could open up new ways for humans to interact with machines and automation systems. On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, the company was showing how its Okao technology – originally developed for consumer applications – could be used to control access to machines and to enhance safety by only allowing recognised personnel to approach moving machines.

Distributed processing cuts I/O cycle times to 1µs

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, the Austrian automation manufacturer B&R unveiled a technology which, it claims, can reduce industrial automation cycle times down to 1µs. It says that, until now, the fastest response times achieved in the field – from receiving an input signal to sending an output signal – have rarely been less than 100µs.

Autonomous two-armed robot can see and feel

The Japanese robot-maker Seiko Epson has developed a prototype dual-arm robot that, it says, will expand the range of tasks that can be automated on the production floor. The robot, fitted with vision and force-sensing functions, can execute tasks autonomously by recognising objects, making decisions, and adjusting the amount of force applied, on the fly.