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Compact rival to cable drums has a novel twist

The energy chain specialist igus has come up with a novel, space-saving way to pay out and rewind working cables, tubing and other media over distances of up to 14m, without needing sliprings.

Inductive coupler carries IO-Link signals and power through the air

Balluff has developed a contact-less inductive coupler that can transfer energy and IO-Link signals across an air gap of up to 55mm. The bidirectional coupler can be used where fixed wiring of sensors and actuators would be difficult, or subject to wear caused by fatigue – for example, on rotary tables and interchangeable tools.

Ceramic spindles offer advantages over steel

Maxon motor has produced a pair of spindle drives with the option of wear-proof ceramic spindles that, it claims, offer many advantages over steel spindles or costly ballscrews.

Sercos releases IO-Link mapping guide

Sercos international has published a guide that will help automation engineers to integrate sensors and actuators with an IO-Link interface into a sercos system. It has also released an updated specification for the sercos III real-time Ethernet-based bus.

Software helps to find MEPS-compliant motors

ABB has launched an on-line tool and an iPad app that help to select motors to meet minimum energy performance standards (MEPS). The Optimizer tool assists users to compare motor running costs and to obtain documentation on the motors.

Electric ship propulsion could cut fuel bills by 10%

GE has developed an electrically powered marine propulsion system that, it believes, could result in fuel savings of up to 10% compared to conventional azimuth propulsion systems, as well as lower emissions. It says the development “could change the way the maritime industry views propulsion technology”.

Wear-free rotary encoder is ‘first non-contact system’

Turck claims to have developed the first high-resolution, non-contact universal encoder that is immune from magnetic fields and free from wear. The encoder has separate inductive sensor and positioning elements that are are encapsulated (to IP69K) and work together without making contact.

Programmable light tower ‘will revolutionise the market’

Balluff believes that it will revolutionise the light tower market with the first system that can be adapted freely to almost any requirement without complex hardware reconfiguration. The software-configurable Smart Light, which can include up to 20 360-degree LEDs arranged vertically, can do much more than simply signal predefined operating states using three colours.

Profile scanner is ‘30 times faster than its rivals’

Keyence claims to have made a breakthrough in profile measuring technologies with a system that it says is about 30 times faster than its closest rival. The LJ-V system can measure 12.8 million points (or 64,000 profiles) in a second, and can scan targets moving at speeds of up to 6.4m/s in 0.1mm steps.

Electric Fiesta is powered by wheel-hub motors

Schaeffler has joined forces with Ford to build an experimental electric version of the Ford Fiesta that is driven by two 40kW motors built into the rear wheels. The liquid-cooled wheel-hub drives also contain all of the components needed for motor control, braking and safety, including the power electronics.

‘Smart’ breaker could cut power consumption by 15%

ABB has developed “the first low-voltage circuit breaker with integrated energy management functions”. It claims that the Emax 2 breaker can reduce power consumption by up to 15% if used instead of traditional breakers. It is designed to be used where large amounts of energy are being controlled and protected in a LV environment, such as in industrial and commercial buildings, and data centres.

Free-ranging material-mover is 15% cheaper to deploy than AGVs

The US robotics specialist Adept Technology has developed a self-navigating “autonomous indoor vehicle” (AIV), designed to move materials from point to point in challenging environments such as confined passages and populated areas.

Real-time Profinet runs on a standard Ethernet controller

Phoenix Contact’s automation software subsidiary, KW-Software, has developed a way of running Profinet IRT (isochronous real-time) on a standard Intel Ethernet controller. Until now, custom chips have been needed to provide sufficient precision.

Magnetic bearing motor can cut blower bills by 40%

SKF has developed a high-speed motor running on magnetic bearings that, it claims, can cut the energy consumed by aeration blowers in wastewater plants by up to 40%. The potential savings are substantial because aeration blowers can account for up to 80% of a wastewater plant’s total energy consumption.

Compressor giant develops its own motors to halve energy consumption

The world’s biggest compressor manufacturer, Atlas Copco, has entered the electric motor design and manufacturing business by developing an oil-cooled permanent magnet motor for a new generation of variable-speed drive compressors that, it says, will halve energy use compared to idling compressors.