Drives and Controls Magazine
‘World’s fastest’ elevator will hit speeds of 73.8km/h

Mitsubishi Electric claims to have developed the world’s fastest elevator. It has designed and built a system that will travel from the basement to the 119th floor of China’s tallest building, the 632m-tall Shanghai Tower, in just 53 seconds.

B&R enters the fray for linear motor transport systems

Austria’s B&R Automation is the latest company to offer a linear-motor-driven production transport system as a fast, flexible alternative to conventional conveyors. It has joined forces with Canada’s ATS Automation to offer a system called SuperTrak, which it demonstrated at the recent Hannover Fair.

CC-Link and OPC agree to collaborate on an interface

At the recent Hannover Fair, the OPC Foundation and the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) signed a memorandum of understanding under which they will cooperate to develop an interface specification with harmonised access. The interface will connect CC-Link networks and devices to the cloud, and allow users of CC-Link networks to exchange data with other systems.

Interface will simplify links between controls and the cloud

ODVA is to develop standards for gateway and interface technologies to move data between CIP-enabled industrial control systems (ICSs) containing EtherNet/IP and DeviceNet devices, and the cloud. The aim is to produce a specification for a “common industrial cloud interface”, based on open and interoperable standards supported by multiple vendors, that will allow cloud computing to support device management, process analytics, notifications, remote access, virtualisation, visualisation and – in the future – control. 

Remote monitoring of VSDs will help to plan maintenance

At the Hannover Fair, ABB has announced a remote condition-monitoring service for variable-speed drives that will use the Internet of Things to provide real-time information about drive events, and help to predict their maintenance needs, operational risks and possible system faults. The service will provide expert reports on a drive’s condition and e-mail warnings of potential faults or restricted availability. It could, for example, spot overheating which could interrupt production and eventually damage a drive. It will also prevent some semiconductor faults.

US Air Force sets new maglev record of more than 1,000km/h

The US Air Force has set a new world speed record for magnetically-levitated (maglev) transport by accelerating a rocket-propelled sled to a speed of 1,019km per hour (633 mph) at its Holloman base in New Mexico.

Smart sensors will cut downtime of any LV motor by up to 70%

At next week’s Hannover Messe, ABB will unveil a smart condition-monitoring sensor that can be attached to low-voltage motors from any manufacturer. ABB claims that the sensors – which link wirelessly to cloud-based servers – will cut motor downtime by up to 70% as well as extending motor lifetimes by up to 30% and cutting their energy consumption by up to 10%. ABB developed the device jointly with the Swiss chip developer, EM Microelectronic, which is part of the Swatch group and started out in the 1970s as a developer of low-power chips for watches.

Rockwell, Fanuc and Cisco use AI to optimise production

Fanuc, Rockwell Automation and Cisco are collaborating with a Japanese artificial intelligence (AI) start-up called Preferred Networks (PFN) to develop a technology that will link CNC (computer numerical control) machines, peripheral devices and sensors to robots, to deliver analytics designed to optimise manufacturing processes.

OPC, OMG, IIC and Industrie 4.0 announce strategy

Two industrial communications standards organisations – the OPC Foundation and Object Management Group (OMG) – together with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and members of Industrie 4.0, have announced a collaborative strategy to achieve technical interoperability of their standards for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Robotic cocoon-spinner challenges 3D printing

The German manufacturer Festo has developed a technology that uses a robot to “spin” interconnected fibreglass webs to create 3D structures. The technology, called 3D Cocooner, is inspired by the way that insects spin their cocoons and is the latest in a series of nature-based technologies that Festo has developed in recent years. It will make its public debut at this month’s Hannover Fair in Germany.

Motors will act as sensors to analyse themselves

German researchers are developing intelligent motor systems that can monitor their own operation without needing any extra sensors. By transforming the motor itself into a sensor, the research team at Saarland University, led by Professor Matthias Nienhaus, is creating smart motors that can tell whether they are running smoothly, can communicate and interact with other motors, and can be controlled efficiently.

German plant is ‘first’ to combine Industry 4.0 and IIC platforms

A German plant producing hydraulic valves has become the first in the world to combine the technical standards of Germany’s Industry 4.0 platform with those of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). The Bosch plant in Homburg is using the technologies to manage and optimise its processes to avoid consuming electricity at expensive peak times.

Bodies collaborate on an IP networking standard for IIoT

LonMark International – the non-profit organisation that enables interoperable systems for products based on the ISO/IEC 14908 standards – has announced plans to develop a new control-networking standard for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in cooperation with Echelon Corporation, the CEN (European Committee for Standardisation) Technical Committee TC-247, and LonMark Germany.

Specification will make it easier for smart factories to talk

Two organisations working to standardise smart factory operations – the OPC Foundation and AutomationML – have released a specification intended to make it easier to achieve interoperability in future factories.

Project will use 5G phone technologies to enhance production

Three Swedish organisations – SKF, Ericsson and Chalmers University – have embarked on a two-year, government-backed project that will combine next-generation (5G) mobile communications with manufacturing technologies. The aim of the 5G Enabled Manufacturing (5GEM) project is to improve speed, quality and information flows in advanced production systems.