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Revamped micro gearheads boost efficiencies by 30%

By redesigning the internal layout of its micro planetary gearheads, maxon motor says it has been able to boost their efficiencies by around 30%, as well as increasing their torque outputs, improving their feedback, and extending their service lives by up to 11 times compared to some rivals.

Linking drives to the edge could lead to new business models

At the now-postponed Hannover Fair, Siemens is planning to unveil a concept study that will demonstrate a Sinamics drive system integrated with its Industrial Edge platform. In future, it says, it will be possible to perform high-frequency data exchange in drives using edge devices and to perform complex analyses of drivetrains. The result will be more intelligent drive systems that could lead to new business models.

Cooling technique could boost motor lives and efficiencies

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK have embarked on a two-year project aimed at developing a novel liquid cooling technology for electrical machines that could cut end-winding temperatures by more than 30°C compared to forced-air-cooled machines with rotor-mounted fans. The technique could boost machine efficiencies and prolong their lives.

Davos 5G demo synchronises robots 1.5km apart

At the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, ABB, Ericsson, and the Swiss telecoms company Swisscom, demonstrated real-time 5G communications being used to control robots over a long distance. In the demo, an ABB YuMi collaborative robot (cobot) carved a message in a sandbox that was replicated simultaneously by a second YuMi located 1.5 km away.

‘Sensorised’ skin helps soft robots to tell where they are

Researchers at MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the US have built a soft robotic arm that understands where it is in 3D space using only motion and position data from its own “sensorised” skin.

1.5MW motors will power 186-seater electric plane

Wright Electric, the US aircraft developer which is designing an 186-seat all-electric passenger plane, has announced plans to develop a 1.5MW motor and 3kV inverter to power the craft. The UK-based budget airline EasyJet is partnering Wright in the project, which aims to put the plane, called Wright 1, into service from 2030.

Bearings are 'first' with built-in load-sensing fibre optics

SKF has developed what it claims is the world’s first commercial bearing to incorporate a fibre optic sensing technology that can measure loads on the bearing. The components, designed to be used in pumps and compressors, will take the guesswork out of product development, helping to speed up the designs by giving instant access to a variety of data.

Forklift vision system prevents storage and retrieval errors

The German forklift manufacturer Jungheinrich has a developed a networked machine vision system designed to be integrated into its vehicles' forks to read and compare barcodes on packaging and storage systems, thus avoiding storage and retrieval errors. The company says that the system will prevent items being stored in the wrong compartment, or the wrong pallets being retrieved from a rack.

Novel coil-winding technique cuts losses by up to 25%

The German wound components manufacturer REO has developed a more efficient way of winding coils that, it claims, can cut power losses by up to 25%. It also results in components such as chokes and transformers that are smaller and up to 10% lighter than conventional designs.

Smart machine sensors venture into hazardous areas

ABB has developed a new version of its smart condition-monitoring sensor technology that can be applied to rotating machines operating in hazardous areas. The wireless sensor, aimed mainly at applications in the chemical, oil and gas industries, will make its public debut at the Hannover Fair in April.

CC-Link TSN products are up and running within a year

Just one year after the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) announced its CC-Link IE TSN open networking technology which supports Time-Sensitive Networking, the organisation was demonstrating compatible products from several manufacturers on its stand at the recent SPS show in Germany.

Groups vie to offer single-pair Ethernet connectors

At the recent SPS show in Germany, two groups of companies were trying to persuade visitors to that they had the connector technologies needed to make industrial applications of single-pair Ethernet (SPE) a reality.

New generation of controllers will ‘stretch the limits’

The German automation and drives manufacturer Lenze has developed two control platforms that, it says, “stretch the limits of what is technically feasible”. The first is a dedicated controller said to be powerful enough to handle complex projects that previously required industrial PCs. The second is a combined PLC and IPC for tasks, such as database management, that require Windows capabilities.

GaN devices boost the efficiency of ELV servodrives

Siemens has adopted a power semiconductor technology based on gallium nitride (GaN) for a new range of extra-low-voltage servodrives that it launched at the recent SPS show in Germany. The GaN devices are said to deliver benefits in terms of power density, efficiency and robustness.

Laser etching cuts terminal rail marking times by 90%

Weidmüller has developed a laser-based system that marks pre-assembled terminal rails automatically, cutting the time normally needed for marking by up to 90%. The Automated RailLaser system can handle manually or automatically assembled rails up to 1.2m long.