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IO-Link Safety gets first live multi-vendor demo at SPS

More than ten automation companies took part in the first live multi-vendor demonstration of IO-Link Safety at the recent SPS trade fair in Nuremberg. The demonstration covered all communication levels, from failsafe PLCs to IO-Link Safety masters and IO-Link Safety devices. According to the organisers, it was the first time that IO-Link Safety had been shown working with IO-Link Standard at a public event.

First 3D ToF camera opens up a new dimension in safety

The German sensor-maker Sick has launched what it describes as the world’s first 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) camera that has PL c safety certification in accordance with EN13849. It says that by opening up a third dimension for safety applications, the safeVisionary2 camera will offer a wide range of new options for mobile and stationary applications, including the automation of mobile robots and human-robot collaboration.

Open-source Arduino platform releases its first micro-PLC at SPS

Arduino, the open-source hardware and software microcontroller developer, announced its first industrial micro-PLC with industrial IoT capabilities at the recent SPS exhibition in Germany. The Opta controller has been developed in collaboration with the industrial component manufacturer Finder and is aimed at PLC engineers, offering them a scalable architecture based on a secure, high-performance, open-source platform that does not lock them into particular vendors. The PLC supports the standard LD (ladder) and FBD (function block) programming languages.

‘Breakthrough’ motor will use low-loss magnetic material

An Australian start-up company is developing a new generation of smaller, lighter and more efficient electric motors based on a new magnetic material called Aeroperm which has energy losses one-tenth those of existing magnetic materials used in today’s electrical devices.

60MW wind turbine test rig will be world’s most powerful

A team of 35 Danish engineers has started work on what will be the world’s most powerful test bench for wind power components when it is completed in 2024. The 60m-long test bench, incorporating two 30MW motors, and weighing 5,700 tonnes, will also be the world’s largest.

AI helps to slash motor design times from days to hours

Two Japanese companies – Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corporation (TMEIC) – have developed an AI-based electric motor design support technology that, they claim, can cut typical motor design times from as long as three days to just three hours. They say that the technique will reduce lead times for future motor developments.

Cross-cutting function run on servodrives reacts faster

The German drives-maker Baumüller has integrated a cross-cutting function into one of its servodrives, thus achieving faster response times and greater precision.

Aussie motor ‘doubles speed record’ and cuts rare-earths

Australian researchers have built a high-speed electric motor that, they claim, is much more robust that other IPMSMs (interior permanent magnet synchronous motors), while using far fewer rare-earth materials and being cheaper. The prototype motor has achieved speeds of 100,000 rpm, more than doubling the previous speed record for laminated IPMSMs, according to the developers.

Automatic robot configuration system cuts times by 80%

The Danish robotics developer OnRobot has demonstrated what it describes as the first software platform for configuring robotic applications automatically. It claims that the system, called D:Ploy, can cut the time it takes to deploy robots by up to 80%.

Vision sensor has a 1km range – ‘the world’s longest’

A Californian company has announced a machine vision sensor that, it claims, can operate over a range of more than 1km – further than any other device of its type. SiLC Technologies says that its “4D+” Eyeonic vision sensor can perceive, identify and avoid objects over long distances, with potential applications including robotics, autonomous vehicles, biometrics, security, industrial automation, warehousing and drones.

Four-year project delivers Ethernet-APL for process users

After almost four years of collaboration, four industrial communications organisations – FieldComm Group, ODVA, OPC Foundation, and Profibus & Profinet International (PI) – have announced the availability a two-wire, IS (intrinsically safe) physical communications layer for process applications called Ethernet-APL (Advanced Physical Layer), capable of transmitting at speeds of up to 10Mbit. The development tackles numerous barriers that have previous limited the deployment of high-speed Ethernet in hazardous process automation facilities.

Hybrid ball-bearing extracts more power from smaller motors

SKF has developed a low-friction deep-groove ball-bearing for electric motors that supports high rotational speeds and enables higher power densities, leading to higher power outputs from the same-size motor. The high-speed hybrid bearing is aimed at applications such as electric machines and drives, as well as railway traction motors.

Electric craft will ‘fly’ a few metres above the waves

A US company called Regent is pioneering a new category of electrically-powered vehicle called the seaglider that uses the ground effect to fly on a cushion of air a few metres above bodies of water. Regent says that the vehicle will dramatically cut the time and cost of moving people and goods between coastal locations.

Cogging-free PCB motor helps to control cameras remotely

A Los Angeles company that develops equipment for the film industry has used a motor with a stator formed from a PCB (printed circuit board) to solve a problem with hand-wheel systems used to operate film cameras remotely.

Novel two-part ball bearings cut noise, even at high speeds

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed a plastic ball bearing that unusually combines two materials to make it wear-resistant and dimensionally stable and quiet, even at high speeds. This design makes the xiros 2K bearing suitable for use in applications such as fans and blowers.