Drives and Controls Magazine
Home
Menu
SiC modules will cut losses by 70% over silicon IGBTs

Mitsubishi Electric has announced a second generation of silicon carbide (SiC) power modules, based on a newly developed SiC chip, that, it predicts, will lead to the development of smaller, lighter, more efficient power electronic equipment in various industrial fields, including variable-speed drives.

Autonomous high-bay forklifts are ‘the industry’s first’

US-based AutoGuide Mobile Robots claims to be offering the world's first autonomous mobile robots designed to automate racking and picking operations in high-bay warehouses. The AutoGuide Max-N High Bay counterbalanced forklifts can lift 1,100kg payloads to and from racks up to 11m high, and travel at speeds of up to 1.8m/s.

OS transforms cobots into ‘intelligent collaborators’

A Californian start-up has announced an AI-based robotics OS (operating system) that, it claims, will transform collaborative robots (cobots) into intelligent co-workers on manufacturing floors. After two years of r&d – including installations at major automotive manufacturers – Qobotix has unveiled its technology designed to make robots smarter and self-learning.

Oversampling brings greater accuracy to multi-axis servos

Beckhoff has upgraded the firmware in its AX8000 multi-axis servodrives to support oversampling, allowing multiple sampling of process data within one communication cycle, with the data being transferred via EtherCat. With an oversampling factor of up to 128, this allows higher-level controllers to transmit several setpoint positions or speeds to the drive within one cycle, which the drive then follows. In addition, measured variables can be recorded several times in the drive, and the buffered values can be made available to the controller within a single cycle.

Anti-viral coating protects equipment against Covid-19

The Brazilian industrial equipment manufacturer, WEG, has developed an anti-viral coating which, it claims, makes 99.9% of Coronavirus inactive within minutes of the virus making contact with the coated surface. The polyurethane-based coating is designed to protect industrial equipment used in high-risk environments, such as hospitals and laboratories, as well as for use on other types of machinery and on public transport systems.

Contour-based navigation needs no markers

The German sensor-maker Sick has announced a contour-based navigation technology for mobile platforms such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles), carts, forklifts and service robots, that allows them to move freely around a factory and warehouse without needing reflectors or other physical markers. The Lidar-Loc (localisation on contour) system guides the vehicles using pre-mapped contours.

AGV is the ‘first’ to use vision-based navigation

Nidec-Shimpo has announced what it claims is the first AGV (automatic guided vehicle) to use vision-based navigation. It says that its S-Cart-V AGV can be used not only in factories and warehouses, but also in changing environments such as commercial facilities or the service industry where there are people walking around and obstacles may appear or disappear suddenly.

Precision 3D robotic inspection makes QC ten times faster

ABB has developed a 3D quality inspection robot cell that can spot defects that are less than half as wide as a human hair and imperceptible to the naked eye. It says that 3DQI cell will accelerate production dramatically by providing fast, accurate testing that simplifies metrology and saves time.

EU project doubles reading range of any magnetic encoder

The German magnetic measurements specialist Bogen Electronic has announced a technology that, it says, will double the reading distance of any magnetic encoder.

5G private wireless networking will transform industry

Nokia has launched what it claims are the first commercial standalone (SA) 5G private wireless networking systems for industrial and manufacturing applications. It says the systems represent “the most comprehensive end-to-end portfolio of high-performance 4.9G/LTE and 5G private wireless networking solutions” available.

AI-based defect detection works like human inspectors

Omron has announced a “defect detection” machine vision system which, it claims, is the first that can identify defects without learning samples. The system uses AI (artificial intelligence) technology to replicate the techniques of skilled inspectors to detect defects that were previously difficult to spot, thus automating visual inspections.

Real-time location system helps ensure safe plant distancing

Siemens has developed a combination of hardware and software that can monitor where people and items are located in a plant, thus helping to ensure social distancing as well as improving productivity. The Simatic Real-time Locating Systems (RTLS) uses a built-in digital twin to simulate the safety of employees, to test and optimise the set-up of work areas, and to validate safety measures.

Ball-balancing mobile robot carries flexible pneumatic ‘hand’

The German pneumatics and automation technology manufacturer Festo has unveiled a mobile robot that moves by balancing on a ball, and carries a human-like pneumatic “hand” that can identify items and handle them delicately.

IEC approves push-pull standard for M12 circular connectors

Eight connector manufacturers have joined forces to establish a standardised push-pull locking mechanism for M12 round connectors. The resulting IEC 61076-2-010 standard describes both external and internal systems using push-pull locking, and is intended to ensure compatibility between connectors from different manufacturers.

Next-generation robotics platform is ‘first to support 5G’

The wireless technology giant Qualcomm has announced what it describes as the world’s first 5G- and AI-enabled robotics platform. The RB5 platform consists of hardware, software and development tools that bring together the company’s expertise in 5G and AI “to empower developers and manufacturers to create the next generation of high-compute, low-power robots and drones for the consumer, enterprise, defence, industrial and professional service sectors”.