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Raspberry Pi is at the heart of open, all-in-one controller

An Italian IIoT specialist, Sfera Labs, has developed an all-in-one industrial controller that is based on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and combines the functions of a PLC, industrial server and power management system. Sfera describes the Iono Pi Max as being “disruptive and competitive – offering all of the features of a proprietary and more expensive industrial PLC, but at a much lower price point”.

Cloud-based laser system can align almost any machine

Prüftechnik, a division of Fluke Reliability, has announced a laser alignment system that, it says, exceeds the capabilities of conventional tools, delivering better speed and accuracy. The ShaftAlign Touch system supports adaptive alignment and cloud access to help cut maintenance costs and downtime.

Pneumatic valve system is the first to support wireless

Emerson claims to be offering the first pneumatic valve system that supports wireless commissioning and configuration. A new wireless module for its Aventics G3 electronic fieldbus platform allows users to perform commissioning and diagnostics from a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.

Digital twins will speed development of CNC machine tools

The CNC (computer numerical control) specialist NUM has announced a digital twin technology that will allow machine tool manufacturers to cut their time-to-market dramatically, by using powerful simulation techniques.

Compact VSDs have 180% overload capacities

The Austrian automation manufacturer Sigmatek has announced a family of variable-speed drives for controlling low-voltage asynchronous motors, with ratings from 0.37–132kW in nine sizes. The single-phase (200/240V) or three-phase 380/480V) FDD 3000 drives have overload capacities up to 180%, making them suitable for applications that require a high levels of torque for short periods.

Free AR smartphone app visualises robotic installations

ABB has announced an AR (augmented reality) app for smartphones and tablets that offers a quick and easy way of visualising where and how robotic automation can fit into production processes. The RobotStudio AR viewer can be used to test models created in ABB’s PC-based RobotStudio programming suite, enabling users to get an idea of the size and scale of a robot or robot cell and how it could be deployed on a factory floor to fit around existing production equipment.

Safe servodrives offer ‘the most advanced functions’

Elmo Motion Control has announced a series of miniature servodrives which, it claims, offer “the most advanced servo functionality and functional safety available today”. The Platinum drives are an evolution of Elmo’s Gold line, and the company says they will allow OEMs to manufacture smaller and safer machines, with lower costs and shorter time to market.

Relay monitors power systems remotely for earth faults

Bender has launched an earth leakage relay that can monitor earthed power systems (TN and TT) remotely for earth faults. The RCM410R relay identifies deteriorating insulation resistance, thus identifying developing earth faults at an early stage, allowing planned intervention that maximises safety and system availability for operators and maintenance teams.

M.2 card is tiniest way to add comms to PC-based systems

Hilscher has launched a PCI Express card that it claims is the smallest way to add real-time communications to industrial PC systems. The new M.2 format card can connect PC-based devices – such industrial PCs, HMIs and robots – to real-time Ethernet and fieldbus networks within a few minutes.

Compact robots have 40% larger working envelopes

Kuka has announced a compact industrial robot aimed at production environments with limited space. The KR 4 Agilus arm has a 4kg load capacity and a reach of 600mm – resulting in a work envelope that is almost 40% larger than the previous generation.

IP67 motor controller simplifies roller conveyor installations

The German automation manufacturer Beckhoff has announced a compact motor controller for roller conveyor systems that, it says, will reduce cabling and improve diagnostics. The IP67-protected EP7402 EtherCAT Box can control BLDC (brushless DC) roller motors from any conveyor or motor manufacturer, simplifying control architectures and cabling. It can be used for roller conveyors in intralogistic and assembly applications, as well as in the packaging, food and beverage industries.

SIL overspeed protection system is 'game-changing'

A Dutch specialist in speed-sensing technologies has announced a “game-changing” overspeed protection system that, it says, will broaden the range of rotating machinery that is suitable for high-integrity overspeed protection, as well as satisfying the growing demand for SIL-certified systems. Istec, which has 50 years’ experience of this market, adds that its SpeedSys 200 system takes scalability “to a new level” to bridge the gap between what can and cannot be protected.

Acquisition leads to a new generation of box PCs and thin clients

Rockwell Automation has announced a new generation of box PCs and thin clients incorporating designs and technologies from the Italian manufacturer Asem, that it bought earlier this year. The Allen-Bradley VersaView 6300 PCs include palm-sized industrial computers – Rockwell’s smallest to date – allowing users to save panel space and cut costs.

Next-generation cycloidal gearboxes ‘open a new chapter’

The Japanese-headquartered precision gearbox manufacturer Nabtesco has announced a new generation of enclosed, modular servo gearboxes which, it says, open “a new chapter in the field of cycloidal gears”. The Neco gears, available only in Europe, have a hysteresis loss of just 0.5 arc-min, and are attached to a motor shaft using a radial clamping ring that reduces inertia by up to 39%, resulting in highly dynamic performance.

3D tool allows machine-builders to test controls virtually

The Canadian software developer Maplesoft has released a tool that connects directly in real time to most common automation platforms, giving machine-builders simulation-based debugging and 3D visualisation capabilities, and allowing them to perform simulated testing of their controllers. MapleSim Insight shows them how different control strategies will affect their machines, allowing them to adjust and fine-tune their designs virtually, and cutting the number of costly physical prototypes they will need.