Drives and Controls Magazine
Large robots target EV production and other complex tasks

ABB has announced two new families of large industrial robots for complex manufacturing applications such as EV (electric vehicle) manufacturing, foundries, forging, rubber, plastics and metal fabrication. The IRB 5710 and 5720 robots are designed to boost productivity, performance and uptime by delivering enhanced speed, accuracy, flexibility, and a more robust design with integrated cabling.

IE5 synchronous reluctance motors promise lowest TCOs

The French motor manufacturer Nidec Leroy-Somer has developed a range of super-premium efficiency permanent magnet-assisted synchronous reluctance motors which, it says, combine the easy set-up of induction motors with the high performance of synchronous permanent magnet technologies, as well as offering “significant advances” in terms of their use with smart drives.

Raspberry Pi-based controller will have built-in touchscreen

An industrial computing specialist has announced a pair of controllers based on the low-cost Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4) platform, which is aimed at industrial applications. OnLogic says that one of the controllers will have built-in touchscreen to provide status updates and system control.

ProfiSafe module links safety sensors to controls via IO-Link

ifm electronic has announced a device that allows users to operate standard safety sensors and actuators via IO-Link. The AL200S module uses a special ProfiSafe telegram to provide “tunnelled” communication with a safety controller. This allows it to meet SIL3 and PLe safety requirements.

Single radar level sensor suits almost any application

The German level and pressure instrumentation specialist Vega has developed a radar-based level sensor that, it claims, can be used for almost any level-sensing application involving liquids or solids. Until now, choosing a radar-based level has been a laborious process, requiring application details such as temperature and pressure ranges, to be matched to a wide choice of radar frequencies, antenna designs, parts numbers and options. Up to 15 parameters needed to be specified.

Energy-saving VSDs will make their debut at Drives Show

The Brazilian drives and automation manufacturer WEG is launching a new generation of simple, space-saving, high-performance VSDs with advanced energy-saving, overload and safety functions. The CFW900 drives, which can be used with either induction or PM (permanent magnet) motors, will make their first large-scale public debut at the Drives & Controls Show in Birmingham, UK, in April.

Low-cost Scara robot brings automation to new sectors

Igus has added a Scara (selective compliance articulated robot arm) robot to its Low Cost Automation (LCA) family of robots and other devices that are designed to boost the productivity of tasks such as electronic assembly and laboratory work, while keeping costs down. The drylin Scara robot, priced upwards of £3,000, joins the existing delta, multi-axis and gantry linear robots in the LCA range, designed to perform basic high-speed, low-payload automated tasks.

New-generation VSDs support output frequencies to 599Hz

Fuji Electric has launched a VSD (variable-speed drive) with a maximum output frequency of up to 599Hz, supporting applications that need high-speed rotation and minimal speed and torque variations. The Frenic-Mega G2 drives have autotuning functions that allow them to be used with almost any type of induction or synchronous motor, using sensor-based or sensorless vector control.

Six-pulse VSD brings smart functions to more applications

Rockwell Automation has announced its first six-pulse drive to support its TotalForce technology, which combines high-performance motor control, advanced self-monitoring and a digital platform to deliver faster, more precise and more responsive AC drives. The technology has been incorporated in the new PowerFlex 755TS drives which, Rockwell claims, will help to cut unplanned downtime and to get motors running faster.

5µm-resolution distance sensor is based on air flow

A novel sensor, just announced by ifm, uses air flowing through a nozzle to measure the distance between the nozzle and a workpiece to a resolution of 5µm – about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. The SDP110 air-gap sensor’s maximum measuring range is 400µm.

Pillow block bearing designs are inspired by nature

The German engineering plastics specialist igus says that design of a new range of pillow block bearings is based on the structure of trees. Flattened radii, like those found at a tree’s base, ensure maximum strength against mechanical stresses. According to the company, the lubrication- and maintenance-free plastic housings are a real alternative to cast-housing bearings.

Voice control comes to industrial applications

A German communications specialist has developed a technology that allows industrial processes to be controlled using spoken commands, in a similar way to consumer voice-activation technologies such as Alexa and Siri. Dresden-based Voice Inter Connect expects its vicControl embedded voice control system to be particularly useful in applications where work processes make control difficult, or gloves are needed.

Four-axis controller promises high performance

Trio Motion Technology has launched a high-performance controller for stepper or pulse and direction servodrives with motion control of four axes. The panel-mounting MC404-Z is primarily aimed at OEMs that need fast and accurate motion performance as well as cost-optimised machine builds. The controller enables I/O extension through CANbus and can also integrate directly with common PLC and HMI protocols via a built-in Ethernet port.

Sensor warns of fires in control panels before they occur

Schneider Electric has developed a sensor that continuously analyses gases and particles inside control panels and switchboards to give an early warning of overheating cables before a fire breaks out. The PowerLogic HeatTag sensor detects invisible, yet hazardous, transformations that occur in cable insulation – including PVC, XLPE and EPR types – typically at temperatures between 170°C and 200°C.

IoT-based lubrication monitor ends need for regular checks

Schaeffler has developed an automated lubrication system for rolling bearings that, it claims, eliminates the need for route-based checks. The company says that the Optime C1 system means that maintenance personnel will no longer have to spend time on scheduled inspection runs, or deal with complicated tables or software to plan relubrication routines. Instead they will be able to focus on targeted maintenance in response to automated notifications from the system.