Drives and Controls Magazine
‘Game-changing’ soft-starts act as complete control systems

At the recent Hannover Fair, the New Zealand soft-start specialist AuCom announced a  “game-changing” range that, it predicts, will challenge industry approaches to fixed-speed motor control. The EMX4i low-voltage soft-starts offer the option of plugging in application-specific cards.

Single-tool valve system is fast and easy to assemble

At the recent Hannover Fair, Aventics launched a modular pneumatic valve system designed to cut the number of components needed and to simplify assembly by using a single tool. The time-saving ES05 Essential Valve System is said to reduce the risk of faults and to offer a cost-effective, tailored way of meeting users’ needs.

Compact 20-axis controller promises big-system benefits

Rockwell Automation has announced a compact industrial controller for high-speed applications with up to 20 axes of motion which, it claims, has up to 20% more application capacity than its previous CompactLogix controllers. The new Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5380 controller offers the benefits of Rockwell’s high-performance Integrated Architecture portfolio in a small format.

Inductive system reads absolute linear positions to ±4µm

Rexroth has developed a robust linear measuring system that reads absolute positions inductively to an accuracy of ±4µm – similar to that of glass scales. The company is building the IMS-A system into its linear guides, thus avoiding the need for external measurement or air purge systems. It says that the system is immune to contamination, vibrations, shocks and magnetic interference and needs no buffer batteries in the event of a power failure.

Connector with ‘first’ with built-in Ethernet switch

Harting claims to have developed the first connector with a built-in Ethernet switch. Its new Han-Modular US4 connector can be used to network up to four EtherNet/IP or Profinet nodes with transmission speeds of up to 1,000 Mbit/s.

Tester analyses running motors without using sensors

Fluke has announced a motor tester that analyses a motor’s electrical and mechanical performance while it is running, without needing any mechanical load sensors. The Fluke 438-II power quality and motor analyser uses “innovative” algorithms to analyse not only three-phase power quality, but also torque, efficiency, and speed, to determine a motor's performance and to detect overload conditions.

Plug-in drives modules save space and cut costs

At the recent Hannover Fair, Beckhoff announced a series of space-saving drives modules in a plug-in format for machines being built in volume production runs. The EtherCat-based EJ series modules make it possible to achieve high-volume runs without sacrificing customisation.

£2m investment in machinery leads to a trio of couplings

Following a £2m investment in new production machinery, the UK manufacturer Renold Couplings announced three new ranges of couplings at the recent Drives & Controls Show.

Build your own robot arms from €243 per axis

The German engineering plastics specialist igus is pushing further into the world of robotics with a kit system that will allow users to create plastic-and-aluminium robot arms with up to six degrees of freedom at costs starting from €243 ($281) per axis. At the recent Hannover Fair, igus had a stand dedicated to the robot kits, which have articulated joints driven by worm gears with stepper motors optionally built into the joints. The arms have been designed to operate safely in “collaborative” applications with human co-workers.

MCC is ‘first’ to marry arc prevention and resistance

Eaton has announced an arc-resistant version of its FlashGard MCC (motor control centre) technology, designed to prevent arc flash events and to protect personnel if an arc flash occurs. Eaton claims that it is the first manufacturer to combine arc-preventative and arc-resistant technologies in one MCC.

WEG unveils its first geared motors to be developed in-house

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG has launched its first-ever range of geared motors using gearboxes designed in-house and carrying the WEG name. The WG20 modular geared motors, unveiled at the Hannover Fair this week, have been developed in collaboration with WEG’s Austrian subsidiary, the gear technology specialist Watt Drive, which it bought in 2011.

Next-generation safety laser scanner has 275-degree field

The German sensing specialist Sick has announced a next-generation safety laser scanner that uses using a patented scanning technology, said to improve productivity and safety. The microScan3 has an unusually wide scanning angle of 275 degrees, an object resolution down to 30mm, a protective field range of up to 5.5m, and a warning field range of up to 40m.

Siemens’ smallest-ever drive is 68mm wide

Siemens has announced its smallest-ever frequency converter – a 68mm-wide and 142mm-high device for ratings up to 0.75kW. The latest addition to the Sinamics V20 family is available in two depths: an 108mm-deep version (FS AA frame size) in 0.12, 0.25 and 0.37kW ratings; and a 128mm-deep version (FS AB frame size) in 0.55 and 0.75kW ratings, for single-phase 230V operation. The new drives will be unveiled at the Hannover Fair this month.

Low-cost modular motors cut delivery times 'by weeks’

ABB has announced a range of large modular induction motors with delivery times that, it claims, are several weeks shorter than those for more highly specified machines. The low-cost NMI motors, spanning ratings from 315kW to 8MW in frame sizes 400–630, are aimed at safe-area pump and fan applications that do not need highly specified motors.

Cognex expands into mobile terminals with phone-based system

The machine vision market-leader and barcode reader specialist, Cognex, has expanded into a new product area – rugged mobile terminals – which, it says, offer a “revolutionary” way of performing tasks such as inventory management, logistics and field service.