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VSDs with motion controls simplify machine-building

ABB has added positioning control capabilities to its ACS880 variable-speed drives, avoiding the need for dedicated external motion controllers that require specific tools, user interfaces and programming languages. The same product family can now be used for positioning, speed or torque control across an entire production line. ABB says that embedding position control inside the drive will minimise machine engineering and installation work, remove the need for extra equipment, and cut the costs of training, tools and spare parts.

Drives are optimised for synchronous reluctance motors

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show, Siemens launched a new range of converters aimed mainly at pump and fan applications. With a power range of 0.75–630kW, the G120X drives can be used with any type of motor, but are optimised for use with Siemens’ synchronous reluctance motors.

Embedded controller can synchronise up to 192 axes

Rexroth has topped its MLC motion control system with an embedded controller that can handle up to 192 synchronised axes. By choosing the appropriate software package, users can decide whether they want the XM42 controller to synchronise 64, 128 or 192 axes.

Permanent magnet HVAC motors are 'most efficient’

WEG has developed a range of electronically commutated permanent magnet motors with IEC 80 aluminium housings, specifically for HVAC (heating, ventliation and air-conditioning) applications. The WECM motors achieve an IE5 efficiency rating, and packaged with an impeller, they comply with all current and future EU directives for HVAC.

Communicative inverter supports single-cable links

SEW-Eurodrive has a new inverter which, it says, is notable for the flexibility of its communications interfaces, controllable motor types and scalable functions. The Movidrive technology application inverter is part of SEW’s Movi-C modular automation system and supports Movilink DDI single-cable digital connections to motors in this family.

Distributed starters and drives are ‘fit for Industry 4.0’

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Eaton unveiled a new generation (5.0) of its Rapid Link series of distributed motor starters and frequency converters that are “fit for Industry 4.0”. As well as the previous AS-i versions, there are now Ethernet/IP and Profinet versions of the IP65-protected Ramo starters and Rasp drives that can be integrated into IIoT applications. The Rasp drives can now be used with IE4 motors (permanent magnet, brushless DC or synchronous reluctance) and their power ratings now extend to 4kW.

Vision system is 'the first' integrated into an automation system

After previewing its new integrated machine vision technology at the 2017 SPS IPC Drives show, B&R Automation provided more details and demonstrations at the 2018 event.

‘Singular’ controller simplifies robot integration

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show, Yaskawa unveiled a “singular” control system that allows users to integrate robots into existing architectures without needing to use a programming device or a robot programming language. The MP3300iec RBT controller can handle robots, servodrives, inverter drives and I/O systems, and can synchronise them via the real-time Mechatrolink III Ethernet bus.

‘Open’ control system gets safety controller and app store

Two years after it announced its PLCnext “open” control technology for data-centric applications, Phoenix Contact has unveiled a high-performance controller, based on an Intel i5 dual-core processor with 4GB of RAM, which incorporates a safety controller. The RFC 4072S uses two independent CPUs with different architectures to perform safety calculations, making it suitable for applications up to SIL 3 / PL e.

NFC-based time relay is ’50 times more accurate’

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Schneider Electric announced the “first” time relay with built-in NFC (near-field communications), allowing it to be set from a smartphone 50 times more precisely than conventional time relays. The 22.5mm-wide Zelio Time relay can even be set through packaging and when it is de-energised – unlike systems based on Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

Cloud-based app makes maintenance paperless

Festo has announced its first digital-only product – a cloud-based maintenance management system that will reduce or eliminate the need for paper-based documentation, and is not specific to any manufacturer. Called Smartenance, the system consists of two parts: an app for smartphones and tablets which acts as a mobile maintenance schedule; and a dashboard in the form of a Web page that allows production managers, machine-builders and others to manage and document maintenance tasks.

NFC-equipped connectors will talk to smartphones

At the recent SPS IPC Drives show, TE Connectivity was demonstrating industrial connectors with built-in NFC (near-field communications) chips, allowing them to communicate with NFC-equipped smartphones and other devices. TE suggests that this capability will help to provide data for Industry 4.0 applications such as preventative maintenance.

Module adds AI to industrial controls and I/O

Siemens has developed a module that adds artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to its Simatic S7-1500 controllers and the ET 200MP I/O system. The S7-1500 TM NPU (neural processing unit) is equipped with an Intel Movidius Myriad X Vision neural network chip, which is used in combination with a trained neural system on an SD card.

‘World’s smallest’ optical distance sensor uses IO-Link

The German sensor-maker SensoPart claims to have developed the world’s smallest optical distance sensor – a sugarcube-sized digital device that weighs about 10g and incorporates an IO-Link interface. The FT 10-RLA laser sensor is suitable for challenging measuring tasks in applications such as semiconductor assembly or robotics.

Plug-and-play IoT kit monitors machine conditions

Bosch and Harting have joined forces to produce what they describe as the first plug-and-play IoT kit for industrial applications. The kit – which is IP54-protected for use without a protective enclosure – allows quick and easy digital condition monitoring of any type of machinery.