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Linear actuator expands uses via on-board drive and I/O

The intelligent motion control specialist Columbus McKinnon has announced a linear actuator with an on-board variable-frequency drive (VFD) and I/O, allowing users to program movement patterns with variable speeds, and expanding its range of applications to include synchronising lifting tables, balancing loads on AGVs (automated guided vehicles), and timing critical steps in manufacturing processes.

Laser shaft alignment system ‘saves energy and cuts downtime’

Schaeffler has announced a tool for aligning rotating shafts which, it says, is particularly easy to use and results in precise shaft alignments. Unlike other laser-based alignment tools which need two laser beams to be aligned with each other, the new Laser-Equilign2 tool uses only one laser/sensor device and a reflector. The single laser is simply aligned with the reflector, making it easier to use, saving time and resulting in precise measurements.

Power quality analysers grab more than 500 parameters

Fluke has announced a series of three-phase power quality analysers that, it says, will eliminate the complexities of power quality (PQ) logging, troubleshooting and analysis by offering automatic measurements, easy set-ups, best-in-class specifications, and simple reporting.

Modular machine-tending cells can cut labour costs by 90%

ABB has launched a family of modular, robotic machine-tending cells for the metals industry that offer a variety of ways of loading and unloading machines, based on the size, shapes and number of workpieces being handled. It claims that the FlexLoader M cells will cut labour costs for machine-tending processes by up to 90%, with one operator able to handle up to 10 cells simultaneously. The automated system is also said to deliver machine utilisation of more than 97%, compared to 40-60% for manually operated machines.

IP20 and IP55 VSDs can control motors rated up to 250kW

The Welsh drives-maker Invertek Drives has launched a series of high-powered Size 8 variable-speed drives in two versions: with IP55/Nema 12 enclosures for direct mounting; and IP20 enclosures for control cabinet mounting. The drives, members of the company’s Optidrive P2 and Optidrive Eco families, can control motors rated up to 480A with power ratings up to 250kW. They replace the existing Size 8 models which were available only with IP20 protection for control cabinet mounting.

Industrial cameras are ‘smallest’ with C-mounts and housings

IDS (Imaging Development Systems) says that its latest machine vision cameras are the smallest available with housings and C-mounts. The uEye+ XCP cameras measure 29 x 29 x 17mm and have a closed zinc die-cast housing with a screwable USB Micro-B connector. They have “cost-optimised” electronics and are compatible with common lenses, making them suitable for price-sensitive applications.

Acoustic imager detects changes in sounds from plants

Fluke Process Instruments has announced its first acoustic imager – a device that can detect, locate and visualise air and gas leaks, or spot changes in sound signatures in processes and equipment in real-time, before they become costly problems. Using an array of sensors, the SV600 imager translates sounds into a visual representation, allowing users to locate and quantify problem areas quickly.

Low-cost kit allows anyone to monitor machine OEE levels

Turck Banner is offering a starter kit that will help factory managers to improve OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) levels at a price and simplicity that, it says, will allow anyone to reap the benefits. The Production Performance Monitoring (PPM) kit consists of a battery-powered wireless sensor, a controller and a three-month cloud connection. It is aimed at first-time users and includes everything needed to monitor a machine and receive warnings if its throughput falls.

Multi-carrier digital twins will speed machinery set-ups

Schneider Electric has announced a multi-carrier system for transporting, grouping and positioning products in industrial operations. It claims that the Lexium MC12 system will boost the performance and flexibility of automated machinery by up to 50%, cut installation and commissioning times by up to half, and reduce design times and time-to-market by up to 30%.

I/O module is first based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 chip

The Italian automation developer Sfera Labs has announced the first industrial product based on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller chip, which was released earlier this year. The Iono RP is a compact programmable I/O module said to combine the ease of use of the Raspberry Pi, with a choice of digital and analogue input and output interfaces. The result is a rugged, safe, reliable and easy-to-connect module in a compact DIN-rail case that can be installed in cabinets or integrated into automation systems.

Long-life plastic bearings avoid risks of explosions

Igus has developed a maintenance-free plastic material for food industry plain bearing applications, that is designed to withstand friction and high temperatures, and to dissipate electrostatic charges, thus reducing the risk of explosions and shocks to operators. In laboratory tests, bearings made from the new iglidur AX500 tribopolymer material, rotating on stainless-steel shafts, exhibited up to three times less wear and tear than bearings based on the earlier A500 material.

Coupling tackles misalignments and dampens vibrations

KTR has launched a shaft coupling which, in addition to transmitting power, compensates for misalignments and dampens torsional vibrations. The torsionally flexible Rolflex coupling is available in two designs (N and SH Split) and seven sizes with torque ratings from 65–790Nm. Another five sizes will be added by the middle of 2022, extending the range up to 5kNm.

Tough fibre cable with no metal armour can handle forklift weight

Belden has developed an optical fibre cable that avoids the need for metal armouring, and is up to 90% lighter and 70% smaller in diameter than metal armoured cable, and up to 50% smaller in diameter than non-armoured cable. The OptiTuff Mini Fiber cable is also said to be more flexible and easier to install than metal armoured cable and can survive a four-tonne forklift being driven over it.

Automated CNC door-opener solves ‘unsolvable’ challenge

A Danish start-up claims to have solved a “previously unsolvable” challenge by developing the world’s first completely automated door-opening system for CNC machine tools, thus removing the last barrier to the automated feeding of components into machines. The company, Made4CNC, says that its system can be fitted to any CNC machine tool in less than an hour.

MV drive accepts 13.8kV primary in ‘half the space’

Rockwell Automation has announced a medium-voltage drive which, it claims, delivers industry-leading performance in about half the space. The PowerFlex 6000T drive accepts primary voltages up to 13.8kV in a width of 2,310–3,010mm. It is aimed at new and retrofit applications in IEC markets, especially where space is at a premium.