Drives and Controls Magazine
App-based shaft alignment system is ‘quick and easy’ to use

SKF has developed a shaft alignment tool which it claims is the first of its type to allow alignments using tablets and smartphones. The app makes it quick and easy to set-up motors, drives, fans, gearboxes, pulleys and couplings, even by operators who are using the instrument for the first time.

Module controls braking forces for gentle deceleration

The German braking and torque limiter specialist Mayr Power Transmission has developed an electronic module that decelerates machines evenly and gently when they are braked. The “intelligent” braking torque control module is designed to be used with Mayr’s Roba-stop safety brakes.

Multi-role magnetic encoders challenge optical devices

At the recent Hannover Fair, the German sensor-maker ifm electronic unveiled a range of multi-role magnetic encoders with built-in microcontrollers and displays that, it says, offer a real alternative to traditional optical encoders.

Smartphone apps help to install and maintain VSDs

At the recent Hannover Fair, ABB announced a pair of smartphone apps that, it says, will save time, ease troubleshooting and help improve the performance of its VSDs (variable-speed drives).

Integrated stepper motors connect directly to each other

US-based AMCI (Advanced Micro Controls Inc) has expanded its SMD (stepper+motor+drive) integrated stepper motor family to include a function that allows coordinated motion control with Allen-Bradley servo systems, and a fault-tolerant device-level ring (DLR) topology with an embedded Ethernet switch, that allows direct SMD-to-SMD cabling, without external switches. AMCI says that these developments mark the biggest expansion of the SMD family since its launch in 2004, and will widen its applications.

Successor is on the way for a VSD stalwart

Danfoss used the recent Hannover Fair to preview a new variable-speed drive that will eventually replace the VLT 2800, which has been on the market for nearly two decades. The new VLT MidiDrive FC280, which is due to go on sale in 2016, has new functions including support for PM motors, integrated safety, and parameter setting via memory modules.

Box converts standard switches to wireless operation

The German wireless and safety specialist steute has developed a device that allows existing mechanical switching devices, such as cam switches, to be integrated into wireless networks. The I/O-Box, which was demonstrated at the recent Hannover Fair, can collect signals from up to four devices made by any manufacturer, and combine them in a shared wireless signal.

Softstarter is ‘first’ with pump-cleaning functions

At the 2015 Hannover Fair, ABB unveiled a range of softstarters which, it claims, are the first in the world with a built-in pump-cleaning function designed to protect pumps from clogging, overheating and water hammer. It says that the function, built into the new PSTX softstarters, will increase the lifetime and reliability of pumps and associated equipment.

Bespoke drives are ‘first’ with 3-level harmonics technology

At this month’s Hannover Fair, Schneider Electric unveiled a range of engineered-to-order modular system drives incorporating a newly developed three-level harmonics technology that, it claims, cuts total current distortion (THDi) to less than 5%. The Altivar Process Drive Systems span ratings from 110–800kW, and there are plans to extend them to 1.5MW

Quad-core machine controller is ‘industry’s fastest’

Omron has announced a new machine automation controller which, it claims, offers the industry's fastest processing speeds, thanks to its use of an Intel i7 quad-core processor and 260MB of memory, allowing data collection and analysis to be performed in parallel with control functions. The Sysmac NX701 controller is aimed future production applications based on the Internet of Things (IoT), and is said to offer scalability beyond controllers such as PLCs.

6mm-wide safety relays are the ‘world’s thinnest’

At the Hannover Fair, Phoenix Contact has unveiled a 6mm-wide safety relay which, it claims, is the world’s narrowest and could result in space savings of up to 70%. The new PSRmini relays are small enough to be integrated directly in devices such as motor starters and are claimed to deliver a similar performance to larger safety relays.

Fieldbus analyser is ‘as easy to use as a multimeter’

Pepperl+Fuchs has unveiled a handheld device designed to simplify the commissioning and troubleshooting of fieldbus installations. The FieldConnex diagnostic device (FDH-1) has been designed to be easy to use without needing expert fieldbus knowledge, and can check a Profibus PA or Foundation Fieldbus H1 segment at the press of a button.

Wimes motors are designed for the UK water industry

ABB has announced a range of low-voltage motors designed specifically to comply with the latest version of the UK water industry’s Wimes (Water Industry Mechanical and Electrical Specification) standard. Wimes 3.03 issue 6, created by The Pump Centre and 17 UK water companies, was issued in October 2014 and defines the mechanical and electrical requirements for equipment used in the industry.

2016 edition of flagship CAD package makes its debut

Autodesk has announced the availability of a new version of its flagship CAD (computer-aided design) application, AutoCad. The 2016 edition includes scores of new functions, claimed to accelerate 2D and 3D design, documentation and collaboration, while “enriching the on-screen experience” when creating almost any shape.

‘Smart’ incremental encoders will cut the need for spares

The US encoder manufacturer, TR Electronic, has announced a new generation of programmable incremental rotary encoders that allow users to adjust and display absolute position, RPM, over-and under-speed, and count direction. TR calls the I__58:2 series encoders “intelligent” and says that they can do everything that an absolute rotary encoder can do.