Drives and Controls Magazine
Graphic touchscreen terminals boot up ‘twice as fast’

Rockwell Automation has announced a family of space-saving graphic terminals, which, it says, will cut boot-up times as well as improving touchscreen responsiveness. The Allen-Bradley PanelView 800 terminals, available in 4, 7 and 10-inch sizes, are powered by 800MHz processors and offer up to 256MB of flash and dynamic memory.

Next-generation PACs and PLCs share programming tools

Mitsubishi Electric has released new generations of two of its key controls ranges – Melsec iQ-R programmable automation controllers (PACs) and iQ-F compact PLCs. While they address different segments of the machine control, process control and automation markets, they share the same programming environment with other iQ models and are said to offer an improved user experience.

‘First full family’ of safe robots will open up new applications

The Californian robot-maker Precise Automation is launching what it describes as “the first full family of intrinsically safe benchtop collaborative robots”. The robots – which include Scara, six-axis articulated and Cartesian types – have been designed from scratch to work safely with humans, without needing costly, bulky and awkward safety barriers.

Card connects PCs to any industrial Ethernet network

The Swedish industrial communications specialist HMS Industrial Networks has announced a plug-in card that that can connect a PC to any industrial Ethernet network. The IXXAT INpact is a PCIe card that support numerous industrial Ethernet standards using a uniform protocol and a card-spanning API (application programming interface).

Compact controllers integrate displays and up to 64 I/O

At next month’s Hannover Fair, Siemens will be launching a pair of compact industrial controllers with integrated I/O and displays, as well as built-in measuring, metering and positioning functions. The Simatic S7-1511C, with 32 digital I/O ports, is just 85mm wide and offers a 60ns bit performance, while the S7-1512C, with 64 digital I/O, is 110mm wide with a 48ns bit performance.

PLC-free system is an alternative to replacing MCCs

US-headquartered Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has announced a centralised control system that monitors, controls and protects low-voltage motor installations. The motorMax system offers a low-cost alternative to replacing existing motor control centres (MCCs), while allowing users to keep up with modern safety requirements. It also eliminates the need for PLCs, thus simplifying motor management.

Two-speed gearbox offers efficient direct-drive option

The German drives specialist Stober has developed a two-speed gear gearbox that, it says, will improve the energy efficiency of machine tools. The PS box, which is available in two sizes (PS25 and PS30), was developed especially for use in the main spindle drives of machine tools. It offers a loss-optimised direct-drive mode (with a ratio of i=1) that delivers high speeds suitable for fine machining.

Vibration meter transmits motor data wirelessly

Fluke has announced a handheld vibration instrument that gathers data on the bearings and general health of motors and other rotating equipment, and can share it wirelessly in real time. The multifunction Fluke 805 FC meter can be used by troubleshooting personnel who need reliable, repeatable measurements of rotating equipment to make go/no-go maintenance decisions.

Siemens enters the synchronous reluctance fray

Siemens is entering the market for synchronous reluctance motors that ABB has dominated since launching its SynRM range in 2011. At the Hannover Fair in April, Siemens will unveil a series of synchronous reluctance motors and drives with outputs from 5.5–30kW that, it says, will deliver high efficiencies at both full and partial loads, high dynamic responses, and good speed consistency for precision control.

Module saves energy by stopping compressed air leaks

Festo has developed a device that monitors and regulates compressed air supplies automatically to cut energy consumption. When the MS6-E2M module detects a machine is in standby, it shuts down the compressed air supply, thus preventing air from escaping through leaks. It also monitors parameters such as flow and pressure.

Multi-axis system has response times of less than 1µs

The German controls manufacturer Beckhoff has developed a compact, multi-axis servo system that allows precision positioning and machining with extremely short control cycles, thus boosting production output. The AX8000 system combines FPGA technology with multi-core ARM processors to produce sample and response times of less than 1µs for current control, and velocity control cycle times as low as 16µs, depending on the switching frequency. Position control cycle times are 31.25µs, and the minimum EtherCat cycle time is 62.5µs.

Driven track system boosts efficiency and throughput

HepcoMotion has launched a scroll-driven track system to cater for high-speed production line applications needing large driving forces. Typical uses for the DTS2 system include high speed-indexing for the rapid transfer of components in the packaging, automotive, food and special-purpose machinery industries.

Next-generation safety controller can switch 16A

Wieland Electric has announced a new generation of safety controllers which, it claims, have the largest I/O capacity on the market, the largest switching capacity (16A through one module), the largest program memory (512MB), and the fastest reaction time (12ms).

Combined current and voltage module replaces two devices

Murrelektronik has developed a module that can process both analogue voltage and current signals, and has four individually configurable measuring channels. The MAS168 module is said to simplify installations, reduce wiring and save space by allowing a single module to be used where previously two would have been needed. It is claimed to be the smallest analogue module on the market.

Pre-configured Ethernet frames are ‘25% faster to install’

Panduit has launched a preconfigured industrial distribution frame (IDF) designed to deploy and protect rack-mounted industrial Ethernet switches. The company claims that the frame will allow equipment to be deployed 25% faster than IDF installations that are not pre-configured, as well as “significantly” lowering the risk of downtime due to switch overheating.