Drives and Controls Magazine
Energy-saving robots promise ‘class-leading repeatability’

ABB Robotics has added four new energy-saving models and 22 variants to its family of large robots, claiming that they will achieve energy savings of up to 20%. The new IRB 6710, 6720, 6730 and 6740 models are suitable for payloads from 150–310kg and have reaches from 2.5–3.2m. They made their debut at the Automatica exhibition in Munich, Germany, where they were shown performing spot welding, loading and unloading tasks in a fully functional battery production cell on ABB’s stand.

Codesys-based motion controllers handle up to 64 axes

The Taiwanese automation supplier Delta has launched three Codesys-based motion controllers for single-axis movements as well as synchronous multi-axis motion applications such as gearing, electronic cams and interpolation. The AX-304EL, AX-316E, and AX-364EL controllers support up to 4, 16 and 64 axes respectively, and offer an EtherCat master, two Ethernet ports, serial ports, 16 digital inputs and eight digital outputs.

Industrial Ethernet tester spots causes of network failures

Fluke Networks has launched an industrial Ethernet tester designed to verify cable performance up to 10Gb/s and to help discover the causes of network failures. The LinkIQ Cable+Network Industrial Ethernet Tester (LinkIQ-IE) can identify connected switches, port and VLAN data, run targeted “ping” tests, and confirm the presence and capacity of available PoE (Power over Ethernet) sources.

Edge computer links legacy systems to new ones

The Dutch industrial computing specialist OnLogic has announced an edge computer designed to link existing equipment with the cloud, modern sensors, and other legacy devices. The solid-state Helix 511 edge computer offers a choice of connection options to help bridge the gap between modern systems and older technologies.

64-axis controller boasts 125μs EtherCat cycle times

The UK motion specialist Trio Motion Technology has launched an EtherCat-based motion controller for up to 64 axes which achieves EtherCat cycle times down to 125μs. The Flex-X Nano Motion Coordinator is designed to increase machine productivity while optimising motion precision.

‘First’ NFC encoder avoids the need for set-up cables

The German encoder-maker Wachnendorff has developed what it claims is the world’s first incremental encoder that can be configured wirelessly from a smartphone using NFC (Near-Field Communications). It does away with the usual need for adapter cables and parameterisation boxes when setting pulses counts to customise an encoder for an application. The encoders will also be easier to modify at a later date.

Managed SPE switches are the first of their type

Phoenix Contact has released its first managed Ethernet switches that can connect sensors and terminal devices to SPE (Single Pair Ethernet) interfaces. The FL Switch 2303-8SP1 switches support SPE on eight ports with the 10 Base-T1L standard, which supports transmission distances of up to 1km.

Multi-axis servo inverter boosts cycle rates by “up to 20%”

Lenze has announced a multi-axis servo inverter which, it says, will allow users to increase the cycle rates of their machines by up to 20%. It adds that the i750 cabinet inverter is suitable for almost any dynamic multi-axis application.

Seven-member cobot family cuts cycle times by 25%

Dobot, the Chinese collaborative robot manufacturer which claims to be the country’s biggest exporter of industrial robots, has announced a family of seven cobots with payload capacities from 3-20kg and working radii from 620–1,700mm. The CRA cobots incorporate high-performance harmonic drive reducers and electromagnetic brakes, as well as updated software and a redesigned user interface.

Network portal offers ‘new approach to Ethernet comms’

Parker Hannifin has announced the arrival in Europe of a new approach to Ethernet communications that, it says, reformulates and transforms machine I/O architecture. It claims that the modular PCH Network Portal, which supports Ethernet protocols and IO-Link communications, will cut machine costs, start-up times and downtime

Precision servodrive targets demanding applications

Siemens has launched a dynamic servodrive system consisting of a precision drive, powerful servomotors and easy-to-use cables. The Sinamics S200 system is aimed at applications that need precise speed and torque control, such as electronic production machinery, and winding and unwinding machines in battery manufacturing and cell assembly.

Multi-PC control expands floating transport system

Beckhoff Automation has issued a software update for its XPlanar levitating product transport system which allows it to be controlled by multiple computers, thus supporting many more movers operating over a much larger area. Beckhoff says that potential expansions are “infinite”.

On-machine I/O blocks with IO-Link will raise productivity

Rockwell Automation has released a family of distributed I/O blocks with built-in IO-Link functions that, it says, will help manufacturers to improve productivity at a low cost. The Allen‑Bradley ArmorBlock 5000 I/O blocks are designed for use on machines, enabling quicker installation, commissioning and troubleshooting, and reducing downtime.

Simulation software uses digital twins to optimise drives

Siemens has announced simulation software that can be used to engineer and commission variable-speed drives, based on digital twins. The Sinamics DriveSim Advanced software allows users to simulate, commission and optimise Sinamics drive systems virtually before building them in the real world. Siemens says it will increase the efficiency and productivity of drive systems and machinery.

Network tester helps to deploy IIoT and performs TSN testing

Keysight Technologies has announced a compact network tester for engineers deploying IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and automotive networks. The Novus mini tester combines traffic generation and protocol testing in one device, allowing users to test the performance and conformance of industrial networks. Keysight says that it has the smallest footprint in the industry, an “outstanding” cost per port, and ultra-quiet, fan-less operation.