Drives and Controls Magazine
Low-cost redundant controls open up smaller applications

B&R Automation has come up with a low-cost way of offering redundant control using two of its standard X20 controllers working together – one providing active control, while the other runs in standby. This results in a redundant control system that is much cheaper than a dedicated system, allowing it to be used for smaller applications.

Automation suite spans PLCs, robots and motion controls

ABB has released an engineering development suite for industrial automation projects that, it says, will cut project development times by up to a third. The Automation Builder suite provides an integrated development environment for control and motion systems based on PLCs, safety PLCs, robots, motion controls and related automation components.

Multi-role motor starter cuts wiring by up to 60%

A new multifunctional motor starter from Eaton combines four functions – direct-on-line starting, reversing starting, motor protection and emergency stopping. The EMS electronic starter is said to cut wiring requirements compared to conventional switchgear assemblies by up to 60% and the number of hardware components by up to 70%.

Linear actuator design prevents rotation

Parker Hannifin has developed a new generation of compact linear actuators with an innovative design using four guide rods to prevent rotation and allow large lateral forces to be applied. The Origa ORD-E actuators can deliver stroke lengths up to 500mm and forces up to 2kN.

Wireless footswitch uses new comms technology

The German safety specialist steute has developed a two-channel wireless communications technology designed to be reliabie and to operate effectively in the same area as other wireless systems. The system, called sWave 2.4GHz-safe, is based on a pseudorandom frequency-hopping technology with the hopping pattern known only to the transmitter and receiver.

Two-stage residual current relays will reduce shutdowns

Residual currents can occur in industrial plants as a result of various problems including: inadequate insulation of terminals or cables; humidity; contamination; or ageing materials. Simple monitoring relays are available that raise and alarm or trigger a shutdown when they detect a rise in residual currents.

Drive controllers reach the sixth generation

The German geared motor and drive systems manufacturer Stöber has expanded its modular drive and automation portfolio with a sixth generation of its drive controllers and motion controllers that use the Codesys v3 programming and controlling software. The two types of controller can be combined to create a drive controller that can be operated in a controller-based mode.

WEG adds modular contactors to LV switchgear portfolio

At the recent Hannover Fair, the Brazilian motors and controls manufacturer WEG emphasised the breadth of its low-voltage switchgear portfolio, with several new arrivals including lines of modular contactors and motor protection circuit-breakers.

ABB's drives family continues to expand

ABB is continuing to expand its ACS880 family of drives which made their debut in 2011. It unveiled several new developments unveiled at the recent Hannover Fair.

Phones and tablets become easy-to-configure and use HMIs

The Californian automation manufacturer Opto 22 has announced a new way to build and deploy simple, scalable operator interfaces based on computers and mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Up to 64 integrated servodrives can be powered from one supply

At the recent Hannover Fair, Danfoss unveiled an integrated servodrive based on a permanent-magnet synchronous motor sharing an enclosure with the drive electronics. The VLT ISD 510 drives cover rated torques from 1.7–15Nm and are equipped with Ethernet-based EtherCat and Powerlink communications.

I/O system squeezes 20 channels into 12.5mm-wide modules

The Austrian automation company Sigmatek has developed a compact modular I/O system that fits up to 20 channels in a 12.5mm-wide module. The rail-mounting S-DIAS modules – which include safety versions ­– communicate using a real-time Ethernet system called Varan with a bus speed of 100Mbit/s. The I/O modules can be accessed within 1.12µs.

Next-generation light curtains ‘set new standards’

Sick has announced a new generation of safety light curtains that, it says, set new standards for efficiency, ease-of-installation and reliability. The deTec4 Core curtains have no blind zones, offering optimum positioning and protection against unsafe access, while allowing operations to continue efficiently.

HVAC drives incorporate a fire mode

Following the recent launch of its CFW500 variable-speed drive, WEG has announced a variant dedicated to HVAC pump and fan duties. The compact, easy-to-use CFW501 drives span the power range 0.18–7.5kW and there are plans to increase this to 22kW next year.

Encoder-free IP55 drives can be wall-mounted

SEW-Eurodrive has developed a decentralised frequency inverter for controlling the speeds of asynchronous and synchronous motors without an encoder. The IP55-protected Movitrac LTP-B drive can be wall-mounted, even in difficult ambient conditions.