Drives and Controls Magazine
‘First’ IO-Link smart incremental encoder opens up applications

Baumer claims to be offering the first bearing-free, smart incremental encoder that supports IO-Link. It predicts that the EB200E encoder will open up new applications by allowing it to be parameterised via IO-Link. For example, its two switching outputs can be set to act as a speed monitor for overspeed, speed range, standstill or direction of rotation.

IT specialists can now access TIA Portal to tackle OT skills gap

At the recent SPS exhibition, Siemens unveiled Version 18 of its TIA Portal engineering framework with the claim that it will boost engineering efficiency and optimise functions for multi-user engineering. Users can now work in teams and in parallel on projects and build and manage shared libraries. Access rights can be assigned either individually or to groups, making collaboration more flexible.

Floating production transport system gains flexibility

At the recent SPS show in Nuremberg, Beckhoff was demonstrating the latest developments in its XPlanar system which transports production line items on levitating “movers” with up to six degrees of freedom. The system was launched in 2018 and its functions have been expanded continuously since then.

Five compact drives save on space and resources

At the recent SPS exhibition in Germany, the Swiss motor and controls maker maxon launched five compact drive products designed with efficient use of resources in mind. They were:

Configurable safety controller looks like a safety relay

At the recent SPS show in Germany, Pilz unveiled a configurable safety controller that is just 22.5mm wide, yet can monitor up to four safety functions – including e-stops, safety gates, light curtains and two-hand controls. The PNOZ m C0 controller implements safety requirements up to PL e or SIL CL 3, and can allow small machines to achieve high productivity. It provides eight safe inputs and four safe semiconductor outputs.

Circular movers give levitating transport system a novel spin

Bosch Rexroth is latest contender to join the burgeoning market for levitating transport systems for production lines. Unlike most other systems, which use rectangular “movers” to carry items while floating above electromagnetic tiles, Rexroth’s ctrlX Flow6D system uses circular movers that can rotate and tilt as they move. The movers can also supply power and communications wirelessly to items such as sensors and actuators that they are carrying, and can travel up vertical walls or even suspended below overhead work surfaces.

3D safety system protects workers in tough environments

Sick has launched a “next-generation” 3D radar safety system that provides access protection for workers in a wide range of hazardous industrial environments, including robot cells. The safeRS3 system provides a 5m protective field with a 100° opening angle, and offers up to four protective fields. It is said to be ideal for heavy industrial or harsh outdoor environments, which may challenge conventional optical detection systems.

The system protects personnel in stationary applications to PLd or SIL2, in line with ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061. As a category 3 device, it can be used in robotic applications in accordance with ISO 10218-2.

Inverter-only IE5 motors will maximise energy savings

At the recent SPS show in Germany, SEW-Eurodrive launched a family of IE5-efficiency synchronous reluctance motors which need an inverter to operate. When combined with efficient gearboxes and intelligent frequency inverters, the DR2C motors are said to result in energy-saving drive systems that cut losses in a wide range of applications.

Cobots with onboard AI and vision ‘redefine robotics’

The Taiwanese cobot (collaborative robot) developer Techman Robot has announced a new series that integrates precision robot arms with AI engines and smart vision systems. It says that the TM AI cobots will accelerate the transition to Industry 4.0.

16-core ultra-compact IPCs set new benchmarks

At the recent SPS show, Beckhoff unveiled the latest member of its family of ultra-compact industrial PCs. The C6040 IPC is based on 12th-generation Intel Core processors with up to 16 cores, resulting in “unprecedented power density” and opening up a new world of application possibilities, according to the company.

Compact machinery drives handle motors up to 22kW

At the recent SPS show in Germany, ABB extended its family of machinery drives with a range of compact, easy-to-use VSDs for controlling induction and permanent magnet motors up to 22kW. The ACS180 drives can control conveyors, pumps, fans, mixers and compressors, in a variety of sectors including food and beverage, textiles, material-handling and commercial applications.

Enhanced controllers cut machine-building times and costs

Rockwell Automation says that machine-builders can cut engineering time and costs using enhanced versions of two of its controllers which add Class 1 implicit messaging capabilities with support for up to eight EtherNet/IP devices. The enhanced capabilities will allow users to develop and deploy automation projects faster, potentially reducing time-to-market.

IE5 reluctance motors add liquid-cooled and hazardous area types

ABB has expanded its SynRM family of synchronous reluctance motors with two new models – one with liquid cooling, the other for hazardous areas – both boasting IE5 efficiency levels. ABB says the motors have up to 40% lower energy losses than IE3 motors and 20% lower losses than IE4 motors.

Servodrives give machine-builders more flexibility

At the recent SPS show, Trio Motion Technology launched a high-performance single-axis servodrive offering machine-builders increased design flexibility in a “cost-optimal” package. The DX3 drive is available in EtherCat and conventional control versions, with power ratings to 7.5kW, and in 200V and 400V versions.

Software guides technicians through cabinet assembly

Eplan has announced an app that guides technicians step-by-step through the installation of components into cabinets, showing them where each component should be installed. Supported by 3D visualisation, the Eplan Smart Mounting software can even show inexperienced technicians where to place components.