Drives and Controls Magazine
Vision hardware complements software in single platform

At the recent SPS exhibition in Germany, Beckhoff unveiled a portfolio of machine vision hardware to complement the company’s TwinCat Vision software which has been available since 2017.

UK-developed soft-starters can be set up in under 60 seconds

At the SPS show in Germany, the Devon-based soft-starter developer Motortronics UK unveiled a low-voltage digital soft-starter with a duty range of up to 600V, 1,250A. The VMX-Synergy Plus starter includes 45 preconfigured parameters settings to suit a variety of applications, and can be set up and commissioned in less than 60 seconds. The device “tunes itself” to the load.

AI-based app optimises energy use of drive systems

At the recent SPS show in Germany, Siemens unveiled an enhanced version of its Analyze MyDrives Edge app with an AI-based function that calculates the energy consumption of an entire drive system without needing extra sensors or measuring devices. The app shows how efficiently a drive is running, what its energy consumption and operating costs are, as well as its carbon footprint. It can be used to optimise drive settings.

Vision sensors identify objects without experts

The German sensor-maker SensoPart has developed an image-processing system which, it says, can detect and differentiate items reliably without users needing to be machine vision experts. The Visor Object AI system implements an AI algorithm in the vision sensor, thus avoiding the need for network or cloud connections.

Software automates controller backups and detects changes

The US software developer Copia Automation has released a cloud-based product that automates backup and change detection for industrial devices such as PLCs and robots. Called DeviceLink, it extends Copia’s existing source control platform which allows controls engineers to take advantage of DevOps workflows to boost team efficiencies, code quality and uptime. The platform is based on Git – a free, open-source version control system.

Tiny servodrive is the world’s ‘smallest and fastest’

The Spanish servodrive developer, Ingenia, claims to have produced the world’s smallest and fastest servodrive. Its 3kW Everest S drive has a starting weight of just 18 grams and is about 30% smaller than its predecessor. It is aimed at applications such cobots (collaborative robots), AMRs (autonomous mobile robots), exoskeletons, pan/tilt gimbals and surgical robots.

Software suite boosts collaboration and speeds time to market

Rockwell Automation has launched a suite of five cloud-based software applications aimed at improving collaboration and productivity in automation design teams. The FactoryTalk Design Hub suite allows organisations to transform their design capabilities using simpler, more productive ways of working. Teams of all sizes, skill sets and locations, can enhance collaboration, improve lifecycle management, and obtain on-demand access to the cloud-based software. The benefits are said to include more productive designs, faster times to market, and systems that cost less to build and maintain.

ABB’s smallest robot offers ‘class-leading’ payload and accuracy

ABB has unveiled its smallest-ever industrial robot, designed to fit into the tight spaces and special-purpose machines typical of electronics production. With a reach of 370mm and a footprint of 135 x 250mm, the new IRB 1010 is 30% smaller than ABB’s previous smallest robot, the IRB 120. It will increase the number of cells that can be fitted into production spaces, allowing manufacturers to boost output through higher density factory layouts.

Safety monitoring system allows rapid restarts

Banner Engineering has developed a system that makes it easier to obtain diagnostic data from machine safety devices. The In-Series Diagnostics (ISD) system allows users to troubleshoot safety systems, prevent faults and cut downtime by returning their installations to normal operation rapidly after a trip. The system can be used with standard safety devices or dedicated ISD devices.

Matchbox-sized ToF sensor can detect tiniest items at 1.5m

The German sensor-maker SensoPart has developed a matchbox-sized time-of-flight sensor that, it claims, can detect the smallest objects at distances of up to 1.5 metres. The FT 25-RLHP sensor uses a red laser-generated light spot which, although tiny, is clearly visible, simplifying alignment.

Scalable motion controls support safety functions

Parker Hannifin has announced a pair of multi-axis motion controllers that combine machine logic, real-time motion control, safety functions and visualisation in a scalable format. The PAC120 and PAC340 controllers offer differing memory capacities, CPU performance, communication options and CNC functions to suit automation projects involving motion, synchronisation or positioning tasks.

Single-sensor safety positioning system is ‘the world’s first’

Leuze has announced a safety positioning system for applications such as stacker cranes that uses a single sensor to detect positions instead of the two needed previously.

Next-gen CNC system is ten times faster, and offers new drives

The CNC specialist NUM has launched a “radically new” CNC platform that combines CNC and PLC functions in one device, and is it claimed to set new performance benchmarks for machine control. Compared to the company’s previous Flexium+ CNC system, the new FlexiumPro platform is more than 10 times faster – from boot time and block-per-second execution, to axis control, PLC/CNC data exchange, robot and peripheral I/O interfaces. It is also said to offer significant advances in connectivity and reliability.

Delta robot is ‘fastest in its class’ and can be set up in hours

ABB has announced a five-axis delta robot which, it claims, is the fastest in its class for handling lightweight packaged products such as chocolates, small bottles and parcels. The five-axis IRB 365 robot has a 1.5kg payload, and is suitable for a variety of picking and packing applications in the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods markets, where high production line speeds and adaptability are needed.

Easy to set up gantry robot is up to 60% cheaper than rivals

Motion plastics specialist igus has announced a gantry robot which, it claims, is up to 60% cheaper than rival machines. The drylin XXL robot has a working envelope of 2 x 2 x 1.5m and is particularly suitable for palletising loads up to 10kg. The robot is available from €7,000 / £8,000 including the control system, and comes as a DIY kit that can be set up and programmed without needing a system integrator.