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20 January, 2020

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Linear-motor delivery system could remove trucks from roads

06 January, 2020

A British start-up is hoping to revolutionise the way that parcels and other small items are moved around by carrying them in pipes on carts propelled by a proprietary linear synchronous motor technology. London-based Magway reckons that its technology could cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by more than six million tonnes a year by reducing the number of delivery vans on the country's roads.


‘First private 5G industrial network’ is set up in Germany

03 January, 2020

Siemens and the communications specialist Qualcomm Technologies have implemented what they say is the first private 5G wireless standalone network in a real industrial environment using the 3.7–3.8GHz band. The network has been installed in Siemens’ automotive showroom and test centre in Nuremberg, Germany, where AGVs (automated guided vehicles) are developed and tested before being put into service at customer sites.


Start-up brings real-time AI to machines on the shopfloor

03 January, 2020

A German start-up that Festo bought last year claims to be implementing AI (artificial intelligence) directly on machines on factory floors and interpreting data there in real time. Resolto Informatik says it already has applications at work in manufacturing environments.


Li-Fi and TSN deliver real-time comms via light beams

03 January, 2020

German researchers have combined data transmission via light waves (Li-Fi) with TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) to allow wireless transmission of real-time and deterministic data.


Real-time condition monitoring needs no extra sensors

02 January, 2020

At the recent SPS show in Germany, Lenze demonstrated two different approaches to providing condition monitoring of a two-axis machine without needing any extra sensors. One was model-based, comparing values measured on the machine with those from mathematical descriptions of the machine. If certain tolerances are exceeded, this is interpreted as a fault.


Resolver-based stepper motors ‘open up new applications’

12 December, 2019

Two Japanese companies – the stepper motor manufacturer MinebeaMitsumi and the semiconductor specialist Renesas Electronics – have collaborated to develop a new type of resolver-based stepping motor that, they say, will allow precision motor control even in harsh environments, and will expand the uses for stepper motors. The motors are aimed at applications such as robotics, office and medical equipment, that need compact motors with precision controls, and resistance to environmental influences such as heat, dust and vibration.


Indiegogo campaign promises ‘world’s first open controller’

25 November, 2019

An Italian engineer has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to help develop what he describes as “the world’s first open hardware and multi-platform controller”, which could also be used for edge computing and as an IIoT gateway. Giacomo Falcone is hoping to raise €120,000 to develop his Yaba (Yet Another Backplane Architecture) technology, which he sees as filling the gap between low-cost, but hard-to-assemble, boards, and costly dedicated industrial controllers.


Regen drives are key to 'cheaper than coal' energy storage system

25 November, 2019

Powerful motors and regenerative drives are at the heart of a novel gravity-based energy storage technology being developed by a Swiss company called Energy Vault. When there is a surplus of energy, the system will use cranes to lift and stack 35-tonne concrete composite blocks to form towers up to 120m high. When energy is costly or in short supply, the system will lower the blocks to the ground to generate electricity through regeneration.


3D TOF technology creates ‘safety bubble’ around machines

22 November, 2019

The analogue technology company Analog Devices (ADI) is developing an alternative machine safety technology that uses a 3D TOF (time-of-flight) sensing technology, rather than the more common 2D Lidar (light detection and ranging) systems used for safety light curtains. It says that the new approach will result in a wider 120-degree field-of-view and faster detection times, as well as saving space on factory floors.


VW’s 150kW, 310Nm EV drive ‘will fit in a sportsbag’

22 November, 2019

Volkswagen has revealed details of the electric motor technology it has developed to drive its new generation of all-electric vehicles, starting with the ID.3 vehicle which has recently entered production. The EVs will be powered by permanent magnet brushless machines, with the drive and gearbox operating in parallel with the axle.


High-power, low-cost motor will ‘pack a gallon into a pint’

04 November, 2019

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is funding a project to develop and “auto-qualify” an electric motor, primarily aimed at next-generation electric vehicles, that will be half the cost and deliver eight times higher power density of currently available motors. The aim is to produce a motor with a peak power rating of 125kW that eliminates the need for rare-earth permanent magnets which can make up a significant portion of PM motor costs.


ETG accepts Beckhoff’s 10Gb/s EtherCat

25 October, 2019

The EtherCat Technology Group (ETG) has accepted Beckhoff Automation’s 1Gb/s and 10Gb/s versions of EtherCat – known as EtherCat G and G10 – as additions to its official EtherCat standard. Beckhoff announced the development of the high-speed variants at the SPS show in Germany last year and, following a “thorough review”, ETG’s Technical Committee has now decided to accept them into the standard.


'Unique' conductive seals could tackle motor corrosion

21 October, 2019

Danish developers have come up with a pair of electrically conductive sealing materials that, they say, can provide reliable electrical connections between moving parts in components such as bearings and springs.


Are hybrid mobile robots the future of flexible production?

21 October, 2019

At the recent PPMA Total Show in Birmingham, UK, Omron demonstrated its vision of the future of manufacturing in which hybrid robots consisting of a cobots (collaborative robots) mounted on mobile, wheeled platforms move autonomously between production workcells, performing tasks such as machine tending, assembly, packing and palletising, automated pick and retrieval, as well as gluing and sealing.


AI analyses workers' actions to improve productivity

18 October, 2019

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a technology that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to analyse the actions of workers on production lines and uses this information to improve their performance, thus boosting productivity.


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