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28 May, 2024

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‘Revolutionary’ system turns controls into cabinets

23 November, 2021

UPDATED:  Beckhoff has announced “a revolution in control cabinet construction” in which an industrial controller becomes, in effect, a modular control cabinet, avoiding the need for conventional enclosures. The company believes that its “flexible, space-optimised and intelligent” MX system will change the way we design and build both control cabinets and automation systems in general.

ABB invests in 3D navigation start-up to guide future AMRs

22 November, 2021

ABB is taking a stake in a Swiss start-up that has developed a technology that allows mobile robots to navigate autonomously through complex, dynamic indoor and outdoor environments close to people and other objects. The company, Sevensense Robotics, founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the ETH Zurich university, uses AI (artificial intelligence) and 3D mapping technologies that are claimed to be more accurate than today’s 2D systems, and resulting in navigation that is more cost-effective than systems based on laser scanners.

Controller makes mass personalisation a reality

18 November, 2021

Omron has developed what it describes as the world’s first automation architecture for personalisation at scale. It says that its Robotic Integrated Controller (RIC) will make made-to-order mass production commercially viable for FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) businesses for the first time.

VW installs 5G network, paving way to smarter plants

19 October, 2021

Volkswagen has commissioned a standalone 5G wireless network at its main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, to test whether 5G meets the demands of vehicle production, before adopting the technology more widely in the future. One scenario being tested during the pilot phase will be to upload data wirelessly to manufactured vehicles. With increasing levels of digitisation in vehicles, large amounts of data need to be transmitted to cars during production. 5G will make it possible to perform this much faster, and at any time during production.

3D collision-avoiding sensor works like bat echolocation

18 October, 2021

A German start-up has developed a 3D collision-avoidance sensor that mimics a bat’s echolocation techniques. Munich-based Toposens, founded in 2015, says that existing sensor technologies based on radar, ultrasound or cameras, can be negatively impacted by lighting conditions or moisture. By comparison, its Echo One DK generates robust, real-time 3D echo location data to guide autonomous systems in a variety of applications. The IP67-protected sensor is said to be particularly robust, tolerating dirt and not being affected by dust, smoke or mist.

30-tonne rack-and-pinion is ‘world’s most powerful’

12 October, 2021

A Swedish manufacturer has developed what it claims will be the world’s most powerful rack-and-pinion drive, capable of handling loads of more than 30 tonnes. Stockholm-based Cascade Drives believes that its “pioneering” electromechanical actuator technology has many advantages over hydraulic-based systems, including better pressure stabilisation in pumping applications, reduced need for maintenance, a lower risk of contamination by hydraulic fluid leaks, and energy savings of up to 60%.

Speckle-free laser doubles 3D image processing speeds

12 October, 2021

Cognex claims to have eliminated the speckle effect from laser lines, thus improving triangulation-based 3D imaging. It has incorporated its patented speckle-free technology into an embedded vision system which, it says, can achieve inspection speeds twice as fast as rival products.

Industrial edge 'first' will accelerate journey to I 4.0

12 October, 2021

Nokia has launched what it describes as industry’s first off-the-shelf, mission-critical industrial edge, designed to accelerate the journey to Industry 4.0 for asset-intensive sectors such as manufacturing, energy and transportation, helping them to digitalise their operations with high performance, reliability and security. The scalable Nokia MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) addresses a new category of I4.0 applications that require increased capabilities and performance at the network edge, and tight integration with industrial and networking systems.

UK coil-winding tech ‘could transform motor production’

12 October, 2021

UPDATED:  A UK company has developed a coil-winding machine that allows rectangular wire to be formed on its edge, and used instead of multi-turn round-wire windings. Electrified Automation, based in Bridgwater, Somerset, believes that this development will transform the way that electric motors are manufactured at scale.

Demo shows SPE operating over 400m of twisted-pair cable

17 September, 2021

A US developer of network infrastructure technologies has demonstrated 10Base-T1L Single-Pair Ethernet (SPE) operating over 400m of balanced twisted-pair copper cabling. Connecticut-based Siemon says that the demonstration, at a conference in Las Vegas, is “a milestone step” in confirming SPE’s ability to bring Ethernet network connections – including operation over a standardised, non-proprietary cabling infrastructure – to a wide range of devices operating at 10Mb/s or less, such as sensors, actuators and relays.

John Lewis pilots flexible robotic storage system

16 September, 2021

ABB has announced a robotic storage system that can sequence, buffer, store and consolidate a wide variety of items for organisations of all sizes. It says that the FlexBuffer cell will bring new levels of flexibility to sectors including logistics, food and beverage, consumer packaged goods and retailing.

Tests start on 2MW aircraft motor that is ‘twice as powerful’

10 September, 2021

Wright Electric, a US company developing zero-emission commercial aircraft, has started to test a 2MW electric motor that it plans to use in the 186-passenger Wright 1 all-electric aircraft that it hopes will enter service in 2030 with a range of 800 miles (1,287km). The 2MW motor is twice as powerful as any other aircraft motor to date, and has a specific power of 10kW/kg – said to be twice as high as previous motors.

UK 5G sensors are first to connect to factory devices

09 September, 2021

Engineers at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) North West have designed and built a native 5G sensor designed to unlock the low latency and productivity potential of 5G in manufacturing.

Process recovers 98% of rare-earths from assembled motors

09 September, 2021

The car-maker Nissan has tied up with researchers at a Japanese university to develop a process for recovering rare-earth materials from electric motor magnets. They have started testing the process with the aim of making it a commercial reality by the mid-2020s.

UK project leads world in industrial 5G slicing and splicing

02 September, 2021

In what they claim is a world first, UK developers have begun testing an industrial 5G networking technology that “slices” and “splices” networks, allowing users to create multiple virtual networks that can be customised according to specific services and traffic levels needed. The networks can therefore be optimised to meet the needs of different processes to improve efficiency, performance and business output.

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