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10 December, 2023

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Patented regen function simplifies servodrive apps

11 May, 2022

The American motors and controls manufacturer Teknic has been awarded a US patent for a method for dissipating energy recovered from mechanical loads connected to servomotors during braking. It says that this function – which it calls VRS (vector regen shunt) – will simplify servodrives by eliminating the need for external regenerative circuits and shunts, thus cutting costs, space requirements, wiring and system complexity.

AI-based edge app could raise drives availabilities by 30%

11 May, 2022

At the 2022 Hannover Fair, Siemens will unveil an AI-based edge app that detects problems in drive systems before they can affect production. The app will allow users to avoid unplanned downtime and to schedule maintenance times in good time, raising plant availability by up to 30%. Siemens says that by scheduling maintenance and servicing activities based on actual demand, companies will be able to boost their productivity by up to 10%.

‘Breakthrough’ robot software delivers a 70% speed boost

10 May, 2022

ABB Robotics has launched a software package which, it claims, will boost the speed of six-axis robots by 70% and their accuracy by 50%, significantly reducing time-to-market, while improving accuracy levels.

First bearings with bioplastic cages cut emissions by 91%

21 April, 2022

NSK has announced what it claims are the world’s first rolling bearings to have cages made of a bioplastic material derived from renewable biomass sources – mainly plants. It says that the cages will cut lifecycle CO2 emissions by 91% compared to conventional plastics made from fossil fuels. Unlike other bioplastic materials that have problems in high temperatures, tests have shown that the new cage material can withstand temperatures of up 120°C.

Synthetic images ‘revolutionise’ vision system training

20 April, 2022

Siemens has launched a service that uses AI (artificial intelligence) to generate synthetic images of objects from CAD files. These images can then be used to simplify the training of machine vision systems to identify the objects.

Airbus and Roche join digital twin project for industrial plants

04 April, 2022

A group of European technology companies including Airbus, the pharmaceuticals giant Roche and Capgemini Engineering, have joined forces to develop and industrialise a digital ecosystem for industrial and manufacturing environments. The Vims (Virtual IoT Manufacturing System) will deliver detailed visualisations of manufacturing processes from single production lines to complete factories.

Boston Dynamics’ box-shifting robot Stretch goes on sale

31 March, 2022

Boston Dynamics has announced that its autonomous box-shifting robot called Stretch is now commercially available. The robot, designed to automate loading processes in warehouses and distribution centres, is sold out for 2022, and Boston Dynamics is accepting reservations for deliveries in 2023 and 2024.

3D digital twin tool will speed production plant designs

30 March, 2022

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a 3D simulation tool that helps to design and construct production plants. The Melsoft Gemini digital twin tool can simulate the operation of these facilities before they are actually installed and operated.

Cobot pallet-mover could boost throughput by 45%

29 March, 2022

Two US companies – the material-handling automation specialist Vecna Robotics and the pedestrian lift truck manufacturer Big Joe Forklifts – have joined forces to develop a cobot (collaborative robot) pallet mover that will bring human-assisted robotics to smaller warehouses and manufacturing sites with labour-intensive workflows that, they say, have previously been ignored by other forms of robotic automation. The partners claim that simulations and field tests have shown improvements in throughput of up to 45% over relying on human workers alone.

Software is ‘first’ to predict OT failures and spot cyber risks

28 March, 2022

An Israeli cybersecurity specialist claims to have created the world’s first software that combines predictions of possible OT (operational technology) failures with cybersecurity detection in a single user-friendly package. IXDen’s patented technology analyses data from sensors and industrial equipment to spot anomalies in data transactions that could signal possible cyberattacks or OT failures.

Spot the robot dog could ‘revolutionise’ farming

25 March, 2022

UK researchers have developed an autonomous robot with potential to revolutionise agriculture. Based on Spot, the four-legged robotic “dog” developed by Boston Dynamics, the mobile platform combines robotics, automation, artificial intelligence and vision systems to inspect crops for ripeness and quality, and to detect diseases and pests.

Standardised box PCs will end proprietary design limitations

21 March, 2022

A consortium of industrial PC specialists is developing a specification for a standardised modular box PC that will guarantee interoperability of PCs from different suppliers, while offering cost-sensitive integrated designs.

Voice-controlled robot programming is ‘90% faster’

28 February, 2022

Mitsubishi Electric has developed a technology that, it claims, will allow industrial robots to perform tasks such as sorting and arranging, as quickly as humans, without needing to be taught by specialists. It says that the technology – which uses speech recognition to issue voice instructions to robots – will allow them to be programmed and fine-tuned in 10% or less of the time needed for conventional approaches.

Tests show that 5G out-performs Wi-Fi for AMRs

21 February, 2022

Kollmorgen has joined forces with Ericsson to test the use of 5G transmissions on AMRs (autonomous mobile robots). They believe that 5G will enable new levels of AI and machine learning, simplify infrastructure requirements, and increase network stability for AMR applications.

Soft 3D sensor gives robots a sense of touch

21 February, 2022

A Belgian microelectronic sensor specialist has developed tactile 3D sensor for robots that will make their grippers sensitive enough for delicate operations such as picking fruit. The Tactaxis sensor, from Melexis, has a force resolution is 2.7mN – enough to distinguish changes in weight as small as 0.3g. The technology has already been implemented in a functioning prototype.

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