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March News in Brief

01 March, 2009

♦  The Gambica Variable Speed Drives Group has published the third edition of its Guide to CE Marking and Technical Standardisation for VSDs, taking into account the new Machinery Directive and updates to several standards. The guide is available as a free download.

♦  Pilz has stopped selling its PNOZ Classic safety relays, which were the first of their kind when launched in 1987. The company has since developed the PNOZ X, PNOZelog and PNOZsigma ranges. To help users with machines containing PNOZ 1 and V Classic relays, Pilz has produced relays in interchangeable 90mm-wide Pilz X housings. For users of other models, it has published a document to help them migrate to PNOZsigma relays.

♦  PLCopen has published new guidelines for compliance testing and certification to IEC 61131-3 – the first time the guidelines have been updated since they were first published in 1998. The update includes a simplification of procedure for accrediting test laboratories.

♦  PI (Profibus & Profinet International) has decided to develop a specification for wireless coupling of sensors and actuators for factory automation applications based on the WISA technology (IEEE 802.15.1d). A year ago, it chose WirelessHART as the standard for process automation applications. It aims to produce documentation for the new specification later this year.

♦  Mitsubishi Electric and Cognex have announced the first jointly developed product to result from the partnership they formed last year – an all-in-one machine vision system called In-Sight EZ that connects with Mitsubishi PLCs and HMIs via Ethernet or CC-Link. Mitsubishi has developed function blocks that allow its controllers to integrate with the vision system, without needing set-up programs. The partners are working on systems for other applications such as motion control and robotics.

♦  GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms has announced that its hardware and software products are supporting the Omac Make2Pack packaging machinery standards (PackML and Packtag), designed to reduce the burden of “handshaking” between PLCs on co-ordinated lines. The standards are aimed at achieving faster line rates, and reducing the need for buffering conveyors and accumulators.

♦  Toshiba Electronics has launched a 32-bit microcontroller that offers accurate, hardware-based vector control of three-phase motors. The TMPM370FY chip integrates programmable motor driver technology, a vector engine, 12-bit ADC, and peripherals, reducing the need for extra components and offering benefits over software-based vector controllers. It is said to simplify applications requiring precision control of three-phase induction motors and sensor or sensorless three-phase brushless DC motors.

♦  Rockwell Automation has announced a digital blending application which controls the metering of ingredients based on volume or material characteristics. The application, available for the Logix control platform and FactoryTalk software suite, manages materials in blending processes and controls multiple variables, thus helping manufacturers to achieve product consistency rapidly, with less equipment, reworks and scrap.

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