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12 July, 2024

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‘Breakthrough’ restarts cobots after shutdowns

10 July, 2024

A US company that specialises in workcell software for robot-driven manufacturing, has announced a “breakthrough” technology that will allow cobots (collaborative robots) to restart autonomously from stopped conditions, without needing human intervention. Flexxbotics says that its patent-pending Intelligent Recovery technology will eliminate inadvertent, non-safety-related cobot stops, thus cutting unplanned downtime and boosting unattended production.

Universal control system ‘will lead to new automation era’

03 July, 2024

A Chinese supplier of intelligent manufacturing systems, Supcon Technology, has announced a cloud-based Universal Control System (UCS) architecture that, it claims, overcomes the limitations of traditional hardware-based control systems with their rigid, hierarchical layers and fixed computing power. It predicts that the development will lead to a new era in automated control.

First biowaste-based breaker will cut carbon emissions

02 July, 2024

Siemens and BASF have announced the first electrical safety product to contain plastic components derived from recycled sources, such as agricultural waste, instead of relying on fossil-based raw materials. Siemens’ Sirius 3RV2 motor starter circuit breakers are now being produced using materials developed by BASF in which traditional fossil feedstocks have been replaced by renewables-derived biomethane. Siemens estimates that the change will cut its carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by around 270 tonnes a year.

€4,970 mobile robot will be affordable for SME manufacturers

01 July, 2024

The German engineering plastics specialist, igus, has announced a low-cost mobile robot platform that could allow SME manufacturers to adopt mobile robots affordably. The ReBeL on Wheels robots cost upwards of €4,970, compared to existing commercial alternatives that start at around €25,000, or €70,000 for those carrying robot arms.

Digital watermarks will ‘revolutionise’ product inspection

01 July, 2024

A US specialist in digital watermarking, Digimarc, has announced an automated product inspection technology that, it claims, out-performs traditional systems such as barcodes, offering benefits in terms of quality assurance, waste reduction, data collection and cost savings. The Digimarc Automate technology, which embeds imperceptible digital watermarks in packaging and products, is designed to enhance accuracy and efficiency in production, fulfilment and distribution applications.

UK start-up uses AI to create rare-earth-free magnet material

25 June, 2024

A UK start-up has used AI (artificial intelligence) to design and create a new rare-earth-free permanent magnet material that, it claims, can be produced at 20% of the cost and with 70% less carbon emissions (measured in CO2/kg) than existing rare-earth magnets. The company, called Materials Nexus, designed, synthesised and tested the material – dubbed MagNex – in just three months, or around 200 times faster than the decades that it took to discover today’s permanent magnet materials and turn them into usable products.

AR app shows machine data on phone or tablet

18 June, 2024

Sick has unveiled an augmented reality (AR) app that merges machine, sensor and diagnostic information with images of a real environment to display machine data and errors where they are occurring. The Sara (Sick Augmented Reality Assistant) app takes data from any source, maps it into an AR engine and displays it on a tablet or smartphone, without needing costly devices such as headsets or fixed HMIs. It overlays the information on a view of the machine, showing operating data or where maintenance is needed.

UK project uses AI to analyse industrial video to cut errors

10 June, 2024

UK researchers have embarked on a project that will use AI-powered analysis of industrial video images to help plant operators to avoid human errors and to improve safety, productivity and efficiency.

ABB motor is ‘first’ to achieve IE6 efficiency without magnets

04 June, 2024

ABB claims to be the first electric motor manufacturer to have achieved IE6 levels of efficiency from a synchronous reluctance motor (SynRM) motor without needing to use magnets.

$170m investment delivers next-gen robot platform

04 June, 2024

ABB Robotics has announced a new-generation intelligent robotics automation platform that, it says, is faster, more precise and more sustainable. The OmniCore platform – the result of more than $170m of investment in next-generation robotics – is a step change to a modular, futureproof control architecture that will integrate AI, sensors, cloud and edge computing systems to create advanced and autonomous robotic applications.

Automated machine sets new record for solving Rubik’s Cube

30 May, 2024

Mitsubishi Electric says it has set a new record for the fastest robotic machine to solve a Rubik’s Cube puzzle. Its custom-built machine took just 0.305 seconds to complete the puzzle – beating the previous record of 0.38s, which Mitsubishi itself set in 2021. The new record has been ratified by the Guinness World Records organisation.

Regen electric motor gives e-bike a range of up to 1,000km

29 May, 2024

A Japanese electronic components manufacturer has developed an electrically-assisted bicycle that uses a regenerative electric motor to deliver a potential range of up to 1,000km on one charge. Taiyo Yuden says that its Feremo (Future Energy Recycling system for Mobility) e-bike recovers energy during braking or deceleration to charge its on-board battery, thus extending its range and helping to slow the bike when it is going downhill. The company is developing a “energy self-sufficient” version that could avoid the need to charge the battery altogether.

Nikon’s vision system uses camera expertise to solve problems

15 May, 2024

The Japanese camera-maker Nikon has announced an industrial robot vision system which, it claims, will overcome problems associated with existing vision systems. As well as performing static applications such as bin-picking, the system, which mounts on a robot arm, can also track and pick items moving on equipment such as conveyors, AGVs and AMRs.

AI-driven servo tuning ‘outperforms human experts’

14 May, 2024

Panasonic Industry has announced a servodrive system that uses AI to achieve precision tuning that, it claims, is better than can be done by human experts. It also says that the Minas A7 servo system delivers the industry's best motion performance with a 27-bit encoder resolution (equivalent to 134,217,728 pulses) and a response frequency that hits an industry high of 4kHz or more (1.25 times higher than Panasonic’s earlier Minas A6 servomotors).

AI-powered AMRs boast high speed and accuracy

14 May, 2024

ABB Robotics has announced an AMR (autonomous mobile robot) equipped with AI-based Visual Slam (simultaneous localisation and mapping) navigation technology, allowing first-time robot users to program and operate entire fleets of AMRs. The new capabilities simplify configuration of the AMR T702 trolley robot and can cut commissioning times by up to 20%.

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