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26 January, 2021

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UK project aims to recycle rare-earths for use in new motors

11 June, 2020

A group of UK companies, including Bentley Motors and the electric motor developer Advanced Electric Machines Research, have embarked on a £2.6m project to develop technologies for recovering rare-earth materials from old equipment and recycle them for use in new electric motors. The RaRE (Rare-earth Recycling for E-machines) project has secured £1.9m of funding from the government-backed Innovate UK organisation.


Dummy apples help to cut handling damage and costs

08 June, 2020

A UK company, Martin Lishman, has developed a range of fruit- and vegetable-shaped sensing devices designed to monitor and log the conditions experienced by fresh produce during handling and transport. Another company, the produce-handling specialist, Brillopak, has used Lishman’s “electronic apple” to redesign its systems to minimise potential damage to fruit, and to cut packing wastage and costs.


Touch-free touchscreen lets you keep your distance

27 May, 2020

The Japanese electronics manufacturer Alps Alpine has developed a non-contact technology for operating “touchscreen” control panels in situations where it is undesirable, impossible or forbidden to touch the panels. The company demonstrated the technology at the world’s largest electronics trade show, CES 2020, in Las Vegas earlier this year, and is now talking about commercialising it, possibly next year.


Crowdfunding drive for high-torque motor hits target in 2 weeks

18 May, 2020

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to help finance the production of “the world’s highest-torque motor” has exceeded its $30,000 target less than two weeks into a four-week campaign. Texas-based Linear Labs hopes to start deliveries of its 1.4kW, 15Nm (continuous), 3.4kW, 50Nm (peak) Honey Badger motor in December 2020.


Mitsubishi starts 5G automation tests at a Japanese plant

18 May, 2020

Mitsubishi Electric has begun a demonstration test of 5G technology at one of its factories in Japan, designed to verify wireless transmission between local 5G base stations and the company’s factory automation products. It will also examine possible uses of local 5G systems, such as remote operation and maintenance support, as well as using augmented and virtual reality to enhance production efficiency.


Self-build PLC-based counter helps control social distancing

14 May, 2020

The German PLC-maker Barth Elektronik has joined forces with RS Components to develop a simple self-build project to help implement social distancing.


Trough-free e-chain replaces busbars and slashes build times

07 May, 2020

The German engineering plastics giant igus has come up with a new design of energy chain that does not need a guide trough, and is claimed to cut assembly times by up to 88%. The autoglide 5 system is aimed, in particular, at horizontal applications such as cranes and intralogistics systems, where it could replace the need for conventional busbar systems. It can guide cables at speeds of up to 4m/s over travel lengths of up to 80m.


‘Spatial toolbox’ speeds up AR programming

06 May, 2020

The software giant PTC has released an open-source spatial computing platform that, it says, will allow users to accelerate machine prototyping, as well as AR (augmented reality) and IoT applications. To allow users to take advantage of the Vuforia Spatial Toolbox platform while working from home, PTC has also created a simple hardware interface that can link their Arduino projects and Lego Boost and Education WeDo kits to its Vuforia edge server.


Sensor detects metal in plastics with micrometre accuracy

06 May, 2020

A German start-up has developed a sensor that, it claims, can detect metallic structures embedded in plastics or other electrically non-conductive materials precisely “for the first time”. The sensor, based on a radar technology, is claimed to measure, with micrometre accuracy, the distances to objects made of steel, copper or other metals, embedded in plastics, cardboard, rubber and other substances. It can also detect objects behind electrically non-conductive materials.


AI maintenance technology pinpoints problem assets

06 May, 2020

Senseye, the UK-based maintenance software specialist, has announced an “industry first” technology that pinpoints assets that require immediate attention, by detecting any abnormal behaviours. The Attention Index technology notifies users when it detects such anomalies, which it prioritises by analysing parameters such as vibration, pressure, torque and current.


3D software is ‘first’ to simulate robotic cells accurately

27 April, 2020

Omron claims to have developed the first 3D simulation software that can reproduce accurately the movements of all of the robots and peripheral devices that make up an automation cell and verify their operation with the same accuracy as the actual machine. The Sysmac Studio 3D simulation software allows mechanical designers responsible for drawing up equipment specifications, and  electrical engineers responsible for control programming, to work concurrently at an early stage of a machine design project. This, says Omron, will help to avoid errors when the machine is started up, leading to faster start-ups and improved productivity.


Food-certified soft gripper can handle eggs and fruit

24 April, 2020

The Danish robotic end-effectors specialist OnRobot has developed a food-grade soft gripper capable of picking up delicate and irregularly-shaped objects in food, beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications, as well as in general manufacturing and packaging operations. The electrically-powered Soft Gripper can handle items such as eggs, fruit, bottles or oddly-shaped containers.


Virtual acceptance tests overcome virus travel restrictions

22 April, 2020

A German packaging machine-builder has been able to perform acceptance tests remotely on a new cosmetics filling machine that it has built for a US customer, with more than 30 members of the customer's staff following every step of the virtual FAT (factory acceptance test) online via 11 cameras.


Four 1MW motors will propel drag racer to 612km/h

16 April, 2020

An Australian company has developed a compact 1MW motor that, it claims, sets new benchmarks for efficiency and power-to-weight ratios. Perth-based HyperPower Technologies developed the 430mm-diameter, 180mm-long motor originally for use in an electrically-powered drag-racing car being developed by a sister company, Top EV Racing, but it believes that the machine could have applications in many other areas including mining, aerospace, light rail and Hyperloop transportation systems.


‘Smart’ plain bearing can eliminate planned maintenance

15 April, 2020

The German engineering plastics specialist igus has developed an “intelligent” plain bearing that monitors and warns of wear, allowing users to plan their maintenance, repairs and parts replacement activities accordingly. The smart iglidur bearing is intended for use in difficult-to-access bearing points and for applications where no regular maintenance is planned.


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