IEN Europe May 2024Issue #130 - 06/05/2024

IEN Europe presents Industry News, Products and Solutions for industrial decision makers in the pan-European B2B market.


#3  Industry News I : Siemens & Schaeffler | Deutsche Messe

#4  Industry News II: Phoenix Contact & Festo | Schurter

#5  Industry News III: TDK Lambda | Stabilus & Destaco | Regal Rexnord & Leeson

#6  LAPP (Advertisement)

#7  Automation I: What is the right Compute Module for your embedded project

#8  Automation II: Aetina | Delta Electronics

#9  Automation III: How Small Manufacturers are Building a Business Case for Robotics

#10  JUMO (Advertisement)

#11  Energy Efficiency I: Compressed Air with Energy Efficiency at the Core

#12  Energy Efficiency II: ABB | Beckhoff

#13  Energy Efficiency III: Phoenix Contact | Rohde & Schwarz

#14  Skkynet (Advertisement)

#15  Sensors + Measurement I: Titan Enterprises | Baykon

#16  Sensors + Measurement: Micro Epsilon | Sensor Technology | Hans Turck

#17  Sensors + Measurement III: Resolve Optics | Optris

#18  MBO Oßwald (Advertisement)

#19  Motors & Drives I: The Rise of Modular Robots and the Importance of Drive Train Design

#20  Motors & Drives II: Kollmorgen | Faulhaber

#21  Motors & Drives III: Siemens | Lika

#22  Index

#23  Contacts

Schaeffler and Siemens Intensify Artificial Intelligence Collaboration

The Schaeffler Group and Siemens have signed a Memor­andum of Un­der­stand­ing (MoU) at the Han­nov­er Messe. Both com­pan­ies will pro­mote the use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence in the in­dus­tri­al sec­tor and thus make a sig­ni­fic­ant joint con­tri­bu­tion to shap­ing the di­git­al pro­duc­tion of the fu­ture. At the Han­over Fair, Schaeffler and Siemens are once again demon­strated their suc­cess­ful co­oper­a­tion with the "Siemens In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot", an in­dus­tri­al auto­ma­tion solu­tion us­ing AI. It is con­nec­ted to a pro­duc­tion ma­chine from Schaeffler Spe­cial Ma­chinery. The AI as­sist­ant makes the work of pro­duc­tion staff much more ef­fi­cient. Even com­plex auto­ma­tion codes for the ma­chine can be gen­er­ated us­ing nat­ur­al speech. 

“Di­git­al­isa­tion is one of Schaeffler’s key top­ics,” says Klaus Rosen­feld, CEO of Schaeffler AG. “The use of AI-based solu­tions is a de­cis­ive factor for mak­ing pro­duc­tion pro­cesses more in­nov­at­ive, agile and ef­fi­cient. With Siemens, Schaeffler has a strong in­dus­tri­al part­ner at its side to ac­cel­er­ate the de­vel­op­ment and im­ple­ment­a­tion of gen­er­at­ive AI solu­tions in a tar­geted man­ner and to gen­er­ate ad­ded value for its cus­tom­ers.” 

“Siemens and Schaeffler are pi­on­eers on the path to highly-auto­mated and di­git­al factor­ies. With the ‘Siemens In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot’, we are bring­ing the cap­ab­il­it­ies of gen­er­at­ive AI to the Schaeffler shop floor,” says Cedrik Neike, Mem­ber of the Man­aging Board of Siemens AG and CEO Di­git­al In­dus­tries. “To­geth­er, we are show­ing how ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is re­volu­tion­ising pro­duc­tion– from the gen­er­a­tion of ma­chine code to AI-based main­ten­ance. And that is just the be­gin­ning.“

In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot for in­creased agil­ity and ef­fi­ciency 

Schaeffler is already us­ing a large num­ber of AI solu­tions in vari­ous ap­plic­a­tions. The “Siemens In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot” is op­er­at­ing in pi­lot mode on a ro­bot cell from Schaeffler Spe­cial Ma­chinery, the Schaeffler Group’s spe­cial ma­chine con­struc­tion unit. This project was jointly de­veloped by Schaeffler and Siemens. The AI solu­tion as­sumes tasks such as cre­at­ing com­plex pro­gram­ming codes for man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses, thus re­du­cing the out­lay for ma­chine op­er­at­ors. The “Siemens In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot” also has ac­cess to rel­ev­ant doc­u­ment­a­tion, guidelines and manu­als to help em­ploy­ees identi­fy po­ten­tial causes of er­rors. The AI-based as­sist­ant of­fers fur­ther po­ten­tial with re­gard to ma­chine cor­res­pond­ence or val­id­a­tions. 

An­dreas Schick, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­ficer of Schaeffler AG, says: “We are now at the start of a dec­ade of ef­fi­ciency at Schaeffler. The ‘Siemens In­dus­tri­al Co­pi­lot’ proves that ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence can already be used in pro­duc­tion today. With the Co­pi­lot, we are provid­ing our ex­perts on the shop floor with an in­nov­at­ive di­git­al tool, which sim­pli­fies their work and sig­ni­fic­antly in­creases their ef­fi­ciency. We are tak­ing pro­duc­tion to a new, di­git­al level in col­lab­or­a­tion with Siemens.”

Positive Signals for the Industry from HANNOVER MESSE 2024

“HAN­NOV­ER MESSE 2024 was both an in­dus­tri­al power­house and a tech­no­logy trade fair for the fu­ture,” re­marked Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chair­man of the Man­aging Board, Deutsche Messe AG, at the clos­ing press con­fer­ence for HAN­NOV­ER MESSE 2024. “It was an in­dus­tri­al power­house be­cause vis­it­ors found an­swers to how they can prof­it­ably take ad­vant­age of auto­ma­tion, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, hy­dro­gen and many oth­er high-tech solu­tions in their factor­ies, thus mak­ing them fit for the fu­ture. And it has been a fu­ture-ori­ented tech­no­logy trade fair, since the in­nov­a­tions that drive in­dus­tri­al com­pet­it­ive­ness and sus­tain­ab­il­ity were on dis­play here.”

Highly in­ter­na­tion­al vis­it­ors

The more than 130,000 vis­it­ors from 150 na­tions traded ideas with some 4,000 ex­hib­it­ing com­pan­ies on ways of di­git­al­iz­ing their value chains and mak­ing them more re­si­li­ent. “This means we achieved our am­bi­tious vis­it­or tar­get in a year where HAN­NOV­ER MESSE was smal­ler due to the bi­en­ni­al ro­ta­tion of sev­er­al of its com­pon­ent events,” said Köckler. More than 40 per­cent of vis­it­ors came from abroad. Apart from the host na­tion of Ger­many, the top vis­it­or na­tions were China, the Neth­er­lands, South Korea, the United States and Ja­pan.

Dr. Gun­ther Kegel, Pres­id­ent of the ZVEI as­so­ci­ation and Chair­man of the HAN­NOV­ER MESSE Ex­hib­it­or Ad­vis­ory Board, stated: “In the cur­rent dif­fi­cult eco­nom­ic en­vir­on­ment, this year’s Han­nov­er Messe is a key mor­ale boost­er. Com­pan­ies from the elec­tric­al and di­git­al in­dustry have im­press­ively demon­strated how in­nov­a­tions, es­pe­cially the use of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, are open­ing up new op­tions for more cli­mate pro­tec­tion and great­er ef­fi­ciency in en­ergy con­sump­tion and the use of re­sources. But also for more op­tim­ism. We can con­fid­ently take on ma­jor so­cial chal­lenges such as curb­ing glob­al warm­ing if we ad­opt the right meas­ures and con­sist­ently pur­sue the path to­wards elec­tri­fic­a­tion, di­git­al­iz­a­tion and auto­ma­tion. Han­nov­er Messe has once again made the in­nov­at­ive strength of our com­pan­ies vis­ible and thus made an im­port­ant con­tri­bu­tion to strength­en­ing Ger­many as an in­dus­tri­al loc­a­tion,” he con­cluded.

Thilo Brodtmann, Man­aging Dir­ect­or of the VDMA as­so­ci­ation, ad­ded, “Think­ing far bey­ond day-to-day mat­ters and de­vel­op­ing solu­tions for di­git­al and cli­mate-neut­ral pro­duc­tion – that is the goal of in­nov­at­ive mech­an­ic­al en­gin­eer­ing firms. At this year’s HAN­NOV­ER MESSE, they demon­strated how factor­ies can be con­trolled more in­tel­li­gently, how cli­mate pro­tec­tion can be achieved more quickly with mod­ern means of pro­duc­tion and how autonom­ous sys­tems can make pro­duc­tion safer and more ef­fi­cient on many levels. In ad­di­tion, bio­logy and its pro­cesses will move in­to pro­duc­tion – the first steps here have already been taken. Han­nov­er Messe re­mains the best place for all these in­nov­a­tions and for a true spir­it of op­tim­ism, be­cause man­u­fac­tur­ers, cus­tom­ers, polit­ic­al de­cision-makers and the me­dia come to­geth­er here in great­er num­bers than any­where else.”

From solu­tions such as the auto­ma­tion of en­tire pro­duc­tion plants, the voice con­trol of ma­chines us­ing AI, the ef­fi­cient use of hy­dro­gen in in­dustry to the use of soft­ware to re­cord and re­duce the car­bon foot­print, HAN­NOV­ER MESSE offered a com­pre­hens­ive pic­ture of the tech­no­lo­gic­al op­por­tun­it­ies for the in­dustry of today and to­mor­row. New fields such as the “bio­lo­giz­a­tion” of the eco­nomy and car­bon man­age­ment were also brought in­to fo­cus. And the ini­ti­at­ive to cre­ate sov­er­eign data spaces for small and me­di­um-sized in­dus­tri­al en­ter­prises un­der the “Man­u­fac­tur­ing X” la­bel is also gain­ing mo­mentum.

HAN­NOV­ER MESSE 2025 runs from 31 March to 4 April. Canada will be fea­tured as the part­ner coun­try.

Strategic Technology Partnership Formed Between Festo and Phoenix Contact

Festo, man­u­fac­turer of pneu­mat­ic and elec­tric­al auto­ma­tion tech­no­logy, will use PLCnext Tech­no­logy, Phoenix Con­tact’s open eco­sys­tem for mod­ern auto­ma­tion, in fu­ture in­tel­li­gent devices. This will com­bine the in­nov­at­ive strength of both com­pan­ies with the aim of tak­ing in­dus­tri­al auto­ma­tion to a new level. The new product gen­er­a­tion is ex­pec­ted to be launched by year-end. The in­teg­ra­tion of PLCnext tech­no­logy opens up a wide range of op­por­tun­it­ies for Festo and its cus­tom­ers:

Open­ness and flex­ib­il­ity: 
PLCnext Tech­no­logy is based on an open ar­chi­tec­ture that al­lows in­di­vidu­al solu­tions to be de­veloped and ex­ist­ing sys­tems to be seam­lessly in­te­grated. Festo can there­fore of­fer cus­tom­ized auto­ma­tion solu­tions for spe­cif­ic cus­tom­er re­quire­ments.

Util­iz­a­tion of syn­er­gies: 
The com­bin­a­tion of know-how from the two com­pan­ies en­ables prof­it­able co­oper­a­tion in or­der to be able to solve fu­ture tech­no­lo­gic­al chal­lenges - such as in the area of cy­ber­se­cur­ity - in the best pos­sible way.

In­nov­a­tion and fu­ture vi­ab­il­ity: 
The com­bin­a­tion of Festo's ex­pert­ise in auto­ma­tion and PLCnext Tech­no­logy prom­ises in­nov­at­ive solu­tions for In­dustry 4.0. By work­ing to­geth­er and pool­ing re­sources, the chal­lenges of di­git­al trans­form­a­tion can be mastered to­geth­er.

The com­mon goal of Festo and Phoenix Con­tact is to meet the re­quire­ments res­ult­ing from the con­ver­gence of IT and OT (In­form­a­tion Tech­no­logy and Op­er­a­tions Tech­no­logy) in in­dustry with open auto­ma­tion solu­tions. 

Frame­work of open plat­forms

In a rap­idly chan­ging world, it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­port­ant to enter in­to part­ner­ships and work to­geth­er with­in the frame­work of open tech­no­logy plat­forms. A paradigm shift is clearly no­tice­able. To­geth­er with Festo, we will con­tin­ue to work on gen­er­at­ing new solu­tions for our cus­tom­ers. Be­cause sus­tain­able in­nov­a­tion can only be achieved through close co­oper­a­tion," em­phas­izes Frank Stührenberg, CEO of Phoenix Con­tact.

Festo, a lead­ing com­pany in the in­dustry, has op­ted for PLCnext Tech­no­logy. Festo has been look­ing for a part­ner with an open sys­tem ap­proach for its fu­ture dir­ec­tion, who will provide an ap­pro­pri­ate op­er­at­ing sys­tem, de­vel­op it fur­ther, and launch it on the mar­ket.
"With PLCnext Tech­no­logy, we are us­ing the tech­no­lo­gic­ally lead­ing plat­form in auto­ma­tion tech­no­logy. We are con­vinced that the open­ness of PLCnext Tech­no­logy will provide our cus­tom­ers with many ad­vant­ages," em­phas­izes Ger­hard Borho, Chief In­form­a­tion Tech­no­logy and Di­git­al­iz­a­tion Of­ficer at Festo. Ul­rich Lei­deck­er, COO and Pres­id­ent of the Busi­ness Area In­dustry Man­age­ment and Auto­ma­tion at Phoenix Con­tact, adds: "The open­ness of PLCnext Tech­no­logy opens up the pos­sib­il­ity for nu­mer­ous sup­pli­ers to of­fer flex­ible, safe and mod­ern auto­ma­tion tech­no­logy. The tech­no­logy part­ner­ship with Festo rep­res­ents a mile­stone for the auto­ma­tion in­dustry. Be­cause the more part­ners there are in an open auto­ma­tion eco­sys­tem, the more valu­able it be­comes for each in­di­vidu­al par­ti­cipant."

The col­lab­or­a­tion between Festo and Phoenix Con­tact is an im­port­ant step for the fu­ture of the auto­ma­tion in­dustry. New, open think­ing and the bring­ing to­geth­er of in­dustry ex­pert­ise sets the course for in­nov­at­ive solu­tions and drives a sus­tain­able world for­ward.

About PLCnext Tech­no­logy 

PLCnext Tech­no­logy is the open eco­sys­tem for in­dus­tri­al auto­ma­tion from Phoenix Con­tact. With its com­bin­a­tion of open con­trol tech­no­logy, mod­u­lar en­gin­eer­ing soft­ware and on­line com­munity, this solu­tion en­ables easy ad­apt­a­tion to chan­ging re­quire­ments and ef­fi­cient use of ex­ist­ing and fu­ture soft­ware ser­vices. To­geth­er with a di­git­al mar­ket­place for soft­ware and sys­tem­ic cloud in­teg­ra­tion, PLCnext Tech­no­logy is up to the chal­lenges of the IoT world.

New Member for the SCHURTER Management Team

Effective 1 April, he will assume the newly created position of General Manager & Vice President EMEA at SCHURTER. In this role, Steffen Lindner will be responsible for all company activities in EMEA, including product management, engineering, sales and production. Appointing Steffen Lindner is an important step for SCHURTER to expand its activities in the key region of Europe as well as Middle East and Africa. With his leadership skills and extensive international experience, Steffen Lindner is ideally suited to lead SCHURTER into the future in the EMEA region and to realise its ambitious goals.

After training as a radio and television technician and completing his studies in electrical engineering / communications engineering, Steffen Lindner began his career in sales at Phoenix Contact. When he took over the Field Device Connector business unit, Steffen Lindner became a member of the Phoenix Contact management team and Managing Director of Phoenix Contact Connector Technology. During his tenure, he was responsible for the successful integration of global product marketing, development and production into the business unit. After two decades at Phoenix Contact, Steffen Lindner joined TE Connectivity Industrial as head of sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He adapted the sales organisation to the changing market conditions and customer needs and introduced a potential-oriented market approach. By strategically focusing on key customers in specific application areas and working in partnership with distributors, Steffen Lindner was able to achieve above average growth with the new organisation. During his nearly seven years at TE Connectivity Industrial, he was involved in several acquisitions and their integration processes.

New Managing Director of TDK-Lambda Germany appointed

TDK an­nounces the ap­point­ment of Chris­toph­er Haas as Man­aging Dir­ect­or of TDK-Lambda Ger­many, ef­fect­ive 1 April 2024. He has been a mem­ber of the Board of Dir­ect­ors since 2012, and in his new role will re­tain his pre­vi­ous re­spons­ib­il­it­ies as head of the Qual­ity & Com­pli­ance or­gan­isa­tion in the EMEA re­gion. With over 20 years' ex­per­i­ence in the elec­tron­ics in­dustry, Chris­toph­er brings a broad port­fo­lio of tech­nic­al know­ledge as well as en­tre­pren­eur­i­al skills, hold­ing an Ex­ec­ut­ive Mas­ter in In­ter­na­tion­al Busi­ness.

“We are de­lighted to see Chris­toph­er as­sume the role of Man­aging Dir­ect­or at TDK-Lambda Ger­many,” says Matt Cot­ton, Man­aging Dir­ect­or, TDK-Lambda EMEA. “We are con­fid­ent that his wealth of ex­per­i­ence and ex­pert­ise will help us to con­tin­ue to grow and drive to­wards even great­er suc­cess with­in the mar­ket.”

Chris­toph­er Haase suc­ceeds Gust­av Erl, who will re­tire on 30th June 2024, after 38 years of seni­or­ity. On be­half of the en­tire com­pany, Matt Cot­ton paid trib­ute to his 20 years of suc­cess­ful lead­er­ship of TDK-Lambda Ger­many, say­ing, "Gust­av has made a sig­ni­fic­ant con­tri­bu­tion to the over­all suc­cess and de­vel­op­ment of the com­pany and EMEA or­gan­isa­tion dur­ing his many years of ser­vice. We would like to ex­press our sin­cere thanks and wish him all the best for the fu­ture!"

“I am hon­oured to step in­to the role of Man­aging Dir­ect­or at TDK-Lambda Ger­many and be en­trus­ted with the op­por­tun­ity to lead our team of ded­ic­ated pro­fes­sion­als,” says Chris­toph­er Haas. “I am en­thu­si­ast­ic about the pro­gress we are mak­ing with our in­nov­at­ive power solu­tions and look for­ward to work­ing to­geth­er with the team on fur­ther de­vel­op­ments, ad­dress­ing chal­lenges and driv­ing the con­tin­ued growth and suc­cess of our com­pany.” 

Destaco to Become Part of Stabilus Group

The Sta­bilus Group, sup­pli­er of mo­tion con­trol solu­tions for a wide range of in­dus­tries – has com­pleted its ac­quis­i­tion of Destaco, an in­dus­tri­al auto­ma­tion spe­cial­ist headquartered in Au­burn Hills, Michigan, United States. The com­pany was ac­quired from Dover Cor­por­a­tion, a glob­ally di­ver­si­fied in­dus­tri­al con­cern that’s also headquartered in the United States. 

After an in­tens­ive re­view of stra­tegic fit, both com­pan­ies signed the pur­chase agree­ment on Oc­to­ber 11, 2023. Since then, all reg­u­lat­ory ap­provals have been ob­tained, and Sta­bilus SE has ac­quired 100% of Destaco ef­fect­ive April 2 2024. 

Com­ple­ment­ary products, in­teg­rated solu­tions

The two part­ners’ port­fo­li­os are com­ple­ment­ary. Most im­port­antly, they can be com­bined to cre­ate com­pre­hens­ive solu­tions for in­dus­tri­al com­pan­ies. Where­as products from the Sta­bilus Group al­low for con­trolled mo­tion se­quences and pre­cise vi­bra­tion isol­a­tion, Destaco’s strengths are manu­al clamps, power clamps and end-of-arm tools for ro­bots, and grip­pers and in­dex­ers for auto­ma­tion. “With our com­bined solu­tions, man­u­fac­tur­ers can en­hance their pro­ductiv­ity and build pro­duc­tion lines with less in­teg­ra­tion ef­fort. This is how we tend to cap­ture a lar­ger share of the in­dus­tri­al auto­ma­tion mar­ket, which is grow­ing faster than ever be­fore due to the re-shor­ing of pro­duc­tion from emer­ging mar­kets to the es­tab­lished in­dus­tri­al­ized na­tions,” said Dr. Mi­chael Büchsner, CEO of Sta­bilus SE. 

In ad­di­tion to the good tech­no­lo­gic­al fit, there are oth­er syn­er­gies between the two part­ners. Destaco CEO Stefan Eggers af­firmed: “The long­stand­ing dir­ect cus­tom­er re­la­tion­ships and es­tab­lished dis­tri­bu­tion net­works also ideally com­ple­ment each oth­er. To­geth­er, we can scale up our busi­ness faster than would have been pos­sible if each were act­ing alone. In par­tic­u­lar, we ex­pect that Destaco will help us boost our European busi­ness. Both man­age­ment and work­force are con­vinced that this is a win-win situ­ation.” 

Stra­tegic build­ing-block for trans­form­a­tion and growth 

Destaco gen­er­ated ap­prox­im­ately USD 213 mil­lion (ap­prox­im­ately EUR 200 mil­lion) of rev­en­ue in 2022. Foun­ded in 1915, the com­pany de­vel­ops and man­u­fac­tures auto­ma­tion, work­hold­ing, and re­mote hand­ling com­pon­ents and solu­tions in 13 loc­a­tions across the world. 

Smaller Regal Rexnord Induction Motors move to the LEESON® Brand

Regal Rexnord, an­nounces that the LEESON brand of Regal Rexnord will ex­pand sig­ni­fic­antly as Mara­thon® NEMA® AC in­duc­tion mo­tors be­low 182T frame size are wel­comed in­to the LEESON products fam­ily.

“From the first day of busi­ness in 1972, the people be­hind the LEESON brand have been deeply ded­ic­ated to in­nov­at­ing and de­liv­er­ing the highest qual­ity mo­tors to solve our cus­tom­ers’ prob­lems,” said Brooke Lang, Ex­ec­ut­ive Vice Pres­id­ent & Pres­id­ent of Power Ef­fi­ciency Solu­tions at Regal Rexnord. “This in­teg­ra­tion fur­ther deep­ens the com­mit­ment of the LEESON brand to de­liv­er­ing op­tim­ized solu­tions that are en­gin­eered to solve our cus­tom­ers’ busi­ness chal­lenges through re­li­ab­il­ity, ef­fi­ciency and per­form­ance.”

No changes of pro­duc­tion sites

All Mara­thon branded mo­tor SKUs be­low 182T frame size will now be un­der the LEESON brand name. These in­clude mo­tors used in a wide range of ap­plic­a­tions. From lift­ing boats to power­ing tread­mills, pitch­ing ma­chines, run­ning wa­ter pumps, HVAC, fans, pumps, con­vey­ors, ma­ter­i­al hand­ling equip­ment and food pro­cessing equip­ment. The small mo­tor products will con­tin­ue to be man­u­fac­tured in the same plants and the same leg­acy ded­ic­ated LEESON products sales team will be ready and avail­able to serve cus­tom­ers. 

From safe­guard­ing war­ranties to en­han­cing cus­tom­er sup­port pro­cesses, a ded­ic­ated team is care­fully man­aging every as­pect of the trans­ition to de­liv­er the be­ne­fits of the LEESON brand to cur­rent Mara­thon product users. Known for dur­able, high-qual­ity mo­tors and solu­tions, cus­tom­ers can ex­pect LEESON-branded products to meet the highest stand­ards of ex­cel­lence.

“Cus­tom­ers are at the heart of everything we do,” says Lang. “Our goal is to de­liv­er a bet­ter and more con­sist­ent ex­per­i­ence across our port­fo­lio of mar­ket-lead­ing in­nov­at­ive solu­tions, while mak­ing the trans­ition seam­less to our val­ued cus­tom­ers.”

We keep your industry alive
What Is the Right Compute Module for Your Embedded Project

In the realm of em­bed­ded com­put­ing solu­tions, Rasp­berry Pi has emerged as a pi­on­eer­ing force, of­fer­ing a di­verse range of com­pact mod­ules tailored for in­dus­tri­al and com­mer­cial ap­plic­a­tions. Here we take a look at the dif­fer­ences between the found­a­tion’s Com­pute Mod­ule 4 (CM4) and Com­pute Mod­ule 3+ when it comes to de­vel­op­ing em­bed­ded projects.

Rasp­berry Pi has carved a niche for it­self with its ver­sat­ile ar­ray of single-board com­puters (SBCs), ca­ter­ing to a di­verse spec­trum of ap­plic­a­tions ran­ging from hob­by­ist projects to in­dus­tri­al-grade solu­tions. Cent­ral to its product lineup are the Com­pute Mod­ules, com­pact and mod­u­lar it­er­a­tions of the Rasp­berry Pi boards de­signed spe­cific­ally for em­bed­ded ap­plic­a­tions. These mod­ules en­cap­su­late the core pro­cessing power, memory, and con­nectiv­ity fea­tures of their lar­ger coun­ter­parts, em­power­ing de­velopers to in­teg­rate Rasp­berry Pi func­tion­al­it­ies seam­lessly in­to cus­tom hard­ware designs.

The first ver­sion of the Com­pute Mod­ule was re­leased in April 2014, and, up to its third ver­sion (CM 3+), it had a 67.6mm × 31.0mm DDR2-SODIMM form factor. In Oc­to­ber 2020 - 16 months after the re­lease of the Rasp­berry Pi 4 Mod­el B SBC - the CM4 was launched too, and, to the sur­prise of many, it had a new form factor: 55 mm × 40 mm PCB with two 100-pin high-dens­ity con­nect­ors.

This change opened up for new em­bed­ded solu­tions based on the Rasp­berry Pi CM but it also made things “in­ter­est­ing” for those who de­signed products around the old form factor and were ac­cus­tomed with up­grad­ing to the latest ver­sion without any hard­ware re­design. Luck­ily, in mid 2022, Rasp­berry Pi re­leased a Com­pute Mod­ule with the same core of the CM4, but with a SODIMM form factor: the Com­pute Mod­ule 4S (CM4S).

Main Dif­fer­ences

Due to sup­ply chain chal­lenges faced by the in­dustry, the pro­cure­ment of CM3+ be­came dif­fi­cult, and switch­ing to the CM4S was ne­ces­sary for many in­dus­tri­al ad­op­ters.

Here is an over­view of the main hard­ware dif­fer­ences between the CM3+ and the CM4S:

Pro­cessing Power and Per­form­ance:
At the heart of any com­put­ing mod­ule lies its pro­cessing prowess. The CM3+ is powered by the Broad­com BCM2837B0 pro­cessor, sport­ing four ARM Cor­tex-A53 cores clocked at 1.2GHz. In con­trast, the CM4S boasts a Broad­com BCM2711 pro­cessor, fea­tur­ing quad-core Cor­tex-A72 cores op­er­at­ing at a blaz­ing 1.5GHz. This boost in pro­cessing power trans­lates to en­hanced per­form­ance and ac­cel­er­ated ex­e­cu­tion of com­pu­ta­tion­al tasks, po­s­i­tion­ing the CM4S as a power­house in the em­bed­ded com­put­ing land­scape.

Memory and Stor­age Con­fig­ur­a­tion:
Memory and stor­age play pivotal roles in de­term­in­ing the ef­fi­ciency and re­spons­ive­ness of a com­put­ing sys­tem. While the CM3+ in­teg­rates 1GB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, the CM4S of­fers a su­per­i­or memory con­fig­ur­a­tion with 1GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM, with ECC (Er­ror-Cor­rect­ing Code) for data re­li­ab­il­ity. Both the CM3+ and the CM4S provide op­tions for 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of eM­MC flash stor­age, as well as the "Lite" ver­sion for cus­tom ex­tern­al stor­age.

Form Factor and Con­nectiv­ity Op­tions
As per above, both the CM3+ and CM4S ad­here to the SODIMM form factor, fa­cil­it­at­ing straight­for­ward in­teg­ra­tion in­to cus­tom sys­tems. The in­ter­faces ex­posed on the con­nect­ors are the same, with the not­able dif­fer­ence of the HDMI V1.3a of the CM3+ up­graded to HDMI 2.0 in the CM4S.

Power Sup­ply and Voltage Re­quire­ments
When it comes to power sup­ply and voltage spe­cific­a­tions, the CM4S man­dates VBAT (2.5V to 5V) and +3.3V sup­plies for op­er­a­tion. The +1.8V sup­ply re­quired by older Com­pute Mod­ules is no longer util­ized in the CM4S, al­though it can be sup­plied for back­ward com­pat­ib­il­ity pur­poses. This stream­lined power ar­chi­tec­ture en­sures ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion while ac­com­mod­at­ing the di­verse needs of em­bed­ded sys­tem de­sign­ers.

Video and Mul­ti­me­dia Cap­ab­il­it­ies
The CM4S fea­tures an HDMI 2.0 port sup­port­ing res­ol­u­tions of up to 4Kp60. Moreover, it has sup­port for H.265 (HEVC) de­cod­ing up to 4Kp60, along­side H.264 de­cod­ing up to 1080p60 and en­cod­ing up to 1080p30. Coupled with OpenGL ES 3.0 graph­ics sup­port, the CM4S sets the stage for ad­vanced mul­ti­me­dia ap­plic­a­tions in em­bed­ded en­vir­on­ments.

Mi­grat­ing your ap­plic­a­tion from the Rasp­berry Pi Com­pute Mod­ule 3+ to the Com­pute Mod­ule 4S in­volves some con­sid­er­a­tions.

From a soft­ware per­spect­ive the move from 3+ to 4S is re­l­at­ively pain­less, as Rasp­berry Pi OS im­ages should work on all plat­forms. Of course it needs to be up­dated to a ver­sion sup­port­ing the 4S. Spe­cific­ally a Linux ker­nel ver­sion 5.10 or above is re­quired. Keep­ing your OS up-to-date is any­way good prac­tice even if stick­ing to the same core.

On early re­leases of the OS sup­port­ing the 4S ver­sion, the USB 2.0 in­ter­face used by the I/O board (and oth­er products em­bed­ding the CM) was not en­abled by de­fault. As a res­ult devices would not show up on the net­work when boot­ing as the Eth­er­net con­trol­ler is con­nec­ted to the USB bus, and those who at­temp­ted a boot from USB did not suc­ceed.
The is­sue could be eas­ily solved by adding the fol­low­ing line to /boot/con­fig.txt: dtover­lay=dwc2,dr_mode=host

Speak­ing of USB boot, an in­ter­est­ing dif­fer­ence on the CM4S is that USB and net­work boot are en­abled by de­fault. For device pro­vi­sion­ing (es­pe­cially when done in high volumes) this is a very handy ad­di­tion as boot­ing and/or flash­ing a unit no longer re­quires the use of rpi­boot and an I/O board with a USB slave in­ter­face, which are in­stead re­quired for the CM3+.

So, for in­stance, a plain vanilla Stra­to Pi CM by Sfera Labs with no OS in­stalled, can now be flashed with a cus­tom im­age by simply plug­ging a boot­able USB stick in one of its ports (no need to open the case), power it up, ac­cess the unit via SSH, and write to the in­tern­al eM­MC.

Fi­nally, on the CM4S, en­abling boot op­tions and modi­fy­ing pri­or­ity se­quences can be con­veni­ently done by edit­ing the boot­load­er con­fig­ur­a­tion, which is writ­ten in the mod­ule's EE­P­ROM (check the rpi-ee­p­rom-con­fig com­mand). On the CM3+ this re­quires writ­ing to the OTP (One Time Pro­gram­mable) memory, which can­not be un­done, and pos­sibly tog­gling some GPI­Os us­ing ex­tern­al hard­ware.

Long-term avail­ab­il­ity for in­dus­tri­al ap­plic­a­tions

The in­tro­duc­tion of the Rasp­berry Pi Com­pute Mod­ule 4S has ad­dressed the need for a mi­gra­tion path for in­dus­tri­al ad­op­ters fa­cing sup­ply chain chal­lenges with the CM3+. With its en­hanced pro­cessing power, memory con­fig­ur­a­tion, and ad­vanced mul­ti­me­dia cap­ab­il­it­ies, the CM4S of­fers a sig­ni­fic­ant up­grade for em­bed­ded com­put­ing ap­plic­a­tions. While trans­ition­ing from the CM3+ to the CM4S may re­quire some work, the be­ne­fits of im­proved per­form­ance and ex­pan­ded fea­tures make it a worth­while in­vest­ment for de­velopers and de­sign­ers alike.

Sfera Labs was the first in­dus­tri­al man­u­fac­turer to in­tro­duce sup­port for CM4S in Au­gust 2022, only a few months after its launch by Rasp­berry Pi. Sfera Labs launched its first serv­er based on the Com­pute Mod­ule, the Stra­to Pi CM, in 2018. Stra­to Pi CM is a com­pact in­dus­tri­al serv­er CE/FCC/IC com­pli­ant, with a wide-range power sup­ply, eM­MC Flash, RTC, RS-485, watch­dog, and se­cure ele­ment. In 2019, the Stra­to Pi CM Duo fol­lowed, the first Rasp­berry Pi-based serv­er of­fer­ing a dual SD card slot. This fea­ture is crit­ic­al for high-re­li­ab­il­ity sys­tems, which must guar­an­tee a func­tion­al life cycle of many years. In ad­di­tion to en­sur­ing data in­teg­rity and re­dund­ancy, Stra­to Pi CM Duo can per­form a re­mote full-sys­tem up­grade.

Fur­ther­more, in 2020, Sfera Labs launched Iono Pi Max, an all-in-one solu­tion for in­dus­tri­al con­trol with a Rasp­berry Pi core. Iono Pi Max fea­tures an in­cred­ibly wide range of ana­log and di­git­al in­ter­faces: four 4 mA to 20 mA and four 0 V to 10 V, gal­van­ic­ally isol­ated, highly ac­cur­ate in­puts to con­nect stand­ard in­dus­tri­al probes, as well as two ad­di­tion­al in­puts spe­cif­ic for Pt100 and Pt1000 tem­per­at­ure sensors. Six di­git­al in­puts, ac­cept­ing up to 30 V sig­nals, let users in­teg­rate di­git­al coun­ters and gen­er­al status sig­nals. 

The Stra­to Pi CM, Stra­to Pi CM Duo, and Iono Pi Max sup­port all the Rasp­berry Pi Com­pute Mod­ule ver­sions: 3, 3+, 4S, open­ing the door for new, ad­vanced ap­plic­a­tions while safe­guard­ing ex­ist­ing de­vel­op­ments.

Sfera Labs’ Exo Sense Pi is based on CM4. The Exo Sense Pi is a multi-sensor mod­ule with an ex­tens­ive range of con­nectiv­ity op­tions. These op­tions are ready for res­id­en­tial and com­mer­cial ap­plic­a­tions, such as en­vir­on­ment­al mon­it­or­ing and data gath­er­ing, BLE po­s­i­tion­ing, in­door people and as­sets track­ing, room man­age­ment and ac­cess con­trol, voice con­trol, and much more.

Au­thor: Giampiero Bag­gia­ni, Co-Founder and Head of Soft­ware De­vel­op­ment at Sfera Labs 

Cloud Platform for Remote Management of Edge Devices

Aet­ina an­nounced the launch of the EdgeEye cloud-based man­age­ment plat­form. The plat­form aims to sim­pli­fy edge com­put­ing device man­age­ment, help­ing en­ter­prises im­prove op­er­a­tion­al ef­fi­ciency, re­si­li­ence, and cost-ef­fect­ive­ness. Edge devices of­ten face chal­lenges such as sys­tem in­stabil­ity and crashes, es­pe­cially when op­er­at­ing in harsh out­door en­vir­on­ments such as earth­quakes or ex­treme tem­per­at­ures. There­fore, real-time sys­tem mon­it­or­ing and prompt ef­fect­ive troubleshoot­ing are cru­cial.

EdgeEye ad­opts a browser-based plat­form, provid­ing an in­tu­it­ive and user-friendly man­age­ment dash­board ac­cess­ible via smart­phones, tab­lets, or laptops. The plat­form sup­ports out-of-band (OOB) man­age­ment, al­low­ing man­age­ment even in off­line situ­ations, while con­tinu­ously mon­it­or­ing device op­er­a­tion status through in-band man­age­ment tech­no­logy. With both in-band and out-of-band man­age­ment, EdgeEye en­ables re­mote data col­lec­tion, sys­tem mon­it­or­ing, re­mote troubleshoot­ing, and power cyc­ling, thus avoid­ing the risk of pro­longed device down­time.

Private Cloud Ar­chi­tec­ture

Moreover, as aware­ness of cy­ber­se­cur­ity and pro­tec­tion of busi­ness con­fid­en­ti­al­ity in­creases, many en­ter­prises are turn­ing to private cloud ar­chi­tec­tures to pre­vent data leaks. Built on a private cloud ar­chi­tec­ture, EdgeEye al­lows en­ter­prises to de­ploy EdgeEye serv­ers with­in their own do­mains to en­sure data se­cur­ity and pri­vacy.

In smart city scen­ari­os, such as traffic sur­veil­lance devices spread across the city or the rap­id rise in re­cent years of large-scale green en­ergy devices like sol­ar and bat­tery equip­ment, troubleshoot­ing and sys­tem re­boot­ing by tech­ni­cians in­cur not only man­power costs but also dif­fi­culties in re­spond­ing to device down­time in real-time. EdgeEye can sim­ul­tan­eously mon­it­or mul­tiple devices. Once sys­tem ab­nor­mal­it­ies are de­tec­ted, EdgeEye will pro­act­ively send warn­ing no­ti­fic­a­tions, en­abling real-time re­mote re­boot­ing and troubleshoot­ing. This re­duces man­power and main­ten­ance costs, thereby en­han­cing the ef­fi­ciency of device man­age­ment in the AI era. 

With its com­pre­hens­ive port­fo­lio of edge AI products, Aet­ina in­teg­rates years of AI ap­plic­a­tion ex­per­i­ence to cre­ate the most suit­able solu­tion for cus­tom­ers, mak­ing re­mote device man­age­ment easy and ef­fort­less.

Collaborative Robot Series With up to 30 kg Payload

Delta Elec­tron­ics an­nounced a sig­ni­fic­ant mile­stone in its de­vel­op­ment of smart man­u­fac­tur­ing solu­tions with the launch of six highly ver­sat­ile mod­els in the D-Bot series of col­lab­or­at­ive in­dus­tri­al ro­bots (Co­bots). The port­fo­lio fea­tures Co­bots with pay­load ca­pa­cit­ies up to 30 kg, reach spans up to 1800 mm, com­pat­ib­il­ity with Eth­er­CAT, Mod­bus and CODESYS, as well as the in­teg­ra­tion of 24-bit en­coders to en­sure op­tim­al levels of pre­ci­sion, es­pe­cially in pick & place, weld­ing and pal­let­iz­ing ap­plic­a­tions.

Speed, Pre­ci­sion, Easy In­teg­ra­tion, and Safety Com­bined 

The D-Bot series in­cludes six ver­sat­ile mod­els: D-Bot 6, D-Bot 8, D-Bot 10, D-Bot 16, D-Bot 20, and D-Bot 30, with pay­load ca­pa­cit­ies ran­ging from 6 to 30 kg. Fea­tur­ing six axes for un­matched flex­ib­il­ity and pre­ci­sion, these mod­els of­fer speeds up to 200 de­grees per second and ac­cur­acy with­in ±0.02mm. The in­teg­ra­tion of 24-bit en­coders en­hances pre­ci­sion, en­sur­ing con­sist­ent per­form­ance.

The series is de­signed with IP66 pro­tec­tion and ad­vanced safety pro­to­cols. Sup­port­ing in­ter­faces like Eth­er­CAT, Mod­bus and CODESYS, these co­bots are per­fect for a range of tasks, from pal­let­iz­ing, pick & place, weld­ing and more. With "Plug & Play" setup and in­tu­it­ive pro­gram­ming via a user-friendly in­ter­face, the D-Bot series are ac­cess­ible to op­er­at­ors of all skill levels, pro­mot­ing hu­man-ro­bot col­lab­or­a­tion in sec­tors such as auto­mot­ive, lo­gist­ics and elec­tron­ics.

Rap­id De­ploy­ment and Easy Op­er­a­tion

Delta's D-Bot series are de­signed for rap­id de­ploy­ment, re­quir­ing no spe­cial pro­gram­ming skills, mak­ing them op­er­a­tion­al in no time. Set­ting up move­ments and com­mand ex­e­cu­tions is ef­fort­lessly achieved. Fur­ther­more, the sys­tem fa­cil­it­ates teach­ing through drag & drop, Py­thon, ROS 1, or C++, en­sur­ing a simple and flex­ible op­er­a­tion. The mod­ern graph­ic­al user in­ter­face (GUI), fea­tur­ing im­mers­ive 3D visu­al­iz­a­tion, al­lows users of all levels to quickly pro­gram. The in­clu­sion of an HMI pan­el in the pack­age elim­in­ates the need for ad­di­tion­al devices or tools for con­trol, stream­lin­ing the op­er­a­tion pro­cess even fur­ther.

How Small Manufacturers are Building a Business Case for Robotics

Small man­u­fac­tur­ers are gain­ing the scale, speed, and qual­ity ad­vant­ages they need to com­pete and win against lar­ger com­pet­it­ors through auto­ma­tion and ro­bot­ics. They’re gain­ing that com­pet­it­ive ad­vant­age by us­ing ro­bot­ics to auto­mate time-con­sum­ing tasks across shop floors. This frees man­u­fac­tur­ing teams to spend time on work that de­lights cus­tom­ers and de­liv­ers high­er mar­gins. The bot­tom line is that auto­ma­tion and ro­bot­ics al­low small man­u­fac­tur­ers to com­pete, win more deals, and so­lid­i­fy cus­tom­er re­la­tion­ships as ef­fect­ively as their lar­ger com­pet­it­ors.

In­dus­tri­al ro­bots used by small man­u­fac­tur­ers

See­ing an op­por­tun­ity to ex­pand their sys­tems and solu­tions mar­kets, ro­bot­ics pro­viders are fast-track­ing in­tro-level ro­bot­ics ma­chinery, pro­gram­ming, and ro­bot­ics-as-a-ser­vice of­fer­ings. The av­er­age price of an in­dus­tri­al ro­bot has halved over the past dec­ade. It was around $23,000 in 2022 from $47,000 in 2011, ac­cord­ing to ARK In­vest. They pre­dict that costs will fall a fur­ther 50% to 60% by 2025.

Why small man­u­fac­tur­ers are turn­ing to ro­bot­ics now 

Smal­ler man­u­fac­tur­ers are the fast­est-grow­ing area of in­dus­tri­al ro­bot­ics today, driv­en by the need for new col­lab­or­at­ive ro­bot­ics sys­tems. The glob­al mar­ket for in­dus­tri­al ro­bots is ex­pec­ted to grow at a com­pound an­nu­al growth rate (CAGR) of 9.39%. It is es­tim­ated to reach a total mar­ket value of $30.5 bil­lion by 2030. The col­lab­or­at­ive ro­bot seg­ment, core to small man­u­fac­tur­ers due to flex­ib­il­ity and ad­apt­ab­il­ity, is grow­ing with a CAGR of 14.7%. In 2022, this seg­ment gen­er­ated $ 715 mil­lion in rev­en­ue, pro­jec­ted to sur­pass $2.1 bil­lion by 2030.

A plan to ad­dress chal­lenges and im­prove op­tim­iz­a­tion 

To ad­dress chal­lenges and im­prove op­tim­iz­a­tion in ro­bot­ics, a small man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany can con­sider the fol­low­ing reas­ons on why turn­ing to ro­bot­ics is be­ne­fi­cial:

Labor short­ages, fluc­tu­at­ing ma­ter­i­al avail­ab­il­ity and costs, and pro­gress­ively tight­er cus­tom­er qual­ity stand­ards drive small man­u­fac­tur­ers to auto­mate more of their shop floor op­er­a­tions. 
Labor short­ages in re­mote re­gions of North Amer­ica where pro­duc­tion work­ers are scarce are where ro­bot­ics is flour­ish­ing in small man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pan­ies. The Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view’s re­cent art­icle A New Gen­er­a­tion of Ro­bots Can Help Small Man­u­fac­tur­ers ob­serves that “man­u­fac­tur­ing es­pe­cially is hav­ing huge prob­lems re­cruit­ing and re­tain­ing em­ploy­ees. More than 2 mil­lion man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs will sit un­filled across the United States by the end of this dec­ade, and three-quar­ters of European com­pan­ies already have dif­fi­culty re­cruit­ing suit­able work­ers. Work­places are cry­ing out for tal­ent and face de­creased pro­ductiv­ity and un­sus­tain­able staff turnover.”

A plastics man­u­fac­turer loc­ated in a re­mote re­gion of the Pa­cific North­w­est couldn’t re­cruit enough pro­duc­tion work­ers to handle the or­ders they’d re­ceived from their best cus­tom­ers, so they de­cided to start pi­lot­ing ro­bot­ics. 
The man­u­fac­turer in­ves­ted in two ro­bot­ics stack­ers, sort­ers, and end-of-arm ex­ten­sions on their ro­bots to ful­fil dia­bet­ic test kit or­ders for a lead­ing European bio­med­ic­al man­u­fac­turer. Run­ning three shifts a week with the stack­ers and end-of-arm ex­ten­sions, they de­livered their largest or­der of 150,000 kits a week. 

Ro­bot­ics in small man­u­fac­tur­ers are de­liv­er­ing meas­ur­able res­ults at scale. Build­ing a busi­ness case for ro­bot­ics factors in all as­so­ci­ated costs and be­ne­fits. The fol­low­ing are a few of the many meas­ur­able be­ne­fits that ro­bot­ics is de­liv­er­ing for small man­u­fac­tur­ers today. Re­du­cing main­ten­ance costs by 10-40%, in­creas­ing pro­ductiv­ity by 3 to 5%, and re­du­cing time-to-mar­ket for new products by 20 to 50% are a few of the meas­ur­able res­ults ro­bot­ics is de­liv­er­ing. The cost sav­ings ex­tend to qual­ity con­trol and in­vent­ory hold­ing, with re­duc­tions of 10-20% and 20-50%, re­spect­ively. Fur­ther­more, the auto­ma­tion of know­ledge work can lead to a pro­ductiv­ity in­crease of 45% to 55% for tech­nic­al pro­fes­sion­als.

Build­ing a busi­ness case for ro­bot­ics

Auto­mat­ing the most time-con­sum­ing areas of pro­duc­tion to re­duce costs and im­prove qual­ity is the goal many com­pan­ies ini­tially pur­sue when they ad­opt ro­bot­ics. Start small with those areas drain­ing cash and time from op­er­a­tions – they will show the greatest gains from auto­mat­ing them with ro­bot­ics.

Define a strategy for im­ple­ment­ing ro­bot­ics across the shop floor that will de­liv­er meas­ur­able res­ults at scale. Know­ing that the in­vest­ment in a ro­bot­ics sys­tem is pay­ing off and track­ing how much helps strengthen and de­fend the busi­ness case for fu­ture auto­ma­tion projects.

Here are the steps small man­u­fac­tur­ers take in build­ing a busi­ness case for ro­bot­ics:
Identi­fy Pain Points. The first step is to identi­fy the most time-con­sum­ing and labor-in­tens­ive tasks in the man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cess. These are the areas where auto­ma­tion can provide the most sig­ni­fic­ant be­ne­fits. For ex­ample, pain points could in­clude sup­ply chain dis­rup­tions, labor short­ages, reg­u­lat­ory com­pli­ance, in­ef­fi­cient pro­cesses, or pro­ductiv­ity is­sues.

Eval­u­ate Po­ten­tial Solu­tions. Once the pain points are iden­ti­fied, eval­u­ate the dif­fer­ent ro­bot­ic solu­tions avail­able. Man­u­fac­tur­ers of­ten cre­ate com­par­is­on tables in Google Sheets or Ex­cel to com­pare cost, ease of im­ple­ment­a­tion, and po­ten­tial re­turn on in­vest­ment.

Cal­cu­late ROI. Cal­cu­late the Re­turn on In­vest­ment (ROI) for the pro­posed ro­bot­ic solu­tion. This in­volves de­term­in­ing the ini­tial cost of the ro­bot, on­go­ing costs, labor cost sav­ings, in­creased pro­ductiv­ity, and po­ten­tial tax in­cent­ives. The ROI is typ­ic­ally cal­cu­lated over a ho­ri­zon of 5 to 10 years, con­sid­er­ing an in­dus­tri­al ro­bot can work for an av­er­age of 15 years.

Com­plete ini­tial pi­lot test­ing. Im­ple­ment a small-scale pi­lot project to test the ef­fect­ive­ness of the chosen ro­bot­ic solu­tion. This al­lows man­u­fac­tur­ers to as­sess the real-world be­ne­fits and chal­lenges of auto­ma­tion.

Meas­ure and share res­ults with pro­duc­tion teams. Track the per­form­ance of the pi­lot project, fo­cus­ing on key met­rics such as pro­ductiv­ity, qual­ity, and cost sav­ings. This data will be cru­cial in build­ing a com­pel­ling busi­ness case.

Scale up across the shop floor. If the pi­lot project is suc­cess­ful, plan for a lar­ger-scale im­ple­ment­a­tion. Con­sider the ne­ces­sary re­sources, timeline, and po­ten­tial im­pact on the over­all op­er­a­tions.

Re­view and ad­just. Con­tinu­ally re­view the per­form­ance of the ro­bot­ic sys­tems and make ne­ces­sary ad­just­ments. This en­sures that the auto­ma­tion strategy re­mains ef­fect­ive and con­tin­ues to de­liv­er value.

Au­thor: Louis Colum­bus, Seni­or In­dustry Mar­ket­ing Man­ager at DELMIA

Automated Precision for Hydrogen Applications: Sensor Technology. Automation. Evaluation. Functional Safety.
Compressed Air with Energy Efficiency at the Core

It is not a rev­el­a­tion to any­one in the in­dustry that en­ergy is the largest op­er­at­ing ex­pense, ac­count­ing for the ma­jor­ity of util­ity costs. In man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses us­ing com­pressed air, air com­pressors con­sume ap­prox­im­ately 12% of the total elec­tric­al en­ergy, and over the lifespan of an air com­pressor, 80% of the cost is en­ergy use, and 20% is the cost of the unit in­clud­ing main­ten­ance.

En­ergy con­sump­tion re­duc­tion tar­gets across the European to be achieved by 2030. The re­vised EU En­ergy Ef­fi­ciency Dir­ect­ive (EU) 2023/1791, pub­lished in Septem­ber 2023, will ac­cel­er­ate en­ergy ef­fi­ciency across the European Uni­on, re­quir­ing EU coun­tries to col­lect­ively re­duce their en­ergy con­sump­tion by 11.7% by 2030, re­l­at­ive to the 2020 ref­er­ence scen­ario. Ad­di­tion­ally, EU coun­tries will have to achieve new an­nu­al sav­ings of on av­er­age 1.49% of total en­ergy con­sump­tion from 2024 to 2030 (ht­tps://en­­ergy-ef­fi­ciency-dir­ect­ive-pub­lished-2023-09-20_en). 

Em­bra­cing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency prac­tices is much more than com­pli­ance. It is also the right thing to do. De­car­bon­isa­tion of heavy in­dus­tri­al pro­cesses is cent­ral to reach­ing tar­gets com­batting cli­mate change. With in­dustry be­ing the third-largest car­bon con­trib­ut­or after en­ergy pro­duc­tion and trans­port, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency meas­ures in in­dus­tri­al pro­cesses have enorm­ous de­car­bon­isa­tion po­ten­tial.

This art­icle ex­am­ines ways to con­sume less en­ergy, pro­duce more, and bring last­ing be­ne­fits in terms of sus­tain­ab­il­ity, prof­it­ab­il­ity, and ef­fect­ive­ness to your com­pressed air ap­plic­a­tions. 

An in­formed, hol­ist­ic view – Air Audit

Wheth­er you’re con­sid­er­ing a new air com­pressor or plan­ning to up­grade the ex­ist­ing sys­tem, work­ing closely with a sub­ject mat­ter ex­pert cap­able to design or re­design your com­pressed air sys­tems, one that could then re­main as your ser­vice pro­vider, is crit­ic­al. This will en­sure you get the true pic­ture of all areas that need to be ad­dressed when aim­ing at im­prov­ing the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your op­er­a­tions. 

Your ex­pert part­ner would con­duct a com­pressed air sys­tem en­ergy audit, or Air Audit to identi­fy areas of loss or in­ef­fi­cien­cies with­in a com­pressed air sys­tem. Moreover, skilled en­ergy audit en­gin­eers can then identi­fy and modi­fy faults and dis­orders. 

A com­plete ana­lys­is looks at everything from the com­pressor to the en­vir­on­ment in which it op­er­ates, as well as op­er­a­tion­al de­mands such as peaks and troughs in air de­mand and op­er­a­tion­al ex­pan­sion plan­ning. A fi­nite ana­lys­is of the big­ger pic­ture - un­der­stand­ing how even the most minor sys­tem ele­ments im­pact the en­ergy con­sump­tion as­so­ci­ated with the com­pressor. 

The aim is to strike the right bal­ance in tech­nic­al and eco­nom­ic choices - in com­pressor units, ca­pa­cit­ies, op­er­a­tion­al para­met­ers, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, plan­ning for fu­ture air de­mand changes, and con­sid­er­ing all en­ergy costs. 

A prop­er Audit Re­port de­tails re­com­mend­a­tions on short-, me­di­um-, and long-term meas­ures for en­ergy con­ser­va­tion, along with fin­an­cial es­tim­ates and ana­lys­is for their im­ple­ment­a­tion. These re­com­mend­a­tions come with data­bases and fact sheets gen­er­ated by meas­ure­ments and tests con­duc­ted in your plant and the field. After this study, man­u­fac­tur­ers can pro­pose mak­ing edu­cated de­cisions about their as­sets, up­grade in­vest­ments, and ul­ti­mately achieve a re­duced com­pressed air en­ergy con­sump­tion.

Siz­ing the air com­pressor and se­lect­ing the right tech­no­logy

With so many air com­pressor tech­no­lo­gies in the mar­ket today, the right se­lec­tion for your pro­duc­tion can be over­whelm­ing. When choos­ing an air com­pressor, as­sess­ing the load type is crit­ic­al. For ex­ample, a screw air com­pressor doesn't shut down im­me­di­ately and goes in­to un­load state to lim­it too many mo­tor starts and stops. This un­load­ing pro­cess con­sumes up to 30% of en­ergy, in­creas­ing the com­pany's op­er­at­ing costs. When se­lect­ing the unit for your fa­cil­ity, duty cycle, op­er­at­ing pres­sure, and air­flow de­mand should be some of the key con­sid­er­a­tions.

Dif­fer­ent in­dus­tries like phar­ma­ceut­ic­als, auto­mot­ive, food and bever­age, etc. are powered by vari­ous pneu­mat­ic ap­plic­a­tions that de­mand a spe­cif­ic air­flow (m³/min). Se­lect­ing a suit­able com­pressed air sys­tem is cru­cial to en­sure that the air com­pressor meets the air­flow and pres­sure de­mands of the pneu­mat­ic ap­plic­a­tions while en­sur­ing op­tim­al per­form­ance and en­ergy con­sump­tion.

The duty cycle, re­fer­ring to the op­er­a­tion cycle or the time the com­pressor runs to provide com­pressed air at a con­sist­ent pres­sure and spe­cif­ic flow rate, is one of the crit­ic­al para­met­ers that help de­cide if a fixed speed drive or a vari­able fre­quency drive (VFD) is re­quired. Man­u­fac­tur­ers can choose from a wide range of air com­pressors equipped with or without a VFD based on the vari­ation in air­flow de­mand. 

In the case of a fixed-speed air com­pressor, the com­pressor runs at the same rate, con­sum­ing the fixed power for the air de­mand. The elec­tric­al mo­tor runs at the max­im­um con­stant speed ir­re­spect­ive of the com­pressed air re­quire­ment. On the oth­er hand, the air com­pressor with vari­able fre­quency drive can auto­mat­ic­ally ad­just the speed between its min­im­um and max­im­um range, en­sur­ing that the com­pressed air gen­er­a­tion matches the com­pressed air de­mand and sub­sequently con­sumes sig­ni­fic­antly less en­ergy at low de­mand. The VFD air com­pressor greatly be­ne­fits in­dus­tries and ap­plic­a­tions with largely vary­ing air­flow de­mands. However, it’s not a giv­en that a VFD com­pressor is the bet­ter tech­no­logy in all cases. It’s im­port­ant to look at the size of the air re­ceiv­er that provides a cer­tain buf­fer ca­pa­city. This air re­ceiv­er will ul­ti­mately handle smal­ler flow fluc­tu­ations and there­fore will be very be­ne­fi­cial to avoid too fre­quent starts of the com­pressors, and even help VFD com­pressors as too fast of air de­mands will lead to quick pres­sure drops which the VFD can­not cope with. There­fore, there is a good con­sid­er­a­tion to be done when audit­ing and chan­ging even­tu­ally the sys­tem after an audit.

When pres­sure drops

Se­lec­tion of the right com­pressor can be a daunt­ing chal­lenge with sev­er­al tech­no­lo­gies and op­tions avail­able in the mar­ket. Look­ing at the qual­ity of air re­quire­ments, the ca­pa­city of the com­pressor, duty cycle, and util­isa­tion to­geth­er with your com­pressed air part­ner will help you choose the right solu­tion. Wheth­er it’s re­cip­roc­at­ing and screw com­pressors, VFD, or Fixed Speed tech­no­logy, one of the oth­er factors to look at is the over­all design of the sys­tem and re­duc­tion of pres­sure drops – the re­duc­tion in air pres­sure from the com­pressor dis­charge point to the ap­plic­a­tion point of us­age. 

High-pres­sure drop in the dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem and the hoses, pipes, and joints res­ults in lower op­er­at­ing pres­sure to the user and thus res­ults in ad­di­tion­al pres­sure gen­er­a­tion and a sig­ni­fic­ant in­crease in en­ergy con­sump­tion.

The most typ­ic­al areas where “Pres­sure drop” oc­curs in­clude the pres­sure ves­sel, af­ter­cool­er, air treat­ment equip­ment like dry­ers, fil­ters, check valves, and the pip­ing sys­tem it­self. For every ad­di­tion­al 1 bar in­crease in dis­charge pres­sure, there will be an ad­di­tion­al en­ergy con­sump­tion of ap­prox­im­ately 7 per­cent of the full load power. Ad­di­tion­al gen­er­a­tion of pres­sure will also lead to ad­di­tion­al stor­age ca­pa­city and in­crease the cost of equip­ment.

Pres­sure drop up­stream of the com­pressors cre­ated by the in­let air fil­ter sys­tem res­ults in high­er power con­sump­tion. A pres­sure drop down­stream will in­duce the need to se­lect a com­pressor sys­tem that gen­er­ates a high­er pres­sure. Air pres­sure op­tim­isa­tion, and min­im­ising dif­fer­en­tials in all parts of the sys­tem are im­port­ant cri­ter­ia for ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion and sav­ing en­ergy.

If a cer­tain side ap­plic­a­tion re­quires a much high­er or lower pres­sure, it is ad­vis­able to use a sep­ar­ate com­pressed air sys­tem for that pres­sure rather than ex­pand­ing or boost­ing the com­pressed air from the cent­ral sys­tem in a fact­ory. The ROI of a sep­ar­ate sys­tem will be eco­nom­ic­al com­pared to the over­all en­ergy sav­ings that the plant would gen­er­ate by op­tim­ising pres­sure re­quire­ments.

Choos­ing the right com­pon­ents in a com­pressed air sys­tem 

Com­pressed air con­tains in­her­ent im­pur­it­ies that are det­ri­ment­al to the end ap­plic­a­tion. Some com­mon con­tam­in­ants of com­pressed air are wa­ter, dirt, small wear particles, bac­teria, and some­times even de­graded lub­ric­at­ing oil. For in­creased re­li­ab­il­ity and en­ergy sav­ings, com­pressed air must be clean and dry. Choos­ing the right product from a wide range of pneu­mat­ic down­stream and up­stream ac­cessor­ies can make the air friendly to the en­vir­on­ment, end-use, and your pock­et:

  • Mois­ture and wa­ter va­pour pre­cip­it­ate as con­dens­ate when com­pressed air cools down fol­low­ing a com­pres­sion pro­cess. Dry­ers elim­in­ate and re­move this con­dens­ate from the com­pressed air sys­tem to pre­vent dam­age to down­stream equip­ment. 
  • In the case of oil-lub­ric­ated screw com­pressors, the pro­cess of com­press­ing air res­ults in the form­a­tion of con­dens­ate, a mix of wa­ter, oil, and dust particles. To avoid pol­lut­ing the ground­wa­ter, it is ne­ces­sary to treat the con­dens­ate be­fore dis­pos­al in­to the wastewa­ter sys­tem. An Oil Wa­ter Sep­ar­at­or can be eas­ily in­teg­rated in­to any in­stall­a­tion and re­moves oil in the con­dens­ate through a multi-level sep­ar­a­tion pro­cess with both ef­fi­cient, ab­sorb­ent fibre and ac­tiv­ated car­bon, only us­ing grav­it­a­tion­al en­ergy. 
  • At­mo­spher­ic air con­tains mois­ture, particle con­tam­in­ants, mi­croor­gan­isms, and gases. When it is com­pressed, the con­cen­tra­tion of these ele­ments in­creases by 6 to 10 times. When it is com­pressed by an air com­pressor, oil, and met­al traces get ad­ded dur­ing the com­pres­sion pro­cess. Re­li­able fil­tra­tion solu­tions re­move con­tam­in­ants from the com­pressed air provid­ing as­sur­ance of pur­ity be­fore it is used for any ap­plic­a­tion. The fil­ter ele­ment en­ables high con­tam­in­ant re­mov­al with low-pres­sure drop, also res­ult­ing in en­ergy sav­ings.
  • Heat Re­cov­ery Sys­tems (HRS) en­able to re­cov­er up to 78% of the heat gen­er­ated dur­ing the pro­cess of an oil-in­jec­ted air com­pres­sion and are avail­able for op­er­a­tions of all sizes. This heat can be used to heat wa­ter, which can be use­ful in the pro­duc­tion pro­cess, boil­er feed, or for do­mest­ic wa­ter us­age. A high re­turn on in­vest­ment brings im­me­di­ate cost sav­ings and more im­port­antly, saved en­ergy con­trib­utes to car­bon emis­sion re­duc­tions and helps you in lower­ing the com­pany’s net car­bon foot­print. 
  • Zero loss drain valves re­move the con­dens­ate formed in the pro­duc­tion of com­pressed air, which gets col­lec­ted in dry­ers, after-cool­ers, and air re­ceiv­ers and may cause rust or dam­age in the sys­tem. Auto­mat­ic Drain Valves are de­signed to fit dir­ectly on the equip­ment and sense the level of con­dens­ate to pre­vent com­pressed air losses in the sys­tem. 

There is a pleth­ora of ele­ments, products, and solu­tions to con­sider when look­ing at im­prov­ing the en­ergy ef­fi­ciency of your sys­tems. Part­ner­ing with the ex­perts in com­pressed air for a de­tailed ex­am­in­a­tion of your sys­tem and find­ing the right bal­ance in tech­nic­al and eco­nom­ic choices to pro­tect your­self against rising en­ergy costs and more strin­gent en­ergy ef­fi­ciency reg­u­la­tions will pay off in an in­creas­ingly short­er time­frame these days. 

Au­thor: Niccolò Cas­ini, product man­ager ELGi Com­pressors Europe

Modular Synchronous Generator in the 20 MW Class

ABB has de­veloped the new Mod­u­lar 20-mega­watt (MW) class syn­chron­ous gen­er­at­or as a flex­ible, scal­able ap­proach to bal­ance power grids as they trans­fer an ever-in­creas­ing amount of re­new­able en­ergy. In con­trast with pre­vi­ous designs in­ten­ded for con­tinu­ous out­put only, the mod­u­lar plat­form can be con­figured for vari­ous op­er­a­tion­al pro­files. These range from short-term, peak shav­ing, through in­ter­me­di­ate op­er­a­tion to tra­di­tion­al, con­tinu­ous base­load gen­er­a­tion. The new syn­chron­ous gen­er­at­or also of­fers the cap­ab­il­ity to in­crease the in­er­tia avail­able by in­cor­por­at­ing fly­wheels.

“Grow­ing levels of in­ter­mit­tent and vari­able re­new­able en­ergy re­sources (RES), such as wind and sol­ar are cre­at­ing in­creas­ingly chal­len­ging con­di­tions for power grids. Hence the grow­ing need for re­li­able gen­er­at­ors de­signed to main­tain the bal­ance es­sen­tial for re­si­li­ence and se­cur­ity of sup­ply,” says Markku Väinämö, ABB Glob­al Product Man­ager, Gen­er­at­ors. “That is why we have worked with some of the glob­al lead­ers in en­gine power plants to de­vel­op this in­nov­at­ive plat­form. It of­fers the ad­apt­ab­il­ity es­sen­tial to sup­port a new gen­er­a­tion of op­er­a­tion­al pro­files and ap­plic­a­tions.”

In ad­di­tion, gen­er­at­ing sets of­ten need to meet coun­try-spe­cif­ic grid code re­quire­ments be­fore they should be con­nec­ted to elec­tri­city net­works and the Mod­u­lar syn­chron­ous gen­er­at­or is fully grid-code com­pli­ant. An­oth­er de­mand­ing re­quire­ment is to stay con­nec­ted dur­ing a low voltage or short-cir­cuit event in some part of the grid. This calls for high in­er­tia to en­sure that the plant stays syn­chron­ized with the grid when the fault is cleared, and voltage re­turns to nom­in­al. To sup­port this re­quire­ment, the Mod­u­lar syn­chron­ous gen­er­at­or has an op­tion to add in­er­tia by in­cor­por­at­ing ad­di­tion­al fly­wheels.

Mod­u­lar con­struc­tion, to­geth­er with ABB’s ex­tens­ive glob­al sup­ply chain foot­print en­ables the new gen­er­at­or to be de­livered with­in shortened times­cales. It is also de­signed to sup­port easy trans­port­a­tion and in­stall­a­tion.

Us­ing the Mod­u­lar syn­chron­ous gen­er­at­or in peak-shav­ing or in­ter­mit­tent op­er­a­tion­al pro­files typ­ic­ally means that the run­ning hours are short­er com­pared to tra­di­tion­al con­tinu­ous op­er­a­tion. This re­duces the de­mand for cool­ing. There­fore, the new design also fea­tures an up­graded cool­ing unit which can be op­er­ated only as needed.

Universal Regenerative Unit

The AX8820 uni­ver­sal re­gen­er­at­ive unit from Beck­hoff is used to feed re­gen­er­at­ive en­ergy back in­to the grid. It is suit­able for use with the AX8000 multi-ax­is servo sys­tem, AX5000 di­git­al com­pact servo drives, and third-party devices. The en­ergy is re­gen­er­ated si­nus­oid­ally, pre­vent­ing the grid dis­tor­tions that are com­mon with block-shaped re­gen­er­a­tion. The AX8820 is de­signed for a nom­in­al sup­ply voltage of 400 to 480 V AC, nom­in­al out­put of 7 kW, and a max­im­um DC link voltage of 848 V DC. For ef­fect­ive en­ergy man­age­ment, the re­gen­er­at­ive en­ergy is ini­tially stored in the DC link. The AX8820 only starts feed­ing power back in­to the grid just be­fore the over­voltage threshold of the con­nec­ted devices is reached. Sev­er­al AX8820 re­gen­er­at­ive units can be op­er­ated in par­al­lel to op­tim­ally ad­apt the re­gen­er­at­ive power to the needs of the ma­chine. 

Dia­gnost­ic data use for op­tim­ized res­ults

No com­mu­nic­a­tion via Eth­er­CAT is re­quired to carry out en­ergy re­cov­ery. However, ex­ten­ded para­met­er­iz­a­tion – to ad­apt the voltage levels to the con­nec­ted devices, for ex­ample – is pos­sible via Eth­er­CAT. With the help of the ex­ten­ded dia­gnostics via Eth­er­CAT, the cur­rent re­gen­er­at­ive en­ergy can also be ana­lyzed. The on­line data can be used to re­cord the tim­ing of the ma­chine pro­cesses. This means that an in­vest­ig­a­tion to see wheth­er the ef­fi­ciency of the ma­chine can be in­creased by stag­ger­ing the ma­chine pro­cesses can be per­formed.

Power Supply with Integrated Electronic Circuit Breaker

The third gen­er­a­tion of  Phoenix Con­tact's Trio Power power sup­plies is avail­able for ma­chine build­ers. The power sup­plies are com­pact, ro­bust, re­li­able, and im­press with easy hand­ling. The new three-phase power sup­plies with in­teg­rated multi-chan­nel device pro­tec­tion fea­ture a space-sav­ing design and are now also avail­able up to a 40 A nom­in­al out­put cur­rent. The units also fea­ture par­tic­u­larly easy hand­ling with push-in con­nec­tion tech­no­logy for quick and tool-free in­stall­a­tion. In­teg­rated mark­ing fields can be used for easy EID and cir­cuit mark­ing. Due to an in­tu­it­ive com­mis­sion­ing concept, the devices are quickly ready for use. The mech­an­ic­al lock of the po­ten­tiomet­ers en­sures that the devices are also tamper-proof.

Easy dia­gnostics 

Fur­ther­more, the power sup­plies fea­ture smart dia­gnost­ic op­tions: mul­ti­col­or LEDs and a col­lect­ive re­lay con­tact sig­nal all rel­ev­ant states. The re­mote re­set func­tion en­ables the out­put chan­nels to be re­set via the di­git­al in­put. IO-Link com­mu­nic­a­tion fa­cil­it­ates de­tailed dia­gnostics and para­met­er­iz­a­tion. The dy­nam­ic boost (150%/5 s) also en­ables dif­fi­cult loads to be star­ted. In­tel­li­gent self-mon­it­or­ing and in­teg­rated load man­age­ment en­sure high sys­tem avail­ab­il­ity.

Programmable DC-Power Supply Series

DC power sup­plies are es­sen­tial throughout the elec­tron­ics in­dustry to provide the ba­sic re­quire­ment of ac­cur­ate and stable DC power from an AC source that may be sub­ject to fluc­tu­ations and surges. The new Ro­hde & Schwarz NGC100 power sup­ply series not only meets this fun­da­ment­al re­quire­ment, but also in­cludes fea­tures, func­tions, and re­mote-con­trol cap­ab­il­it­ies to sup­port ap­plic­a­tions far more com­plex than steady out­put power. The series in­cludes one, two, and three-chan­nel mod­els sup­ply­ing 0-32 V per chan­nel at up to 10 A and 100 W power out­put. The single-chan­nel R&S NGC101 de­liv­ers up to 10 A, the two-chan­nel R&S NGC102 up to 5 A per chan­nel, and the three-chan­nel R&S NGC103 up to 3 A per chan­nel. Small and light, two R&S NGC100 can be moun­ted next to each oth­er in a 19” rack to op­tim­ize test setup foot­prints.

Each chan­nel in the two and three chan­nel mod­els is fully isol­ated for max­im­um flex­ib­il­ity. Users can use the chan­nels in­de­pend­ently as fully in­de­pend­ent, ex­tremely com­pact power sup­plies. Or they can com­bine the chan­nels in series to in­crease the max­im­um po­ten­tial dif­fer­ence to 96 V, or in par­al­lel for cur­rents up to 10 A. Full gal­van­ic isol­a­tion means that chan­nels can be con­nec­ted to sup­ply bal­anced cir­cuits without wor­ry­ing about ground­ing com­plic­a­tions.

Pro­gram­mable changes

The ba­sic per­form­ance of the R&S NGC100 as a power sup­ply is ex­cel­lent, both in terms of out­put range and out­put qual­ity re­gard­ing low ripple and noise. The ap­plic­a­tion sup­port and ad­di­tion­al fea­tures ex­ceed ex­pect­a­tions for this class of in­stru­ment. The re­mote sens­ing func­tion en­sures ac­cur­acy as users meas­ure the voltage at the in­put of the cir­cuit be­ing powered, not at the out­put of the power sup­ply. Users can also pro­gram voltage or cur­rent changes for a test se­quence or avoid steep ramp-ups to pro­tect the device be­ing powered, or sim­u­late op­er­at­ing con­di­tions.

The R&S NGC100 puts safety first by provid­ing a full range of pro­tect­ive func­tions for elec­tric­al and thermal prop­er­ties. Users can set the time and define se­quences for switch­ing on chan­nels. Voltage and cur­rent val­ues for the cir­cuit to be powered can be logged. All mod­els of the R&S NGC100 have a stand­ard dual in­ter­face with USB and LAN ports, and an op­tion­al GPIB in­ter­face is avail­able for re­mote con­trol. For ex­tern­al con­trol, a di­git­al trig­ger sup­ports in­put in Tran­sist­or-Tran­sist­or-Lo­gic format to trig­ger func­tions such as log­ging. It is also pos­sible to in­put se­quences of voltage or cur­rent changes from an ex­tern­al pro­gram. An ana­log in­ter­face with a max­im­um in­put of 10V and 20 mA con­trols near-im­me­di­ate changes in out­put voltage or cur­rent across the full range.

The Solution to Connect OT to IT Now for Microsoft Azure
Solutions for Low Flow Liquid Measurement

The measurement of low flow is becoming widely used in many industries. However, the smaller the flow, the trickier it is to control and measure, and finding a suitable flow measuring technology at reasonable cost can prove challenging for both users and flow sensor manufacturers.

There is no set definition for ‘low flow’ in terms of measurement limits for fluidics handling. However, low-flow applications encounter amplified flow stability and performance issues not seen in larger flows. The minimal liquid volume being measured in low flows renders them highly sensitive, such that even the slightest disruptions in process or ambient conditions can exert a substantial impact on flow stability. Within the markets Titan Enterprises operates in, we consider low flow rates as those below 50 ml/min, with many customers seeking flow rates of between 2 and 20 ml/min.

Transport of concentrated liquids boosts increased need for measurement solutions 

Neil Hannay, Titan’s Senior R&D Engineer observes: “We are certainly seeing an increase in demand for low flow measurement technologies driven by various industries moving towards transporting heavily concentrated liquids, which are then diluted at the point of use. This translates into huge savings on transport and storage costs and also has a positive environmental impact.”

Whether cleaning fluid additives, syrups and flavourings for beer or soda, chemical additives for oil and fuel, paint pigments or administering drugs, low flow flowmeters are required to dose these concentrated fluids at the end process, dispensing the precise amount of liquid to the correct dilution.   

As mentioned, measuring low flow is a challenging application to satisfy. The amount of energy available in low liquid flow is unlikely to be sufficient to drive most mechanical flowmeters to give linear results. By comparison, electronic flow meters can be limited by sensitivity, zero drift and slow response times. Here we analyse 5 types of flow meter - Ultrasonic, Turbine, Oval Gear, Thermal and Coriolis - and their suitability for low flow measurement: 


Ultrasonic flowmeters measure the velocity of flow. Titan's in-line Atrato© models, using patented time of flight technology, are capable of measuring flows down to 2ml/min. Lower flow rates equate to smaller signals to determine flow rate and as such, this lower signal strength can affect the flowmeter’s capability to produce repeatable measurement results.
Design challenge: Straight-forward engineering vs complex electronics. 
Advantages: High accuracy; not fluid specific; high signal to noise ratio; no pressure drop requirements; suitable for both turbulent and laminar liquid flow.
Disadvantages: Susceptible to process vibrations/pulsations/noise; sensitive to gas.


The energy required to spin the rotor of a turbine flowmeter becomes swamped by the drag from the system at low flow rates. As flow rate reduces and transitions from turbulent to laminar flow, the linearity changes and the measurements become less accurate. Pelton wheel turbines that use low friction, precision bearings can mitigate this effect to some degree and with careful design, are capable of flows down to 1-2ml/min. They are capable of fast response times and operate across wide flow and operating temperature ranges.
Design challenge: Straight-forward electronics vs complex precision engineering.
Advantages: Low cost; can be calibrated in-situ; good accuracy and repeatability with rapid response times.
Disadvantages: Susceptible to changes in fluid properties; requires sufficient pressure to move liquid through the pipeline at a rate that causes the turbine blades to spin.

Oval Gear 

Positive displacement flow meters, such as oval gear meters, are particularly effective for measuring low flow viscous fluids, although the resolution can be quite low. To obtain good resolution, the oval gear meters need to be small in low flow applications. Installing an oval gear meter in a horizontal position will reduce rotational friction and improve low-flow measurements. The lower the flow, the smaller the gear size, which are manufactured to tight tolerances with small internal clearances to minimise any fluid leakage around the gears.
Design challenge: Straight-forward electronics vs complex precision engineering. 
Advantages: Ideal for viscous liquids, precision chemical dosing; good reliability.
Disadvantages: Not suitable for low flow aqueous solutions as the slippage past the moving element is greater than the volume being measured. Trapped air can prevent small gears from rotating – ensure all gas is purged on initial startup. Low resolution.


Thermal flow sensors, primarily used for monitoring gas flow, operate on the principle of monitoring thermal transfer using a reference temperature, a heat injection and a detector. The basic approach is that heat is added to the flowing stream and a temperature imbalance being used to obtain a flow rate. They are fluid-specific as the technology relies on the liquid’s thermal properties and are generally calibrated for the specific fluid properties.  
Design challenge: Relatively simple engineering vs complex electronics.
Advantages: Highly sensitive and able to measure flow rates down to nanolitres per minute; suitable for low pressure drop applications; not so reliant on the dynamics of the fluid to make a measurement.
Disadvantages: Fluid-specific. Thermal low-flow liquid flowmeters are non-linear over their temperature range and so require some correction during the process. Not suitable for low boiling point liquids or liquid mixtures with changing composition.


The Coriolis is a mass flowmeter, i.e. measures mass flow directly and independently of the liquid’s properties. The Coriolis provides mass flow and density measurements that are both repeatable and highly accurate, even when the composition of the liquid is unknown or changing. Using the principle of accelerating a moving fluid and detecting the reaction on the vibrating tube with sensors, Coriolis meters are very sensitive and flows lower than 0.2 ml/min are possible.
Design challenge: Complex electronics and engineering. 
Advantages: Extensive material compatibility; can be used for either liquid or gas flow measurement; independent of liquid or process variables.
Disadvantages: The primary limitation is the flow must be single-phase and of low viscosity. They are also expensive devices so would not be suitable for low-cost low flow applications.

As flowmeters can be the most limiting component of a low flow fluidic system, it is essential to choose the most suitable high-precision flow sensor for an application. 

Digital Transmitter for Weighing Applications

Baykon TX20 series digital transmitters are designed for force, moment, and pressure measurement processes in addition to static and dynamic weighing. They transfer precise measurement information acquired at a high conversion rate to your PLC/SCADA/PC system in the most accurate and fastest way with industrial communication protocols. All products with Ethernet output are dual-ported to provide Ethernet daisy chain connection. TX20 can also be connected to Profinet Redundant S2 systems directly. 3 digital inputs, 4 digital outputs, and analog outputs are available as additional connection options.

Baykon TX20 transmitters are manufactured identically to each other and individually calibrated. Thanks to this feature, they can be replaced directly without needing any adjustment in the counting mode, and in the weight mode error on the electronic calibration because of replacement is less than 0.00003%. The transmitters are highly reliable with triple signal isolation but in case of problems there is a logging function of device interventions and system failures.

Capacitive High-Temperature Sensors

Micro-Epsilon now offers the robust, capacitive capaNCDT 6228 sensor system for displacement and distance measurements at ambient temperatures up to +800 °C. Its high temperature stability and exceptionally high linearity enable precise results even under difficult environmental conditions. The new capaNCDT 6228 capacitive sensor system consists of capaNCDT CSE/HT capacitive sensors and the capaNCDT 6228 controller.

For hot glass and metals

The sensor system is designed for high temperature applications up to +800 °C. Applications include measuring the thickness of glowing brake discs and monitoring the level of float glass. Up to four sensors can be connected simultaneously to the high-performance controller. The available sensors cover measuring ranges from 1 mm to 20 mm. A high temperature sensor cable compensates for interference from electrical or magnetic fields. In addition, measurement data is output in both analogue and digital form via modern interfaces such as Ethernet and EtherCAT.

Torque Sensor with Separate Sensing Head

The new Sensor Technology TorqSense SGR530/540 series operates on a full four element strain gauge bridge. This uses four individual stain gauges affixed to the drive shaft; each measures the deflection of the shaft in a different direction as it rotates under load. The electronics collects readings from all four gauges and calculates the torque value.

The new range is designed to meet emerging user requirements, notably accurately recording transient torque spikes. In the past transducers didn’t have the bandwidth to capture these spikes, so they were ignored. However, advances in automation, continuous operation and the increasing need for accurate track and trace data has led to the need for more detailed measurement and analysis to give early warnings on deviations to plant engineers.

In use, a rotor mounted ultra-miniature microcontroller, powered by an inductive coil, measures the differential values in each strain gauge and transmits them back to the stator digitally, via the same coil. The SGR510/520 series transducers then use state of the art strain gauge signal conditioning techniques to provide a high bandwidth, low cost torque measuring solution with high overrange and overload capabilities.

Accurate with high overload limits

An advantage of the design of the SGR torque sensors is that they automatically compensate for any extraneous forces, such as bending moments, inadvertently applied to the sensor. They also offer high sensitivity and have a wide temperature tolerance, attributes that are required more and more and production machinery becomes more and more sophisticated and performance demands increase. Other advantages of the SGR range include elimination of noise pickup and signal corruption associated with slip rings and hard-wired solutions, a 400% mechanical overload limit with accurate torque measurement even at these extremes, and multipoint calibration to eliminate linearity errors within the sensor.

All units are accurate to +/-0.1% and resolution to +/-0.01% of the transducer’s full scale. Other features include an adjustable moving average filter, power supply range from 12VDC to 32VDC, user settable analogue output voltages, and RS232, USB, CANbus and Ethernet comms options.

Magnetic Field and Temperature Sensor with IO-Link

The CMMT 3-axis magnetic field/temperature sensor with IO-Link is the third sensor type that Turck has developed specifically for easy-to-use and retrofittable condition monitoring applications. It complements the existing range consisting of the CMVT vibration/temperature sensor and the CMTH for humidity and temperature measurements. The combined measurement of magnetic field and temperature with the CMMT enables simple detection of faults on motors or in processes with magnetic components. The new sensor also opens up applications that were previously impossible, such as the contactless detection of the rotation and movement of metal objects without visual contact.

App supported automation software

Thanks to its high sensitivity of five microtesla, the sensor also detects the earth's magnetic field, but can hide this if required by setting the parameters. The device outputs measured values individually or as a vector sum via IO-Link. Users can also assign two independent switching outputs. The CMMT supports the Smart Sensor Profile 4.1.4. 
When commissioning the CMMT, users are supported by the Turck Automation Suite (TAS) Magnetic Field Monitor app. This application visualizes the sensor data live in the web browser and can be used via any Turck IO-Link master without additional software. The device functions are also set via TAS or other IODD interpreters. Besides the process values, additional information such as operating hours and switching cycles can also be output via the digital interface.

Optimised Designs to Match Your Application

An op­tic­al mod­ule is a sys­tem of op­tic­al com­pon­ents that does more than just trans­mit a single im­age. For ex­ample, in in­ter­fer­o­metry - an op­tic­al mod­ule may use beam­s­plit­ters or prisms to cre­ate many im­ages from a single im­age. Rob Watkin­son, sales man­ager at Re­solve Op­tics said “As a de­veloper and sup­pli­er of cus­tom lenses and op­tic­al sys­tems to lead­ing cam­era, sensor, and op­tic­al in­stru­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers our aim is to help these cus­tom­ers keep at the fore­front of the mar­kets they serve through on­go­ing co­oper­at­ive de­vel­op­ments and provid­ing con­tinu­ous sup­port.

He ad­ded “One such cus­tom­er is Spe­cial­ised Ima­ging – tech­no­lo­gic­al mar­ket lead­er in ul­tra-high-speed ima­ging and bal­list­ic range cam­er­as. Their SIM fam­ily of ul­tra-high-speed cam­er­as are used by re­search labor­at­or­ies around the world. These state-of-the-art cam­er­as can cap­ture up to thirty-two im­ages at one bil­lion frames per second en­abling ana­lys­is of even the most fleet­ing of phe­nom­ena. To help the SIM cam­era range re­main the ul­tra-high-speed mul­tichan­nel ima­ging cam­era of choice for re­search­ers work­ing at the edge of what is pos­sible and solv­ing new ap­plic­a­tions chal­lenges – Re­solve Op­tics re­cently sup­plied a third gen­er­a­tion ul­tra-high-speed cam­era op­tic­al mod­ule that is not only more user friendly but also provides im­proved state-of-the-art per­form­ance”.

In this latest de­vel­op­ment a key ob­ject­ive was to make it easi­er for Spe­cial­ised Ima­ging to pre­cisely align their sensors with the eight ports on the ul­tra-high-speed op­tic­al mod­ule. To provide this en­hanced ease-of-use fa­cil­ity Re­solve Op­tics de­veloped a new sensor mount­ing sys­tem that en­ables easy ad­just­ment of the whole port in x and y planes. This new ad­just­ment sys­tem al­lows users of SIM ul­tra-high-speed ima­ging cam­er­as to align their sys­tems sig­ni­fic­antly quick­er and with much more ac­cur­acy than was pre­vi­ously pos­sible.

Man­aging Dir­ect­or of Spe­cial­ised Ima­ging – Wai Chan com­men­ted “I am pleased to say that the Re­solve Op­tics op­tomech­an­ic­al design team has again ris­en to the chal­lenge and de­signed a new and im­proved op­tic­al mod­ule that meets all of our spe­cific­a­tion needs of our SIM cam­er­as.”

Infrared Camera with Microscope Optics

High tem­per­at­ures neg­at­ively af­fect the life of elec­tron­ic com­pon­ents and as­sem­blies. This is due to the ac­cel­er­ated age­ing of many semi­con­duct­or ma­ter­i­als at high tem­per­at­ures. Poor elec­tric­al con­nec­tions due to in­creased con­tact res­ist­ance can cause this, for ex­ample. Com­plex semi­con­duct­or com­pon­ents such as pro­cessors can also ex­per­i­ence el­ev­ated tem­per­at­ures.

Res­ol­u­tion in the mi­cro­met­er range

The PI 640i in­frared cam­era from Optris is now able to cap­ture in­frared im­ages of even com­plex struc­tures us­ing the new MO2X mi­cro­scope op­tics with 2x mag­ni­fic­a­tion. For an ac­cur­ate tem­per­at­ure meas­ure­ment, 4x4 pixels are re­quired (MFOV). This means that ob­jects as small as 34 µm can now be meas­ured. This means that even the smal­lest of struc­tures can be ana­lysed at the chip level. The thermal res­ol­u­tion of 80 mK is a very good value for this op­tic. The fo­cus of the new op­tic makes it pos­sible to work at a dis­tance of 15 mm from the ob­ject to be meas­ured. The op­tics on the PI Series in­frared cam­er­as are eas­ily in­ter­change­able, al­low­ing the sys­tem to be used flex­ibly for dif­fer­ent meas­ure­ment tasks. To­geth­er with the sup­plied high qual­ity mi­cro­scope stand with fine ad­just­ment, mi­cro­elec­tron­ic as­sem­blies can be eas­ily in­spec­ted. The max­im­um res­ol­u­tion of the in­frared cam­era is 640 x 480 pixels at a frame rate of 32 Hz. Even at 125 Hz, the PI 640i still de­liv­ers an im­press­ive 640 x 120 pixels.

The li­cense-free ana­lys­is soft­ware PIX Con­nect is in­cluded in the scope of de­liv­ery; al­tern­at­ively, a com­plete SDK is also avail­able.

System-Based High Precision Linkages
The Rise of Modular Robots and the Importance of Drive Train Design

As the re­quire­ments for ro­bots con­tin­ue to be­come in­creas­ingly spe­cial­ised to task, the ad­vant­ages of mod­u­lar ro­bots are to the fore. The abil­ity to change their form and con­fig­ur­a­tion, thanks to a com­bin­a­tion of mod­ules, as op­posed to a fixed body, gives great­er flex­ib­il­ity. This means that a mod­u­lar ro­bot can be re­con­figured, or cus­tom­ised, as of­ten and as quickly as is re­quired. And should the ro­bot fail, a re­place­ment can be rap­idly, and eco­nom­ic­ally, provided. 

In par­tic­u­lar, there’s been a marked change to­wards mod­u­lar designs in the in­dus­tri­al ro­bot class at the level of light­weight ro­bots and co­bots. These smal­ler designs, typ­ic­ally hand­ling loads between 3kg and 16kg, lend them­selves to spe­cial­isa­tion and the be­ne­fits of mod­u­lar­ity. Their small size en­ables easi­er con­fig­ur­a­tion, and for this pay­load range, there are a high volume of tasks that ro­bots are re­quired to ful­fil. This is con­firmed by re­ports in the growth of light­weight ro­bots de­ployed, ran­ging from 20% to as high as 40% each year world­wide. 

To fa­cil­it­ate the mod­u­lar ro­bot de­mand, there’s been a cor­res­pond­ing need for great­er flex­ib­il­ity in ro­bot con­trol. Mo­tion con­trol­ler man­u­fac­tur­ers and PLC man­u­fac­tur­ers are in­creas­ingly of­fer­ing kin­emat­ic lib­rar­ies that en­able ro­bot con­trol pro­gram­ming. This is al­low­ing sys­tem in­teg­rat­ors, as well as end users, ran­ging from car man­u­fac­tur­ers to ware­hous­ing and de­liv­ery com­pan­ies, to de­vel­op their own ro­bots, in­stead of hav­ing to rely on ded­ic­ated ro­bot man­u­fac­tur­ers. The ad­vant­age is en­hanced ro­bot­ic con­trol, more spe­cif­ic to their re­quire­ments, met with the flex­ib­il­ity to quickly re­spond to chan­ging needs.

Mo­tor design

Cent­ral to the in­creas­ing trend to­wards mod­u­lar, light­weight ro­bots, de­signed and built in­tern­ally, is the need to power their kin­emat­ic mo­tion. The mo­tion sys­tem, or drive train, is re­spons­ible for mov­ing and con­trolling each ro­bot­ic joint. Just as a mod­u­lar ro­bot design must en­able the flex­ib­il­ity to ful­fil vari­ous spe­cial­ised tasks, so too, the cap­ab­il­ity of the drive train has to match this need.

The mo­tor it­self is cent­ral to the drive train. To achieve the re­quired high dy­nam­ic per­form­ance, ne­ces­sary at­trib­utes in­clude high torque dens­ity and low in­er­tia, en­abling rap­id ac­cel­er­a­tion and de­cel­er­a­tion. Smooth con­trol of each ro­bot joint is also es­sen­tial, so the mo­tor must en­sure cap­ab­il­it­ies such as low cog­ging, min­im­ising mi­cro ripples and jerks dur­ing mo­tor ro­ta­tion.

For light­weight ro­bots, a com­pact mo­tor is also es­sen­tial, which fur­ther em­phas­ises the need for high torque dens­ity. A frame­less design, like max­on’s EC frame­less mo­tor, en­hances design in­teg­ra­tion, and its hol­low shaft en­ables through rout­ing of cables. Des­pite the mo­tor’s small foot­print, this design also an­swers the es­sen­tial cri­ter­ia of heat and en­ergy ef­fi­ciency.

The drive train

However, to op­tim­ise ro­bot mo­tion per­form­ance, not just the mo­tor, but the com­plete drive train must be taken in­to con­sid­er­a­tion. The drive train, it­self a mod­ule of the ro­bot, typ­ic­ally com­prises the mo­tor, plus the gear­head, the en­coder, which provides con­tinu­al feed­back on po­s­i­tion and speed, as well as the mo­tor’s po­s­i­tion and speed con­trol­ler. Like the mo­tor, each of these com­pon­ents should be de­signed to en­hance dis­tinct per­form­ance cri­ter­ia, yet the design of the drive train as a com­plete mod­ule is fun­da­ment­al to op­tim­ising mo­tion per­form­ance.

This re­quires cor­rect di­men­sion­ing, and cru­cially, cor­rect siz­ing, in terms of meet­ing the re­quired mo­tion out­put val­ues, such as torque, speed, ac­cel­er­a­tion, and po­s­i­tion pro­file. Of­ten, the spe­cial­ised re­quire­ments of mod­u­lar ro­bots for each in­di­vidu­al ap­plic­a­tion also mean that cus­tom­isa­tion of dis­tinct mo­tion com­pon­ents is also ne­ces­sary. As these com­pon­ents per­form to­geth­er in con­cert, design changes to in­di­vidu­al parts can have a sub­sequent im­pact on the op­er­a­tion of the mo­tion sys­tem as a whole. There­fore, if cus­tom­isa­tion to any as­pect is re­quired, treat­ing the drive train as a com­plete mod­ule is a more ef­fect­ive way of op­tim­ising both the mo­tion per­form­ance as well as design in­teg­ra­tion.

To meet these ob­ject­ives, the design stage should also in­clude kin­emat­ic sim­u­la­tion. Cre­at­ing a work­ing, vir­tu­al mod­el is vi­tal to plan the ro­bot’s mo­tion path, en­sur­ing that the de­sired kin­emat­ic pro­files can be achieved, ac­cord­ing to factors such as po­s­i­tion, ac­cel­er­a­tion, and torque. Sim­u­la­tion is also cru­cial to en­sure that the ro­bot op­er­ates with­in safe lim­its for the pro­tec­tion of users, as well as the phys­ic­al en­vir­on­ment. This ser­vice can be provided by a mo­tion de­sign­er like max­on, in con­junc­tion with pro­gram­ming sup­port for each ax­is of mo­tion.

Op­tim­ising design ef­fi­ciency 

Design­ing and sim­u­lat­ing the drive train as a mod­ule also makes the de­vel­op­ment pro­cess sig­ni­fic­antly more ef­fi­cient. Most sig­ni­fic­antly, it re­moves the time re­quired to de­vel­op and test the per­form­ance, com­pat­ib­il­ity, and in­teg­ra­tion of in­di­vidu­al drive sys­tem com­pon­ents. In ad­di­tion, it re­duces de­mand on pro­cure­ment teams. As a com­bined res­ult, ro­bots can be brought on­line more quickly.

The al­tern­at­ive ap­proach of pro­cur­ing dis­tinct com­pon­ents might be at­tract­ive from an ini­tial cost per­spect­ive. However, the de­vel­op­ment time re­quired for in-house drive train en­gin­eer­ing can make this pro­cess less cost-ef­fect­ive long term.

The greatest ad­vant­age of work­ing with ded­ic­ated mo­tion en­gin­eer­ing ex­pert­ise though, is the im­proved mo­tion per­form­ance that can be achieved. Not only can this part­ner­ship in­crease a ro­bot’s cap­ab­il­it­ies, but a tried and tested ap­proach to drive train de­vel­op­ment can also en­hance re­li­ab­il­ity, min­im­ising down­time when the ro­bots are de­ployed in the field.

When en­ga­ging a drive train de­sign­er, con­sid­er­ing the im­pact that mo­tion spe­cific­a­tion has on ro­bot per­form­ance and design in­teg­ra­tion, ideally the mo­tion en­gin­eers should be in­volved at the earli­est op­por­tun­ity. This will speed up de­vel­op­ment by min­im­ising the volume of re­quired it­er­a­tions, and will quickly help achieve a fi­nal­ised design.

Au­thor: Ro­man Ber­ger max­on Head of Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment for Ro­bot­ics 

Servo Drive with New Synchronized Communication Protocols

Kollmorgen has announced the latest update to its AKD2G servo drive. With the introduction of these new features, Kollmorgen has expanded its offering to include support for PROFINET IRT and Ethernet/IP with CIP Sync in addition to CANopen®, EtherCAT® and FSoE time-synchronised communication protocols. Each protocol has been rigorously tested with a wide range of motion controllers. Each has been certified by industry standards organisations. The update enables synchronised motion between multiple drives using a wide range of control architectures. The AKD2G is the ideal drive for applications that require high-precision coordination across multiple axes of motion due to its flexibility and high performance.

Optional safety up to SIL3 

The drive offers industry-leading power density in a compact package and is easy to install - with single and dual axis variants available. Engineers can use single-cable Smart Feedback Device (SFD) or HIPERFACE® DSL connections, or choose from a wide range of other feedback devices. Finally, the drive offers optional SafeMotion® Monitor (SMM) firmware with a SIL3/PLe safety level to meet functional safety requirements and enable a wider range of applications.

The AKD2G paired with AKM2G motors is part of the 2G Motion System, a suite of motion products designed to work together for ultimate ease of setup and higher performance. Engineers also can take advantage of the drive’s compatibility with a wider range of controllers and feedback devices — or with other motors, as needed.

Compact Motion Control System for Brushless Motors

Integrated in the powerful brushless motors of the FAULHABER 22xx...BX4 family, the new Integrated Motion Controller 22xx…BX4 IMC, impresses users with its extensive range of functions and outstanding performance. Extension in length compared to the motor alone is 18mm only including a full featured servo controller and a 12-bit encoder. To top this, the full performance of the motors can be used in all different executions.

The version with RS232 interface is ideal for integration both from a PC or via an embedded master. The CANopen version is the perfect match for industrial automation networks. Being fully compliant with the CiA 402 servo drive standard allows direct support from typical PLCs. But even using the RS232 version several drives can be controlled using a single port of the master. Typical tasks like homing a drive can directly be executed by the integrated Motion Controller using its local digital and analog I/Os.

Alternatively, both versions can also be operated without a master in "stand-alone" mode. Its digital and analog I/Os can then be used very flexible for local control tasks or for discrete set-point and actual values. The compact 22xx…BX4 IMC can be combined with many products from the FAULHABER product range such as the compact GPT gearheads and the new FAULHABER 22L linear actuators. 

Efficient and highly dynamic

The built-in current control automatically provides protection against overloading and there is also a diagnostic function. Supported are torque, velocity or position control according to the servo-drive standard. These features are complemented by low EMC emissions and the obligatory CE label. 

The brushless motors with the new Integrated Motion Controller 22xx…BX4 IMC are available in two lengths, having first-class volume-to-performance ratio as well as highly dynamic control characteristics. They are suitable for a wide range of market segments such as medical and laboratory technology, automation technology, robotics or special industrial machinery.

Comprehensive Digitalization Offering Along the Drivetrain Value Chain

At this year's Han­nov­er Messe, Siemens has presented Siemens Xcel­er­at­or for Di­git­al Driv­etrain, its com­pre­hens­ive and in­teg­rated di­git­al­iz­a­tion of­fer­ing along the driv­etrain value chain com­prised of two areas: Driv­etrain Design (di­men­sion­ing and sim­u­la­tion) and Driv­etrain Health (con­nectiv­ity and op­tim­iz­a­tion). Driv­etrain Design in­cludes en­gin­eer­ing and sim­u­la­tion tools for the ef­fi­cient di­men­sion­ing, val­id­a­tion, test­ing, vir­tu­al com­mis­sion­ing, and op­tim­iz­a­tion of driv­etrains in the design phase of a ma­chine or sys­tem. 

Driv­etrain Health of­fers hard­ware- and soft­ware-based sensor and con­nectiv­ity solu­tions for data ac­quis­i­tion as well as co­ordin­ated ana­lys­is soft­ware tools. These tools provide in­sights in­to the be­ha­vi­or of the driv­etrain and en­able power­ful con­di­tion mon­it­or­ing. Siemens is thus demon­strat­ing how cus­tom­ers can com­bine the real and di­git­al worlds of drive tech­no­logy to achieve ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­ab­il­ity along the en­tire driv­etrain value chain.

For ef­fi­cient se­lec­tion, val­id­a­tion, vir­tu­al com­mis­sion­ing, and op­tim­iz­a­tion of drive sys­tems

In the area of sim­u­la­tion and vir­tu­al com­mis­sion­ing, Siemens is launch­ing DriveSim En­gin­eer, the suc­cessor to DriveSim Ad­vanced. DriveSim En­gin­eer makes it pos­sible to cre­ate a di­git­al twin of the drive in a vir­tu­al en­vir­on­ment with all the para­met­ers and con­fig­ur­a­tions that cor­res­pond to the real drive. In ad­di­tion to the new SI­N­AM­ICS S210 series, the new SI­N­AM­ICS G220 fre­quency con­vert­ers are now also avail­able in the tool. The di­git­al twin tech­no­logy and in­tu­it­ive user in­ter­face al­low users to sim­u­late, com­mis­sion, and op­tim­ize the be­ha­vi­or of drive sys­tems in a vir­tu­al en­vir­on­ment be­fore in­stalling them in the real world. This sig­ni­fic­antly in­creases ef­fi­ciency and pro­ductiv­ity in the en­gin­eer­ing of drive sys­tems and ma­chines. Thanks to its in­teg­ra­tion in TIA Portal (Startdrive), DriveSim En­gin­eer is a seam­less part of (vir­tu­al) com­mis­sion­ing and makes train­ing in ad­di­tion­al tools su­per­flu­ous. Users be­ne­fit from short­er com­mis­sion­ing times, more ac­cur­acy in de­tect­ing and resolv­ing po­ten­tial prob­lems with drive sys­tems, and real-time in­sights and ana­lyses for im­prov­ing the over­all per­form­ance of drive sys­tems.

In­tel­li­gent con­di­tion mon­it­or­ing for a healthy driv­etrain 

Siemens is present­ing two in­tel­li­gent solu­tion pack­ages for high-per­form­ance con­di­tion mon­it­or­ing: a cloud-based solu­tion and a PC-based solu­tion. The two com­ple­ment each oth­er and can be used ac­cord­ing to re­quire­ments. With Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er Cloud, Siemens com­bines the two ap­plic­a­tions Ana­lyze MyDrives and Sid­rive IQ Fleet in­to one in­nov­at­ive app. In ad­di­tion to a new user in­ter­face, Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er Cloud of­fers users the op­tion of con­nect­ing vari­ous drive com­pon­ents such as fre­quency in­vert­ers, mo­tors, or oth­er ro­tat­ing ma­chines to a driv­etrain and mon­it­or­ing the driv­etrain’s status. An­oth­er new product is the Con­nec­tion Mod­ule IOT (CM IOT), which can be in­stalled and put in­to op­er­a­tion in just a few minutes. High­lights in­clude the im­proved, ad­di­tion­al sensor tech­no­logy, the new al­tern­at­ive en­ergy concept via an ex­tern­al 24 V con­nec­tion, and a hous­ing and com­pon­ent up­date. The mod­ule meas­ures raw data and auto­mat­ic­ally trans­fers it to the cloud. Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er Cloud provides im­me­di­ate in­form­a­tion about an­om­alies and spe­cif­ic er­ror pat­terns such as bear­ing dam­age, im­bal­ances, or mis­align­ments, thereby help­ing to pre­vent un­planned down­time. The cost-ef­fi­cient solu­tion com­bines con­di­tion mon­it­or­ing with de­car­bon­iz­a­tion by sup­ply­ing the user with im­port­ant ad­di­tion­al data and re­com­mend­a­tions for ac­tion re­gard­ing CO₂ emis­sions, en­ergy con­sump­tion, and en­ergy costs. An­oth­er new fea­ture is pump ana­lyt­ics, which Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er Cloud can use to cal­cu­late and ana­lyze sys­tem ef­fi­ciency and spe­cif­ic pump para­met­ers.

In ad­di­tion to the cloud solu­tion, Siemens is also present­ing an­oth­er new product, a PC-based con­di­tion mon­it­or­ing solu­tion con­sist­ing of three com­pon­ents: the new VIB (Vi­bra­tion) and FPP (Fast Pro­cess Para­met­ers) (CM FPP) con­nec­tion mod­ules, the Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er X-Tools soft­ware, and the cor­res­pond­ing sensors and sensor cables. The CM VIB and CM FPP con­nectiv­ity mod­ules re­cord vi­bra­tion and ana­log sig­nals at a sampling rate of 96 kHz. All sensor in­form­a­tion can be re­cor­ded and trans­mit­ted syn­chron­ously. Now users can also ana­lyze high-speed, in­ter­mit­tent ma­chines such as auto­mot­ive presses, cranes, or ma­chine tools with two syn­chron­ous axes. Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er X-Tools is an ex­pert tool for highly dy­nam­ic data ac­quis­i­tion up to 192 kHz as well as for manu­al data ana­lys­is. Be­cause X-Tools can con­nect to al­most any data source, users can ideally use X-Tools as an ana­lyt­ics tool­box to link their own ana­lyt­ics with ele­ments of a pre­con­figured lib­rary. For ex­ample, the soft­ware can be used to mon­it­or bear­ing tem­per­at­ure, hous­ing vi­bra­tions, and oil lub­ric­a­tion, mean­ing pres­sure and flow, in heavy ma­chinery equipped with plain bear­ings. In this way, Driv­etrain Ana­lyz­er X-Tools and the new con­nectiv­ity mod­ules con­trib­ute to high­er ma­chine avail­ab­il­ity, bet­ter per­form­ance, and a longer sys­tem ser­vice life.

Modular Encoders for Precise Motor Control

Lika Elec­tron­ic's AMM33 mini­ature en­coder is equipped with a 6 mm blind hol­low shaft and is ideally suited for in­teg­ra­tion in­to very small size mo­tors. The SMAR1 off-ax­is en­coder fits per­fectly in­to hol­low shaft mo­tors and axes with lar­ger dia­met­er up to 18 mm. 

En­ergy har­vest­ing tech­no­logy

The AMM33 is ab­so­lute and mul­ti­t­urn and in­teg­rates the En­ergy Har­vest­ing Tech­no­logy for bat­tery- and gear-less op­er­a­tion. It can be equipped with SSI and BiSS in­ter­faces. The sing­le­tu­rn res­ol­u­tion is up to 18 bits, the num­ber of turns is up to 24 bits.

The SMAR1 has both in­cre­ment­al and ab­so­lute out­puts (Line Driver, SSI, BiSS, and SPI). In­cre­ment­al ver­sion of­fers a res­ol­u­tion up to 65,536 PPR and ad­di­tion­al UVW com­mut­a­tion sig­nals. The ab­so­lute ver­sion has a res­ol­u­tion between 16 and 35 bits and ad­di­tion­al TTL sig­nals for speed con­trol.

To ful­fil spe­cif­ic cus­tom­er re­quire­ments mech­an­ic­al and elec­tric­al char­ac­ter­ist­ics can be cus­tom­ized.

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