-Shih Pin Tan, Asia Pacific, Universal Robots. Boasting a fleet of over 10,000 aircraft, taking a commercial flight in Asia might not be as novel as before. In generations prior, it was not as easy to manufacture these machines, with the average commercial jet airliner comprising of over 350,000 individual parts. In crafting these parts—whether metal or plastic, one process is essential: machine tending. A well-functioning manufacturing workflow relies on machinery consistently being loaded and unloaded with parts or materials. When done well, machine tending increases productivity and yields – driving down the cost of production over time. Without it, production would grind to a halt. As the sector looks forward into the future, advancements in manufacturing will rest on optimising this crucial task. The next industrial revolution Stemming from the early 2010s, Industry 4.0 saw manufacturers integrating new technologies into their production facilities and throughout their operations. Industry 5.0 builds on this, using R&D to transition to a more sustainable, human-centric and resilient industry. With that, collaborative automation has a vital role to play. Already integral to Industry 4.0, greater automation of machine tending – more specifically collaborative robotics – will help manufacturers transition to Industry 5.0. In fact, the European Commission sees Industry 5.0 as playing a vital role in providing solutions to challenges for society, including the preservation of resources and climate change. The future of manufacturing and the transition to Industry 5.0 rests on ensuring machine tending benefits from both human skill and automated consistency, something collaborative robots (cobots) are specifically designed for. The man-machine partnership Over decades, human machine operators have been slogging away at the repetitive and physically demanding task of machine tending. This poses a multitude of issues for both workers as well as manufacturers and must be addressed. For one, machine tending […]
RS PRO are experts in Industrial Control Panels. And for good reason. They are the control centre of countless industrial operations, and without them production stands still. This guide gives buyers, and experts alike, a quick guide to the ins and outs of control panels. Where to start? Panels are effectively the brains, containing the components necessary to control and manage devices, electrical systems, production plants and industrial machines. They function as the interface point between the machine operator and the production line, and transmit acoustic, visual, and video signals to ensure constant monitoring. The operator input commands can be completely digital (touch screen panel) or physical (buttons, switches) while the output signals (machine side) are sound and visual alarms, and video responses on how the plant is working. From the outside The meters on the outside serve as an interface with a machine-operator and employee. They display energy, temperature, counters, and voltmeters. The ammeters show the numerical values that the panel commands and switch to intervene on the machinery. This can turn the machinery on and off and use sounders & beacons to signal possible problems. The human touch RS PRO now boasts a human-machine interface (HMI) for the first time in its range. A user-friendly and interactive touchscreen panel displays the plant graphically, enabling users to operate and evaluate functionality via the software. The graphic interface can be programmed, and reprogrammed for different functions and in the case of modifications to the plant. Inside the Box A panel cannot exist without an enclosure containing all its components. Known as a wall box even if it does not hang exclusively on walls. The DIN Rail components contain everything from power supplies and contactors, relays, terminal blocks and Ethernet switches, to timer relays and axial fans. Connected by cables & […]
The advanced material is attractive with a low coefficient of friction and a new black design. For the bearing of pivoting and rotary applications, Treotham introduces iglidur J3, a lubrication-free and long-lasting igus tribo-polymer. The endurance runner convinces, above all, with its proven, very low coefficient of friction. As the yellowish material did not always match the design concept of the user, igus has now further developed the tried-and-tested tribo-polymer into the black iglidur J3B. But igus always has the right material for other applications as well. The intuitively operated iglidur online expert system helps with the selection. High dirt resistance, low coefficient of friction and toughness to combat edge and impact loads; features that are in demand in many industries. To satisfy this demand, igus launched the high-performance polymer iglidur J3 for its plain bearing range in 2015. The tribo-polymer displays its advantages especially in pivoting and rotary movements. igus has now further developed the “endurance runner” into iglidur J3B (B for black). The new black high-performance polymer adapts to the design of furniture or even sports and leisure equipment. “Particularly the customers who use our flanged bearings wanted to use iglidur J3, but the slightly yellowish material often did not fit into the design of the application. Now we can deliver a long-lasting solution with proven properties”, explains Stefan Loockmann-Rittich, Head of iglidur plain bearing technology Business Unit at igus GmbH. The iglidur J3B increases service life, especially for applications with low and medium loads, making it ideal for the bicycle industry, for example in pedals, brake levers or suspensions. The iglidur J3 is also used in the mountain bike pedals from Crankbrothers. For years, the American company has been promoting the premium components and is relying on the lubrication-free and dirt-resistant plain bearings made of high-performance polymers. Online expert […]
Measuring mechanical loads typically requires load sensors that can be costly or physically inaccessible. The Fluke® 438-II Power Quality and Motor Analyser uses innovative algorithms to analyse not only three-phase power quality but also torque, efficiency, and speed to determine system performance and detect overloaded conditions, eliminating the need for motor load sensors. The Fluke 438-II simplifies the process of motor performance diagnosis by providing analysis data for both the electrical and mechanical characteristics of the motor while it is in operation. Using proprietary algorithms, the 438-II measures the three-phase current and voltage waveforms and compares them against rated specifications to calculate motor mechanical performance. The analysis is presented in simple readouts, making it easy to gauge the operating performance and determine if adjustments are needed before failures cause an operational shut down. The analyser also provides measurements to determine a motor’s efficiency (i.e. the conversion of electrical energy to mechanical torque) and mechanical power under operating load conditions. These measures allow maintenance engineers to determine the motors in-service operating power compared to its rated power to determine if the motor is operating in overloaded condition or, inversely, if it is oversized for the application energy may be wasted and operating cost increased. The 438-II is part of the Fluke 430 Series of three-phase power quality analysers that provide frontline troubleshooting and long-term trending to keep equipment running smoothly.
FARO Technologies has launched the FARO Design ScanArm, a portable 3D scanning solution tailored for 3D modeling, reverse engineering, and CAD-based design applications across the product lifecycle management (PLM) process. As a limited-time promotional offer, the FARO Design ScanArm will be bundled with 3D System’s Geomagic software at a reduced launch price. The available software options have capabilities that range from an automatic meshing software that delivers ready-to-use files without any post-processing to a full-featured reverse engineering software that combines history-based CAD with 3D scan data to create feature-based, editable solid models compatible with all major CAD platforms. The FARO Design ScanArm was purposefully-engineered to meet the needs of the Product Design market. By combining FARO’s best-in-class 3D scanning technology with 3D System’s Geomagic software offerings, the Design ScanArm provides a turnkey solution that allows users to quickly digitise any part or object, easily design or modify reverse engineered models, create manufacturing-ready CAD models, and verify design intent of prototype products.” The FARO Design ScanArm features optically-superior blue laser technology with fast scanning speed to deliver high-resolution point cloud data and the ability to seamlessly scan challenging materials without the need for spray or targets. The device is lightweight and maneuverable for convenient desktop mounting in the design studio or engineering lab. The Design ScanArm features a simplified user interface that makes it easy to operate regardless of skill level or 3D scanning experience. ScanArm is the ideal 3D scanning solution for any organisation that may have the need to manufacture parts without existing CAD models, develop aftermarket products that need to fit tightly with existing products, reverse engineer legacy parts for design changes or replacement, create digital libraries to decrease inventory and warehouse costs, design aesthetically pleasing, freeform surfaces, or leverage the power of rapid prototyping. www.faro.com/DesignScanArm/sg.
Carbon dioxide is a useful feedstock gas for synthesis of complex, functional materials. The power of carbon dioxide has been harnessed by Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research researchers to make two symmetrical star-shaped molecules in a single step. These molecules could be used to build complex, functional polymeric materials useful for catalysis, coatings and drug delivery. Carbon dioxide is a cheap and accessible base material, explains lead researcher He-Kuan Luo from the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering. “Therefore, many people are searching for efficient methods to transform carbon dioxide into useful molecules,” he explains. “But transforming carbon dioxide is not typically easy.” His team has developed a simple route to use carbon dioxide to make aromatic compounds that can be used as building blocks for more complicated materials. They created symmetrical benzene rings with three or six identical arms comprising carbonate groups terminated by carbon–carbon triple bonds, or ‘alkynes’. “We can integrate the carbon dioxide into the molecule without the need for high temperatures or high pressure,” says Luo. The molecules were made in a single step. The team introduced carbon dioxide from dry ice to an alcohol with an alkyne end group and benzene rings decorated with either three or six alkyl bromide groups. “At the beginning, however, only some of the branches reacted so we could not get the desired compound,” Luo explains. The team fine-tuned the process and found the reactions worked most efficiently at room temperature, with the carbon dioxide at atmospheric pressure and with the addition of both a promoter tetrabutylammonium bromide (TBAB) and the base potassium carbonate. “We tried many times and after a few months, we finally got [the bromide groups in] all six branches to react [with the alcohol],” he says. Adding the promoter to the mix doubled the […]
In the picture:A test chip for a sensor node processor based on cognitive sensing technology. A 50-cent coin has been placed next to the chip for size comparison. A sensor node processor for networked sensor applications achieves ultra-low power consumption by using ultra-low voltage operation, hardware acceleration and cognitive sensing techniques. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes devices and applications that gather and distribute data for everyday life. Sensor devices and processes that will underpin the IoT need to be small, versatile and energy efficient. Now researchers at Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) have developed a sensor processor node that is capable of intelligent sensing while using ultra-low levels of power. IoT applications range from biomedical signal processing to uses in vehicle-status monitoring and environmental sensing. Most IoT devices are tiny in size, which means that they typically consume only a small amount of power. This is particularly challenging for processors that sample the information from sensors and analyse the data, as their power demands, in contrast, are intense, explains Xin Liu and Jun Zhou from the research team. “The limits on the space for power sources such as batteries leads to a critical power budget at the level of the micro Watt,” says Liu. “At this level, processor design becomes extremely challenging if we are to achieve ultra-low power consumption whilst maintaining comprehensive functions.” Typically, the lower the operating voltage, the lower is the overall power consumption. The Institute of Microelectronics research team adopted ultra-low voltage circuitry and system design techniques, and further developed diverse hardware accelerators for high-energy efficient signal processing of sensor information. A further key advance is possible by taking a more intelligent approach to the signal acquisition, by utilizing the knowledge about the specific sensor signals. In many applications, sensor signals take the […]
By Shermine Gotfredsen, APAC General Manager of Universal Robots Pte Ltd There is a widespread fear that when new machines are installed on the factory floor, large numbers of jobs swiftly disappear. The machines in question may change over time—few of us would view weaving machines as a threat to our livelihood today, after all—but the worry that automated technology will negatively impact employment has existed since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. These apprehensions have caused many people to dismiss the facts and possibilities of robotics in the workplace. It is time for us to rethink the role and the realities of automation. It is time that we stop thinking in terms of “man vs. machine,” and start thinking in terms of “man with machine.” Misconception and reality One explanation for the pervasive belief that robots are “stealing” jobs is that all industrial robots are often painted with the same brush. In reality, industrial robots vary greatly. Lightweight, collaborative robots, or cobots as they are often called, differ enormously from traditional industrial robots that must be kept behind safety shields in order to avoid contact with humans. In fact, these cobots were developed with the intention of allowing the skills of man and machine to be combined. According to a recent study carried out by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), the number of robots sold globally will have doubled to about 400,000 units by 2018. 70 percent of those sales will come from China, Japan, USA, South Korea and Germany. South Korea is the front-runner of this group, deploying 478 industrial robots for every 10,000 employees in the country. In China, this figure currently stands at 36 units per 10,000 employees. Looking at the real numbers–in these cases 4.8 or .4 robots for every 10,000 employees—should give us some […]