Newsdesk – Automation Engineer https://www.theautomationengineer.com A drives, motors and automation resource. Wed, 19 Jun 2019 11:06:02 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 https://i0.wp.com/www.theautomationengineer.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/CT-favicon.png?fit=16%2C16&ssl=1 Newsdesk – Automation Engineer https://www.theautomationengineer.com 32 32 101235857 Zero backlash harmonic gearing https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/flexwave-zero-backlash-harmonic-gearing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=flexwave-zero-backlash-harmonic-gearing https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/flexwave-zero-backlash-harmonic-gearing/#respond Fri, 10 Aug 2018 08:43:55 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1442 A sister company to Control Techniques, Nidec-Shimpo, has a history of supplying the leading robotics and machine tool manufacturers in Japan. A new product called Flexwave is a compact harmonic gear reduction mechanism that achieves zero backlash, as well as exceptional positioning accuracy, torque density and repeatability. These characteristics make it attractive in robotics, machine […]

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A sister company to Control Techniques, Nidec-Shimpo, has a history of supplying the leading robotics and machine tool manufacturers in Japan. A new product called Flexwave is a compact harmonic gear reduction mechanism that achieves zero backlash, as well as exceptional positioning accuracy, torque density and repeatability.

Flexwave Nidec Shimpo

These characteristics make it attractive in robotics, machine tools, medical equipment, semiconductor manufacturing, satellite communications and assembly automation applications.

The Flexwave consists of three internal elements — the flexspline, the circular spline and the wave generator. The elasticity properties of the flexspline and the teeth differential between the flexspline and the circular spline result in its unique reduction characteristics.
The Flexwave comes in various form factors, including component sets, simple contained assemblies and complete gear units. Open, closed, solid and hollow shaft configurations give engineers design options.

The device is also available in ultra-flat and high torque variations for applications with demanding footprint and performance requirements. Dimensions are also interchangeable against industry standards, making it easier to implement in legacy equipment.

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Artificial intelligence transforms how science is conducted https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/artificial-intelligence-transforms-how-science-is-conducted/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=artificial-intelligence-transforms-how-science-is-conducted https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/artificial-intelligence-transforms-how-science-is-conducted/#respond Mon, 06 Aug 2018 08:22:17 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1435 AI and machine learning technology have spread rapidly as a scientific tool, enabling discoveries in fields as diverse as animal behaviour, nuclear physics, and exoplanet hunting. As its capabilities expand, artificial intelligence may soon change not just how scientists work, but how they think. The impact of machine learning on scientific inquiry has been magnified […]

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AI and machine learning technology have spread rapidly as a scientific tool, enabling discoveries in fields as diverse as animal behaviour, nuclear physics, and exoplanet hunting. As its capabilities expand, artificial intelligence may soon change not just how scientists work, but how they think.

The impact of machine learning on scientific inquiry has been magnified by the changing nature of data collection. Long gone are the days when experimenters would collect individual observations and log them by hand. Modern instruments, whether aboard satellites or lurking at the bottom of the ocean, are constantly generating vast amounts of information — so much that human beings are incapable of processing it.

Machine learning algorithms, in contrast, have no trouble sifting through reams of data. They are designed to identify patterns and sort them into categories.

Artificial_intelligence_transforms_science

In the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, oceanographer Kaitlin Frasier of the University of California, San Diego, set out to assess the damage that the massive oil spill caused. “We needed to know what happened to marine mammals,” she says.

Specifically, Frasier was concerned with the spill’s impact on dolphin populations. Trying to track the animals from the surface is expensive and time consuming, so Frasier used a different approach: deploying hydrophones to the seabed to passively record every sound in the ocean. By separating out dolphin vocalisations from the general ocean noise, Frasier hoped to detect trends in the animals’ population density.

The first part of the experiment was successful: Frasier’s hydrophones captured thousands of hours of sea noise that included hundreds of dolphin vocalisations. “We collected terabytes of data,” Frasier says. But that abundance posed a problem. Listening to all those recordings and sorting out the different kinds of vocalisations into categories would leave her no time to do anything else.

Frasier was familiar with advances in artificial intelligence technology, so set up an algorithm to sift through the masses of data and sort the dolphin sounds into categories. “The algorithm is unsupervised, meaning that you’re turning it loose on the dataset,” Frasier says. By the time it finished running, the software had identified seven types of distinct clicks, only one of which had previously been identified as coming from a known species of dolphin.

Humans think analytically. A computer doesn’t have to go through the reasoning process, so it can generate many more hypotheses than a human would.

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Ultra-fast charger for EVs https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/ultra-fast-charger-for-evs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ultra-fast-charger-for-evs https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/ultra-fast-charger-for-evs/#respond Fri, 27 Jul 2018 10:46:08 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1432 Nidec ASI has announced the launch of a new Ultra Fast Charger (UFC) which it claims can recharge a new-generation EV in less than 15 minutes with minimal impact on the electricity grid. The UFC connects to the national grid through charging towers, simplifying and accelerating the electrification process of infrastructures for supplying electric cars, […]

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Nidec ASI has announced the launch of a new Ultra Fast Charger (UFC) which it claims can recharge a new-generation EV in less than 15 minutes with minimal impact on the electricity grid.

The UFC connects to the national grid through charging towers, simplifying and accelerating the electrification process of infrastructures for supplying electric cars, and at the same time reducing operating costs.

The new Ultra Fast Charger acts as a ‘buffer’ between the electricity grid and the recharging tower and incorporates 160kWh of installed batteries with advanced power controls. It is the prototype of a new generation of ultra-fast chargers, which can be connected to LV or MV grids and which, against an energy requirement of only 50kW, can supply 320kW of power to a vehicle, thereby multiplying the power delivered by six compared to that drawn from the grid.

Nidec ASI claims that the system can rapidly recharge EVs up to 80% of their capacity in less than 15 minutes, guaranteeing the electric vehicles up to 500km travel, and also allows the recharging of two vehicles in parallel or three in series.

“We think it’s only a matter of time before the electric car comes to the forefront throughout the world,” said  Matteo Rizzi, Director, Global Sales & Marketing, Renewables (PV, BESS & EV) of Nidec Industrial Solutions.

“In many countries – such as those of Northern Europe, the USA and, first and foremost, China and Japan, e-Mobility is already a widespread reality and responds to the ever more pressing need to reduce pollution and noise, particularly in urban centres.”

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Combining AI and Vision https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/combining-ai-and-vision/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=combining-ai-and-vision https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/combining-ai-and-vision/#respond Tue, 24 Jul 2018 10:27:12 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1427 AI (artificial intelligence) and vision systems sound like a perfect combination. Intel has recently announced the OpenVINO (Open Visual Inference and Neural Network Optimization) toolkit, which lets developers combine a graphics subsystem with the algorithms required to deployed a sophisticated AI/machine-learning platform at the Edge of the IoT. The application areas for such a solution […]

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AI (artificial intelligence) and vision systems sound like a perfect combination. Intel has recently announced the OpenVINO (Open Visual Inference and Neural Network Optimization) toolkit, which lets developers combine a graphics subsystem with the algorithms required to deployed a sophisticated AI/machine-learning platform at the Edge of the IoT.

The application areas for such a solution are too numerous to name – one is for traffic management. In addition to simply observing the traffic flow, the system can consider weather (current and future), time of day, holidays, unplanned events, and so on. With all that information, things like lane opening and closing, parking spot availability, traffic-light patterns, can be adjusted accordingly.

OpenVINO consists of Intel CPUs with integrated graphics. This allows the designer to adapt to almost any potential network or interface. The VPU can help maintain performance efficiency. A key decision which the system must make is what and where to send to the Cloud, verses handing at the Edge of the IoT (known as fog computing) – the latter is important for applications that need to operate in real-time. While sending information to the Cloud for processing can be quick and efficient, it is not suitable for real-time applications.

Richard Nass, Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media, wrote an article in Embedded Computing, covering AI/Vision Systems in greater detail.

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Survey: robots and digitization “will change the way we work” https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/survey-robots-and-digitization-will-change-the-way-we-work/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=survey-robots-and-digitization-will-change-the-way-we-work https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/survey-robots-and-digitization-will-change-the-way-we-work/#respond Fri, 20 Jul 2018 09:05:48 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1418 With around 1.8 million industrial robots, the number of robots has reached a new record in factories around the world. Workers rate positively that “colleague robots” can take over work that is detrimental to health or handle hazardous materials positively. However, employees are worried about how their own training can keep up with the pace. […]

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With around 1.8 million industrial robots, the number of robots has reached a new record in factories around the world. Workers rate positively that “colleague robots” can take over work that is detrimental to health or handle hazardous materials positively. However, employees are worried about how their own training can keep up with the pace.

These are the findings of the Automatica Trend Index 2018. 7,000 employees in the USA, Asia and Europe in a representative survey of the population were interviewed by a market research institute on behalf of Automatica, the European trade fair for robotics and automation.

Robots and Digitization change how we work

This new collaboration with robots is regarded by the majority of all seven countries (average 68%) as an opportunity to master higher-skilled work. Particularly in China (86%) and in the USA (74%), people expect that robotics automation will provide added impetus to further their vocational training.

The number of higher-skilled and better paid jobs will rise in the future with the new human-robot teams – according to about half the survey respondents in Germany, France, Italy, the UK and Japan.

In China and the United States, as many as 80% of workers presume this will be the case.

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Electric Vehicle (EV) crossover target in danger of being missed https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/electric-vehicle-ev-crossover-target-danger-missed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=electric-vehicle-ev-crossover-target-danger-missed https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/electric-vehicle-ev-crossover-target-danger-missed/#respond Tue, 17 Jul 2018 14:32:19 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1414 Further to recent speculation that Michael Gove will also include the ban on the sale of new hybrid cars, as well as petrol and diesel by 2040, automotive experts at leading real estate services company, Colliers International, say this is just going create even more confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace, with buyer confidence being […]

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Further to recent speculation that Michael Gove will also include the ban on the sale of new hybrid cars, as well as petrol and diesel by 2040, automotive experts at leading real estate services company, Colliers International, say this is just going create even more confusion and uncertainty in the marketplace, with buyer confidence being driven down unnecessarily.

John Roberts, Head of Automotive and Roadside at Colliers commented: “Recent legislation from the UK government has allocated funding to support local authorities in creating the necessary electric charging infrastructure which is welcome. Yet the market is still in its infancy and some of these initiatives are perhaps causing some consumer confusion. Currently, there are over 5,000 locations in the UK that have a public charging point installed and there are over 9,000 devices at these locations, which provide 15,000 connectors. Although these statistics are impressive, the number of connectors and devices will need to at least quadruple in the short term to meet the demand from the increasing sales of Electric Vehicles.”

Colliers’ research also highlights ‘range anxiety’ –  the concern held by potential EV owners that the vehicle could run out of power before reaching their desired destination – as a key deterrent to Electric Vehicle ownership.

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Digitization in motor vehicle manufacturing https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/digitization-motor-vehicle-manufacturing/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=digitization-motor-vehicle-manufacturing https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/digitization-motor-vehicle-manufacturing/#respond Wed, 14 Mar 2018 10:53:31 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1375 Automatic scanning using RFID technology is being introduced to offer more transparency in motor vehicle manufacturers’ supply chains and manufacturing operations. Such RFID systems consist of RFID tags on parts and a scanner that reads out information optically. Put simply, digitization in motor vehicle manufacturing frees employees from manual scanning reduces time and labour. Researchers […]

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Automatic scanning using RFID technology is being introduced to offer more transparency in motor vehicle manufacturers’ supply chains and manufacturing operations. Such RFID systems consist of RFID tags on parts and a scanner that reads out information optically. Put simply, digitization in motor vehicle manufacturing frees employees from manual scanning reduces time and labour.

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg are affixing RFID tags to every single safety-critical part. In a first step, the researchers analysed which of the numerous vehicle parts are best suited for this and identified as many as 40 parts. For the start, the experts focused on mirrors and seats for further developments.

“Radio frequency identification or RFID tags on parts can boost process reliability and efficiency significantly,” says Marc Kujath, a research scientist at the Fraunhofer IFF. “We have demonstrated this in feasibility studies and wireless tests conducted jointly with Mercedes-Benz Vans at their factory in Ludwigsfelde near Berlin.”

Much like a barcode, a serial number is stored on the tags, the major difference being that, whereas barcode merely stores information identifying the type of component, the number on an RFID tag delivers abundant information, such as the vehicle in which the component is to be installed. Whereas barcodes have to be read manually with a handheld scanner one by one, RFID tags can all be read automatically and optically at the same time by one scanner – even when the parts have been installed. This means that information can be retrieved from RFID tags in seconds at any given time. For instance, the installation of all the requisite parts can be verified while a front or rear axle is being mounted. Previously, this was not checked until final inspection – by employees conducting visual inspections and using paper lists.

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Using LED Lights To Supplement WiFi https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/using-led-lights-supplement-wifi/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=using-led-lights-supplement-wifi https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/using-led-lights-supplement-wifi/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 13:42:06 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1286 Energy-saving Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) could help meet demand for wireless communications without affecting the quality of light or environmental benefits they deliver, new research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has shown. A University of Edinburgh team has found that transmitting digital data via LEDs at the same time as […]

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Energy-saving Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) could help meet demand for wireless communications without affecting the quality of light or environmental benefits they deliver, new research funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has shown.

A University of Edinburgh team has found that transmitting digital data via LEDs at the same time as using them to generate light does not make the light dimmer or change its colour. Nor does it make the LED more energy-hungry. Dr Wasiu Popoola of the University of Edinburgh, who led the research, says these concerns have held back the more widespread adoption of Light Fidelity, or LiFi, which uses household LEDs to enable data transfer.

But these findings help eliminate key hurdles to using LEDs to help satisfy the increasing global thirst for wireless communications. Preserving the quality of lighting is, in particular, a vital consideration as it can have a major effect on the physical and mental wellbeing of people in both their homes and their workplaces. LEDs have secured a huge increase in their share of the worldwide lighting market in recent years, as well as being used extensively in TV and other displays.

Although it has long been known that LEDs can be ‘piggy-backed’ to transmit data to and from mobiles, tablets, sensors and other devices, questions have surrounded the ability to do this without affecting the core capabilities of LEDs or the money-saving and ‘green’ benefits that make them so popular.

Focusing on LEDs producing ‘warm white’ and ‘cool white’ light, the Edinburgh team looked at two different data transmission techniques: on-off keying, where the LED works like Morse code, switching on and off extremely rapidly and imperceptibly to human eyes; and continuous signalling, where imperceptible changes in light intensity are used to achieve the same goal.

Neither technique was found to significantly reduce the lightbulbs’ brightness or their life expectancy, or to cause any significant change in the colour of the light. Both techniques also produced only a negligible change in the heat generated by the LEDs – a key consideration, as any temperature increase would indicate the LED using more electricity to produce light, making it less energy-efficient and less carbon-friendly.

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Video Takes Off In Data Collection Applications https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/video-takes-off-data-collection-applications/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=video-takes-off-data-collection-applications https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/video-takes-off-data-collection-applications/#comments Fri, 08 Dec 2017 13:40:58 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1284 According to a recent survey, conducted by test and measurement company HBM, video use is accelerating in data collection. The study shows that almost half of the respondents (47%) already use video in data recording today, while 54% of the respondents expect video use within their organization to increase in the next year. Video cameras […]

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According to a recent survey, conducted by test and measurement company HBM, video use is accelerating in data collection. The study shows that almost half of the respondents (47%) already use video in data recording today, while 54% of the respondents expect video use within their organization to increase in the next year.

Video cameras are already used in many test and measurement applications throughout the industry in addition to data collection with traditional tactile sensors. But until now, there has been very little information on the level and nature of this use.

“Based on the study, there is no longer any question that recording video data in parallel to tactile sensors or digital bus signals is becoming more and more attractive to users. Video supports traditional sensor data and is becoming a valuable source of additional information, making the room for interpretation even narrower in testing,” commented Christof Salcher, Product Manager Instrumentation at HBM. ” “As the tactile and non-tactile worlds of data collection are coming together, there is not a question of using either video or traditional sensor data – but of both. Going forward, we will see sensors and video integrated together into data acquisition systems (DAQ) in more application areas over time, bringing valuable additional insight.”

In summary, the survey shows:

  • Video is most commonly used in structural durability, fatigue testing (48%). Machine monitoring or general lab testing (30%) and mobile data acquisition or road load data acquisition (28%), are also relatively common areas of application.
  • The most common reason for using video in data collection is to gain additional input analyzing unexpected deviations (73%). Other common reasons are decision finding (50%) and visualization of results to management (41%).
  • Regular video (such as webcams) is by far the most common equipment for video in data collection. In our survey, 80% of respondents use this type. High speed video is used by over a third of the respondents (36%), often in combination with traditional video.
  • Video in data collection is likely to increase substantially in the next years – this is indicated by both sides; by those already using video today and by those who do not. In total, 54% of all the respondents expect video use in data collection within their organization to increase. Among non-users that amounts to 37%.

Use brings more use:- Those already using video are more prone to increase their usage within the next years (76%). Of those 50 respondents expecting to increase their use of video in data, a majority (69%), predicts a substantial growth of 10-50%. None of those already using video expect the video usage to decrease in the next year.

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Nidec Ramps Up In Electric Cars And Robots https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/nidec-ramps-electric-cars-robots/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=nidec-ramps-electric-cars-robots https://www.theautomationengineer.com/automation-news/nidec-ramps-electric-cars-robots/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:36:30 +0000 https://www.theautomationengineer.com/?p=1280 Nidec is sharpening its focus on robots and electric vehicles, new technologies rapidly reshaping the industry landscape. “We have entered a new stage in automotive-related operations,” says Chairman and CEO Shigenobu Nagamori. “Orders for automotive motors are being received from European and Chinese manufacturers as electronic components are widely adopted by cars, while demand tied […]

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Nidec is sharpening its focus on robots and electric vehicles, new technologies rapidly reshaping the industry landscape.

“We have entered a new stage in automotive-related operations,” says Chairman and CEO Shigenobu Nagamori. “Orders for automotive motors are being received from European and Chinese manufacturers as electronic components are widely adopted by cars, while demand tied to home appliances has been brisk in Asia and elsewhere. These sales have compensated for sluggishness in precision motors for personal computers and other equipment.”

Sharp growth of products for the automotive, home electronics, commercial and industrial sectors symbolises a change in Nidec’s business structure. This business’ operating profit for April-September jumped 38% on the year to 38.6 billion yen, driving the company’s overall 19.8% increase to 82.6 billion yen and surpassing profit from the precision motor segment for the first time ever.

The company began making motors for hard disk drives in 1979. The rapid proliferation of PCs and the era of digitization supported Nidec’s strong growth over the years.

But the landscape has been changing. To ease dependence on HDDs, Nidec accelerated acquisitions over the past decade or so, announcing 56 purchases. Examples include Honda Elesys, a major producer of electronic control units for cars, and the motors and drives business from from US manufacturer Emerson Electric, including Control Techniques!

“Europe and China are trying to wean themselves off gasoline cars,” adds Nagamori. “The accelerated shift to electric vehicles is spurring a major change.”

Nidec’s automotive business mainly supplied parts for power steering and seat control systems. But now the company has developed motors for drive systems in electric vehicles, with plans to begin mass production as early as next year to supply automakers in emerging markets. The company aims to generate more than 100 billion yen in sales from drive system motors in fiscal 2025.

In robotics, Nidec plans to increase output with a focus on reducers, which control joints. The company targets robotics-related sales of 500 billion yen in fiscal 2025.

The company has an ambitious sales target of 10 trillion yen in fiscal 2030, nearly seven times the forecast for fiscal 2017. Nagamori says the biggest risk lies in securing necessary personnel including engineers.

 

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