ZELTWANGER Automation GmbH, part of the ZELTWANGER Holding group, has secured itself a coveted market position thanks to its custom-built and adaptable modular assembly and inspection systems. The company mainly specializes in manually interlinked one-piece-flow production line concepts and ergonomic standalone workstation systems. It also offers fully automated workpiece carrier- and robot-based assembly systems to suit customer-specific requirements. ZELTWANGER's portfolio also features leak testing systems, modular assembly installations, pin placement systems and polishing machines for ceramic substrates. With its recently launched X-CELL WB, the technology pioneer is particularly eager to take automated machine tool loading to a whole new level. The Industry 4.0-capable X-CELL WB handling cell from ZELTWANGER is an intelligent, modular system that can be flexibly adapted to workpieces of various sizes and is designed for ease of use, too. As an added bonus, the entire solution fits into a stylish and, more importantly, compact housing. Optimum capacity utilization on CNC machinery, shorter setup times, reduced payback periods and cost-effective, efficient and reliable machining of jobs - according to its makers, the new X-CELL WB combines all these strengths with previously unimaginable flexibility and simplicity.
With its KUKA wafer handling solution , Augsburg-based robot manufacturer KUKA has developed a mobile, fully automated transfer solution for the semiconductor industry that combines KUKA’s lightweight robot LBR iiwa with an automated guided vehicle (AGV) and specially adapted software that facilitates connection to a Manufacturing Execution System and integrates a fleet manager for automating and controlling transfer orders. Designed for use in the clean room environment of silicon wafer processing, the robot moves autonomously and omnidirectionally. Its patented, newly developed gripper system is designed to enable the vibration-free transfer of wafer cassettes. The solution thereby meets the semiconductor industry’s growing requirement for new automation options to satisfy the demand for semiconductors, which is set to increase in the future.
The future IoT will put much higher demands on data rates, reliability and latency of wireless connections. If many future IoT devices communicate in a small space, the need for transmission frequencies will increase much faster than previously thought. With LiFi, ELIoT introduces a new, networked wireless communication technology that works in the previously unused spectrum of light, in addition to WiFi and mobile radio. LiFi allows many applications for commercial, industrial or outdoor applications. It could be used successfully in environments where radio frequencies can not or should not be used. For outdoor use, it could enable high-bandwidth, direct-from-roof to roof-to-roof connections, between street lights or to consumers' homes in the next-generation network. Higher demands on wireless networks are likely to be due to software-controlled production (Industry 4.0), virtual and augmented reality, and autonomous driving. Also for LiFi could be used. ELIoT started in 2019 as part of the EU's largest research and innovation program, Horizon 2020. This program is designed to deliver groundbreaking results by bringing good ideas from the lab to market. ELIoT receives EUR 6 million in funding from the public-private partnership "Photonics21". Partners include Signify (formerly Philips Lighting), Nokia, MaxLinear, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, Weidmüller, LightBee, Oxford University, Eindhoven University of Technology and the two Fraunhofer Institutes Heinrich Hertz Institute HHI and FOKUS. Other companies will soon follow as associated partners. "With ELIoT, we have established an extremely efficient consortium of companies and organizations in the European lighting and communications industries. ELIoT is building a closed value chain with partners working with research facilities on components, chipsets, systems, and applications to make LiFi technology commercially viable for the IoT of the future, "says Project Coordinator Dr. Ing. Volker Jungnickel (Fraunhofer HHI). Prof. Jean-Paul Linnartz, co-initiator of ELIoT and head of LiFi research at Signify, highlights the potential of ELIoT: "LiFi offers interference-free high-speed, high-reliability communication. The available bandwidth can be fully reused in each room. The lighting infrastructure provides a great way to wirelessly network the rapidly growing number of devices. "
Measurement technology is currently not capable of efficiently and fully measuring the temperatures in an electric motor – the necessary sensors and their installation are simply too expensive. Temperatures in the rotating parts are particularly difficult to measure. The problem, however, is not only the lack of measuring instruments, but also the deviations that can occur during mass production. That is why manufacturers must provide for additional safety reserves, which in turn reduce the efficiency of the motors. As part of a project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), scientists from the Department of Power Electronics and Electrical Drive Technology at the University of Paderborn now aim to develop software capable of estimating the temperatures at certain points. In doing so, they are paying special attention to the sensitive and expensive permanent magnets. The researchers are looking for the solution in data-driven approaches. They are making use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to find new models for estimating the temperature in drives and other power engineering applications. This involves training their software with black-box approaches and experimental test-bench measurements in order to obtain the most precise temperature estimates possible.
The secret to the success of the ArcWorld cells is as simple as it is effective - take one Motoman robot, a positioning system, controller and power source and combine them in one space-saving platform that can be put straight to use. This ensures the robot cells are easy to install and operate and, if necessary, can also be quickly moved to a new location without any difficulty. The two new and most compact members of the product family to date now make these benefits available in even the smallest of spaces. The ArcWorld RS Mini cell needs just 2.3 square meters of clear floor space, and the ArcWorld HS Micro cell as little as 1.4 square meters. Like their big sisters, the two compact cells come with platform, casing, robot, welding kit and all the necessary accessories included. To satisfy all safety standards, the robot and welding kit are completely encapsulated by a polycarbonate glare shield. And, when it comes to the welding kit itself, customers can choose from a number of suppliers, including Kemppi, Esab and Migatronic. Each of the welding kits available includes a welding power source, cable bundle, wire feeder and welding torch. The system robot is the Motoman AR900, which YASKAWA now also manufactures directly in Europe. Besides exhibiting excellent path accuracy, it also boasts an IP67 protection rating and can therefore be used for welding and other automation tasks in even harsh environments – without requiring any additional modifications. A lean and organic design ensures the robot can reach deep into the working areas, while its smooth surfaces make it easy to clean. The AR900 is controlled via a single cable, which again saves space and also reduces wear. What’s more, this ingenious solution promises to drive down the costs associated with maintenance and spare parts inventories.
As part of the SMC Corporation, which operates in 83 countries and runs more than 31 production facilities, SMC Deutschland GmbH offers a comprehensive portfolio of products ranging from valves to thermo-chillers in more than 12,000 basic models and over 700,000 variants to suit a whole host of different industries. This makes it Germany's leading partner and solution provider for pneumatic and electric automation technology. To defend this sought-after position, the company is committed to constantly optimizing and developing its portfolio. For example, SMC has recently overhauled its pulse valves and brought them to market in their latest incarnation - the JSXFA series. The pulse valves in the JSXFA series really come into their own whenever the production process requires maximum power from a single blast of air. Capable of achieving 15 percent higher peak pressure, while also reducing compressed air consumption by a third, these new valves are at the top of their class in terms of pure performance data. Not only that, but their response time is now almost twice as fast as that of previous models, and their service life has been increased to an impressive 10 million cycles. "By achieving high peak pressure while also maintaining very low air consumption, the new pulse valves are suitable for any application that requires a powerful blast of air," explains Olaf Hagelstein, product manager at SMC Deutschland. In his view, one of the key applications for these valves will be cleaning filter elements. When it comes to effectively cleaning and removing extremely fine particles, he believes a powerful pressure pulse makes all the difference. "But, of course, the pulse valves are also ideal for removing any unwanted goods from the production line with a blast of air," he adds. "Ultimately, increasing performance while also reducing energy consumption is an appealing proposition for any industry. It's something all blow-off and cleaning applications can benefit from."
With 42 subsidiaries and branches around the world, the Pilz Group offers a whole host of end-to-end automation solutions. These cover sensor, control and drive technology and include systems for industrial communication, diagnostics and visualization. An international range of services featuring consultancy, engineering and training completes the portfolio. Besides mechanical and plant engineering, Pilz solutions are also used in numerous other sectors such as wind energy, rail technology and robotics. One of the hottest topics in robotics right now concerns cobots - a product of human-robot collaboration (HRC). To ensure companies can meet the strict safety standards that protect human coworkers, Pilz has developed the Pilz Robot Measurement System "PRMS". Due to high customer demand, the company is now also offering the system to buy, alongside the tried-and-tested rental version. The PRMS collision measurement set can be used to measure force and pressure to validate HRC applications in line with Method 4 of ISO/TS 15066. Thanks to new silicone compression elements, the device is even more user-friendly and also replicates the Shore values from ISO/TS 15066. The force and pressure measurements can then be easily evaluated using the PRMS Assistant software. And as if that were not enough, the all-in-one PRMS package also includes a one-day seminar explaining the measurement system and standards and providing practical training. What’s more, this all-in-one hassle-free package from Pilz covers maintenance, calibration and software updates for the PRMS, too.
In order to manage its global logistics network dynamically, the German industrial corporation Thyssenkrupp is opting for an in-house solution which has been created in cooperation with Microsoft . The “alfred” artificial intelligence solution is to become the central collection point for all information relevant to the company in the medium term and make the processes around the delivery chain more flexible. That could ultimately work to the benefit of the customer – through better adaptation of prices and quality to specific requirements and through faster delivery. Already since its introduction in 2019, the AI solution has optimized all transport routes and is providing faster availability of materials at the company’s sites. It is based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and in future will process and analyze around 14 million order items a year, identify optimal delivery routes and determine the material needs of individual industries and companies at specific locations. Thyssenkrupp’s in-house developments also include the IIoT platform toii , by means of which the company is networking its machine park.
Demographic change can be seen from the number of robots in use in industry. This connection has been established by the Flexibility@Work 2019 study published by the personnel service provider Randstad. It applies, the authors say, to Germany in particular: hardly any other country has seen such a steep rise in the use of robots since the early 1990s as we have here. The reasons lie in the fact that industry requires not only experience and technical expertise, but also power and precision, which is why more and more cobots are supporting the ageing workforce. For every 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry in Germany, the study reveals, there are now 322 robots. Cobots, i.e. robots that can work directly with human beings without any particular safety precautions, have increased in importance. Not only do they relieve the burden on their human colleagues in connection with physically strenuous and monotonous activities, but they are also regarded as a way of offsetting the shortage of skilled employees . At the same time, of course, there are fears that cobots could provide competition for jobs.
The research center brings together experts from various disciplines, including system technology, data intelligence, software, materials science, design and applications. The center was conceived as an environment for collaboration between mechanical engineers, researchers and developers. In addition to HP’s own experts, customers and partners of the company will be working on research projects, according to the company’s press release . Additive manufacturing, in which 3D printing plays a crucial role, is a significant development in the “fourth industrial revolution”. Many industrial managers are hoping to make small series of products, even down to a batch size of 1, more cost-effectively in future than has ever been possible before in industrial mass production.