Drives & Controls Magazine May 2023

MOTORS: Can repaired motors be made more efficient? LINEAR MOTION: How to optimise round-rail performance and costs SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL: Using digitalisation to create agile pharmaceutical plants Drives&ControlsMAY 2023 #1 ENGINEERING MAGAZINE FOR AUTOMATION, POWER TRANSMISSION AND MOTION CONTROL INSIDE SINCE 1998 Our commitment continues. DEDICATED TO DRIVES FOR 25 YEARS. 2023 1998

Brushless DC AC Permanent Magnet Synchronous Reluctance Induction BLDC SynRM IM PM World class performance made easy. SINCE 1998 Optidrive variable frequency drives accurately control a wide range of electric motor types used in a variety of applications. With fast and easy set-up and commissioning, they create energy-saving solutions in industries throughout the world.

50 CONTENTS n Drives & Controls is a controlled circulation publication. If you live in the UK and want to subscribe phone 0333 577 0801 or fax 0845 604 2327. Alternatively for both UK and overseas subscriptions please subscribe online at If you have any enquiries regarding your subscription, please use these numbers. The content of this magazine, website and newsletters do not necessarily express the views of the Editor or publishers. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be produced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. Paid subscriptions UK: £110 per annum Europe: £145 per annum Rest of World: £180 per annum Printing: Warners Midlands PLC., PE10 9PH ISSN 0950 5490 Copyright: DFA Media Group 2023 NEXT ISSUE The June issue of Drives & Controls will contain a look at what’s happening in the world of communications, networking and security, and reports on developments in mechanical power transmission, and smart warehouses. UPDATE 14 Comment 15 ABB Back to Basics 45 Gambica Column 54 New Products 56 Design Data and Multimedia 57 Products & Services IN DEPTH Follow us on Twitter @DrivesnControls Drives Magazine Web site Follow us on LinkedIn @ Drives & Controls Join us on Facebook Drives & Controls Drives& Controls REGULARS DfAmedia group 40 34 26 20 5 56 DRIVES & CONTROLS May 2023 Vol 39 No 5 Editor Tony Sacks t: 01732 465367 e: Consultant Editor Andy Pye t: 07808 137312 e: Production Manager Sarah Blake t: 01233 770781 e: Operations Manager Emma Floyd t: 01732 370340 e: Marketing Executive Hope Jepson t: 01732 370340 e: Financial Finance Department t: 01732 370340 e: ADVERTISING Sales Director Damien Oxlee t: 01732 370342 m: 07951 103754 e: Sales Manager Andy Wylie t: 01732 370341 m: 07939 607855 e: DFA Direct Ian Atkinson t: 01732 370340 e: Italy Oliver & Diego Casiraghi e: t: +39 031 261407 f: +39 031 261380 Managing Director Ryan Fuller t: 01732 370344 e: Chief Executive Officer Ian Atkinson t: 01732 370346 e: Reader/Circulation Enquiries Perception-MPS Ltd t: 01825 701520 e: HEAD OFFICE DFA Media Group 192 High Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1BE t: 01732 370340 f: 01732 360034 e: 48 5 News A round-up of the latest business and industry developments from around the world. 16 Technology Cutting-edge innovations in motion, power transmission, controls and related technologies. 26 Robotics With sales of industrial robots hitting record levels, ABB Robotics president Marc Segura identifies three key trends that he predicts will drive the global robotics market this year, and in the future. 29 Motors In a special 10-page supplement, we examine topics including whether repaired motors can be made more efficient, how to protect machinery by monitoring motor loads, and when to use closed-loop controls for small DC motors. 40 Linear Motion An expert offers advice on which types of bearing to choose for roundrail linear guidance systems, plus we report on how a Staffordshire manufacturer is using linear motion components in a machine designed to coat PCBs in the presence of corrosive vapours. 46 Scientific and Medical How the digital transformation of pharmaceutical operations is key to achieving more dynamic, agile manufacturing, plus how a German machine-builder that specialises in machines for the medical sector has cut its cabling costs by up to 20%. 50 Manufacturing & Engineering Week A wide-ranging series of events and exhibitions are planned for the Manufacturing & Engineering Week taking place at the Birmingham NEC in June. The show will include a Drives & Controls zone, following the organiser’s acquisition of the D&C Show and allied events last year. 55 50 45 36

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NEWS n 5 Open industrial AI and IT portfolio includes ‘first virtual controller’ AT THE RECENT Hannover Messe, Siemens unveiled a new open portfolio for automating and operating industrial production. Called Industrial Operations X, the interoperable portfolio is said to bring cutting-edge IT and AI technologies to industrial automation. It is part of Siemens’ Xcelerator digital business platform, which encompasses software, hardware, an ecosystem of partners, as well as a marketplace. The new portfolio includes “the first fully virtual controller” as well as new simulation software for engineering and commissioning drives using digital twins. As part of the launch, Siemens is “evolving” its Mindsphere cloud platform into a new “Insights Hub”. Siemens describes Industrial Operations X as “production engineering, execution and optimisation for the new world of IT/OT convergence”. It unites cutting-edge IT capabilities with proven software, combining technologies such as low code, edge and cloud computing, and AI, with automation and digital services. Siemens says it will result in more flexible, modular plants and production lines, where users can react to changes at the click of a button. It will also help to make industrial production processes more adaptable, autonomous and resilient, allowing companies of all sizes to become sustainable digital enterprises. Siemens argues that Operations X will help to unlock the full potential of the massive amounts of data available in Industry 4.0 factories. It says that these factories generate an average of 2,200 terabytes of data each month, and studies suggest that digitally enabled factories can deliver production increases of up to 30%. “With Industrial Operations X, we make OT adaptable at the speed of software,” says Siemens board member and CEO of its Digital Industries business, Cedrik Neike. “And by deploying AI on the shop floor, we enable manufacturers to access the terabytes of automation data locked inside their factories so that they can ultimately become more sustainable.” As part of the Industrial Operations X launch, Siemens announced several premieres at Hannover, including: n A hardware-independent virtual PLC based on its Simatic S7-1500 controller, that allows applications to be managed centrally (see page 18). n A cloud-based automation development service called Simatic AX that gives IT professionals a familiar environment based on Visual Studio Code, and version control via GIT and others. n A visualisation function for the edge called WinCC Unified for Industrial Edge, that makes administering software in machines easier, more flexible and more secure. As part of the changes, Siemens’ MindSphere cloud platform will be integrated into the core of its software portfolio with a stronger focus on delivering value from IoT data. Mindsphere will become Insights Hub and used to analyse assets and operations data locally or in the cloud. It will include applications for improving quality inspection and rework processes. Siemens says it will continue to integrate the latest IT advances into its existing automation technologies such as its Simatic S7, Simatic WinCC, Simatic PCS neo, and Sinumerik families. Industrial customers will also benefit from a interoperable offerings from Siemens and its partners. May 2023 AT THE HANNOVER MESSE, Siemens announced partnerships with several key players in the IT/OT world, including IBM and Microsoft, aimed at promoting its vision of the future of manufacturing. Siemens and Microsoft revealed plans to harness the collaborative power of generative AI to help industrial companies to drive innovation and efficiency across the design, engineering, manufacturing and operational lifecycle of products. To enhance cross-functional collaboration, the companies are integrating Siemens’ Teamcenter software for product lifecycle management (PLM) with Microsoft’s Teams collaboration platform and the language models in Azure OpenAI Service as well as other Azure AI capabilities. At the Messe, the two companies were demonstrating how generative AI can enhance factory automation and operations through AI-powered software development, problem reporting and visual quality inspection. One of their joint developments involves an Azure OpenAI powered assistant that can augment the creation, optimisation and debugging of code in software for factory automation. They are also planning to use industrial AI for quality inspections on factory floors. Meanwhile, Siemens Digital Industries Software and IBM are collaborating to develop a combined software portfolio that integrates their offerings for systems engineering, service lifecycle management and asset management. The companies will develop software to help organisations to optimise product lifecycles, and improve traceability across processes, prototype and test concepts much earlier in development, and adopt more sustainable product designs. Siemens teams up with Microsoft and IBM to deliver its vision Siemens’ new Industrial Operations X is an interoperable portfolio of products and services for product engineering, execution, and optimisation.

SPRINT ELECTRIC, the Sussex-based manufacturer of DC drives, has secured investments totalling £2.5m to help it enter the AC VSD (variable-speed drives) market with a new range with regenerative capabilities, developed in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. £2m of the new investment is coming from venture capital trusts managed by the Foresight Group private equity business, with the remaining £500,000 coming from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which is supported by the European Union via the European Regional Development Fund. Sprint has qualified for this regional funding because it has an r&d office in Nottingham. Sprint, based in Ford in West Sussex, will use the funding for the final development and commercialisation of the new VSDs, details of which are likely to be announced later this year. The DC drives market that Sprint currently addresses is worth an estimated £370m. The AC drives market is worth around £16bn, with regenerative drives constituting a small slice of this – but considerably larger than the DC drives market. Sprint will continue to serve the DC drives market and expects to be able to share some aspects of the new platform with its DC drives portfolio, which will benefit as a result. Sprint, founded in 1987, currently employs 18 people and had sales worth £3m in 2022. More than 80% of its production is exported to more than 75 countries. Working with Foresight, the company plans to use the new investment to expand its operations and drive growth. It is already looking to recruit extra staff. Sprint Electric has worked with the University of Nottingham on the new drives for several years as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership – the part grant-funded scheme that helps UK businesses to innovate using expertise from UK universities. As part of the investment arrangement, Tim Routsis, chairman and CEO of Cox Powertrain and former CEO of the Cosworth Group, is joining the Sprint Electric board as non-executive chair. His experience will help Sprint to expand with the hope of increasing its market share “significantly”. n NEWS May 2023 6 £2.5m investment will help Sprint to expand into AC drives p Emerson is buying National Instruments in a transaction that values NI at $8.2bn. The aim is to expand its activities to include test and measurement automation and to target high-growth markets. “With this expansion into test and measurement, Emerson will enhance its automation capabilities and gain a broader set of customers that relies on NI's solutions at critical points along the product development cycle,” says Emerson’s president and CEO, Lal Karsanbhai. In 2022, NI generated revenues worth $1.66bn. p Rubix UK has bought Bedfordbased Gapp Automation, which distributes automation and related systems in the UK and Ireland. The acquisition will extend Rubix’s activities into the electrical sector, alongside its existing mechanical businesses. Gapp will become part of the Rubix UK’s Motion, Control & Automation business. The Gapp team, including managing director Peter Walker and sales director Graham Goodge, will stay on, except for co-founder Jattinder Panesar, who will retire. Gapp has 10 employees, and generated sales worth around £4m during 2022. p Rockwell Automation, has formed a partnership with the Korean robot manufacturer Doosan Robotics and its parent Doosan Corporation, under which they will integrate their robot and controller technologies and develop new technologies for smart factories. Doosan will become a longterm robot supplier to Rockwell, while Rockwell will supply automation systems to Doosan. p Radwell International, the USheadquartered specialist in surplus and remanufactured industrial control systems, has bought the Blackburn automation repairs firm, Northern Industrial, for an undisclosed sum. Radwell says the move will improve efficiency and offer better value. Northern Industrial, which supplies new, reconditioned and obsolete parts and repair services to 146 countries, will operate as a division of Radwell. At the time of its acquisition, the 40-yearold company was employing more than 30 electronics engineers, and holding more than £10m of stock. p The automtion and controls distributor, the the Routeco Group, has acquired the Swiss firm Swibox Automation for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will strengthern Routeco’s presence in EMEA, and complements its existing locations in the UK, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands. Swibox was previously part of Swibox AG which manufactures enclosures and produces stainless-steel equipment for pharmaceutical and food applications. NEWS BRIEFS Sprint Electric directors Gary Keen and Mark Gardiner: expanding into AC drives The inaugural Talking Industry Live event held last month at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry attracted an enthusiastic crowd who were treated to more than 16 hours of content in the form of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and seminars delivered by more than 20 experts. There were also more than 20 companies and organisations on hand to discuss their products and services with the delegates. Podcast recordings of the panel discussions will be available on demand from Talking Industry Live will return in Spring 2024 and will build on the foundations laid by the inaugural event.

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May 2023 8 THE WELSH DRIVES-MAKER Invertek is investing £6.3m in a new innovation centre at its global headquarters in Welshpool. The centre will provide r&d facilities for designing next-generation VSDs. Invertek has also started work on a 2,771m2 extension to its manufacturing and distribution facility as part of a £10m investment announced in 2021, that includes a new Application and Training Centre. This will allow the company to boost production of its Optidrive VSDs from 460,000 a year to more than 1.2 million. It will also will lead to the creation of 85 jobs. Invertek currently employs more than 350 people. Invertek Drives CEO, Shaun Dean, says the innovation centre will be one of the most modern r&d facilities for VSDs in the world. It “will be a hub for the design of our nextgeneration technology”. The separate application centre will showcase Invertek’s products to potential and existing customers, and will also be used for training, sales, marketing, technical and servicing personnel. Invertek Drives, established in 1998, was acquired by Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) for £100m in November 2019 – the same year that it opened its existing 5,500m2 global manufacturing and distribution facility. Invertek announces £6.3m r&d centre as work starts to double output n NEWS EVENTS Robotics and Automation – A New Perspective 2023 10-11 May, 2023 MTC, Coventry A free two-day conference which will explore the future of automation in the UK and demonstrate the opportunities available to UK industry. Topics will include barriers to adoption, opportunities for robotics in skills development, and how to tackle the challenges presented by automation. Technologies being covered include AI, machine vision, sensing, cobots and mobile robots. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2023) 29 May – 2 June, 2023 ExCeL, London The 40th IRCA conference and exhibition will be coming to the UK for the first time in what is expected to be the biggest-ever gathering of the academics, researchers, and industrial companies active in the fields of robotics and automation. The theme of the five-day event will be “Embracing the future: Making robots for humans”. Manufacturing & Engineering Week 2023 7–8 June, 2023 NEC, Birmingham The event will bring together live and digital events including the Design & Engineering Expo 2023, the Smart Factory Expo (which replaces the earlier Manufacturing Expo) and Maintec, as well as a zone dedicated to the Drives & Controls, AirTech and Fluid Power & Systems shows that the organiser, Nineteen Group, acquired from DFA Media. Another acquisition, The Hennick Group, will bring the SME Growth Summit, the Sustainable Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit and the Manufacturing Top 100 Awards. Automation UK / MVC 20-21 June, 2023 CBS Arena, Coventry Automation UK is a new annual exhibition championing the use and development of automation and industrial robots in UK industry. Organised by Bara (the British Automation and Robot Association), it will run alongside the existing Machine Vision Conference (MVC) and exhibition, organised by Ukiva (the UK Industrial Vision Association). Bara and Ukiva are both part of the PPMA (Processing and Packaging Machinery Association). Automatica 2023 27-30 June, 2023 Munich, Germany The automation and robotics show is taking place just one year after the previous Automatica, which has traditionally been held every two years. This will get the show back on a two-year cycle in odd years, following the disruption caused by Covid. Most of the major robot manufacturers are due to attend, as well as exhibitors from the worlds of machine vision and assembly/handling technology. The event’s three key topics will be: digital integration and AI; sustainable production; and the future of work. Invertek says that its new innovation centre will be one of the most modern R&D facilities for drives in the world THERE WERE ALMOST 800 acquisitions or mergers involving UK manufacturing businesses in 2022, according to data released by the accountancy and business advisory firm BDO. The 793 deals recorded represent a small increase on the 779 completed in 2021. Industrial automation accounted for about 8% of all UK M&A (mergers and acquisitions) deals in 2022, putting the sector behind others such as engineering services (which accounted for 29% of M&A deals), manufactured materials (13%), building products (12%), food and drink (10%) and life sciences (10%). But BDO M&A director Matthew Goodliffe, says that the industrial automation sector is “an attractive one for investors, given the size of the market and its significant growth potential, coupled with typical business traits of secured order books, recurring software or service revenues, IP ownership, high barriers to entry and impressive margins. M&A activity has therefore been high in the sector for several years, and we think it is likely that dealmaking activity will remain buoyant in 2023 and beyond.” BDO’s Manufacturing Deals Review reveals that private equity mantains a strong interest in UK manufacturing, with buy-outs accounting for 19% of M&A deals. Overseas investors bought 184 UK manufacturers last year, while UK firms bought 115 foreign businesses. Future for M&A deals in UK automation sector is ‘buoyant’

Invertek Drives and its Optidrive variable frequency drive range have become synonymous with durable, reliable, and accurate electric motor and pump control technology. This year the UK-based company celebrates its 25th anniversary - a quarter of a century at the forefront of designing and manufacturing innovative VFD products that help create energy efficient solutions in a wide range of applications and industries globally. Since 1998, Invertek Drives has focussed solely on the development and manufacture of VFDs. It has been this strategic focus that has led to the creation of its Optidrive E3, P2, Eco, Coolvert, Compact and Elevator VFDs capable of being used with any motor type – Synchronous Reluctance (SynRM), Induction (IM), AC Permanent Magnet (PM), and Brushless DC (BLDC). “Invertek has always had a clear vision. Focus on what we do best… variable frequency drives. Our investment is solely in the development and continual improvement of our VFD products. That is why our Optidrive range continues to be chosen as THE drive for motor and pump control solutions globally,” said Rhydian Welson, Sales and Marketing Director at Invertek Drives. “From our early models to our current range, we have ensured our drives can be easily set-up and commissioned with minimal fuss, no matter what the application. The sooner they are up-andrunning, the sooner they are creating energy savings and efficiencies in the processes they are being used on.” The E3 is a general-purpose drive with easy control for all motor types, with inbuilt industrial, pump, and fan modes. The P2 is designed for advanced motor control for demanding applications and includes onboard PLC functionality. The Eco range is application specific, with dedicated fan and pump control features including the unique Optiflow technology. Optidrive Coolvert is a high performance drive specifically for BLDC compressors, heat pumps and CDUs and is dedicated to OEMs. Established in Welshpool, Powys, UK, Invertek has grown rapidly. In 2019 it opened a new 5,500sq metres global manufacturing and distribution facility at its headquarters. In 2023, work started creating a 2,771sq metres extension to allow production to increase to more than 1.2 million drives per year. This is part of a £10 million investment that includes a new Application and Training Centre which will be officially opened in June. A further £6.3 million has been committed to the creation of a new worldclass Innovation Centre where the next generation VFD technology will be developed. This has all been made possible following Invertek’s acquisition in 2019 by Sumitomo Heavy Industries. SHI has committed to the growth and development of the business in the UK and globally. Shaun Dean, CEO of Invertek Drives Ltd, as well as and Senior Vice President of Sumitomo Heavy Industries and CEO of PTC EMEIA HQ, said the latest investment would create one of the most modern VFD Innovation facilities in the world. He said: “The new Innovation Centre will be a hub for the design of our next generation technology. Our Optidrive VFD products are recognised worldwide for their effectiveness in efficient motor control, as well as their durability and ease of use. “This is part of the continuing investment being made locally in Wales by Sumitomo Heavy Industries and Invertek Drives.” And that’s not the end of the story. Invertek Drives is committed to creating the next generation of energy-saving VFD products to help further reduce harmful CO2 emissions, leading to a reduction in climate change. 25 years focussed on the innovation of world-class variable frequency drive technology Invertek Drives COVER STORY An architect's impression of the new Innovation Centre planned at Invertek Drives HQ An architect's impression of the extension being constructed as part of a £10m investment at Invertek's global manufacturing and distribution facility in the UK The groundbreaking ceremony that took place to mark the start of work on the extension to the global manufacturing and distribution facility at Invertek Drives Find out more at

n NEWS May 2023 10 REGAL REXNORD HAS bought Altra Industrial Motion, in a deal that values Altra at $4.95bn. Regal Rexnord says that the acquisition will transform it into a global automation supplier with more than 70% of its sales in expanding markets, as well as combining the companies’ “complementary”power transmission portfolios. It is aiming for revenues of around $8.3bn by 2025 and expects costs synergies of $160m within four years. The deal brings together brands including Kollmorgen, Portescap, Twiflex, Thomson, Bauer Gear Motor, Stieber, Stromag, Jaure, Kop-Flex, Centa, Falk and Rexnord. Regal Rexnord CEO Louis Pinkham says he is “incredibly excited about all that we expect to accomplish as one, enhanced Regal Rexnord team. Altra's Automation & Specialty platform transforms our existing automation portfolio into a meaningful, global automation solutions provider. Altra's Power Transmission Technologies business significantly enhances our legacy power transmission portfolio, in particular our industrial powertrain offering, by adding complementary products in brakes, gears, and clutches. The deal rebalances Regal Rexnord’s portfolio between motion control (which will now account for 48% of its sales), climate solutions (15%), commercial systems (15%), automation and speciality (13%) and industrial systems (9%). Regal Rexnord says that the merger will allow it to offer “more robust” sub-systems, including industrial powertrains, to a wider range of markets. It will be in “a unique position” to provide customers with a wider and more value-added range of services, including up-front design, performance optimisation, and diagnostic support. Following the merger, Regal Rexnord will have four divisions: n Industrial Powertrain Solutions (IPS), accounting for about 37% of 2022 sales, and consisting of most of the previous Motion Control Solutions (MCS) business, excluding the conveying and aerospace businesses, plus Altra's Power Transmission Technologies segment. n Power Efficiency Solutions (PES), representing about 31% of sales, and consisting of the former Climate Solutions and Commercial Systems businesses. n Automation & Motion Control (AMC) accounting for about 24% of sales and consisting of the current MCS aerospace and conveying businesses, Altra's Automation & Specialty (A&S) segment, and the Regal Rexnord Thomson business that is currently part of the Industrial Systems segment. n Industrial Systems representing around 8% of revenues and consisting of its current operations, excluding the Thomson business. Regal Rexnord was created in 2021 when the electric motors and mechanical power transmission manufacturer Regal Beloit merged with Rexnord Process and Motion Control. The combined business, employing around 29,000 people with manufacturing facilities on five continents, generated revenues of around $5bn in 2022, with an Ebitda of more than $1bn. Its headquarters are in Wisconsin. Before the merger, Altra Industrial Motion had annual sales of $1.9bn, a workforce of more than 9,0000, and 47 production facilities in 17 countries. Its brands include Bauer Gear Motor, Boston Gear, Kollmorgen, Portescap, Stieber, Stromag, Svendborg Brakes, TB Wood’s, Twiflex, Thomson and Warner Electric. Regal Rexnord buys Altra Industrial Motion for $4.95bn RS IS PLANNING TO update the electrical engineering component of its DesignSpark CAD software after several years of limited development of this part of the platform. Mike Bray, vice-president of Innovation and DesignSpark at RS, revealed this recently during an update on the platform following the announcement earlier this year that RS was introducing paid-for versions of DesignSpark in addition to the previous free version, which will continue to be available. RS expects around 90% of its 1.3 million DesignSpark members to stay with the free Explorer version. The paid-for subscription versions – Creator costing £9.99 a month and Engineer costing £14.99 – will add extra capabilities and will be aimed at more demanding users. For example, a cloudbased schematic generator and simulator is being added to the PCB design version. But Bray emphasises that the free version will continue to be developed further. Users will be able to move between the versions, upgrading to a paid-for version for a while if a project needs extra functions. The mechanical version of DesignSpark is the most popular, used by around 65% of members, followed by PCB design on 35% and electrical on 20% (there is some overlap between users). Bray admits that not much development work has been done of the electrical version for some time, but there are plans to change this. DesignSpark users are spread around the world, with the largest base being in Japan which accounts for 15% of all users, followed by the UK on 14% and the US on 12%. The biggest user group by age are 18-34 yearolds, who make up more than a third of the total. Students account for about a fifth of users, while professionals make up about 40% – a similar proportion to enthusiasts and amateurs. The DesignSpark Web site attracts five million visitors a year. RS reveals plans to upgrade DesignSpark Electrical Regal Rexnord CEO Louis Pinkham: incredibly excited

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n NEWS BOSCH REXROTH’S HOPES that its ctrlX OS operating system to be adopted by other automation suppliers have been given a boost by the German automation and connection technology specialist Wago deciding to use the real-time Linux-based OS for its future mid- and high-performance controllers. Bosch Rexroth claims that it has done something new on the automation market. It has separated the OS software from its own control hardware and made it available to other suppliers, who can use the OS for their own purposes. Wago is the first company to do this. The two organisations say they want to create a world-leading automation platform for tomorrow’s software-driven industry. “That sounds ambitious,” admits Steffen Winkler, chief sales officer of Bosch Rexroth’s automation business. “However, considering how fragmented the industry is on the one hand, and how proprietary it is on the other, this is a realistic undertaking that’s in the best interest of customers. “Specifically, this means anchoring the platform as broadly as possible,” he adds. “Both Bosch Rexroth and Wago consider it essential to get more system and technology partners on board for ctrlX OS. Open systems depend on many specialists working closely together on the big picture.” Originally, Rexroth developed the OS for use in its ctrlX Core controllers, but it recently announced that it was opening up the system for use by third parties. It argues that this will create opportunities for collaboration that have not previously existed in the market. ctrlX OS can be used from the field level up to edge devices and the cloud. Rexroth says that its “radical openness” removes previous boundaries and “creates new scope for action”. Users of ctrlX OS will get access to an ecosystem that includes a wide range of apps that can be downloaded from the online ctrlX Store. Wago has previously been part of Rexroth’s ctrlX World partner association, offering ctrlX-compatible I/O modules. It will now also be involved in developing the operating system further, focusing initially on the implementing it on its own devices and developing Wago-specific applications based on ctrlX OS. It will also promote the OS as an industry standard. “The core of Wago’s product strategy is the implementation of ctrlX OS on our independently developed Wago control platforms,” explains Johannes Pfeffer, vicepresident of Wago’s automation business. “We bring the new technology into our product competence and at the same time we can develop market-specific solutions with our industry experience. To round it off, it is also conceivable to integrate products and devices from the Bosch Rexroth portfolio into the Wago range. “We will keep this control platform active in the market in the long term,” says Pfeffer. “We want to be at the middle and upper performance end – wherever large amounts of data are handled with high time accuracy and high IT security standards are in demand – relying on ctrlX OS in the long term.” Shared vision: Wago’s Johannes Pfeffer and Bosch Rexroth’s Steffen Winkler Wago is first firm to adopt Rexroth’s open real-time OS

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CHARGING AHEAD WITH LARGE-SCALE BATTERY MANUFACTURING Before last month, I had never heard of a Norwegian company called Freyr Battery. But I feel we are going to be hearing a lot more about this start-up over the next few years. Freyr was founded in 2018 and is already worth more than $1bn. As its name suggests, Freyr is in the batteries business and has ambitious plans to build a series of battery gigafactories around the world over the next few years. The first two of these factories will be in the Norwegian Arctic Circle and in the US. Battery gigafactories are essential to the world’s planned transition to netzero. Batteries are, of course, vital to the electrification of vehicles. It is generally accepted that if the UK is to continue to have a volume car-making industry in the future, it will need several gigafactories. Last year, the Faraday Institution, the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage research, market analysis and early-stage battery commercialisation, issued a report saying that the UK will need ten gigfactories, each capable of producing 20GWh of storage capacity a year, by 2040. But it warned that the UK is not moving fast enough compared to its European competitors. If UK battery manufacturing plants could reach a combined capacity of 57GWh by 2030, this would represent just 5% of the total European GWh capacity. Germany, by comparison, is expected to account for 34% of the EU’s battery-making capacity by then. And Germany is not alone. Almost every European country now has its own gigafactory programme underway. These batteries are needed not only for use in vehicles, but also in vast stationary energy stores that will compensate for the volatile output of most forms of renewable energy generation. The Faraday Institution reckons that the UK will need around 100GWh of battery-making capacity by 2030 to satisfy the demand for batteries for vehicles and grid storage. This is equivalent to five gigafactories, each producing 20GWh a year. But the recent BritishVolt debacle doesn’t instil much confidence that this target will be met. Which brings me back to Freyr. At last month’s Hannover Messe, Tom Einar Jensen, the company’s co-founder and CEO, gave a presentation packed with mind-boggling figures about how the gigafactory sector is likely to mushroom over the coming years. For example, the world will need seven times its existing battery-making capacity by 2030. That is equivalent to building 15 gigafactories every year, each of which can eliminate 80 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, and create around 2,500 jobs. Freyr itself intends to install 50GWh of annual capacity by 2025 and 100GWh by 2028 – doubling this to 200GWh just two years later. In part, its confidence in achieving these targets is based on its batterymaking technology. According to Jensen, Freyer has halved the 17 to 18 steps normally needed to produce batteries. This will cut its capital costs by around 50%, allowing it to slash the price of its batteries. Jensen also believes that it will be possible to triple the performance of current batteries, to reduce manufacturing cycle times by 90%, and to recyle most of the materials in future batteries. Another factor is that Freyr is embracing digitalisation. It has formed a partnership with Siemens to use its new Xcelerator digital platform (see page 5) to design and operate its gigfactories. Siemens, together with Nvidia and AWS, will create “immersive metaverse experiences” of Freyr’s gigafactories that combine real and digital worlds. These technologies are being adopted along the entire battery design and manufacturing chain, from planning to simulating processes and automating production. At Hannover, visitors could view cloud-based digital twins of a Freyr gigafactory in operation. According to Jensen, AI and digitally enhanced designs for electrochemical cells and manufacturing processes are the next frontiers in battery production. Freyr has also created a strategic coalition with Caterpillar, Glencore and Nidec to promote the scale-up of sustainable battery production. And it has a separate joint venture agreement with Nidec to develop, manufacture and sell battery modules and packs for industrial and utility energy stores. With all of this going on, few would bet against Freyr hitting its ambitious targets. It looks like becoming a brand name that most people will recognise within a few years, even if they don’t at present. Tony Sacks, Editor n COMMENT

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n TECHNOLOGY May 2023 16 ABB ROBOTICS SAYS IT has transformed its AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) by adding a technology that allows them to make intelligent navigation decisions in challenging environments. Using AI-enabled 3D vision to perform location and mapping functions, the Visual Slam (simultaneous localisation and mapping) technology will speed up production, making it more flexible and efficient, while cutting commissioning times by up to 20%, reducing the need for calibration and avoiding infrastructure changes. ABB claims that Visual Slam offers significant advantages over other types of navigation, such as magnetic tape, QR codes or 2D Slam systems, that need additional infrastructures to function. ABB Robotics president Marc Segura predicts that the technology will make operations “faster, more efficient and more flexible, while freeing up employees to take on more rewarding work”. AMRs equipped with the technology can operate safely in dynamic, human-populated environments, offering more autonomy and intelligence, he adds. Visual Slam “provides a new level of intelligence for AMRs that transforms robotic applications, from production and distribution through to healthcare.” The technology uses cameras on board the AMR to create a real-time 3D map of surrounding objects. It can differentiate between fixed references – such as floors, ceilings and walls, that need to be added to the map – and moving objects such as people or vehicles. The cameras detect and track features in the environment, allowing the AMR to adapt to its surroundings and to determine the safest, most efficient route to its destination. Unlike 2D Slam, the 3D version does not need additional references such as reflectors or markers, thus cutting costs, saving space and achieving positioning to within 3mm. ABB says that by eliminating the need to change the environment, stop production or add infrastructure, the new technology can cut commissioning times by up to 20% compared to 2D Slam systems, making it quicker to add new AMRs into existing fleets. The technology is secure, because it analyses raw data only, with no visual images being saved on either the robot or on a server. ABB has developed the Visual Slam AMRs in collaboration the Swiss AI and 3D specialist Sevensense Robotics, with which it formed a partnership in 2021. The technology will be available on ABB’s T702V AMRs from Q3 2023 and its P604V AMRs from Q4 2023. These will be followed by other AMRs. SIEMENS HAS ANNOUNCED simulation software that can be used to engineer and commission variablespeed drives, based on digital twins. The Sinamics DriveSim Advanced software allows users to simulate, commission and optimise Sinamics drive systems virtually before building them in the real world. Siemens says it will increase the efficiency and productivity of drive systems and machinery. The simulation is integrated into the company’s TIA Portal automation platform. No extra software tools are needed. Using the digital twin, the logical and functional aspects of the drive can be simulated identically to the real drives, while electrical, magnetic and mechanical aspects are modelled partially. The tool allows machine-builders to cut their use of resources and to optimise energy efficiency, leading to more sustainable machine-building. DriveSim Advanced expands Siemens’ drives simulation portfolio which was launched in 2021 with Sinamics DriveSim Basic. The Advanced version is part of Siemens’ new Industrial Operations X interoperable portfolio of products and services for production engineering, execution, and optimisation. This portfolio is, in turn, part of the company’s Xcelerator digital business platform. Simulation software uses digital twins to optimise drives virtually AI-based navigation ‘transforms’ the performance of AMRs The Visual Slam technology will make AMRs more flexible and efficient, while cutting commissioning times by up to 20% Siemens’ digital twin software provides realistic simulations of drives and their functions.

TECHNOLOGY n 17 May 2023 p At the recent Hannover Messe, a group of companies, including Siemens, Bosch Rexroth, Festo, Harting, Sick, Phoenix Contact and Wago demonstrated how a manufacturer-independent Asset Administration Shell (AAS) can be used to exchange digital twin data. Such a development is considered essential and will speed up and simplify engineering processes. In the demo, an AAS was used to create a digital twin of a labelling machine from the machine-builder Bausch+Ströbel. p Infinitum, the US-based creator of the air-core motors, has acquired Circuit Connect, a PCB fabricator based in New Hampshire, to boost production of PCB stators for its motors, in which the heavy steel stators of traditional electric motors are replaced by lightweight PCB stators, claimed to be 10 times more reliable. Infinitum’s motors are 50% smaller and lighter, use 66% less copper and consume 10% less energy than iron-stator motors. Their modular design allows the housing, rotors, and stators to be re-used multiple times. p ODVA has added process device profiles to its EtherNet/IP specification to help optimse plant operations. The profiles provide a standard format for process variables and diagnostics across an array of devices for smoother vendor interoperability and easier DCS and PLC data integration from EtherNet/IP-enabled field devices. Users can now take advantage of EtherNet/IP devices with better communication of critical diagnostics, and improved alignment with the Process Automation Device Information Model (PA-DIM). p Tesla has announced that its developing a permanent magnet motor for use in its electric vehicles that contains no rare-earth materials. Between 2017 and 2022, the company cut the amount of rare-earths in the motors for its Model 3 EVs by 25%, while increasing the efficiency of the drivetrain. Now it wants to eliminate the controversial, costly materials entirely. p The Korean collaborative robot developer, Doosan Robotics, has launched a range of cobots for the food and beverage industry. The ESeries cobots have received NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification for food hygiene safety, with features such as sealed gaps between connecting axes. Doosan claims that the 13 models represent the biggest line-up in the cobot market. The cobots have 5kg payloads and a reach of around 1m. TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS Servomotors communicate using wireless IO-Link instead of cables THE ITALIAN MOTOR manufacturer Siboni has developed a range of servomotors that use wireless IO-Link links to controllers instead of conventional cable connections. The high-speed, low-latency communications technology is said to offer practical and cost benefits, especially in applications such as packaging machinery and robots where high-speed rotary movements make conventional connections difficult to install and maintain. Siboni is using a wireless version of IO-Link developed by an Israeli company called CoreTigo, whose TigoAir IO-Link Wireless SOM (system-on-module) devices are embedded in the motors. These communicate with an IO-Link Wireless Master (called TigoMaster). This, in turn, communicates with a PLC via a choice of industrial Ethernet protocols, including Profinet, EtherNet-IP or EtherCat, or other protocols such as OPC UA. The master also sends control messages back to the motor. IO-Link Wireless – which complies with the IEC 61131-9 standard – operates with a latency of 5ms (guaranteed within a 10m radius) and synchronisation rates measured in tens of microseconds. If transmission over a longer distance than 10m is needed, the communication continues to be stable, but with longer cycle times. The wireless IO-Link connections allow actuators and sensors to be connected without communications cables, thus cutting the need for maintenance, increasing flexibility, and simplifying future I/O additions. A single power cable runs through the centre axis or slipring of rotating platforms such as rotary tables and carousels used in labelling and filling machines. Applications where Siboni expects its wireless servomotors to be useful include: n robots, where wiring can be difficult or can wear out due to repetitive operations; n autonomous logistics systems such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and LGVs (laser guided vehicles); n smart track systems where wireless drives installed on movers can carry out operations that would otherwise require complex mechanical installations; and n applications involving sliding contacts, where the wireless technology can reduce the size and cost of sliprings. “Servomotors are a great example of how deterministic real-time wireless connectivity enables new capabilities and enhances existing machinery,” says Matteo Orlandelli, director of CoreTigo’s Italian operation. He describes the development of the wire-free motor as “groundbreaking” and predicts that “will pave the way for the entire industry”. Other industrial equipment suppliers are also starting to use IO-Link Wireless. At the recent Hannover Messe, for example, Emerson was showcasing “a new era of wireless automation solutions” based on the CoreTigo technology, which will allow machine-builders and manufacturers to connect devices that were previously impossible to connect, as well as collecting data from machines in challenging locations, and achieving “new levels of control flexibility”. Last year, Emerson’s venture capital arm, Emerson Ventures, invested in CoreTigo. The Italian robotics supplier DEA Cobotics is also using Wireless IO-Link in its machines. It says that the deterministic technology provides cable-grade reliability with low latencies. Particular attractions for robotics applications include: reducing weight in the arm; enabling automated changing tools; increasing speeds; and extending the reach of the arms and their ability to rotate. The Swiss machine-builder Rotzinger is using wireless IO-Link in a food packaging machine incorporating a multi-carrier smart conveyor that performs processes on products while they are moving at high speeds. Cables were not an option for this complex, high-speed task, nor were conventional wireless technologies. IO-Link Wireless is allowing Rotzinger to control grippers on the carriers wirelessly, without needing external robots, cables or other equipment. Siboni is using wireless IO-Link to cut cabling costs and maintenance, and to add flexibility to its servomotors