Drives & Controls October 2023

MACHINE BUILDING: Cabinet-free confectionery machine slashes on-site work PRECISION ENGINEERING: How to specify motors for precision applications WATER INDUSTRY: Motor upgrade helps secure London’s water supplies Drives&Controls OCTOBER 2023 #1 ENGINEERING MAGAZINE FOR AUTOMATION, POWER TRANSMISSION AND MOTION CONTROL INSIDE ENTER A NEW DIMENSION OF DRIVES iC7-Automation iC7-Marine iC7-Hybrid • Modular and configurable drive • Optimized product for all power conversion applications • Scalable control platform • Powerful hardware-based security including end-to end encrypted data transfer • Built-in cybersecurity for Industrial IoT • Unrivaled power density with new filter technology • Robust performance even in harsh environments • Connectivity with multiple fieldbuses • Industrial IoT-ready • High-torque machine performance • Superior motor control • High power density and small footprint • Reduced OPEX with advanced energy saving features HIGHLIGHTS A new dimension awaits. Where open, connected, and intelligent systems are the new reality The iC7 series from Danfoss Drives is your portal to a new era of opportunities within your industry – in a sustainable and energy-efficient way. The iC7 series of intelligent AC drives puts the power of compactness and integrated intelligence in your hands, so you can boost machine performance in new ways. With the best heat management available anywhere, this drive delivers high torque performance in a small footprint, so you can get much more power into small spaces. Integrated intelligence enables the drive to function as your most powerful sensor meaning you can regulate your process highly efficiently, saving money by reducing external devices. For quick and trouble-free system integration the frequency converter comes with built-in EMC and harmonic filters. Manage your process data in the cloud or your internal network with worldclass stringent security. You get full data traceability with endto-end integrated digitized quality control throughout the drive lifetime from design and testing through to installation and service. Frequency converters in the iC7 series are optimized for wall-mounted, cabinet-mounted or free-standing installation, and meet requirements for operation at ambient temperatures up to 60 °C. iC7 series from Danfoss Drives

50 CONTENTS n 22Drives & 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 November/December issue of Drives & Controls will contain our annual feature on machinery safety, as well as a look at what’s been happening in the world of controlgear and enclosures, and a report on recent developments in controllers, HMIs and software. UPDATE 14 Comment 15 ABB Back to Basics 45 Gambica column 46 New Products 48 Design Data and Multimedia 49 Products & Services IN DEPTH Follow us on X @DrivesnControls Drives Magazine Web site Follow us on LinkedIn @ Drives & Controls Join us on Facebook Drives & Controls Drives& Controls REGULARS DfAmedia group 36 30 26 16 6 48 DRIVES & CONTROLS October 2023 Vol 39 No 9 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 Peter Sayer t: 01732 370341 m: 07802 583726 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: 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 Robots After a slow start, collaborative robots are starting to make inroads into the industrial robot market. But how do newcomers to this technology choose the best cobot for their application? An expert offers some advice. 28 Machine Building A German machine-builder has adopted a modular, cabinet-free distributed control architecture for its latest confectionery moulding machines, cutting on-site installation work by up to 70% and saving space. Plus advice on how to choose between leadscrews or ballscrews to achieve linear motion. 34 Precision Engineering A pioneering production line is using mobile robot modules, which can be docked in under a minute, to cater for changes in production. The line uses other advanced technologies including a linear transport system and a robotic tool-changer. Plus how to choose precision motors for applications such as applications such as robot joints and centrifuges. 40 Water Industry Massive pump motors at one of Europe’s biggest water treatment works were starting to fail, threatening London’s water supplies. Replacing the motors has safeguarded supplies. And how a German wastewater treatment plant is using a combination of energy technologies to drastically reduce the amount of energy it needs from the grid – eliminating it entirely at times. 43 Talking Industry The most recent edition of the Talking Industry series of Webinars considered how implementing safety initiatives can enhance efficiency, while addressing the risks. Consultant editor Andy Pye, who chaired the session, gives an overview of the event. 44 SPS Preview Following a successful first post-Covid show in 2022, the German SPS automation show returns to Nuremberg next month, with two more halls and around 1,200 exhibitors from around the world. Those who can’t attend in person can still follow the main seminar programme online, complete with English translations. 46 42 21,157 Average net circulation January to December 2022 45 44

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NEWS n 5 UK overtakes France to become world’s 8th largest manufacturer THE UK HAS OVERTAKEN France to become the world’s eighth-largest manufacturer, according to the manufacturers’ organisation, Make UK. Its analysis of the latest official data also reveals that manufacturing jobs in the UK pay better than both the services sector and the economy as a whole. According to Make UK, in 2021 – the latest year for which global comparisons are available – the UK’s manufacturing output was worth $272bn, compared to $262bn for France. Both were behind Italy on $314bn. China was the world’s largest manufacturer with sales worth $4.9tn, followed by the US on $2.5tn and Japan on $995bn. Germany was the world’s fourth-biggest manufacturer, and Europe’s largest, with 2021 sales worth $803bn. The figures are contained in the latest edition of Make UK’s annual Manufacturing – The Facts publication, which contains data on the contribution manufacturing makes to the UK economy including exports, as well as a sectoral breakdown, and a comparison with other countries. While Make UK regards the manufacturing sector’s rise in the export rankings as “encouraging”, it cautions that this is only the third time since 2002 that the UK has been ranked higher than France and cannot be attributed to a post-Brexit bounce or other specific factors. Separate 2022 data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) values the UK’s manufacturing output at £224bn. Make UK believes that, if the Government were to commit to expanding manufacturing to 15% of the UK’s GDP – adding an estimated £142bn to the UK economy – the sector could be the same size as seventh-ranked Italy. The Make UK analysis also shows that, contrary to popular opinion, manufacturing jobs are better paid than jobs in the services sector and the economy as a whole. According to ONS data, the average salary in manufacturing during 2022 was £36,488 – almost 10% higher than the national average of £33,402, and well ahead of the £32,676 average for the services sector. The analysis shows that the US remains the UK’s main export market, worth £56.7bn in 2022. While the Netherlands (on £33.3bn) has overtaken Germany (£37bn), to become the UK’s second-biggest export market, Make UK warns that this figure could be inflated artificially by goods routed via Rotterdam for onward travel to other destinations. Ireland is the UK’s fourth-largest export market (£30.3bn). Six of the country’s top ten export markets are in the EU and are together worth around £150bn – almost three times as much as exports to the US, and around four times higher than sales to China. According to Make UK, this highlights the continued importance of the EU for UK goods and the need to smooth trade barriers with what remains its dominant market. The food and drink sector is the UK’s biggest exporter, sending 12.4% of its goods abroad in 2022. The sector expanded its exports in 2022 by almost a quarter (23%) compared to 2021. The North West remains the UK’s leading manufacturing area, with an output worth £28.2bn and employing 314,000 people. Manufacturing accounts for almost 15% of the North West’s economic output, and 8% of its employment. With many competitor nations having their own industrial strategies, Make UK is repeating its calls for a long-term, modern, and robust strategy for the UK which could help turn the Government’s 15% ambition into a reality. October 2023 The US-headquartered distributor DigiKey has announced that direct shipments from European suppliers to European customers are now possible under its Marketplace programme. Shipments sent within Europe will typically arrive on the next day, rather than in a couple of days as happened before. Until now, products sold under this service and originating in Europe have had to be shipped to DigiKey’s US headquarters before being shipped back to Europe. The new service will cut shipping costs, save time and reduce the environmental impact of long-distance shipping. With products not needing to be shipped outside of Europe, more types of products will be available, including heavy automation equipment. Currently about 30,000 product lines (SKUs) are eligible for the service, with more being added daily. “DigiKey’s Marketplace gives our suppliers and customers in Europe access to more product lines than ever before and we are thrilled to offer this direct shipping option in the region,” says Missy Hall, DigiKey’s vice-president of new market development. “By allowing additional cost savings, efficiency and more sustainability, as well as a wider variety of products that are able to be sold in Europe, we can accelerate progress for engineers and designers.” DigiKey is continuing to expand the choice of products and suppliers that are available under the Marketplace scheme, which acts a single source for products including industrial automation equipment, IoT systems, and test & measurement instruments. As well as automation products, DigiKey also distributes electronic components worldwide. It has more than 17.2 million components from more than 2,800 manufacturers in stock and available for immediate shipment. DigiKey offers European buyers next-day deliveries The top ten export destinations for UK manufactured goods, excluding food and beverage Source: Make UK

n NEWS October 2023 6 THE OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE open-source software specialist Red Hat has teamed up with the semiconductor giant Intel to develop an industrial edge platform that, they say, will provide a modern approach to building and operating industrial controls. They targeting a market for softwaredefined smart factories which McKinsey estimates could be worth up to $3.7 trillion by 2025. The developers argue that “for decades” manufacturing innovation has been hampered by the limitations of legacy industrial controls and siloed organisational structures. With the new platform, users will benefit from an open edge platform that allows simplified integration of components in an easy-to-use, reliable approach to industrial automation. One of the first applications is a distributed control system developed with Schneider Electric which was demonstrated at a recent exhibition. The developers say that their new platform will transform the way that manufacturers operate, scale and innovate, using standard IT technologies to deliver real-time data insights on shopfloors. It will allow ICS (industrial control system) vendors, systems integrators and manufacturers to automate previously manual tasks such as: developing, deploying and managing automation systems; reducing cybersecurity risks; improving maintenance; and cutting turnaround times. The industrial edge platform will span functions from real-time shopfloor control and artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) to full IT management. “Red Hat has a proven history in driving not just modernisation across industries, but innovation,” says the company’s vice-president and general manager of In-Vehicle Operating System and Edge,” Francis Chow. “Now, Red Hat has set our sights on bringing that same level of transformation to manufacturing plants across the globe with a new edge platform with Intel. We believe that by helping converge both IT and OT, the next industrial revolution can arrive sooner, built on a backbone of open-source software.” According to the developers, user benefits of the new system will include: n Integrated real-time capabilities for predictable performance; n Advanced management and network automation, simplifying industrial network creation and management; n Scalability and flexibility through a softwaredefined platform that facilitates portable, scalable control and maximises adaptability; n Uninterrupted operations supported by high availability and built-in redundancy; n Simplified AI integration using AI to improve product quality, uptime, maintenance and more; n Enhanced cybersecurity by removing human error using automated patching and updates, and a hardened platform. To underpin the platform, Red Hat is collaborating with Intel to deliver a real-time kernel that provides low latency and jitter, helping applications to run repeatedly with greater reliability. The new edge platform will use open standards, helping to simplify integration with other hardware and software. Red Hat/Intel platform will ‘transform manufacturing’ p The UK robot-maker and laboratory automation specialist Automata Technologies has raised $40m to accelerate its growth and expand its presence in the US, UK and EMEA. This follows $50m that it raised in 2022 which enabled it to achieve its initial commercialisation and expansion plans. Since then, Automata has seen 150% revenue growth, and a 12-fold increase in live hours in customer systems. p The industrial communications giant Belden has bought the German IIoT start-up CloudRail for an undisclosed sum. CloudRail, founded in 2019, has technologies that connect factory assets to cloud platforms such as AWS or Microsoft Azure. It claims it can do this five times faster than traditional technologies. Belden says the acquisition moves it beyond connectivity. p The market for smart linear conveyor technologies will expand from $397m in 2022 to more than $1.2bn by 2027 – a CAGR of 26.3% – according to a new study from Interact Analysis. It reports increasing adoption rates from new industries and for replacing traditional conveyors. The market for the newer planar conveyors is much smaller and will expand from $18.2m now (mainly for pilot trials) to $100m by 2027. p Allient (formerly Allied Motion Technologies) has acquired Sierramotion, a US company specialising in customised motion components and mechatronic systems for robotic, industrial, medical and other precision applications. The financial details have not been disclosed. p Global revenues from industrial cloud platforms for manufacturing applications will exceed $300bn by 2033, with a CAGR of 22.57%, according to ABI Research. It expects the market to grow rapidly over the coming decade due to the adoption of new architectural frameworks that enhance data extraction and operability for manufacturers looking to maximise the use of their data. NEWS BRIEFS EMERSON HAS BOUGHT Afag, the Swiss specialist in electric linear motion, feeding and handling automation, for an undisclosed sum. Emerson says the acquisition will enhance its factory automation capabilities and create a motion portfolio that combines Afag’s linear motion systems with its own pneumatic technologies. The electric linear motion sector expands the markets that Emerson addresses by more than $9bn and is expected to grow annually at midsingle digit rates. Afag, headquartered in Zell, has been producing components for assembly automation for more than 65 years. It employs more than 300 people in Switzerland, Germany, China and the US. Earlier this year, Afag sold its Transport Systems business, including linear transfer and linear transport products, to the German company ID (Industrial Dynamics). “Afag brings exciting technology that will enable Emerson to accelerate growth in our existing $900m factory automation business,” says Emerson’s COO, Ram Krishnan. “We look forward to combining Afag’s motion capabilities with our existing pneumatic leadership.” Distributed control nodes used to run controls in a demo of the new edge computing platform in a collaboration with Schneider Electric Emerson buys Swiss firm to expand into electric linear motion + 44 1604 499 777 Lose your expensive downtime! Let us help you keep your profits Are your industrial electronics not working properly? UNIS Group is an international service organisation in the field of repair and sales of industrial electronics. Our technical specialists repair at component level, supported by advanced measuring and testing equipment. 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October 2023 8 n NEWS THE UK DC DRIVES manufacturer Sprint Electric is expanding into the AC drives market with the launch of a range of regenerative AC drives at the SPS 2023 exhibition in Germany in November. The company describes its new Generis drive as the next generation of AC drive technology, delivering cost-effective and reliable AC motor control combined with energy regeneration and low input current harmonics. The drive uses a “unique” patented switching technology with no DC link. It gives full fourquadrant control as standard, as well as unity power factor and minimal input current distortion. Four-quadrant control avoids the need for active front-end drives or braking resistors, simplifying the control of AC motors in complex applications. Removing the DC link “massively” reduces harmonic distortion to the mains supply as well as improving drive efficiency. The drive will control all types of AC motor in open- or closed-loop configurations, maximising its range of potential applications. Sprint has been developing the new drive over the past five years in partnership with Nottingham University as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership – the part grant-funded scheme that helps UK businesses to innovate using expertise from UK universities. The company has attracted £2.5m of funding, with £2m of this coming from trusts managed by the Foresight Group private equity business, and £500,000 from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which is supported by the European Union via its European Regional Development Fund. The Generis drives will be available from February 2024 in ratings up to 22kW. More sizes will be introduced over the coming three years, eventually spanning ratings up to 200kW. Sprint has yet to decide whether to build the drives in-house or to sub-contract their manufacture, but says that they will be built in the UK. “This release has been a long time in the making, and the team has worked exceptionally hard to produce this leap in drive technology,” says Sprint’s managing director, Gary Keen. “Generis represents a new level for AC drive technology.” The drive, he adds, “boasts simplified mechanics and does not use electrolytic capacitors, so it has no life-limiting components which degrade with time and temperature. This results in exceptionally high levels of reliability as well as minimising total cost of ownership. “Constant-torque and variable-torque profiles are easily selected, so offering full energy efficiency with short payback periods,” Keen continues. “Generis also includes extended frequency output – a feature often sought in constant-power applications.” The new drive has been designed to simplify control without compromising performance. It is aimed at industries such as converting, metals, print and packaging, and applications such as presses and test rigs. An easy set-up procedure means that Generis can be up-andrunning within minutes. Sprint remains committed to DC drives but Keen points out that the AC regen market is about 40 times the size of the DC market that Sprint currently addresses. Sprint reckons that regen drives account for around 7.5% of the £16bn global AC drives market. There will be a series of presentations on the new drive at the SPS show next month. Founded in 1987, Sprint Electric designs and manufactures digital motor controls up to 1MW for single-phase, three-phase, regenerative and non-regenerative applications. It employs around 20 people and is expanding. It had sales worth £3m in 2022. More than 80% of its production is exported to more than 75 countries. Keen expects that most of the initial sales of the new regen drives will be in the UK. But he thinks that export sales will eventually come to dominate. In the longer term, Sprint’s AC and DC drives ranges will probably share technologies. Sprint Electric expands into AC market with regenerative drives Sprint Electric directors Gary Keen (left) and Mark Gardiner with one of their new regenerative AC drives EVENTS Advanced Engineering UK 1-2 November, 2023 NEC, Birmingham The organisers of “the UK’s largest exhibition for engineering and manufacturing professionals”say that more than 90% of the exhibition space has already been sold, and the show has been expanded to make space for new exhibitors. The zones present at previous shows are being removed to emphasise cross-industry working and to avoid segregation. The Manufacturer Live 14-15 November The Exhibition Centre, Liverpool, UK The annual gathering of the manufacturing industry will include the MX Awards, The Manufacturer Director’s Forum, and the Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit – a two-day conference during which experts and influential discussion leaders will share ideas, innovations and real-world experiences. the-manufacturer-live SPS 2023 14-16 November, 2023 Nuremberg, Germany The organisers of the Smart Production Solutions show are adding two new halls to this year’s show, taking the total to 16. They are expecting around 1,300 exhibitors at the Nuremberg venue, compared to the 999 for the 2022 event, which attracted 43,813 visitors. Southern Manufacturing & Electronics 2024 6-8 February, 2024 Farnborough The annual regional event is aimed at people involved in design, engineering production and procurement. They can see the latest in production hardware, components, consumables and other technologies. Drives & Controls 4-6 June, 2024 NEC, Birmingham Now part of Manufacturing+Engineering Week, the Drives & Controls show will run alongside other events including Air-Tech, Fluid Power & Systems, Maintec, Smart Factory Expo and Design+Engineering Expo. It will cover areas including industrial automation, energy efficiency, machine safety, drives, motion controls, power transmission and robotics. drives-controls-expo-home Manufacturing + Engineering Week 5-6 June, 2024 NEC, Birmingham The event will include Maintec, Smart Factory Expo and Design+Engineering Expo, and will run alongside Drives & Controls, Air-Tech and Fluid Power & Systems. The organisers say that the “Festival of Industrial Innovation” represents the future of manufacturing and engineering in the UK.


n NEWS A GLOBAL SURVEY of cyberattacks on industrial control systems (ICSs) and/or operational technology (OT) operations, has found that more than half (60%) are led by state-affiliated “actors” and that about a third are unintentionally enabled by internal personnel. The survey, commissioned by Rockwell Automation, was conducted by the US-based Cyentia Institute, which analysed 122 cybersecurity events where OT and ICS operations were compromised. It collected nearly 100 data points for each incident. The survey reveals that OT/ICS security incidents are increasing in volume and frequency, and are targeting critical infrastructure, such as energy producers. Of the incidents studied, 60% resulted in operational disruption and 40% resulted in unauthorised access or data exposure. Broader supply chains were also impacted 65% of the time. Key findings of the report, called Anatomy of 100+ Cybersecurity Incidents in Industrial Operations, include: n In more than half (53%) of OT/ICS incidents, Scada (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems are targeted, with PLCs being the nextmost-common target (on 22%). n The number of OT/ICS cybersecurity incidents in the past three years has already exceeded the total number reported between 1991-2000. n Threats are most intensely focused on the energy sector (where 39% of attacks occurred) – more three times as many as the next most frequently attacked sectors, critical manufacturing (11%) and transportation (10%). n Phishing remains the most popular form of attack (34%), emphasising the importance of preventative measures such as segmentation, airgapping, zero trust and security awareness training. n More than 80% of threats come from outside organisations, but insiders play an unintentional role in opening the door for attackers in around a third of incidents. The research suggests that strengthening the security of IT systems is crucial to combatting cyberattacks on critical infrastructure and manufacturing facilities. More than 80% of the OT/ICS incidents analysed started with an IT system being compromised, demonstrating the increased interconnectivity across IT and OT systems and applications. en-us/campaigns/cyentiareport NEW RESEARCH HAS FOUND around 100,000 industrial control systems (ICSs) globally that are exposed to the public Intenet. This could allow attackers to take control of plants, potentially causing disruption, threatening safety and compromising data and intellectual property. The study, by the cybersecurity firm Bitsight, found exposed organisations in 96 countries, including some blue chip businesses. It investigated systems that were communicating via common ICS protocols including Modbus, EtherNet/IP, Codesys, BACnet and S7. Although there has been a steady decline in the number of Internet-facing ICSs since 2019, when a similar Bitsight survey found 135,000 exposed systems, the company warns that there is still a significant risk to organisations and their partners. Survey blames state ‘actors’ for 60% of industrial cyberattacks 100,000 ICSs are exposed to Internet

NEWS n THE BRAZILIAN MOTOR-MAKER WEG is buying the industrial motors and generators operations that make up most of Regal Rexnord Industrial Systems business, for $400m. This deal focuses on Regal Rexnord’s Marathon, Cemp and Rotor brands. WEG will take on around 2,800 people working in 10 factories in seven countries (the US, Mexico, China, India, Italy, Netherlands and Canada) and commercial branches in 11 countries. In 2022, these businesses generated revenues of $541.5m, with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 9.5%. Regal Rexnord CEO, Louis Pinkham, says the sell-off follows a strategic review. “The sale of our industrial motors and generators businesses is consistent with our strategy of focusing the portfolio on products, sub-systems, end-markets and/or applications where we can achieve GDP-plus growth rates and gross margins above 35%. “While we have made significant progress improving the growth prospects and margins at these businesses,” he adds, “we believe that WEG is in a better position to accelerate their performance going forward.” WEG president Harry Schmelzer says the acquisition aligns with his company’s strategy of continuous and sustainable growth, international expansion and diversifying its industrial operations. “The geographic distribution of these operations are complementary to WEG’s current presence and will help in achieving greater scale and efficiency in reducing costs as we integrate new operations into existing ones,” he explains. “With a long history in the market and global presence, this acquisition will support the continued growth of the WEG Group in the industrial electric motor and generator markets, through the incorporation of recognised brands and a line of products complementary to the group's current portfolio.” Regal Rexnord was created last year following the merger of the motors and mechanical power transmission manufacturer Regal Beloit with Rexnord Process and Motion Control. At the time, the combined business employed about 29,000 people with manufacturing facilities on five continents. Earlier this year, Regal Rexnord bought Altra Industrial Motion for $4.95bn, saying the deal would make it a global automation supplier with more than 70% of its sales in expanding markets. WEG buys Regal Rexnord’s motors businesses for $400m Regal Rexnord’s motors and generators portfolio spans a broad range of sizes and technologies

n NEWS The High Value Manufacturing Catapult has appointed the biotechnology and chemical manufacturing expert Steve Bagshaw as its new chair. Bagshaw has more than 35 years of industrial experience, most recently as a director at CPI, one of the seven HVM Catapult industrial innovation centres. He was an advisor to the UK Government’s Vaccine Task Force during the Covid-19 pandemic and was awarded a CBE for services to the manufacturing and biotechnology sector in 2020. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) has appointed Dr Gopichand Katragadda as its 142nd president. The AI expert will be the first Indian in this role and succeeds Professor Bob Cryan, vice-chancellor and CEO of the University of Huddersfield. Dr Gopichand was the founder of the AI company Myelin Foundry, and was previously CTO and innovation head of Tata Sons, and chairman and managing director of the GE India Technology Centre. Magnomatics, the Sheffield-based developer of magnetic transmission systems and compact motors, has appointed Gary Rodgers as CEO, succeeding David Latimer who has become vice-chairman. Rodgers has more than 25 years of experience in sales and business management in manufacturing and engineering, including roles at Alstom Power, Cooper Cameron, Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery and in Wabtec’s Napier Turbochargers business. ROCKWELL AUTOMATION is buying the Canadian autonomous robotics specialist Clearpath Robotics for an undisclosed sum. Rockwell believes that AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) are the next frontier in industrial automation, and predicts that the acquisition “will supercharge Rockwell’s lead in bringing the connected enterprise to life”. Clearpath’s Otto Motors division offers AMRs and fleet management and navigation software. AMRs can increase throughput and cut costs by ensuring that parts are in the right place when needed, and by transporting finished goods to trucks or warehouses. Rockwell argues that Otto Motors’AMR capabilities, combined with its existing partnerships in robot arms, and its strengths in PLCs and cart technologies, will create a portfolio of material-handling systems “unmatched in the industry”. Data from Rockwell systems and Otto’s AMRs will be harnessed in AI-powered Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) information management applications, such as those from Rockwell’s Plex and Fiix businesses. This will allow Rockwell to offer manufacturing packages that enable autonomous execution and optimisation. The combined technologies will also enhance the Kalypso production logistics consulting business that Rockwell bought in 2020. “Rockwell and Clearpath will together simplify the difficult and labour-intensive task of moving materials and product through an orchestrated and safe system to optimise operations throughout the entire manufacturing facility,” explains Rockwell’s chairman and CEO, Blake Moret. “The combination of autonomous robots and PLC-based line control has long been a dream of plant managers in industries as diverse as automotive and consumer packaged goods. “With Clearpath,”he adds, “Rockwell is uniquely positioned to make that dream a reality across virtually all discrete and hybrid verticals, optimising planning, operations, and the workforce.” Clearpath, founded in 2009, initially offered robot technologies for r&d applications. Based in Ontario, it launched its Otto Motors division in 2015. Otto’s AMRs are claimed to cut material-handling costs by up to 90%. Its customers include GE and Toyota Rockwell is not the first automation supplier to show an interest in Clearpath. In 2021, Siemens Canada formed a partnership with Otto Motors aimed at breaking new ground in Industry 4.0 technologies. And in May this year, Mitsubishi made a strategic investment in Clearpath. In 2021, ABB entered the AMR market by buying the Spanishheadquartered AMR manufacturer, Asti Mobile Robotics Group. Transporting parts and materials to assembly lines and between manufacturing cells is one of industry’s most complex and inefficient tasks, often resulting in bottlenecks. Rockwell believes that autonomous production logistics will transform the workflow through manufacturing plants, enabling substantial reductions in costs and higher efficiencies. Interact Analysis predicts that the market for AMRs in manufacturing will grow by about 30% per year over the next five years, reaching $6.2bn by 2027. “I fully expect to see most major industrial automation companies either acquire or organically develop mobile robot companies in the next few years,” says Interact research director, Ash Sharma. Rockwell buys AMR firm, saying it will ‘supercharge’ its business Otto recently launched this heavy-duty AMR for use in tight spaces. The 910mmwide Otto 1200 can move payloads of up to 1,200kg and incorporates a patented technology to prevent slowdowns around equipment and people, and at turns.

Decentrally distribute 24 volts Centrally monitor with IO-Link Configurable voltage and electronic circuit breakers for each supply channel A 12-segment LED bar graph displays the current demand of the overall system as well as the current demand of each channel Protected current distribution with less loss for both sensors and actuators Robust IP65/IP67 housing for installation without control cabinet in the field

COVID’s HIDDEN BENEFIT There are not many things that we can thank Covid for, but one of them has apparently been to raise the status of engineering and manufacturing in the eyes of the UK public. In 2018, the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK carried out a survey of the public which uncovered a widespread belief that Britain “didn’t make things any more”. At the time, less than a quarter (24%) of parents said they would encourage their sons to work in manufacturing, while the number happy for their daughters to follow this career path was a dismal 14%. Then along came Covid and people witnessed car-makers building ventilators, clothing and textile companies adapting to produce medical gowns and facemasks, and food and drink factories turning their lines over to making hand sanitisers. According to Make UK, the positive coverage generated during the pandemic shifted perceptions, making people aware of the importance of Britain’s industrial base. Now parents see manufacturing as a high-skilled, high-tech and high-wage sector. Far from being in decline, the UK is now home to two of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies (GSK and AstraZeneca), while one in five jet engines in service around the world is made by Rolls Royce in the UK. The nation ranks third in the world for aerospace manufacturing by value, and is the largest destination for space investment after the US. So perhaps it is not all that surprising that a new survey of 2,436 UK citizens, carried out by Savanta for Make UK and Sheffield Hallam University, reveals a dramatic shift in attitudes. Five years ago, 70% of people felt that UK manufacturing was critical to expanding the UK economy. Now the figure is 93%. And while just 20% of parents wanted their children to work in the manufacturing sector in 1998, the figure has now doubled to 40%. More than a third of parents (36%) would now be happy for happy for their daughters to pursue a career in manufacturing, while 44% would encourage their sons to enter the sector. The public now regards manufacturing as being hugely important to the future of the UK economy, with more than three-quarters seeing it as providing the answers to the challenges of tomorrow. Perceptions about pay, working conditions and career prospects have also undergone a massive transformation, with almost half of parents now believing that manufacturing is a well-paid career. This is borne out by the facts that a quality manager working in the food and drink sector in the South East typically earns £61,000, while purchasing managers in Yorkshire and the Humber take home an average of £51,000 – 9% above the national average. “Manufacturing is the engine of economic growth and it is pleasing that the UK public shares our view that the sector is critical for the country’s economy,” comments Make UK’s CEO, Stephen Phipson. “Manufacturers have been working hard to reduce their energy use and slash carbon emissions – demonstrating their commitment to net-zero. The public have recognised this with over half the them believing that manufacturing is an environmentally-friendly. “The hard work and resilience of manufacturers over the last few years has paid off, and this is reflected in the uptick of perceptions among the British public,” he adds. “But there is still work to be done as over half of children surveyed had not even considered a job in manufacturing.” Nusrat Ghani, the Minister for Industry and Economic Security, points out that manufacturing contributed £224bn in gross value added in 2022, supporting 2.6 million jobs and helping to drive innovation and exports. “We are determined to provide UK manufacturers with the cutting edge over our competitors,” she adds. While the shift in public perceptions is welcome, more needs to be done to inform people about how vital engineering and manufacturing are to the UK economy – and how they could be even more critical in future. When surveyed in 2018, UK citizens guessed that the country was 56th in the world ranking of manufacturing nations – the position actually occupied by Kazakhstan at the time. Now they put Britain at 43rd spot, at a time when the UK is actually ranked 8th in the world, up one place in from 9th place it occupied in 2018. Tony Sacks, Editor n COMMENT

Drives&Controls & BACK TO BASICS n SPONSORED BY Defence against the dark arts If your facility suffers from flickering lights and overheating cables, the cause could be ghosts – but is more likely to be harmonics. ABB’s George Dodwell explores why harmonics are such a problem, and how drives can be used to solve them. Halloween is almost upon us, and with that in mind I thought I’d use this column to tackle one of the hidden gremlins that could be lurking within your power networks. Harmonics are distortions of current and voltage waveforms caused by introducing non-linear loads to your systems. These can include switched-mode power supplies, LED lighting systems and computers, as well as solar inverters and EV chargers. Add too many of these devices to your system, and they will affect power quality and cause equipment to behave erratically. Sometimes this will manifest itself in flickering lights or overheating cables – suitably spooky. It can also lead to failure of protection devices, and damage to sensitive electronics. Harmonics are heavily regulated. The current applicable standard, G5/5, sets out the assessment criteria and harmonic limits of harmonic generating loads. If a site is not G5/5-compliant and is generating excessive amounts of harmonic content, then network operators are allowed to issue fines, or to turn off the supply altogether. Any harmonics should therefore be taken very seriously. An electricity supply is rarely a pure sine wave, and there will almost always be distortion, at least to some extent. However, non-linear loads draw current in a periodic non-sinusoidal manner, which can exacerbate the problem significantly. This causes inefficiencies and system losses, while also potentially interfering with other equipment as the harmonics flow through the power network. Drives are switching devices, and one of the major culprits for harmonic distortion, because they typically draw large amounts of current. Filter remedies are available, but are often bulky and expensive. An alternative approach is to mitigate drive harmonics using the drive itself. G5/5 specifies active rectifier technologies to mitigate harmonics, and these can make a huge difference to total harmonic distortion (THD). A conventional drive with no mitigation whatsoever can have a THD of around 30-40%. By contrast, active front end (AFE) drives use IGBTs instead of diodes in the rectifier circuit, resulting in much lower THD. For example, ABB’s latest generation Ultra-Low Harmonic (ULH) AFE drives can offer THD figures of less than 3%. For an 11kV site, the harmonic calculations would ordinarily allow a maximum of 76kVA of six-pulse load. If instead you were to use an AFE drive, this would allow a maximum of 672kVA, while also significantly improving the resilience of your systems. For more information on harmonics, or ABB’s ULH drive offering, contact George Dodwell at Contact Trio to find out how our motion-first engineering approach can deliver productivity to your machine. PC-MCAT Motion-First Trio’s next generation PC-MCAT-2 is an innovative ‘Software Integration’ Motion Coordinator that combines PC technology with the Motion-iX advanced motion core allowing PC applications to run alongside real-time motion control and deterministic EtherCAT communication. See us at SPS 14 - 16 November Stand 1-360

n TECHNOLOGY October 2023 16 SIEMENS HAS LAUNCHED a private 5G wireless infrastructure that will allow industrial companies to build their own 5G networks to support their automation applications. 5G offers many potential advantages to industrial users including the flexibility to change factory layouts without having to relay data cables, low latencies, fast data speeds and high data security. 5G is regarded by many as being crucial for applications such as mobile robots, autonomous logistics, driverless transport systems and edge devices. It will also support connected tablets, VR (virtual reality) glasses and smart tools. Unlike other wireless technologies, private 5G networks use a licensed frequency band and can therefore be used without the risk of interference. The private 5G networks – also known as campus networks – are restricted to company premises, defined areas or individual buildings. This allows users to modify them to suit their applications. The networks also give companies full control over their data, because private 5G networks use their own local 5G spectrum. “By building their own 5G networks, industrial companies are launching the next stage of connected production,” says Axel Lorenz, CEO of Process Automation at Siemens. “5G is crucial for applications like mobile robots, autonomous logistics, and driverless transport systems in factories. Siemens' private 5G infrastructure also gives users sole control over the data in their 5G network at all times, and they can customconfigure the network for their applications.” Before launching its 5G infrastructure commercially, Siemens tested the technology in real production environments, including one of its own sites in Karlsruhe. This allowed it to refine the technology, ensuring that it meets the needs of industrial users. The technology was also tested at several pilot sites, including one operated by the German steel group, Salzgitter. “We want an industrial 5G that meets the enormous requirements of the steel industry,” explains Salzgitter Flachstahl’s chief technology officer, Gerd Baresch. “Wherever we need to wirelessly transmit data reliably and securely – from real-time camera images to emergency-stop signals for driverless transport systems – we need future-proof communication technology." Siemens’ industrial 5G infrastructure consists of a 5G core and a radio access network (RAN) that includes a central unit (CU), distributed units (DUs) and radio units (RUs). 5G end-devices can connect to the infrastructure and communicate via the private network. Since 2021, Siemens has been offering industrial 5G for connecting robots, AGVs and other industrial devices to private 5G networks. It says the new routers are the final components needed to create efficient wireless 5G networks for industrial environments. The private Siemens 5G infrastructure will be sold initially in Germany. Other countries will follow. ROCKWELL AUTOMATION HAS announced a module that, it claims, will “revolutionise” edge computing capabilities for its Logix controllers, opening up new applications and enhancing their processing power and versatility. The Embedded Edge Compute module (EEC) allows IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) capabilities to converge at the Logix level for more direct monitoring. “Our mission with the Embedded Edge Compute Module is to provide a cutting-edge solution that empowers our customers to embrace the full potential of edge computing, while maintaining compatibility and ease of use,”explains Rockwell product manager, Stefano Schiavella. “We believe EEC will revolutionise the way Logix controllers interact with modern technologies and unlock new opportunities for efficiency and productivity." The module’s key functions and benefits include: n High-performance computing: Using a powerful processor and an advanced computing architecture, the module delivers high speed and efficiency, and can process complex tasks and dataintensive applications with ease. n Space saving: The module can fit into tight spaces. Its small size and low power consumption make it ideal for edge applications, bringing powerful computing capabilities closer to the data source without compromising performance. n Scalability and flexibility: The module can host Rockwell’s FactoryTalk Optix and Remote Access tools, allowing users to adapt to changing computing demands. n Connectivity: The module offers a choice of connectivity options, facilitating data exchange and enabling advanced IoT and automation applications. Powerful control module will ‘revolutionise’ edge applications Private industrial 5G network gives flexibility to automation users One of Siemens’ industrial 5G radio devices

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n TECHNOLOGY FIIX SOFTWARE, THE CANADIAN CMMS (computerised maintenance management system) specialist that Rockwell Automation bought in 2020, has announced a “gamechanging” AI (artificial intelligence) product, that it claims, will be able to predict equipment breakdowns days before they occur by learning the signs of potential equipment failures in as little as seven days. The Asset Risk Predictor (ARP) uses AI sensor data, machine recipes, and operating environment data to predict asset health, allowing equipment users to spot and tackle impending failures before they happen. By viewing daily risk levels for each asset that they are monitoring, users can expect fewer breakdowns, and spend less time on manual inspections. “Anyone can act on the insights in seconds,” Rockwell suggests. Other claimed benefits include lowering the costs of resources and production time that might otherwise be wasted on unnecessary maintenance, and removing the guesswork from traditional predictive maintenance procedures. “ARP empowers customers to transition to predictive maintenance, saving on monitoring costs and preventing downtimes,” says Fiix by Rockwell Automation group product manager, Liudmila Domakhina. “It's a testament to our commitment to innovation in the maintenance industry.” The Asset Risk Predictor can be purchased and used independently from a Fiix CMMS, or it can be integrated into the CMMS. When ARPs are connected to a CMMS, users can react to potential failures faster by creating work orders in the CMMS automatically. AI maintenance tool can predict breakdowns ‘days in advance’ The Asset Risk Predictor helps maintenance teams to spot anomalies and to prevent equipment failures days before they occur