Drives & Controls November/December 2023

CONTROLS AND SOFTWARE: Is Scada dead? And which type of database is best for you? SAFETY: Advice on overcoming misconceptions about SIL ratings ELECTRICAL AND ENCLOSURES: How a tap manufacturer cut its cooling costs by 61% Drives&Controls NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2023 #1 ENGINEERING MAGAZINE FOR AUTOMATION, POWER TRANSMISSION AND MOTION CONTROL INSIDE WHERE PRECISION MEETS ENDURANCE PUSH BUTTONS Energy and Automation

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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 January issue of Drives & Controls will contain our annual supplement on variable-speed drives, and a look at what’s been happening in the worlds of gears and gearboxes, and packaging, printing and paper. UPDATE 14 Comment 17 ABB Back to Basics 48 Gambica column 50 New Products 56 Design Data and Multimedia 56 Appointments 57 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 38 34 30 18 5 56 DRIVES & CONTROLS November/December 2023 Vol 39 No 10 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. 18 Technology Cutting-edge innovations in motion, power transmission, controls and related technologies. 30 Food and Beverage Barriers to automating food and beverage plants are falling away and the latest technologies offer clear business advantages for manufacturers in the sector. An industry insider believes that these developments are a recipe for change. 32 Controls and Software Is there still a role for Scada systems as digitalisation goals become more ambitious, and the technologies used for data capture and analysis evolve? And should you choose historian or relational databases to store and analyse your manufacturing data? An expert shares his opinion. 36 Safety A specialist in alarm systems explains how SIL ratings work and identifies the dangers of some of the misconceptions that exist around them. Plus we outline the steps required to comply with legislation designed to ensure that workplaces minimise the possibility of combustible dust creating explosion risks. 42 Electrical and Enclosures We report on how a German manufacturer of bathroom equipment has slashed the energy consumption of cabinets on six of its production lines by installing a hybrid cooling technology that combines active and passive techniques. Plus how technologies such as supercapacitors and inductive charging offer many potential benefits for powering warehouse shuttle systems. 46 Motors WEG’s recent purchase of Regal Rexnord’s low-voltage motors business was one of the biggest in the sector for many years. A research analyst considers the deal’s implications and whether WEG could overtake ABB to become the world’s largest supplier of these machines. 52 44 21,157 Average net circulation January to December 2022 48 46

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NEWS n 5 Siemens simplifies motion engineering to tackle skills crisis AT THE SPS EXHIBITION in Germany, Siemens has announced several software and hardware developments designed to make motion programming easier and thus to tackle the shortage of skilled motion engineers around the world. Rainer Brehm, CEO of Siemens’ Factory Automation division, unveiled the latest version (v19) of the company’s Totally Integrated Automation (TIA) portal, with the claim that it offers “the simplest motion engineering on the market”, and avoids the need for complicated lists. In delta robot pick-and-place applications, for example, users will be able to see how the system will operate using a digital twin before any hardware is ordered or configured. Using the Portal is said to be intuitive for non-experts and new users, and Brehm argues that this is crucial for industrial users. To manage an increasing variety of products flexibly, and to cope with the shortage of skilled workers, more processes need to be automated – and this means that machines and systems and the resulting demands on motion control and automation technology are becoming increasingly complex. The new version of TIA Portal now integrates motion control from initial engineering through to the eventual commissioning and operation of the drives. Whether users want to control a single axis or complex kinematics, the Portal provides support with graphical interfaces and extensive diagnostics. It also offers extended functions, including software that helps with modularisation, and allows users to write complex applications. The modular design makes it easy to deploy, track, trace and re-use applications, and to create versions. A new function called Named Values can be used to create readable, easy-to-maintain code, and for debugging. Another new element in the Portal, called Simatic Motion Interpreter, avoids the need for in-depth programming knowledge. It acts more like a navigation system, with the user entering a simple sequential description of the movements that they want to perform. The Interpreter then takes over the programming, from single axes to complex kinematics with up to six interpolating axes. Changes can be made to applications without needing to delve into PLC code. Brehm also announced a new generation of drives including: n the economical, space-saving Sinamics G220 drive, which is said to generate 95% less harmonic distortion, avoids the need for input or output filters, works with IE4 or IE5 motors, and is designed to connect to the edge and the cloud; n the Sinamics S200 aimed at standard servodrive applications, which is easy to engineer via TIA Portal; and n the Sinamics S210 safety servodrive, which supports safety functions up to SIL3. All of these drives can be tested virtually using digital twins built into Siemens’ Sinamics DriveSim Basic and Advanced tools. November/December 2023 ROBOTICS AND AI experts at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh have secured funding for a training centre to help make robots safer, more dependable and trustworthy. The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Dependable and Deployable Artificial Intelligence for Robotics (CDT-D2AIR) will train PhD students in verification and certification systems for robotics and AI. The aim is to ensure that robotics applications can interact safely with the environment and with users. The centre has been awarded a share of £117m of funding announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for 12 Centres for Doctoral Training in AI at 16 UK universities. The investment will help to train the next generation of AI researchers. It builds on a previous UKRI investment of £100m in 2018. The D2AIR Centre for Doctoral Training will be based at the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics (ECR), a joint initiative between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh. ECR includes the National Robotarium, at Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh campus, and the Bayes Centre, the University of Edinburgh 's Innovation Hub for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. These centres include robotic testing and development facilities and more than £20m of robotic equipment. Students working at the D2AIR Centre will be able to simulate and test systems, and will be trained in the latest methods in AI, verification, design and robotics. “There is a clear need for robotics and AI systems be certifiable, reliable and capable of interacting safely with people and the environment,” says Professor Ron Petrick, professor of Computer Science at Heriot-Watt University, and director of the new Centre. “While AI methods are being increasingly used in robotics, much of this technology was not originally designed with safety and other important human-centred requirements in mind. Making AI truly applicable to, and deployable in, robotic solutions will require advanced sets of skills and a new way of thinking.” The £117m UKRI investment will involve partners including IBM and Google, as well as AI SMEs. A further £110m is coming from these partners in the form of cash or in-kind contributions. Scottish researchers win slice of £117m funds to make robots safer Siemens’ Factory Automation CEO Rainer Brehm: simpler motion engineering is needed to tackle the skills crisis

n NEWS November/December 2023 6 THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced plans to expand the Made Smarter programme to the whole of the UK as part of its newly-announced £4.5bn of funding for British manufacturing. The government-funded Made Smarter programme helps SME manufacturers to use digital technologies. Since it launched in 2018, it has helped more than 2,500 manufacturers in limited regions of England, through grant funding, technology advice and skills training. Now the government is planning to expand the scheme to other parts of England in 2025-26, before working with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to explore making the programme UK-wide from 2026-27. Stephen Phipson, CEO of the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK, has welcomed the move, saying: “Make UK has long campaigned for Made Smarter to be a fully national scheme so that all SME manufacturers can benefit from the expertise the programme delivers and we are delighted at today’s decision from government to commit to a national rollout.” The plans to expand Made Smarter are part of £4.5bn of funding for British manufacturing to boost economic growth announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt. This will be targeted at eight sectors that the government regards as being key to economic growth, energy security and levelling-up. They include automotive, aerospace, life sciences and clean energy. The funding will be available for five years from 2025. More than £2bn has been earmarked for the automotive sector and £975m for aerospace, to support production, development and supply chains for zero-emission vehicles, and investment in efficient and zero-carbon aircraft. The government has also committed £960m to a Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support clean energy manufacturing, and £520m for life sciences manufacturing. The government says it is targeting the funds at what it regards as the UK’s strongest sectors, including those where the industry is undergoing fundamental changes to remain at the forefront of the global transition to net-zero. Announcing the programme, Chancellor Hunt said: “Our £4.5bn of funding will leverage many times that from the private sector, and in turn will grow our economy, creating more skilled, higherpaid jobs in new industries that will be built to last.” Manufacturing accounts for more than 43% of all UK exports and employs 2.6m people. Made Smarter to go UK-wide as part of £4.5bn manufacturing plan p ABB is spending $280m on a new Robotics Campus in Sweden which will serve as its hub for Europe and will boost its robot production capacity by 50%. The 65,000m2 Campus, with a workforce of 1,300, will replace an existing facility and will bring together automated manufacturing, R&D and training centres to develop next generation AI-enabled technologies. It is due to open in late 2026. The Campus will supply AI-enabled collaborative and industrial robots, as well as digital systems to support flexible automation. p Rockwell Automation is buying the US industrial cybersecurity specialist Verve Industrial Protection, for an undisclosed sum. The deal will add asset inventory and vulnerability management systems to Rockwell’s portfolio. Verve, founded almost 30 years ago as Rkneal, has a track record of more than 1,000 automation and control projects. Its Security Center is a vendor-neutral OT endpoint management platform that enables real-time asset inventory, vulnerability management and risk remediation. p Fanuc has signed a contract with Volvo Cars to supply industrial robots for plants around the globe, including new battery production facilities in Europe, Asia and America. The first phase involves supplying more than 700 robots for a new manufacturing site in Slovakia – Volvo’s first site to make only EVs. The first vehicles are due to roll off the production line in 2026. Fanuc will also supply robots to sites in Belgium and China. p According to a new report from ABI Research, industrial and manufacturing contributed $16.3 trillion worth of value to the global economy in 2022. The manufacturing value added (MVA) growth was slightly less than the 20% growth from 2020 to 2021. The Big Four manufacturing nations (China, the US, Japan and Germany) accounted for 57% of the world's MVA – more than in 2021. Petroleum refining, mining, and automotive manufacturing continue to dominate, with no electronics companies in the top 10. NEWS BRIEFS The High Value Manufacturing Catapult has launched a free tool that makes it easier for UK manufacturers to connect with suppliers of goods and services. The UK Supply Chain Directory brings together hundreds of thousands of UK industrial businesses in an easy-to-search online resource. The Directory was developed by the HVM Catapult in collaboration with The Data City and Digital Catapult, as part of the Made Smarter Innovation | Digital Supply Chain Hub. It is claimed to offer more extensive and better quality information on UK manufacturers than any other source. Users can search the directory by company size, location, specialist areas, or other filters. By building closer ties with local businesses, the tool will help manufacturers to increase their supply chain visibility and address potential weaknesses with upstream and downstream partners. Connecting with local suppliers could also cut transport distances, emissions and costs. Businesses can apply to include their profiles in the directory. • The HVM Catapult has also launched a Manufacturing Energy Toolkit that helps SMEs to cut energy costs. Experts from the Catapult perform an assessment at no cost to the SME. The aim is to understand an SME’s energy use, as well as potential ways of improving its efficiency. In a pilot run by WMG, the Toolkit cut SMEs’ energy costs by 12-46%. They saved an average of 21%, and in one case, a single machine saved 90%. manufacturing-energy-toolkit Hunt: the £4.5bn investment will create skilled, higherpaid jobs in new industries that will be built to last Free directory will help manufacturers to find suppliers

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November/December 2023 8 n NEWS MANUFACTURING & ENGINEERING WEEK HAS been renamed Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week for the 2024 event, which takes place at the NEC in June. The show’s organiser, Nineteen Group, says the change reflects the forward-looking nature of the event and focus on the new technologies driving the sector forward. “The week is all about cutting-edge innovations in hardware and software and solutions to the current challenges being faced around industry 4.0, sustainability and supply chain shortages, to name a few,” explains the event’s marketing director, Verity Noon. “Manufacturers and engineers are constantly looking for ways to work smarter, to become more efficient, stay ahead of the competitive curve and explore new business models and practices and Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week will help them do just that.” This will be the first year that the Drives & Controls show and its sister exhibitions, Air-Tech and Fluid Power & Systems (all previously owned by DFA Media), will be fully-fledged parts of the event, taking place in their own hall. They will run for three days (4–6 June), while the other exhibitions – Design & Engineering Expo, Smart Factory Expo and Maintec – will run for two days (5–6 June) next door. Together, the events are expected to attract “way beyond 450 exhibitors”. “Drives & Controls is one of the great brand names in the UK industrial exhibitions sector,” says its director, Laura Parris. “It has such a long history from the days when it overflowed from its original home in Telford to now where it finds its natural place as part of Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week.” Other live events taking place during the Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week will include: the Manufacturing Digitalisation Summit; the Director’s Forum; and the Industrial Data Summit; and the Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Summit. The Manufacturer Top 100 Award ceremony will also take place during the week. “In 2023, we gave our team licence to put on an event which was different to how industrial exhibitions and conferences had been staged in the past,” comments Nineteen Group CEO, Peter Jones. “The festival feeling which they created will be built on in 2024 and the addition of Drives & Controls in Hall 5 means we must think even bigger as there are just simply more people to engage and entertain.” Manufacturing & Engineering Week gets Smart for 2024 The 2024 Smart Manufacturing & Engineering Week will be the first at which the Drives & Controls show will have its own hall COVENTRY UNIVERSITY HAS relaunched its Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) with a £6m expansion aimed at helping UK manufacturers on their journeys to a clean, sustainable and digital world. The latest funding – which takes the total investment in AME so far to £18m – adds nearly 2,000m2 of space which is being used for a digital twin pilot environment, a robot testing area, AI and VR stations, laser welders and six new laboratories. AME was originally born out of a collaboration with Unipart Manufacturing in 2014. Since then, it has completed more than £110m of R&D and commercial projects for companies including Aston Martin, Ford and Lotus, helping to generate more than £500m of economic benefits. Almost 175 companies – including OEMs and SMEs – have been involved in the collaborative work, and more than 400 students have graduated with a combination of real-world shopfloor and classroom learning. The latest funding includes £5m from the University and a £1m grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund. “The AME expansion is more than just physical growth of an additional 2,000m2; it’s a testament to our unwavering commitment to bridging the skills and R&D gap between academia and industry,” says AME director, Marcos Kauffman. Coventry’s ‘Faculty on the Factory Floor’ gets a £6m expansion EVENTS 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. The organisers expect around 800 exhibitors and 9,000 visitors. Hannover Messe 22-26 April, 2024 Hannover, Germany The industrial megashow returns bringing together exhibitors from digital industries, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and the energy sector. Key topics will include Industry 4.0/Manufacturing-X, digitisation, AI and machine learning. The fair will include a Research and Innovation Summit for the first time. The partner country is Norway. Drives & Controls 4-6 June, 2024 NEC, Birmingham Now part of Smart 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 Smart Manufacturing Engineering Week 5-6 June, 2024 NEC, Birmingham The event will include the Maintec, Smart Factory Expo and Design & Engineering Expo shows and will run alongside Drives & Controls, Air-Tech, Fluid Power & Systems. The organisers say the “Festival of Industrial Innovation” represents the future of manufacturing and engineering in the UK. As well as the exhibitions there will be conferences and summits.

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n NEWS ROCKWELL AUTOMATION HAS signed an agreement with Infinitum, the Texas-based creator of highefficiency air-core motors, to jointly develop a new class of high-efficiency, integrated low-voltage drive and motor technology that, they say, will save energy and cut costs for industrial customers, while helping them to become more sustainable. Rockwell will combine its PowerFlex drive technology with Infinitum’s high-efficiency Aircore EC motor system. This package will help users to cut their carbon footprints with a motor system that is 50% smaller and lighter, uses 66% less copper, and consumes 10% less energy than traditional iron-core motors. The integrated motor-drives will be available in late 2024 from Rockwell and its partners. “We’ve long recognised the benefits of Infinitum’s integrated motor and drive system because of its class-leading energy efficiency, sustainability, and ease of operations,” says Barry Elliott, vice-president and general manager of Power Control at Rockwell. “We’re excited about the powerful impact that our new joint solution will have on improving sustainability, energy-efficiency, and productivity for our customers around the world.” Infinitum’s patented air-core motors offer superior performance in half the weight and size, at a fraction of the carbon footprint of traditional motors, making them the world’s most efficient for their weight, according to the company. The motors open up sustainable design opportunities for smaller, lighter and quieter machines, while also saving energy and reducing waste. Rockwell and Infinitum have collaborated since 2021, when Rockwell first invested in Infinitum. “This agreement opens new customer channels for our sustainable motors that can power the world with less,” says Infinitum’s founder and CEO, Ben Schuler. “Working with Rockwell will enable a Rockwell and Infinitum will develop high-efficiency motor-drives together direct and widespread impact on industrial companies, reducing electricity consumption and increasing sustainability for this energy-intensive sector.” • Infinitum has announced $185m of new funding – including investments from Rockwell and Chevron – bringing its total funding to date to $350m. The new money will be used to expand the company and increase production. An exploded view of Infinitum’s highefficiency air-core motor technology

NEWS n A NEW INITIATIVE IS OFFERING information on the skills, competencies and training needed to work in the PEMD (power electronics, machines and drives) sector. Called the PEMD Body of Knowledge – or PEMDBoK – it will allow individuals, employers, recruiters and others to access information on the skills and capabilities needed by the sector. The framework, developed in a collaboration between industry and academic experts led by Coventry University, is being described as “game-changing” for a sector which is expected to generate more than £12bn of revenue by 2025 and to create more than 169,000 new jobs. The PEMDBoK is being hosted on the Electric Revolution Skills (ERS) Hub Web site.“PEMD requires a broad and evolving set of skills and competencies that traditionally have been challenging to navigate for individuals and organisations – a problem exacerbated by differences in language used by employers, course providers and learners,” explains Petar Igic, the ERS Hub’s academic director. “This situation is holding the sector back and preventing new talent from entering at exactly the time companies need them. If we don’t try to reverse this trend, then the UK could quite easily find itself falling behind in the electrification race. “We had to do something about this and by bringing together more than 100 different industry and academic experts, we have come up with The Power Electronics, Machines and Drives Body of Knowledge,”Igic adds. “The aim is to start bridging the skills gap by establishing a shared framework of technology, skills, and proficiencies, emphasising continuous learning and evolution. “The issue is that there aren’t enough people to fill those 169,000+ jobs,”Igic points out. “While there are multiple engineers with experience and recent graduates, only a few decide to enter the PEMD field. “There are multiple reasons for this. Employers would rather hire experienced engineers than train people, unappealing job offers, unclear requirements/skills for roles, or a language gap in industry and education. “ERS Hub and BoK aim to support at both ends of the spectrum,”Igic concludes. “By creating a common language, we allow recruiters and employers to easily create ‘standardised’job profiles that can be understood, whilst also helping education and course providers to design their courses/training to better meet those demands.” body-of-knowledge Skills initiative aims to attract people to UK’s £12bn PEMD sector Petar Igic: a lack of skills knowledge is holding back PEMD sector

n NEWS Mitsubishi Electric has appointed Mike Cairns as director of its UK Automation Systems Division (ASD), following the retirement of the previous director, Roger Payne, after a 37-year career. Cairns will be responsible for the entire UK operation. He will also be responsible for the Mitsubishi Electric’s Wave hand dryers. Before joining Mitsubishi, Cairns was commercial director of Proactive Analytics, and before that was EMEA sales director and a board member at Ishida Europe. He also worked as an account manager at Rockwell Automation for 12 years. The electric drivetrain specialist Saietta has appointed David Woolley as CEO. He has 35 years of international experience including being CEO of the Swedish pump-maker Concentric for more than a decade. Since 2017, he was CEO of the technology investor VIE Kapital, focusing on the transition to electric vehicles – specifically the development of motors, controllers and software. Woolley joins Saietta as it starts series production of its eDrives in the UK and India Bosch Rexroth has announced that Dell Technologies, Nokia and the robot-maker Kuka are now supporting its ctrlX industrial automation ecosystem, joining Wago, which earlier this year announced plans to use the real-time Linux-based OS for its mid- and high-performance controllers. The latest signings will give a boost to Rexroth’s ambition to establish ctrlX as a universal open system for automation applications. Rexroth reports that the ctrlX World partner network, which is a key part of the ecosystem, is also continuing to expand, with 150 applications from 90 partner companies now operating, and users able to choose from 16 application categories. There are also more than 60 apps that can be used with ctrlX OS devices. “Automation needs to move away from proprietary systems towards open, modular and scalable microservices architectures that will enable a profound transformation of industry in terms of digitalisation, connectivity and sustainability,”says Steffen Winkler, VP of Rexroth’s Automation & Electrification Solutions business. “ctrlX OS is the enabler for this. “We’ve managed to win over new partner companies such as Dell Technologies and Nokia,”he adds. “As a result, we’re now getting involved in areas outside factory automation. We’ve now got partner companies on all levels of the automation pyramid and can thus offer a whole range of benefits on a technological level.” Bosch Rexroth originally developed ctrlX for use in-house with its own ctrlX Core controls, but earlier this year it opened up the system to thirdparty suppliers. They can use the hardware-independent ctrlX OS to connect their components to the ctrlX Automation portfolio, including items developed by partner companies on Rexroth’s ctrlX World platform. Wago, the first external company to support ctrlX, is launching an edge controller and edge computer based on the OS. “Together, we’d like to strengthen ctrlX OS and develop it further,”says Johannes Pfeffer, vicepresident of Wago’s automation business. ctrlX OS has potential applications beyond industrial control systems and edge PCs. As a virtualised system, it can also run on edge servers near machines and production lines, in data centres, and in the cloud. Rexroth is working with Dell to offer ctrlX OS as an out-of-the-box software module for Dell’s NativeEdge software platform which is designed to simplify edge operations and provide zero-touch implementation and zero-trust functions. Nokia is integrating ctrlX OS into its MX Industrial Edge (MXIE) onpremises OT edge system. Various applications can run on this and it supports private 5G wireless network technologies. Nokia MXIE users will be able to install ctrlX OS as an application at the click of a mouse and run applications with reduced latency. Robotics is seen as a particularly promising area of application for ctrlX. Partners, including Fanuc, are already offering robotics products to download from the ctrlX Store, ranging from programming and integration tools for cobots and industrial robots, to software for optimising palletising algorithms. Dell, Nokia and Kuka join Rexroth’s ctrlX open automation ecosystem New partner companies are joining Bosch Rexroth with the aim of creating an open automation platform.

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AI AND BOTS MAKE THEIR MARK AT SPS The SPS (Smart Production Solutions) exhibition, which took place in Nuremberg, Germany, a few weeks ago, is gradually returning to the size it was before the Covid pandemic. In 2019, Europe’s biggest automation show attracted 1,585 exhibitors and 63,708 visitors. The 2023 event drew 1,229 exhibitors and around 50,000 visitors – up from the 999 exhibitors and 44,000 visitors who attended in 2022. The attendance figures could have been even higher had it not been for a nationwide train drivers’ strike in Germany which was called at short notice. The continuing weakness of the German economy and manufacturing sector was another negative factor. The trade body ZVEI reported at SPS that Germany’s electrical and digital industry had suffered three months of declining exports. But there was plenty of positive news from the show as well. Perhaps most remarkably, Beckhoff was able to report a 28% increase in sales in 2022 to a total of €1.515bn, despite the tough industrial climate in Germany. This followed a similar spurt the previous year, and the company’s average growth rate from 2010-2022 was 15%, despite the effects of the pandemic. Much of this growth came from outside Germany, with sales to the Americas up 40% in 2022, Asia-Pacific up 28.8%, and the EMEA region excluding Germany up 31.7%. There was also encouraging news from the small contingent of UK-based (if not all UK-owned) exhibitors at the show. Sprint Electric, Trio Motion Technology and Invertek Drives were all displaying newly-developed ranges of products, with Sprint marking its imminent expansion from its traditional DC market into the regenerative AC drives sector. One inescapable theme of this year’s SPS was Artificial Intelligence, with almost all of the major exhibitors talking about how AI would make life easier for their customers. In the vast Siemens hall, for example, Schaeffler (a Siemens customer) was demonstrating how it is using the AI-assisted Industrial Copilot tool (codeveloped with Microsoft) to generate PLC code rapidly with fewer errors using a natural language input. Siemens and Schaeffler say that as well as optimising engineering and support operations, such tools will also help to counteract the effects of skills shortages. These shortages were another theme of the show with suppliers arguing that, far from being a threat to jobs, automation is a means of making best use of the limited numbers of skilled personnel around the world. One interesting development at the show was the growing interest of global electronics distributors in the automation sector. Both RS and DigiKey were exhibiting at SPS for the first time, with the latter attracting large numbers of visitors to its stand to play on slot machines that were dispensing tools as prizes. With these major distributors showing such a keen interest in industrial automation, the future for the sector looks promising. Tony Sacks, Editor n COMMENT

BUY FROM US 150,000+ PRODUCTS ON STOCK IN NEED OF INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS? PRODUCT NUMBER 6ES7136-6DB00-0CA0 6ES7155-6AU01-0BN0 6ES7136-6RA00-0BF0 6ES7155-6AA01-0BN0 6ES7510-1SJ01-0AB0 6ES7550-1AA01-0AB0 6ES7193-6BP00-0BA0 6ES7331-7PF01-0AB0 6AV2124-0JC01-0AX0 6ES7322-1FF00-0AA0 6ES7138-6AA01-0BA0 6ED1052-1CA00-0BA1 6ES7392-1BM01-0AA0 6ES7135-6HD00-0BA1 6ED1052-1CC00-0BA4 6ES7515-2AM02-0AB0 6ES7331-7KB02-0AB0 6ES7212-1CA00-0XB0 6ES7134-6GF00-0AA1 6AG2511-1AK02-4AB0 6ES7511-1AK02-0AB0 6ES7510-1DJ01-0AB0 6SL3210-1KE14-3UF2 6ES7212-1AA00-0XB0 6ES7131-6BH01-0BA0 6ES7511-1FK02-0AB0 6ES7332-5HF00-0AB0 6ES7393-4AA10-0AA0 6ES7132-6BH01-0BA0 6ES7241-1AH32-0XB0 6SL3210-1KE15-8AF2 6ES7513-1AL02-0AB0 6ES7393-4AA00-0AA0 6ED1053-1CA00-0BA1 6ES7392-1AJ00-0AA0 6ES7390-5BA00-0AA0 6AV2124-0QC02-0AX1 6AV2124-0GC01-0AX0 6ES7972-0BA40-0XA0 6ES7315-2EH14-0AB0 6ES7131-6BF01-0BA0 6ED1056-4BA00-0AA0 6SL3211-0AB21-1AB0 6SL3210-1KE12-3UF2 6SL3210-1KE11-8AF2 6ES7232-4HD32-0XB0 6ES7155-6AU01-0CN0 6ES7134-6JD00-0CA1 6SL3210-1KE21-7AF1 6SL3210-1KE18-8AF1 6ES7368-3BB01-0AA0 6SL3210-1KE21-3AF1 6SE6410-2UB12-5AA0 6ES7972-0BB51-0XA0 6ES7515-2FM02-0AB0 6ES7513-1FL02-0AB0 6ES7315-2AH14-0AB0 6ES7153-2BA10-0XB0 6ES7134-6GD01-0BA1 6ED1053-1BB00-0BA1 6ES7512-1CK01-0AB0 6ES7511-1CK01-0AB0 6SL3244-0BB12-1FA0 6ES7518-4FP00-0AB0 6ES7518-4AP00-0AB0 6ES7532-5NB00-0AB0 6ES7517-3TP00-0AB0 6ES7517-3FP00-0AB0 6ES7517-3AP00-0AB0 6ES7513-1FL02-0AB0 6ES7511-1FK02-0AB0 6ES7511-1AK02-0AB0 6SL3210-1KE14-3UF2 6SL3210-1KE15-8AF2 6ES7516-3UN00-0AB0 6ES7516-3TN00-0AB0 6ES7522-1BL10-0AA0 6ES7522-1BH10-0AA0 1071153 10713518 1044125 1023546 1041114 1056430 1018601 1023891 1026287 1026820 1028934 1028936 UNIS GROUP, YOUR #1 PARTNER IN INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS Take a look in our webshop or contact our sales team! Directly available And much more! +44 1604 499 777

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Drives&Controls & BACK TO BASICS n SPONSORED BY Key considerations when installing drives in panels Users increasingly want their control panels to be as small as possible. But there are limits to how small an enclosure can be before it starts to compromise component performance and reliability. Liam Blackshaw, ABB’s UK product manager for LV drives, explains what to consider when designing control panels. When designing a control panel, one of the most important considerations is airflow, as this will ultimately determine the size of enclosure that can be used. Drives generate heat, and this needs to be removed from the cabinet to ensure optimal performance and prevent damage to the drive and other components within the enclosure. Any reputable manufacturer will stipulate the minimum airflow or cooling data for a particular drive. As well as exhausting hot air, there should also be provision for bringing cold air into the cabinet for ventilation. This is generally done using fans and filters. Best practice is to have a fan either at the top or the bottom of the panel, and a filter on the opposite end, depending on the desired airflow direction. In contaminated areas, you’ll want to divert dirty air and substances which can cause corrosion away from the drive. Layout is also important. For instance, you need to accommodate cables coming in and out. These tend to be at the bottom but can also be at the top. They will rarely be at the side, particularly in the case of larger cables which don’t bend easily. The layout of components within the cabinet will therefore depend to some extent on where the cable entry and exit points are. If you have both AC and DC voltages going in, you will want to segregate these voltages, which means more cables and less available space. If you have power cables and control cables, you will also want to keep these separated to prevent the introduction of noise and EMC into the system. Space is another key consideration. Many drive manufacturers will stipulate a minimum number of millimetres of clearance required between a drive and other components. In general, users want cabinets to be as small as possible, but there still needs to be enough space to ensure that the components are not so cramped that it affects performance. Everything you need to know about what you can and cannot do will be in the technical manual, and this will help to determine how large the enclosure needs to be to accommodate the components within it. Using a smaller drive can help to free up valuable cabinet space, and potentially allow the use of a smaller cabinet. For instance, ABB’s ACS180 machinery drive is designed to be extremely compact and can operate at up to 50˚C without derating. Power and control are also separated for minimised airflow through the electronics, helping to allow greater flexibility in both the size and layout of cabinets. For more information on the ACS180 drive, visit: 30 April 2024 MTC, Coventry SAVE THE DATE DFA Media Group +44 (0)1732 370 340

n TECHNOLOGY November/December 2023 18 BECKHOFF HAS UNVEILED a new generation of its TwinCat motion control technology that takes advantage of the latest multi-core and multitasking processing technologies to overcome some of the limitations of earlier generations. At the SPS exhibition in Germany, the company also demonstrated how it is using chatbots to simplify engineering. Beckhoff has been selling its TwinCat software control platform for more than 25 years and more than half of all applications involve motion control, But, until now, these applications have been limited to a single processor core and could only execute a single task at a time. Applications using the previous NC2 generation have also been limited to a maximum of 255 axes. With the new modular MC3 generation, these limitations no longer apply. The software can be distributed to several CPU cores with movements synchronised across all of the cores. In addition, axes can operate on the same CPU core with different cycle times, depending on their speed and function. This optimises the use of the core because the fastest axis no longer sets the rate for all of the others. There is no longer any limit to the number of axes that can be controlled. TwinCat MC3 can operate in parallel with earlier NC2 systems, and MC3 axes can be coupled to existing NC2 axes. This means that new machine components can be added without having to adapt existing components. Also at SPS, Beckhoff was showing the latest capabilities of its TwinCAT Chat bot that it announced at the Hannover Fair earlier this year. Large language models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT from OpenAI can now be used to develop projects in the TwinCat XAE engineering environment, simplifying various aspects from control programming to corporate management. For automation engineers, LLMs could revolutionise the development process by generating and completing code automatically, thus saving time. They can also create personal tutorials and help to solve problems. The models can also be used to transfer knowledge in organisations. They can act as a central knowledge base, storing information and making it available when needed. Another potential role is to relieve pressure on support teams by acting as the first point of contact for customer inquiries. Beckhoff says that TwinCat Chat offers benefits over using ChatGPT in a Web browser. For example, it greatly simplifies the development process, by integrating communications and code exchange. Beckhoff has tailored the LLM initialisation specifically to TwinCat requests. You can ask it questions and don’t need to tell the model that you are using TwinCat, or that you expect code in Structured Text. The generated code can be transferred easily, saving time and avoiding errors that can occur when moving code manually. Simple pre-tested one-click requests can be used to improve workflows. Beckhoff is working on new uses for TwinCat Chat, including creating HMI controls automatically, and as an interface for documents. AT THE RECENT SPS show, ABB demonstrated a technology that offers a simple way to digitise AF contactors and motor starters and provide information about their loads. The Novolink system can be integrated easily with existing wiring and contactors, which can continue to be used. The system can be retrofitted at any time. The system uses a smart gateway, based on the OPC UA open communications standard, that allows manufacturer-independent integration with most modern control systems. It increases availability and cuts operating costs by reducing planned and unplanned downtime through predictive maintenance. Remote access to machine data opens up new opportunities for preventative and demand-based maintenance and provides the basis for data analysis and new business models. The system can collect data such as current and voltage as well as providing performance data, energy consumption figures, and diagnostic and maintenance information. The modules can be integrated with the Automation Studio software from ABB’s B&R subsidiary and, via OPC UA, with any PLC or higher-level system. “Novolink modules address the key challenges of the industry: digitalisation and energy efficiency,” explains ABB’s head of mechanical engineering segment support, Sven Glöckler. “This solution, which is particularly suitable for retrofits and modernisations, creates a bridge from conventional switching technology to the world of Industry 4.0 via an OPC UA interface. “This allows seamless integration into system solutions from all third-party providers,” he continues. “The comprehensive data availability offers users the opportunity to implement new maintenance concepts, increase their operational efficiency and, at the same time, optimise energy consumption.” Technology creates bridge from motor switches to the digital world Next-gen multi-core motion control avoids earlier limitations The latest version of Beckhoff’s TwinCat motion control technology takes advantage of multi-core and multitasking technologies

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n TECHNOLOGY November/December 2023 20 p Niron Magnetics, a US company developing high-performance magnets that contain no rare-earth materials, has raised $33m of funding from backers including GM and Stellantis to expand its pilot production facilities and to scale its manufacturing capacity. Niron’s environmentally sustainable Clean Earth Magnets are based on iron nitride and promise improved temperature stability compared to other permanent magnets. As well as their uses in electric vehicles, they could have applications in industrial motors, pumps and compressors. p The Japanese motor-maker Nippon Pulse claims to be offering the world’s smallest, lightest direct-drive motors. Its MDx AC servomotors with built-in highresolution optical encoders are claimed to deliver a higher torque-to-weight ratio than other similar-sized rotary servomotors. Available in sizes from 13– 70mm, a choice of stack lengths, and standard or hollow-shaft versions, the motors offer good back-driveability for haptic feedback applications. p Ondosense, the German developer of radar-based distance sensors, says it has developed the smallest radar distance sensor, which is capable of high performance, even in difficult environments. The Reach sensor can be used for positioning and object detection with an accuracy of ±2mm, a measuring rate of 100Hz, and a range of 0.2–40m. It has an M30 housing and is 92mm long. p The Californian start-up, Machina Labs, has secured $32m of funding (taking its total to $45m) to develop its technology that combines AI with robotics to rapidly manufacture advanced composite and metal products. Part of the new investment has come from Nvidia. Machina’s technology uses software to configure factories for on-demand manufacturing that can deliver finished metal products in days. The first process enabled by this technology is robotic sheet forming, which is said to outperform methods relying on custom moulds or dies. p Derbyshire-based MasterMover claims to have produced the world’s most powerful electric tug with a model that can move up to 70,000kg. The remotecontrolled PS7000+ tug can be supervised safely by a single operator, who can control multiple tugs using MasterMover’s MulriLink technology. TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS UK-based Trio Motion Technology used the recent SPS show to launch a new motion controller based on Intel multi-core processors, which runs Microsoft Windows alongside its own Motion-iX core, allowingmachine builders to integrate Windows applications with advanced motion functions. The PC-MCAT-2 controller offers high-speed EtherCat coordination of up to 64 servo and robot axes. It runs Microsoft Windows 10 and provides a choice of Intel processors from Celeron to Core i7, as well as up to 256GB of solid-state drive memory. It can integrate with, and control, almost any peripheral device, including vision systems or sensors. Ports include HDMI, USB, serial and generalpurpose digital I/O. Three Ethernet ports allow the controller to deliver high-speed links from host machines to wider factory networks. To enhance network segmentation and bandwidth, each port has its own IP address. A supplied API library can be used in Windows applications, communicating with Trio’s Motion-iX motion control functions via a shared memory interface. This provides a high-speed link to the motion engine and a flexible choice of programming languages, allowing third-party SDKs to be integrated to deliver advanced machine control from a single application. The controller can co-ordinate up to 64 servo or robot axes with 64-bit maths precision, EtherCat cycle times down to 125μs, and motion command execution at speeds of up to 500 lines/ms. Trio’s motion command set includes multi-axis coordination in multiple dimensions, as well as numerous kinematic models. Combining Windows-based machine control and motion coordination on the same device removes the lag created by Ethernet connections to a separate PC. Trio says the PC-MCAT-2 can reduce machine footprints and hardware costs. OEMs can cut development times by removing the integration and debugging needed when using separate hardware. Applications can be written in Trio’s TrioBasic programming language, or in IEC 61131 languages with PLCopen. These languages execute on the Motion-iX core, independently of Windows. The single controller can have benefits for end-users as well, enhance reliability by avoiding communications challenges that may develop after commissioning. The controller is protected by a rugged metal housing that improves heat dissipation, while its fanless design reduces noise and maintenance requirements. “The PC-MCAT-2 motion controller is an advantage for machine-builders who need to deploy Windows-based machine control applications and establish IoT connectivity, alongside high-performance servo or robotic motion control,” says Trio Motion Technology’s president, Tom Alexander. “Combining PC-MCAT-2 with our portfolio of controllers, servodrives and motors, I/O, HMI, and Scara robots, we present machinebuilders with an automation solution that offers the highest performance motion control, with support from a single vendor.” Motion controller marries Windows with multi-axis engine Trio’s PC-MCAT-2 controller can run Windows alongside its own Motion-iX core