Drives & Controls April 2024

n TECHNOLOGY April 2024 20 SIEMENS HAS DEVELOPED A “revolutionary” multi-function circuit protection device that it says is to 1,000 times faster than conventional devices and needs up to 80% less space in distribution boards. If circuit faults occur, the Sentron ECPD (electronic circuit protection device) switches them o‡ electronically and, if necessary, can trip mechanical isolating contacts downstream. Previously, such disconnections have needed electromechanical elements. According to Siemens, the solid-state device will allow completely new approaches in electrical planning, maximising safety, Šexibility and delivering substantial space and energy savings compared to conventional technologies. “This innovation o‡ers a variety of beneŒts and has the potential to revolutionise today’s circuit protection world,” says Andreas Matthé, CEO of Electrical Products at Siemens Smart Infrastructure. “For the Œrst time in the history of circuit protection, it is possible to beneŒt from several functionalities in one product and to activate them as required by the individual application or adapt them if needed.” In the event of a short circuit, conventional circuit-breakers typically achieve disconnections in 2-3ms. The new breaker can disconnect up to 1,000 times faster, minimising short-circuit energy and ensuring safety for people, systems and electrical equipment. In addition, a built-in cyclical selftest function (including an RCD capability) is claimed to raise safety to levels not possible using existing concepts. The solid-state device also o‡ers wear-free switching, increasing the service lives of systems and reducing maintenance and repair costs. The new breaker’s functions can be customised and new functions can be activated easily via an app, avoiding the need to buy a new device and adapt it to suit an application. For example, rated current, tripping limits or behaviour can all be adjusted to suit an application, o‡ering planning and cost advantages. Circuits can be designed based on the rated current of the loads instead of the signiŒcantly higher inrush current peaks that occur brieŠy with some loads. This reduces complexity as well as planning and installation e‡orts and saves on materials such as copper. For the Œrst time, it is possible to perform detailed condition-monitoring of applications at the Œnal circuit level, increasing availability and reliability. Data generated by the breaker can be used to detect irregularities and deviations, and to plan preventative maintenance. The breakers can be integrated into higher-level systems via the open Modbus TCP standard. Remote diagnostics and switching can be carried out during normal operations, as well as in the event of a fault. This allows remote applications to be implemented without direct on-site support. In addition, it is said to be easier to localise and identify faults by di‡erentiating the cause of the fault. Energy consumption by Œnal circuits can be monitored via radio-based communications using Siemens’Sentron Powercenter 1000 and 3000 gateways. This allows systems and processes to be optimised, for example, as part of energy management systems in accordance with ISO 50001 which, in turn, can cut energy and operating costs. The ability to combine multiple functions in a single device leads to savings of up to 80% on the electronics needed, 90% on the metals and 90% on the plastics. The breaker is about 90% lighter than the devices that would otherwise be needed. pAutrix, a start-up founded last year to make warehouse automation accessible to UK SMEs, says it has made picking times 78% faster for Essex-based Farsound Aviation, as well as reducing picking errors by 58%, enhancing stock accuracy by 5%, and helping to achieve a 60% drop in sta„ turnover. Autrix o„ers strategic guidance to help businesses determine how and where to implement automation to help their growth. It operates an automated warehouse, demonstration and service centre in Birmingham, as well as an o‡ce in Lincoln which designs custom automation systems and software. p The German machine vision specialist, SVS-Vistek has launched what is claims are the world’s fastest high-resolution SWIR (shortwave infrared) cameras for industrial inspection. The cameras can acquire vivid images even of tiny subjects, and are capable 132.6 frames/second at 5.2MP for the fxo992 model, and 173.4 fps at 3.1MP for the fxo993 version. They are available with either 10GigE Vision or CoaXPress-12 interfaces, and use Sony IMX992 and IMX993 InGaAs SenSWIR sensors. They can simultaneously record SWIR and visible images, avoiding the need for two cameras. p The Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF) has created an initiative to strengthen the governance of open-source robotics software projects and to ensure the health of the Robot Operating System (ROS) Suite community. The 12 founding members of the Open Source Robotics Alliance (Osra) include Nvidia, Intrinsic (Google’s robotics software company), Qualcomm, and Clearpath Robotics. Bosch and ROSIndustrial are expected to join. pNiron Magnetics, the US company pioneering high-performance, rare-earthfree permanent magnets, has received $25m in new strategic funding in a round led by Samsung Ventures, and including the automotive suppliers Magna, and Allison Ventures, the venture capital arm of Allison Transmission. The investment will help Niron to expand production and scale manufacturing capacity for its iron nitride based Clean Earth Magnet. pProcess Genius, a Finnish producer of 3D digital twins for industrial manufacturing, has launched a con£gurable digital twin that tackles the issue of digital noise in industrial processes, where hundreds of systems and sensors combine, making it di‡cult to keep track of deviations in processes, maintenance, safety alerts and malfunctions. The Genius Core platform centralises data from equipment in a 3D visualisation, and allows critical information to be accessed in real-time. TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS ‘Revolutionary’multifunction breaker is up to 1,000 times faster Siemens’ Sentron solid-state circuit breaker combines multiple functions