Thursday, May 28, 2009

Saginaw Control & Engineering's Type 12 Operator Systems are designed to house a wide variety of equipment; panel mount, rack mount, desktop PC's, monitors, keyboards and panel views. These enclosures are primarily used in an indoor environment to protect against dust, falling dirt, dropping of non-corrosive liquid, and light splashing of water.

Product Attributes
  • One-piece construction allows flexibility and maximizes the usable interior space.

  • Memory retaining oil resistant urethane gasket.

  • Exclusive SCE concealed hinges on Work Station Enclosures.

  • Work Stations are available in textured beige or 304 stainless steel.

  • Operator system enclosures can be custom ordered in type 304 or 316 stainless steel.

  • Many accessories available.

Product Overview
  • Dual Access Two Door Desk Console w/ Center Mullion

  • Dual Access Overlapping Two Door Desk Console

  • Single Access Overlapping Two Door Desk Console

  • Dual Access Single Door Desk Console

  • Single Access Single Door Desk Console

  • Stainless Steel Slope Top Work Station

  • Slope Top Work Station

  • Type 4X Pedestal Mount or Desktop Work Station - Stainless Steel

  • Type 12 Pedestal Mount or Desktop Work Station - Textured Beige

  • Type 4X Work Station - Stainless Steel

  • Type 12 Work Station - Textured Beige

  • Type 12 Series 14 Two Door Consoles - 72 In. Wide

  • Type 12 Series 14 Two Door Consoles - 60 In. Wide

  • Type 12 Series 14 Two Door Consoles - 48 In. Wide

  • Type 12 Series 14 Single Door Consoles - 36 In. Wide

  • Type 12 Series 14 Single Door Consoles - 24 In. Wide

  • Type 12 Series 9 Consoles

  • Type 12 Consolets Accessory Columns and Bases

  • Type 12 Consolets

Rautomead has delivered, installed and commissioned a model RS 3000/5 upward vertical copper rod casting machine at La Farga Lacambra, Barcelona. La Farga Lacambra is a copper processing company with origins in bell-founding and cannon manufacture.

The company has also developed its own process for making fire-refined copper rod directly from scrap. The Rautomead casting machine is being used for production of copper and copper alloy rods. Successful casting trials carried out at Rautomead's Scotland-based technology centre were a key factor in securing this order.

The Raven-Flu, available from Multipix Imaging, is a quick and effective way of measuring body temperature and alerting border control of a potential virus, such as AN1H1 (swine flu). Easily installed and operated at airports and stations, the Xenics Raven-Flu utilises an uncooled microbolometer infrared camera, measuring from a safe distance and in real-time crucial differences in body temperature at an accuracy of up to 0.2C - pinpointing any suspicious fevers in passing travellers.

This solution detects the heat emitted from the human skin and produces a temperature map. The result is a colour image with various colour contours that represent temperature gradients. To enable reliable measurements, the Raven-Flu requires minimal setup and examination time. It can be operated on a tripod or installed for permanent use.

Xenics recommends the body temperature to be checked at the corner of an individual's eye, where the temperature approaches the core body temperature. The examination takes no longer than a fraction of a second. Setup and operator training can be achieved in less than one hour before being fully operational.

Even the systematic screening of a crowd is possible using the Raven-Flu's high-definition image. Automatic alerts can be triggered by adjustable thresholds preferably set at 1C above average temperature, with visual and/or audible alarms. Operation of the Raven-Flu is discrete as at a 50Hz frame rate there is no hampering of pedestrian flow.

Parker's Electromechanical Automation Division has announced an expansion to its line of PV gearheads. The PV115 offers a wide assortment of output face options along with high radial load and output torque performance. The output face options have the same output face dimensions as Parker Bayside's PX series, Alpha's LP series, Neugart's PLE series, Stober's PE series, as well as standard NEMA output face dimensions.

The PV115 also supports larger belt actuators, including Parker's HPLA120 and HLE150. The PV gearhead's design achieves high radial loads by using precision taper roller bearings.

With high input speeds and efficiency up to 97 per cent, PV gearheads are suitable for industrial requirements, including belt and pulley, conveyor and production machinery; automotive production and inspection equipment; medical and life science applications, including lab instrumentation, device manufacturing and pharmaceutical requirements; packaging; and many other commercial applications. The PV115 is covered by a three-year warranty.

Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) has purchased 51 Thermo Scientific LXQ linear ion trap mass spectrometers and 27 Thermo Scientific Nicolet 6700 FT-IR spectrometers with Continuum microscopes. The NPA will use the LXQ LC/MS/MS system for toxicology screening in each of its 47 prefecture offices and will use the Nicolet 6700 FT-IR system for forensics in nearly half of those offices.

Prior to purchasing the LXQ system, the NPA used single quadruple LCMS for analysing drugs and toxic substances. The LXQ's ion trap technology provides high sensitivity and specificity, which enables it to analyse hundreds of analytes in blood and urine samples. The NPA said that one of the reasons it chose the LXQ was the time and labour it saved with the total solution offered by Thermo Fisher Scientific, including the company's ToxID software.

The software performs automatic data analysis and reporting, eliminating the need for manual data interpretation and increasing confidence in compound identification. The NPA saw a similar opportunity to improve both the quality of its forensic analysis, as well as to optimise cost per analysis and lab productivity with the Nicolet 6700 FT-IR spectrometer and Continuum microscope. This system combines visual microscopic analysis with infrared chemical information, ensuring sensitive, accurate interpretation, while preserving the sample.

For instance, one reason the NPA cited for purchasing the Nicolet 6700 FT-IR was its ability to analyse paint chips, a key piece of identification evidence in a hit-and-run crime. Normally, identifying auto paint requires dissolution and chemical extraction, but FT-IR microscopy provides quick chemical identification of each paint layer without degrading the sample.

Trevor Morris, product engineering manager at Barden, describes how super-precision bearings help guarantee the accuracy and flexibility of articulated arms used in surgical and industrial robotics. A large selection of measurement and inspection systems, industrial robots and medical equipment now uses flexible arms to provide the degree of movement needed to carry out specific tasks such as handling, assembly, welding, measurement and surgical manoeuvres.

Flexible arms are used by industrial robot laser-welding systems, portable measurement-arms, laser-inspection systems and the latest CO2 laser surgical arms that perform intricate surgery on patients. Many flexible-arm systems have articulated joints that enable the end of the arm to be moved through 360deg, with three-to-six axes of movement. Each of these articulated joints requires one or more bearings of some sort, in many cases super-precision bearings.

Barden is a Plymouth-based manufacturer of super-precision angular contact and deep-groove ball bearings. Morris said: 'Barden has recently engineered a number of bearing solutions for flexible arms. 'One particular project included a flexible CO2 laser arm for performing intricate medical surgery on patients. 'We have also provided bearing solutions for portable measuring and inspection arms, as well as for industrial robot systems.' The surgical laser arm is an excellent example of a system that requires super-precision bearings.

All surgical laser units have a similar basic structure. The flexible arm is connected to a vertical pillar. This in turn is connected to the main body of the system, which contains the controls and display panel, as well as a firing-tube system that contains the CO2 molecules to be lasered. The flexible arm normally needs two or three articulated joints to give it the required freedom of motion. Sets of precision mirrors positioned at each articulated joint and the pillar direct the laser beam in a unidirectional straight line, from the firing tube at the base of the system through to the end of the flexible arm (where the hand-piece is located), which in turn focuses the laser beam onto the patient.

The surgeon requires complete freedom of movement of the hand-piece, which is provided by the articulated joints in the flexible arm. However, this flexibility creates a potential problem for the laser beam, which must travel in a straight line at all times throughout the system, regardless of the movements made by the surgeon. Typical surgical arms are around 2-3m in length, meaning the laser has to maintain its position at all times. The slightest deviation of the laser beam from the centre of the arm will cause operational problems at the hand piece.

A small angular deviation of more than 1mm over a 2-3m length can cause large errors in accuracy. Precision bearings are critical in ensuring that the laser beam maintains its position throughout the length of the system. Morris said: 'Normally we would supply bearings for the base of the pillar for rotational movements, then sets of bearings for each articulated joint in the flexible arm. 'Positional accuracy and controlling axial and radial run out of bearing sets are the key factors when it comes to selecting bearings.' A typical surgical arm will require bearings for articulated joints that guarantee no more than five microns of radial run out. These bearings therefore must be manufactured to at least ABEC 7 standards, sometimes to ABEC 9 (ISO P2).

Morris added: 'Rotational accuracy of the bearings is also important. 'This means providing a smooth running, low friction, low-noise bearing that is lubricated for life. 'For flexible arm joints, the deep-groove ball bearings are fitted with special oil-impregnated seals.' Barden's Flexeal is an oil-impregnated aluminium seal with a fibrous backing. It prevents loss of lubricant from the bearings and prevents the ingress of contaminants, which can lead to increased bearing wear. These seals are fitted to a super-finished recess in the bearing.

Morris said: 'Typically, bearings for articulated, flexible surgical arms are required to operate for at least five years, depending on the application. 'Therefore, if the bearings wear too fast due to poor running surfaces, cleanliness or lubrication, the life of the arm will be affected, which in turn affects the accuracy of the hand-piece. 'The same can be said for other flexible-arm applications such as robotics and portable measurement and inspection arms. 'Super precision bearings are essential components in these types of systems.' Barden designs and manufactures super precision bearings to a minimum of P4/ABEC 7 quality standards. Bearing sizes range from 5-250mm outside diameter. Most bearings manufactured are either angular contact or deep groove types.

Barden can make bearings to a geometric tolerance of P2 or better and envelope dimensions to P4 or better. Raceway roundness is better than half a micron, with raceway surface finish better than one micro-inch Ra.

The Bank of Algeria Mint has invested in equipment and methods from Sescoi to help it respond to the demands of modern banking and to encourage the growth of the country's economy. The tooling department needed a computer-aided-design (CAD)/computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) system to help it improve its range of capabilities and shorten lead times. The Bank of Algeria purchased WorkNC from Sescoi in 2006.

The assistant director at the Bank of Algeria Mint said: 'We have a wide range of CNC milling and turning machines and we needed to modernise in order to achieve just-in-time manufacture, respond to urgent requirements and machine increasingly complex and intricate shapes.' Before the introduction of WorkNC, programming was carried out on the machine tool control, which required high levels of skill from the operator, reduced the available capacity and the productivity of each machine and limited the complexity of the parts being produced.

WorkNC-CAD is used to design existing or new components and parts using its recently incorporated parametric solid modelling. Furthermore, the WorkNC-CAD turning module is said to make CNC lathe machining easy and reliable. For machining and engraving, the bank uses WorkNC to create programs from two axis right through to the full five axis. The assistant director said: 'We program all our CNC machines with WorkNC for the milling of simple or complex parts.

'We have optimised our production processes and achieved productivity gains of more than 60 per cent.' For its five-axis programming, the Bank of Algeria uses WorkNC's Auto 5. Unique to Sescoi, the software automatically translates three-axis toolpaths into five-axis toolpaths, making five-axis machining as simple to program as three-axis machining, with reliable and collision-free toolpaths. Using the technology gives the bank the advantages of using short rigid cutters and the ability to reach more of the part in one setting, resulting in improved surface finish and shorter machining times.

Sescoi's five-axis routines include collision-avoidance algorithms, which consider the limits of the individual machine tool, introducing unwind and flip movements so that machining can continue safely and uninterrupted. The assistant director said: 'The ease of use of Auto 5 has enabled us to adopt five-axis machining methods very quickly. 'We find that the toolpaths it creates for our five-axis machines are completely reliable and we anticipate purchasing more licences in a few weeks.' The bank invests in a continuous training program with Sescoi, ensuring that its engineers can fully exploit WorkNC's capabilities, benefit from the support hotline and receive software upgrades.

Swagelok has introduced a range of bimetal thermometers and thermowells for general industry applications. The products expand Swagelok's existing line of temperature measurement devices, which includes thermometers and thermowells for sanitary applications. The dampened-movement bimetal thermometers operate in measurement ranges from -100F to +1,000F (-70C to +540C) and are available in adjustable-angle, centre-back and lower-back mount process connections.

Every Swagelok thermometer is factory calibrated. In addition, the products feature external reset for field calibration. The dampened-movement bimetal thermometers are accurate to +/-1 per cent of full scale in accordance with ASME B40.200 and are actuated by a sensitive bimetal helix coil. Silicone-free gel in the thermometer stem dampens vibration effects. To prevent fogging and moisture damage to working components, the dials are hermetically sealed.

Swagelok thermowells for general industry are designed to protect the thermometers from contact with viscous, pressurised, corrosive or abrasive process fluids. They also enable the removal of thermometers for replacement or service without affecting the process or system. Swagelok thermowells feature standard 304 stainless-steel construction and 316 stainless-steel construction upon request. The product is available in straight, reduced and tapered shaft designs. Instrument connections include 1/2in female NPSM straight and female G1/2B connections.

Process connections include flange, sanitary clamp, threaded and weld socket in 1/2in to 2in sizes. Thermowells for sanitary applications are 3-A compliant. Headquartered in Solon, Ohio, Swagelok is a developer and provider of fluid system solutions, including products, assemblies and services for the research, instrumentation, pharmaceutical, oil-and-gas, power, petrochemical, alternative-fuel and semiconductor industries.

Solido, a specialist in the desktop 3D printing of physical models, is to display its SD300 Pro at the PTC User Forum on 7-10 June in Orlando, Florida. The cost-effective, time-efficient and intuitive SD300, which will be found on Booth 423, has already been installed in hundreds of sites, according to the company.

The SD300 Pro, which will be introduced at less than USD10,000 (GBP6,300), uses layers of firm but flexible engineered plastics. The finished models resemble injected plastic parts and can be drilled, sanded or painted as desired. Output from the SD300 Pro can be designed to fold, allowing for model manipulation.

The product is also capable of producing transparent models. The SD300 Pro will allow industrial design companies and engineering companies to prepare proof-of-concept modelling, ergonomic evaluations and marketing tools. It will also serve as an advanced educational tool for universities and technical colleges, according to Solido.

Courses in assisted injection moulding (AIM) are being launched to show moulders how to reduce costs, increase productivity and regain a competitive advantage in the face of a global recession. Cinpres Gas Injection, in collaboration with Polymer Training (PTL), an international resource centre for the polymer industry, will offer a range of modules at its facility in Cheshire, using live moulding machines and providing attendees with the chance to gain practical experience in the use of gas- and water-assisted injection moulding techniques.

Jon Butler, managing director of Cinpres, said: 'The new modules to be introduced this year will ultimately target those companies that could benefit from AIM to achieve greater market share and higher margins, both of which are critical in the current climate. 'Those who currently use AIM, or have in the past, will get to grips with the latest developments and techniques and those who haven't, and are presently settling for low-quality parts at high cost, will be introduced to methods that can transform their production processes,' he added.

PTL, which offers official training accreditation for its courses, will market, package and sell the courses on behalf of Cinpres. Mark Smith, director of PTL, said: 'Moulders are particularly keen at the moment to reduce costs and improve their service offering and I believe discovering the benefits of AIM technology will certainly be a welcome opportunity.'.

Gefran has introduced GF_Vedo high-performance touch-screen operator panels, which provide economical and complete HMI and machine control for medium- to high-complexity automation applications. Available in 6.5in, 10.4in, 12.1in and 15in displays, all feature the Gefran Automation Builder (GAB), a single programming environment that seamlessly combines PLC and Scada graphic page display programming, and a full complement of Fieldbus expansion and peripheral ports.

Depending on the colour display size, the graphics resolutions available are 640 x 480 (VGA), 800 x 600 (SVGA) or 1,024 x 768 (XVGA). Smaller models are available as touch-screen display only or with an integral tactile keypad for additional functionality. The rugged and durable range is based on 32-bit processors with a choice of RAM and solid-state DiskOn-Module (DOM) general-purpose memory, according to the company. With no conventional hard drives and no requirement for cooling fans, the GF_Vedo range has no moving parts and is suitable for harsh and high-vibration environments.

Faceplate protection is to IP65 and the operating temperature range is 0C to +50C. Fieldbus interfacing connectivity options include CANopen, Modbus RTU and Modbus TCP, with fixed peripheral ports for 2x Ethernet 10/100 Base-T, RS485, 2x USB, PS2 and mouse. The operator panels can also be used in conjunction with Gefran's USB-connected TF32 keyboards, which provide additional Fieldbus interconnectivity, digital inputs, input key and light-emitting-diode (LED) functions, thus expanding the application potential of the GF_Vedo.

GAB is a single programming environment that seamlessly combines OpenPCS PLC programming, based on the universal IEC61131-3 language, and Scada graphic page display using Java-based Visual designer software. It helps to ensure lower development and maintenance costs with high levels of application reliability and security.

For complete application flexibility, the GF_Vedo range can include alternative operating systems such as Windows XP Embedded or Vxworks, as well as preloaded and ready-to-run applications such as GF_Pack software for plastics extrusion and injection moulding, which can be supplied as a part of complete plastics industry machine control solutions, including Gefran's temperature, process and motion controls. The complete GF_Vedo range also includes 3.5in and 5.7in combined HMIs and PLCs with PLC expansion via a built-in Gilogik Bus for use with a selection of analogue and digital input/output (I/O) modules, temperature modules and counter modules.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Newport Spectra Physics has introduced the Inspire optical parametric oscillator (OPO), a tunable, ultra-fast laser source for advanced imaging and spectroscopy applications. Optimised for use with the company's Mai Tai HP ultra-fast laser, the Inspire OPO delivers a wide, gap-free ultra-fast tuning range, from ultraviolet (UV) to infrared (245-2,500nm), and high power in the UV and visible.

Newport's OPO is fully automated for computer-controlled tuning across the range without adjustment or change of optics. The Inspire OPO has multiple output ports for simultaneous UV, visible and infrared output, making it ideal for applications that require multiple wavelengths, such as coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) imaging. The OPO delivers >1W of average power from 345-520nm and >400mW from 490-750nm.

Additionally, the Inspire OPO provides adjustable pulse widths (from 80-350fs). Optimised for high stability, the robust OPO is insensitive to ambient temperature change. Another addition to the product family is the Inspire Blue, an automated frequency doubler for Ti:Sapphire lasers. The Inspire Blue features high UV and blue conversion efficiency and automated tuning.

Pilz Automation Technology has launched the PSS4000 automation system and PAS4000 software suite that it says will provide a new way to design, program and implement automation. The company said a key feature of the concept is the integration of safety, standard and motion control, as well as visualisation and diagnostics, with all data conveyed via a Safetynet p Ethernet-based industrial fieldbus network. In addition, the software suite enables all aspects of an automation project to be accessed via a single interface.

Pilz said the PSS4000 takes decentralisation to a new level by way of the close integration of all aspects and the way in which configuration and programming is carried out via a single Pilz automation suite - the PAS4000 - which provides centralised access to the decentralised system. Material can therefore be copied and reused easily, both within a project and from one project to another. Today, machine designers typically specify the hardware then write the control program to suit.

However, if changes are required either during the development or after the machine has entered service, they are cumbersome and costly to execute. With the PSS4000 and PAS4000, the programming phase can start as soon as the machine's basic functions are known, with the hardware specification following on or taking place in parallel. This saves time in the development phase and, moreover, the program's hardware-independence means that changes are simpler and less costly to implement either during development and commissioning or after the machine is in service.

Having a common interface in the PAS4000 for all aspects of the control system - in other words, safety, standard (non-safety) control, motion, diagnostics and visualisation - makes it easier for engineers to develop the complete automation system. Furthermore, safety has been integrated from the outset rather than added later, which means that it is far more closely integrated with the other aspects of the system than is the case with products from other manufacturers. Access to safety functions in the PAS4000 suite can be password-protected to help ensure that only competent engineers work on this aspect of the control system.

The PAS4000 suite also allows the programming of safety-related functions using tools that are compliant with the IEC 61131-3 standard for PLC programming languages. Standards-compliant programming of safety functions makes it easier for engineers familiar with PLC programming to gain the necessary competence to work with safety functions. Pilz has designed the PSS4000 system to suit a range of machine types, although the biggest benefits are likely to be found in complex or modular machines. The hardware has been designed in such a way that customers only need to pay for the functionality they need, thereby making the system as cost-effective as possible.

Three classes of PSS4000 hardware device are being launched - all based on the existing Pilz PSSuniversal decentralised I/O system and designed to withstand shock and vibration as well as temperatures of -40C to +70C. The PSSuniversal PLC is a programmable controller for safety and standard control functions. Up to 64 I/O modules can be connected for communicating with safety and standard devices. Each PSSu PLC features an integral power supply, an Ethernet switch and two Ethernet ports for programming, communicating with other devices on the Safetynet p network and remote access via Ethernet TCP/IP.

Configuration and program data is stored on an SD card so that, in the event of the hardware having to be replaced, the SD card can be transferred to the new hardware and the system can be operational again in the shortest possible time. For smaller or less complex applications, the PSSuniversal multi is effectively a functional expansion of the existing Pilz PNOZmulti modular safety controller. In common with the PSSu PLC it can connect to a maximum of 64 I/O modules and it incorporates a power supply and an SD card. An Ethernet port is provided, and remote access is available via Ethernet TCP/IP.

The PSSu multi is configured using PASmulti, a tool within the PAS4000 suite that is a further development of the existing Pilz PNOZmulti Configurator graphical configuration tool. Function blocks from the IEC 61131-3 environment can be used within the PASmulti tool. PSSuniversal I/O modules provide remote I/O connections for safety and standard devices, with two Ethernet ports, an Ethernet switch and a Safetynet p interface provided. This hardware also includes an integral power supply and there is an RFID tag for storing the symbolic device addresses.

These three types of head unit can be used in virtually any combination within a single overall system, and each head module can be fitted with a variety of safety and standard I/O modules - enabling a system to be tailored to suit an application's requirements. Examples of safety modules include digital inputs, digital outputs, relay outputs, analogue inputs and block-switching modules. Standard (non-safety) functions available include digital and analogue inputs and outputs, counters, thermocouple inputs and serial interfaces. Further modules are available to link between head units for complex control systems or those extending over long distances.

Up to five head units can be linked, each separated by a maximum distance of 100m. The backbone of the PSS4000 system is Safetynet p. Pilz has developed two speed classes of Safetynet p. RTFN (real-time frame network) is for fieldbus class communication and for networking individual production cells with processing cycles of approximately 1ms. RTFL (real-time frame line) is for real-time communication in highly dynamic applications where a guaranteed scan time of 62.5us or lower is required, such as for high-speed filling and packaging machinery, or where servo drives or robots need to be networked.

Both speed classes are compatible with each other and may be used separately or in combination. Users can create linear, star or tree topologies, or any hybrid of these. With Safetynet p, safety related data and standard control data are physically mixed but logically separated. In addition, other industrial Ethernet systems such as Profinet, Ethernet/IP and Ethercat can also be connected to Safetynet p, as can any Ethernet-compatible device such as a PC, camera, printer or display. Because Safetynet p is based on Ethernet, it can also be used as a platform for IP-based utilities such as e-mail, the internet or streaming.

Where non-safety wireless communications are required, Pilz offers Induranet p (industrial radio network). Induranet p modules are available to add wireless links seamlessly to a Safetynet p network and, therefore, a PSS4000 control system. A feature of Induranet p is that the communication technology is especially hardened to ensure reliable communications in industrial environments. In the development of the PSS4000 system, Pilz has placed a great emphasis on creating a user-friendly and versatile suite of software tools that enable all aspects of the system (safety, standard control, motion control, etc) to be accessed from a single interface, and allow users to drag-and-drop information from one project to another.

Furthermore, the programming has been designed to comply with the IEC 61131-3 standard, giving users the choice of instruction list, structured text, function block diagram, ladder diagram and sequential function chart programming. The company claimed that the PAS4000 is the first instance of an IEC 61131-3 language being available for programming safety related functions. In addition, the safety and standard functions on the PSSuniversal multi can be configured with the PASmulti, which is a development of the graphical configuration tool currently available as the PNOZmulti Configurator. To simplify programming even further and save more engineering time, Pilz has provided a library of standard functions that can be used as building blocks.

As users develop their own blocks - or 'components' at a higher level - these can be added to the library for reuse later. Universal symbolic descriptions of signals, programs and devices ensure clear plant programming and provide easier navigation and a more intuitive view of the control system. Anything in the system can be labelled with conventional equipment identifiers. Clear device and system identification is an advantage during training or servicing, as it minimises the risk of mistakes being made due to misinterpretation of technical descriptions. Additionally, the PAS4000 provides better support for collaboration between mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, control engineers and programmers.

A system-wide mapping table also aids clarity and ensures there is no duplication of symbolic addressing, thereby reducing errors and saving time during development and commissioning. Centralised mapping also makes it simpler and quicker to modify the system at a later date. The PAS4000's licensing policy operates on a credit scheme in which function blocks and software modules are paid for on a per-use basis. The software is shipped with sufficient credits to finalise several projects, with the licence permitting the software to be installed on any machine.

Credits are only used when programs are downloaded to the hardware but, prior to downloading a program, the PAS4000 displays the number of credits required so that users can monitor this element of the project's costs. Once the initial credits have been used, customers can purchase additional credits from the Pilz website.

Schaeffler's Generation C deep groove ball bearings offer 35 per cent less friction and 50 per cent less noise than their predecessor. The bearings also benefit from more effective sealing and a riveted steel cage. The design improvements mean that Schaeffler's Generation C FAG deep groove ball bearings can achieve higher running speeds and efficiencies, while simultaneously increasing the life of the bearing and reducing energy consumption.

In order to minimise friction, Schaeffler optimised the osculation (raceway curvature) between the balls and rings on the Generation C bearings. This means there is less chance of misalignment between the inner and outer ring. As well as offering 35 per cent less friction, the bearings generate less heat, making them suitable for higher running speeds. The bearings are therefore suitable for applications in which low noise and smooth running are critical, for example, electric motors, power tools, ventilators and washing machines, where reduced friction and improved energy efficiency of the bearings lead to a reduction in operating costs and a more efficient machine with extended maintenance intervals.

Schaeffler has also modified the seal on the Generation C bearings. The HRS seal has modified double lip geometry and is made from nitrile butadiene rubber. They are adjusted to match the recess on the bearing inner ring. Axial contact between the inner ring and the seal means more effective protection against contamination or loss of grease and less frictional torque. This results in longer grease life, increasing the life and reliability of the bearing and provides improved bearing performance at higher speeds (rpm).

Venting grooves have also been added in order to improve the run-in behaviour of the bearings. In addition to the HRS seal, the bearing shield has been modified. The recesses on the bearing rings and the shield geometry are functionally adjusted to each other in such a way that the sealing efficiency is improved and grease life increased. This design creates an axial and radial labyrinth with the shield. The improved guidance of the rolling elements also contributes to higher performance of the bearing.

The riveted steel cage, which replaces the previous steel 'ribbon' cage, offers higher rigidity and is suitable for higher running speeds. The riveted steel cage also reduces noise levels and means the bearing is less sensitive to shock loads. The manufacturing tolerance of the bearings has also been increased (to P5 Abec 5 standards), ball roundness to G5 tolerances and improved surface finish. The dimensions of the new bearings correspond to the previous bearing types, enabling easy replacement.

Generation C bearings can operate in temperatures from - 30C up to +120C. They are available with outside diameters from 26mm up to 90mm. Riveted steel cages are standard, although polyamide cages are optional. P6 or P5 tolerances can be specified on ordering. Sealing options include one or two gap seals; one or two lip seals; or low friction, non-contact labyrinth seals.

Staubli RBE has introduced 25mm flow-diameter versions of its fluid and gas quick-release connectors. These are suitable for use in nuclear-decommissioning cells for remote handling by manipulators and robots. Staubli RBE connectors are designed for applications in industry where quick and secure connection of any fluid or gas is required.

Connection is fast and easy, with automatic locking; disconnection requires depression of the release-button mechanism. The 25mm flow-diameter coupling, the RBE 25 TL, has been designed for applications where connections are being performed remotely by manipulators, either in confinement cells or process areas.

The robust RBE 25 TL connector is manufactured in grade 316L stainless steel, with springs in grade 302 stainless, and has been specifically designed for remote handling. The release button is raised for easy disconnection and a front flange allows the manipulator's pincer to grasp from behind and provide an effective axial thrust.

The long pre-guiding of the plug into the socket results in an easy connection in any position. The RBE range now comprises six coupling sizes, extending from 3mm diameter right through to 25mm diameter; all of the couplings are designed for remote operation by manipulators. The new 25mm-diameter coupling is suitable for fluid-transfer applications, for example water-filling and waste treatment in nuclear-decommissioning cells.

Staubli product specialists can advise on the precise configuration of the RBE 25 TL to meet any fluid- or gas-specific application.

Inertial Aerosystems has introduced a small diameter, shock-resistant accelerometer with enhanced temperature capability. It has been designed primarily for down-hole measurement while drilling (MWD) applications in the gas and oil industries and also wireline environments that require a small form factor such as the new generation of directional and horizontal drilling tools.

Designated the Mini-Q accelerometer, it is manufactured by US-based Honeywell and uses the low-noise, Q-Flex-etched quartz-proof flexure seismic system, modified for harsh environments. Operating temperature is now -40 to 185C, with intermittent capability of 200C. The shock operating/non-operating performance is -40 to 85C at 1,000g, 0.5ms and 85 to 185C at 400g, 0.5ms.

Input voltage is +/-12V DC to +/-18V DC with input current (quiescent) 8mA max, 6mA typical. The device can be scaled to any full-scale range to 30g, has an analogue output with an internal temperature sensor, and fits into a 25.4mm tool diameter.

The Siemens range of vibrating level switches has been extended with the addition of a switch designed for use in dry bulk solid applications. The Sitrans LVS100 is suitable for applications with high, low or demand levels of dry bulk solids in bins, silos or hoppers. The device can detect the presence of materials with bulk densities in excess of 60 litres, and is ideal for use in industries such as mining, food, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and hazardous applications.

The Sitrans LVS100 has a compact design that can be top, side, or angle-mounted. The rotating enclosures ensure easy installation and wiring, and it can be easily connected to an alarm system or control room. The level switch offers high durability with no moving parts, and is unaffected by external vibrations.

The vibrating fork design ensures the sensing tines are kept clean, reducing the need for maintenance. The stainless steel process connections and rugged aluminium housing provide extra protection against external elements, ensuring a long and reliable service life.

Tubular solenoids from NSF Controls are single-hole-fixing, long life linear solenoids that are available in either push or pull versions. The company said the solenoids' enclosed construction provides an economic solution for longer-stroke, limited-space applications.

ABB Robotics is to hold a rail manufacturing technology seminar in Milton Keynes on 4 June 2009. The seminar will present the latest robotic products, systems and services to transform rail material handling, welding and inspection applications. It will demonstrate the rapid payback available on robotic investments while addressing the common misconceptions that may be preventing many manufacturers from realising the benefits of robots.

Workshops and demonstrations will cover a range of rail industry applications and provide an opportunity to learn the basics of robot control with 'hands-on' training. Attendees will also gain an insight into ABB's 3D-robotics simulation suite for offline programming and control and the recently launched Remote Service Technology.

ABB's Remote Service Technology uses GPRS communications to enable both the customer and ABB to monitor a robot's health and record key performance data while offline or working in a production environment.

Posic has introduced a small incremental inductive encoder kit - ID1101 - for linear and rotary applications. The kit measures 8.7 x 6.3mm with a thickness of 0.8mm and has an A quad B output stage that runs up to a frequency of 200 kHz. The linear/rotary target is a 0.8mm-thick strip/disc that comes in different lengths and diameters.

The linear resolution ranges from 1um at a speed of 0.5m/s to 150um at 50m/s. The rotational resolution depends on the disc diameter and is, for example, 12-bits (1,024 A-B pulses per revolution) with a 30mm diameter disc. Typical applications are in the motion-control domain with magnetic actuators such as brushed and brushless motors, voice coil actuators, linear drives and more.

Markets served include industrial, automotive, robotics, medical, instrumentation, laboratory automation, and office equipment.

Fluke is offering a special kit consisting of either the Fluke 1653B or 1652B multifunction installation tester with a free Fluke T5-600 electrical tester for a limited period. The tester is worth GBP99, and the special part number for ordering the limited-edition kit is Fluke 1652B/T5 or 1653B/T5.

The 1650B series testers are designed to ensure that fixed wiring is safe and correctly installed to meet the latest BS7671 17th Edition. They have features that offer faster high-current loop testing, a variable RCD current mode for customised settings, a Pass/Fail indication for RCD tests, and voltage measurement selection between L-N, L-PE and N-PE without changing connections.

The Fluke 1652B is ideal for professional trouble-shooters working in both domestic and commercial. The Fluke 1653 is the complete tester: with phase-rotation test and in-built memory for documenting results, it is ideal for industrial applications. The Fluke T5-600 electrical tester measures voltage, current and resistance and tests continuity, all in a single slim and compact package.

With a 600V Category III safety rating, the OpenJawO technology body ensures easy and safe measurement of AC currents up to 100A without breaking the circuit. It measures voltages up to 600V AC/DC and resistance to 1000W. A sleep mode ensures battery conservation.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

AVX has expanded its wire-to-board connector product offering to include board-to-board connectors specifically designed for the LED lighting industry. Designated the 9159 series, the cost-effective connectors provide design flexibility by providing both card edge (one-piece) and plug-and-socket (two-piece) interconnect options. The connectors feature a small footprint, making them ideal for applications where multiple printed circuit boards (PCBs) need to be plugged together, such as LED lighting strips.

The double-ended card edge version provides a simple and direct connection to both ends of a standard PCB with tin-plated pads in two, three, four and five positions. These 2.0mm pitch connectors support 3A current and 250V ratings. The connectors are 5.0mm high and come in both black and white options. The two-piece connector version is surface mounted on one side of the PCB, which allows the LEDs to be placed on the other side to maintain consistent spacing.

These 3.0mm pitch and 3.0mm high connectors are only 5.50mm wide when mated together, maximising board space for other components. Tooled in two, three, four and five position, these connectors are also available in black and white options. The 9159 series connectors provide simple and reliable termination of PCBs. They are tested to industrial levels of shock, vibration and temperature cycling per IEC specifications to assure they can withstand harsh environments.

The connectors are ideal for use in LED lighting strips for sports arena signs, display cases, lighted cabinets, fluorescent tube replacement and architectural lights used for building feature enhancement or internal feature lighting. The connectors are also suited for rugged industrial and automotive applications. Both versions of the 9159 series connectors are rated in current at 3A and have operating temperature ranges of -55C to +125C. The connectors are supplied in tape and reel packing and are RoHS-compliant.

The Triform BD fluid cell hydroform press from Pryer has been featured at the Aging Aircraft 2009 Conference in Kansas City, Missouri. The Triform 16in-5 (5000lb/in2) BD 5000kN (500tonf) press weighs less than 9000lb and can be installed and operational within one hour of delivery. The BD series allows the benefits of true hydroforming compared to using low-pressure rubber pad presses.

These include: accurately dimensional parts; equal distributed pressure over complete tool; scratch-free parts; less warpage and curl; reducing use of multiple hit auxiliary piece blocks; use of lighter, less expensive plastic and epoxy tooling; and eliminating hours of hand finishing labour. Designed with simplicity and performance in mind, the economical BD series presses are ideal for most hydroforming applications.

This frame design allows forming parts up to 16in wide x 48in length and longer. Longer parts, which in the past were formed on traditional 'tray-style hydroform presses', can now be hydroformed on a Triform Model BD. The same high-performance bladder technology found on the deep-draw Triform models is coupled with this design to offer true hydroforming at traditional rubber pad press prices.

Electromagnetic bin vibrators from Elscint Automation offer an economical and convenient means of maintaining the flow of bulk materials from bins, hoppers and chutes. An optional adjustable control is provided, which gives flexibility and assures optimum flow for any type of material being handled. The electromagnetic bin vibrators can be operated either continuously or intermittently, depending on customer requirements.

Elscint bin vibrators are factory tested and adjusted for optimum performance. All models come with totally enclosed, dust-tight construction. Water-proof models can be made available on request. The vibrators have no rotating or sliding parts, and so are virtually maintenance-free. The Elscint bin vibrators are available in two models: the Elscint A, which has a 40VA rating, and Elscint B, which has a 320VA rating. They offer quiet and reliable operation.

Pilz Automation Technology has launched the PSS4000 automation system and PAS4000 software suite that it says will provide a new way to design, program and implement automation. The company said a key feature of the concept is the integration of safety, standard and motion control, as well as visualisation and diagnostics, with all data conveyed via a Safetynet p Ethernet-based industrial fieldbus network. In addition, the software suite enables all aspects of an automation project to be accessed via a single interface.

Pilz said the PSS4000 takes decentralisation to a new level by way of the close integration of all aspects and the way in which configuration and programming is carried out via a single Pilz automation suite - the PAS4000 - which provides centralised access to the decentralised system. Material can therefore be copied and reused easily, both within a project and from one project to another. Today, machine designers typically specify the hardware then write the control program to suit.

However, if changes are required either during the development or after the machine has entered service, they are cumbersome and costly to execute. With the PSS4000 and PAS4000, the programming phase can start as soon as the machine's basic functions are known, with the hardware specification following on or taking place in parallel. This saves time in the development phase and, moreover, the program's hardware-independence means that changes are simpler and less costly to implement either during development and commissioning or after the machine is in service.

Having a common interface in the PAS4000 for all aspects of the control system - in other words, safety, standard (non-safety) control, motion, diagnostics and visualisation - makes it easier for engineers to develop the complete automation system. Furthermore, safety has been integrated from the outset rather than added later, which means that it is far more closely integrated with the other aspects of the system than is the case with products from other manufacturers. Access to safety functions in the PAS4000 suite can be password-protected to help ensure that only competent engineers work on this aspect of the control system.

The PAS4000 suite also allows the programming of safety-related functions using tools that are compliant with the IEC 61131-3 standard for PLC programming languages. Standards-compliant programming of safety functions makes it easier for engineers familiar with PLC programming to gain the necessary competence to work with safety functions. Pilz has designed the PSS4000 system to suit a range of machine types, although the biggest benefits are likely to be found in complex or modular machines. The hardware has been designed in such a way that customers only need to pay for the functionality they need, thereby making the system as cost-effective as possible.

Three classes of PSS4000 hardware device are being launched - all based on the existing Pilz PSSuniversal decentralised I/O system and designed to withstand shock and vibration as well as temperatures of -40C to +70C. The PSSuniversal PLC is a programmable controller for safety and standard control functions. Up to 64 I/O modules can be connected for communicating with safety and standard devices. Each PSSu PLC features an integral power supply, an Ethernet switch and two Ethernet ports for programming, communicating with other devices on the Safetynet p network and remote access via Ethernet TCP/IP.

Configuration and program data is stored on an SD card so that, in the event of the hardware having to be replaced, the SD card can be transferred to the new hardware and the system can be operational again in the shortest possible time. For smaller or less complex applications, the PSSuniversal multi is effectively a functional expansion of the existing Pilz PNOZmulti modular safety controller. In common with the PSSu PLC it can connect to a maximum of 64 I/O modules and it incorporates a power supply and an SD card. An Ethernet port is provided, and remote access is available via Ethernet TCP/IP.

The PSSu multi is configured using PASmulti, a tool within the PAS4000 suite that is a further development of the existing Pilz PNOZmulti Configurator graphical configuration tool. Function blocks from the IEC 61131-3 environment can be used within the PASmulti tool. PSSuniversal I/O modules provide remote I/O connections for safety and standard devices, with two Ethernet ports, an Ethernet switch and a Safetynet p interface provided. This hardware also includes an integral power supply and there is an RFID tag for storing the symbolic device addresses.

These three types of head unit can be used in virtually any combination within a single overall system, and each head module can be fitted with a variety of safety and standard I/O modules - enabling a system to be tailored to suit an application's requirements. Examples of safety modules include digital inputs, digital outputs, relay outputs, analogue inputs and block-switching modules. Standard (non-safety) functions available include digital and analogue inputs and outputs, counters, thermocouple inputs and serial interfaces.

Further modules are available to link between head units for complex control systems or those extending over long distances. Up to five head units can be linked, each separated by a maximum distance of 100m. The backbone of the PSS4000 system is Safetynet p. Pilz has developed two speed classes of Safetynet p. RTFN (real-time frame network) is for fieldbus class communication and for networking individual production cells with processing cycles of approximately 1ms.

RTFL (real-time frame line) is for real-time communication in highly dynamic applications where a guaranteed scan time of 62.5us or lower is required, such as for high-speed filling and packaging machinery, or where servo drives or robots need to be networked. Both speed classes are compatible with each other and may be used separately or in combination. Users can create linear, star or tree topologies, or any hybrid of these.

With Safetynet p, safety related data and standard control data are physically mixed but logically separated. In addition, other industrial Ethernet systems such as Profinet, Ethernet/IP and Ethercat can also be connected to Safetynet p, as can any Ethernet-compatible device such as a PC, camera, printer or display. Because Safetynet p is based on Ethernet, it can also be used as a platform for IP-based utilities such as e-mail, the internet or streaming.

Where non-safety wireless communications are required, Pilz offers Induranet p (industrial radio network). Induranet p modules are available to add wireless links seamlessly to a Safetynet p network and, therefore, a PSS4000 control system. A feature of Induranet p is that the communication technology is especially hardened to ensure reliable communications in industrial environments. In the development of the PSS4000 system, Pilz has placed a great emphasis on creating a user-friendly and versatile suite of software tools that enable all aspects of the system (safety, standard control, motion control, etc) to be accessed from a single interface, and allow users to drag-and-drop information from one project to another.

Furthermore, the programming has been designed to comply with the IEC 61131-3 standard, giving users the choice of instruction list, structured text, function block diagram, ladder diagram and sequential function chart programming. The company claimed that the PAS4000 is the first instance of an IEC 61131-3 language being available for programming safety related functions.

In addition, the safety and standard functions on the PSSuniversal multi can be configured with the PASmulti, which is a development of the graphical configuration tool currently available as the PNOZmulti Configurator. To simplify programming even further and save more engineering time, Pilz has provided a library of standard functions that can be used as building blocks. As users develop their own blocks - or 'components' at a higher level - these can be added to the library for reuse later.

Universal symbolic descriptions of signals, programs and devices ensure clear plant programming and provide easier navigation and a more intuitive view of the control system. Anything in the system can be labelled with conventional equipment identifiers. Clear device and system identification is an advantage during training or servicing, as it minimises the risk of mistakes being made due to misinterpretation of technical descriptions.

Additionally, the PAS4000 provides better support for collaboration between mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, control engineers and programmers. A system-wide mapping table also aids clarity and ensures there is no duplication of symbolic addressing, thereby reducing errors and saving time during development and commissioning. Centralised mapping also makes it simpler and quicker to modify the system at a later date.

The PAS4000's licensing policy operates on a credit scheme in which function blocks and software modules are paid for on a per-use basis. The software is shipped with sufficient credits to finalise several projects, with the licence permitting the software to be installed on any machine. Credits are only used when programs are downloaded to the hardware but, prior to downloading a program, the PAS4000 displays the number of credits required so that users can monitor this element of the project's costs. Once the initial credits have been used, customers can purchase additional credits from the Pilz website.

A K Industries (AKI) produces a polypropylene, cryogenic viral subassembly for Molecular Dimensions, whose business offers intelligent solutions for protein crystal growth. The tubular container, 38mm long with a 13mm outside diameter, is used during the analytical process of protein crystallisation X-ray diffraction. Essentially, the vial protects a protein crystal growth while it is being robotically transferred. The vial has been developed to increase throughput where samples can be automatically placed for testing, analysed and lifted back into a rack unit.

The pole-orientated (anisotropic), neodymium iron boron permanent ring magnet, which is insert-moulded into this cryogenic vial (cryovial) by AKI, holds in place the cryocap, from which the sample is suspended as the vial is moved by transfer robot. Then a circular, galvanised steel weight, insert-moulded by AKI into its base, orientates the vial and assists with its location in the rack. At present the ballast disc in question is non-magnetic, although Molecular Dimensions' product specification indicates that it may be magnetised.

AKI's production tool incorporates two sintered, aluminium nickel cobalt (Alnico) permanent magnets for retaining both inserts as well as checking the polarity of the ring insert. They feature high corrosion resistance well-suited to the harsh operating conditions of a continuous process. The first Alnico magnet is located on the fixed half of the tool and lies at the base of the core that creates the vial form. This magnet is polarised in such a way that it will attract the ring magnet, which is inserted and moulded into the product.

If the magnet to be insert-moulded is placed onto the core with incorrect polarity, then it will be repelled by the magnet in the tool. The second magnet is located inside the tool cavity on the moving half of the tool; the purpose of this magnet is to retain the ballast weight during the moulding process. The magnetic cryovial moulded by AKI also incorporates a round vent hole each side below the ring magnet through which liquid nitrogen can 'boil off'. Magnetic cryovials have a magnetic ring that holds the Cryocap in place.

Rounded edges (or chamfers) on top and bottom of the vials avoid potential blocking during robotic transfers. A ferromagnetic disc at the bottom of the vial provides 'positive' vial manipulation with a magnet. There is a vent hole through which liquid nitrogen can 'boil off'. The cryocap and magnetic cryovial system is compatible with commercial sample changers using magnetic-style sample holders. Cryocaps are available both with and without identification with ECC200 Data Matrix codes plus human-readable code.

The system has been manufactured to published SPINE standards for improved precision for robotic handling, and improved stability for use with micro crystals. However, the system can also be used manually.

Helitronic Toolstudio software from Walter simplifies grinding of complex tool geometries, according to the company. The package covers every aspect of the configuration of tool geometries. Using the integrated wizard technology, tools can be modelled in a simple way. The required data input is reduced to a minimum. The system only requests the most important tool parameters and automatically runs through the necessary input screens.

At the same time, the Helitronic Toolstudio software accesses Walter's knowledge database - this stores important tool-grinding experience and helps to find a speedy solution for all production tasks. The software complements the entries with relevant geometry and technology parameters such as grinding wheel sets and grinding feed rates, for example. Based on the basic tool model created and high-precision 3D simulation, which is updated for every modification, the tool can be individually tailored.

Further functions include: 'Click and Edit' - simply click on the 3D simulation to see the relevant geometries and technology parameters; time saving - path-optimised calculation of positioning movements between operations and cutting edges; safety - automatic collision check prior to manufacture; tool design made easy - the modular design of the new version of Helitronic Toolstudio permits variable and individual configuration of all important parameters.

Using the modular principle, any number of operations can be added or copied. This extra flexibility comes in handy when processing step tools (for example, step drills or stepped milling cutters). Walter has improved the tool wizard for step tools so that it can now be restarted at any time, even after manually adding or copying individual operations. The amount of work required by the operator has been reduced, and with just a few clicks he or she can replace an existing drill cutting edge on a specialised step drill.

In the production of step tools on Walter machines, two particular probing functions of the software are helpful, the company said. One serves in the alignment of coolant holes and measures the concentricity of the blank. The other scans the flute path along the contour of the tool. It is possible to check individual diameters or steps as well as entire pro-file contours in this way. The distribution of measuring points can be freely configured.

While the tool parameters are being defined, the Helitronic Toolstudio software calculates the flute shape with specific focus on all the determining factors. The path of the helical angle, the radius of the grinding wheel bond, and the angle of the grinding wheel are just some examples. Time-consuming checking of the flute shape is not required. Accurately parallel clearance angles and land widths on the step are produced without the need for long-winded manual corrections.

Studer has announced that it has acquired Combitec as a subsidiary and can now offer the CT-450L, CT-960 and the S120 production grinding machines. The CT-450L CNC internal and universal cylindrical grinder for new users is the light version of the Combitec CT-450. With a range of applications, the CT-450L is suited to universal internal grinding applications, grinding collet chucks, and machining brittle and hard materials.

It features a linear spindle arrangement, use of either one or two spindles with speeds of 28000-60000rev/min, and cross-slide design. The CT-450 provides a range of expansion options, such as a C-axis for grinding all types of threads. The CT-960 internal, universal and radius grinder is a high-precision machine with a B-axis swivel to 91deg. A turret for up to four spindles allows efficient grinding of small to medium-sized workpieces, the company said.

In this particular design, the machine is suited for universal grinding tasks as well as grinding complex workpieces of brittle and hard materials like carbide, ceramics or sapphire. The stability and rigidity of the CT-960 also permit grinding die with radii, cones or path contours. The finished workpieces have polished surface quality. An optional CNC-controlled C-axis is available for grinding threads or non-circular shapes.

Sim-CT software helps with programming, set-up and simulation. The S120 production internal cylindrical grinding machine is a compact internal grinder for one or two independent grinding tasks. Optimally suited for an efficient machining of high-precision small parts, it is well established in large batch production. Typical applications are in the area of hydraulic components and increasingly in medical technology, for example, grinding ceramic balls for hip joints. Different handling systems can be integrated via the well-defined loading interface.

The Schaudt Shaftgrind S allows machining with different wheel widths and the interpolating generation of relief grooves and plunge-cuts with an electroplating tool. Circumferential speeds of up to 200m/s are now run during HSP grinding, on a grinding spindle with hybrid bearings equipped with a CBN wheel and a carbon carrier.

This increases productivity, regardless of whether the cooling lubricant is an emulsion or oil. A wheel diameter of 480mm guarantees long tool life. In combination with the digital drives, the hydrostatic X-axis guideway (an available option) allows highly accurate positioning of the tool spindle while simultaneously maximising service life.

The company said the Shaftgrind S is ideal for efficiently machining a wide variety of shafts. Its WOP-S programming is based on the user interface of the Siemens 840D control system and helps generate even non-round surface contours, such as polygons, ellipses and free profiles, quickly and simply.

The Ewag Compact Line CNC grinding machine is designed for the flexible and precise manufacturing or sharpening of indexable inserts in all materials. Whether the material is carbide, cermet, ceramic or super-hard CBN/PCD, the CNC grinding machine meets all of the requirements for precision and speed - especially with the realisation of complex workpiece geometries.

The machine is fitted with the CBN/PCD module for grinding super-hard materials and now also for machining diamond cutting materials. The Compact Line has a compact construction, features ergonomic operation and an integrated robot system. Inside the machine, everything is positioned close to the working B-axis; the travel ranges for axes and robots are therefore kept to a minimum, cycle and downtimes are shortened, and productivity is increased.

The machine interior and control elements are accessible from one position. A rapid change system allows the operator to exchange the grinding wheels easily at the push of a button. The HSKE 50 clamping system for grinding wheels ensures quick and accurate change-over of grinding-wheel sets. The workpieces are fixed to the clamping device with a tension pin. All clamping systems are mechanically installed on the B-axis and are identified by a 'plug-and-play' system. The result is flexibility and short change-over times.

The 'three-in-one' sharpening unit - dressing, regenerating, and crushing - provides good grinding wheel concentricity and high repeat accuracy of processes. 3D measurement of workpieces in one clamping ensures the required tolerances are met from the start. Loading is carried out with the integrated six-axis Fanuc robot, which increases the level of machine automation and permits autonomous multi-shift operation. The Compact Line incorporates five-axis CNC kinematics, direct drive of the grinding spindle and linear technology.

Blohm Jung has announced that at the Schleifring Grinding Symposium 2009, it will present, under the expression GEOID, a new development for compensation of contour faults in dressing tools. The example shows the quick manufacture of a blanking punch on the Vario D. GEOID was developed in conjunction with the Georg Simon Ohm University in Nuremberg.

The software for compensation of uneven wear in dressing tools is a further development of the automatic diamond adjustment by Blohm Jung and is used in conjunction with the CNC PA37K profile dressing device and the table version PA130TM. Topography of the cutting edge of the dressing tool can be determined with accuracy using GEOID. The correction values calculated are fed directly into the dressing program and create a perfect contour on the grinding wheel.

The result is an increased service life for the dressing tool, reduced costs of tools and improved contour accuracy. For profile grinding, different dressing systems are available for the Vario range of profile grinders by Blohm Jung. According to requirements, profiled crushing units, fixed-profile diamonds or swivelling diamond wheels are mounted on the grinding table. The company said a highlight of the range is the CNC PA37K head-dressing unit.

The function 'CD Abrichten' (continuous dressing), or parallel dressing cuts machining times by up to 50 per cent. Blohm Jung will also show how the GEOID correction software determines the actual contour of the diamond via a measuring probe and then corrects the dressing program accordingly. Therefore GEOID compensates for the wear in individual diamonds and diamond wheels, increases the usability of the dressing tools, and reduces the costs of tools.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Bekomat 33 condensate drain from Beko Technologies was presented for the first time at this year's Hannover trade fair in Germany on 20-24 April. The company's Bekomat 33 builds on the existing range, which includes the Bekomat 31 and the Bekomat 32. All three drains in the range have the same basic concept in common: the Beko service module.

This module contains all wearing parts in a corrosion-resistant housing, which is said to be fitted in seconds. The Bekomat 33 features a condensate receiver tank to cater for larger condensate output and a larger valve orifice. When changing the service unit, the condensate tank remains in place attached to the compressed-air system, eliminating the time-consuming de-coupling of solid pipework, according to the company.

Every service unit is pressure and function tested at the Beko factory and requires no electrical installation, other than unplugging the electrical housing and plugging it back in again once the drain is serviced.

Vision Engineering is launching the Falcon three-axis non-contact video measuring system. Designed to be simple, powerful, accurate and affordable, Falcon is suitable for both multi-user shop-floor use and advanced manufacturing inspection applications. It employs high-resolution indexed zoom optics (up to 100x magnification) to provide enhanced component edge definition, with an indexed camera iris control to reduce depth of field, increasing accuracy and repeatability of Z-axis results.

As a compact unit with a small footprint, Falcon incorporates advanced features designed to simplify operation and increase accuracy, including surface and substage iris aperture control, motorised Z-axis movement, controllable quadrant LED illumination, plus high- and low-magnification lens options as standard. Vision Engineering's precision measuring stages provide a measurement capacity of up to 150mm x 150mm x 115mm (X, Y, Z) and include factory-completed NLEC calibration, as standard.

An intuitive touch-screen colour display means that expensive training costs are minimised, with automatic video edge detection ensuring reproducible measurement results, irrespective of the operator. Pre-launch introductions of Falcon will be held at Control in Stuttgart, Germany; MTA in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and NPE in Chicago, US.

Flir Systems has announced that the latest models of its mid-range T-Series infrared cameras feature five areas of function development. The latest generation Flir T-Series has the ability to image stream, enabling the user, for example, to watch a process at start-up and acquire radiometric data at a reasonable speed.

This enhances the application scope of the camera and new software packages are available to support this functionality. These include Quickplot for simple trending, analysis and reporting work and ResearchIR for comprehensive data analysis. Periodic storage has been rolled out to the Flir T-Series. This allows snapshots to be taken at predetermined intervals, allowing the camera to act as a watchman for a variety of applications.

Thermal and/or visual images can be stored and for ease-of-use a counter is provided as standard. The company said this takes the Flir T-Series into the realms of product test and development. The ability to build a composite image is now available on selected T-Series models as the Panorama feature. Images complete with their radiometric data can be dragged, dropped and aligned in a grid to create a larger image. This opens up opportunities for new applications that can be accommodated without the need to invest in a wide-angle lens.

In additional to various stylus and sketching improvements, the latest T-Series generation can also be equipped with a choice of three new lenses, a 90deg field of view and two macro lenses for basic troubleshooting. These lenses are designed to be used across the entire Flir product programme.

ABB has launched its most compact multipurpose robot offering high accuracy even at high speeds. Weighing 400kg, the fourth-generation IRB 4600 features ABB's Quickmove and Truemove path technology as standard. This technology enables the IRB 4600 to achieve improved path performance of up to 50 per cent while typically reducing cycle times by as much as 30 per cent. The use of ABB's Truemove and Quickmove technology allows the robot to offer consistent path accuracy even at high speeds.

Truemove checks path accuracy by constantly comparing actual and programmed path positions. Quickmove minimises cycle time by automatically optimising acceleration to match the process conditions. The consistency ensured by the technology also eliminates the need for trimming or fixing to maintain a set path, making the IRB 4600 suitable for applications demanding high accuracy such as gluing or sealing. Truemove and Quickmove also eliminate the need for 'path tuning' to cope with changes in speed.

This is particularly beneficial for cutting and dispensing applications, when speeds and orientations often have to be fine tuned at the start of production in order to achieve the optimum quality process. The IRB 4600 has been designed to offer a compact and lightweight robot suitable for installation in the widest possible range of locations. Weight-saving features include an aluminium upper arm and the removal of the robot's parallel rod. Together, these features make the IRB 4600 suitable for use in confined areas or as part of multi-robot manufacturing cells, with installation possible in inverted, floor mounted, tilted or shelf-mounted configurations.

The removal of the parallel rod also allows the IRB 4600 to bend backwards, opening up a range of operating possibilities. The IRB 4600 is available in four versions. Two short-arm versions provide a reach of 2.05m for 45-60kg payloads, while two long-arm versions provide a reach of either 2.5m or 2.55m for payloads of 40kg or 20kg. The IRB 4600's suitability for manufacturing applications has been widely tested, including under harsh foundry conditions.

To maximise the IRB 4600's utility, ABB will be working with its partners to create dress packs for material handling, machine tending and arc welding. The IRB 4600 is the first in ABB's fourth-generation multipurpose robot range.

Miyachi Unitek mid-frequency inverter spot welding controls can be integrated into assembly processes utilising progressive dies, in-line presses or transfer presses. The company said that this enables customers to save time and money as they can bypass a secondary operation for attaching fasteners, studs and so on, by employing in-die welding.

Miyachi inverter weld controls offer a fast rise to current, which allows the user to take advantage of the high contact resistance, minimising the time required to produce a consistent, quality weld. Shorter weld times also facilitate better usage of the weld projection resulting in reduced weld splash, a smaller heat affected zone and less part deformation. The ISA range of inverter power supplies provides a high level of control for large-scale resistance spot welding.

Packaged in NEMA style enclosures, they are designed to deliver robust performance in the harshest of production environments. The ISA models can deliver 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000A of primary welding current, respectively.

Richard Short, sales director at Penny Hydraulics, outlines the importance of the thorough examination and testing of load handling equipment. Most companies are aware of the health and safety regulations that require all items of lifting equipment to be inspected regularly. The regulations are a legal requirement and cover all types of lifting equipment, broadly defined as any device used to handle loads in a workplace. This can include, but is not limited to, cranes and tail lifts installed on commercial vehicles as well as similar equipment used in other mobile and static applications.

Goods lifts and hoists are included. The more stringent regulations have been brought in because accidents related to lifting continue to represent one of the biggest causes of deaths, injuries and time off work in the workplace. Official HSE figures show a small but steady decline in these accidents in recent years but there is still much to do. Imposing a more rigorous regime of testing and inspection on lifting and load handling equipment is designed to reduce the risk of mechanical failures that no doubt contribute to workplace accidents.

But this is about more than simply complying with the requirements of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations (LOLER) and Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER). Businesses that take health and safety seriously are also more aware of their corporate social responsibilities and duty of care obligations. They understand the need to provide employees with equipment that is properly maintained and fit for purpose. Even without the regulatory pressure there are sound financial reasons to ensure equipment is reliable and well maintained.

Minor problems are sorted out before they lead to something more serious and unscheduled outages are less likely. The consequential costs of accidents and injuries caused by faulty or defective lifting equipment can have obvious and even more severe implications for the business. Good safety and best practice starts with specifying the right load handling equipment and making sure it is installed to the manufacturer's recommendations. The equipment and vehicle manufacturers will normally work together, or with an approved body builder, to ensure this happens. Incorrect installation can be dangerous and make the vehicle and the load handling equipment unsafe.

LOLER proscribes the testing and inspection regime that must be adopted. The main legal requirement is that all equipment should be subjected to what is known as a regular Statutory Thorough Examination (STE). This is similar to an MOT and is designed to ensure that the structural components and mechanical operation of the equipment meet acceptable standards. All equipment must be thoroughly examined before first use. After that, the frequency of an STE varies for different devices but all must be thoroughly examined at least once a year. Lifting accessories (slings, chains, grabs, buckets and so on) and equipment designed to carry people must be thoroughly examined every six months.

Equipment should also have an STE following the repair or replacement of a structural component, when a change of chassis takes place and when the device is removed and refitted to the original chassis. BS7121 Part 2 complements the LOLER recommendations and goes further in some respects, for example, by stipulating additional full tests four and eight years after first use and an annual 'load plus 10 per cent' test. Thorough examinations must be carried out by someone who is competent and impartial, although this can include an employee, the original equipment manufacturer or an independent service engineer as long as they have the relevant accreditation.

The examiner will have appropriate practical and theoretical knowledge as well as experience of the lifting equipment being examined. They should be able to recognise potential defects that might be a safety risk to people if the equipment remains in use. Load testing is no longer required during every STE although it may be a sensible precaution to include this as routine. A competent tester will always consider whether a load test is necessary after they have inspected the equipment and this would then be carried out to complement the STE. Choosing a competent person to carry out the STE can sometimes be a problem for larger as well as smaller companies.

Original equipment manufacturers and their service organisations are likely to offer this as part of their overall service. Those who supply CE-marked equipment will also meet the recommended standards in terms of design and construction. Look for organisations that belong to relevant industry bodies (such as ALLMI or the SMMT for commercial vehicles) because these will probably have a better understanding of the market and work to official codes of practice designed to promote better safety and best practice. One significant area where the current legislation differs from its predecessors is the way in which attachments are treated. In general terms, and there are a few exceptions, an attachment such as a hook or grab is now considered part of the lifting equipment even if it can be easily removed.

Similarly, the mounting or fixing points are also considered part of the equipment and should be covered by any inspection. Of course, any STE can only check the condition of the equipment on the day of the test. Although the STE is a legal requirement, any responsible owner or operator of lifting equipment will want to carry out basic checks more frequently, for their own peace of mind and to instil a safety-first culture among their employees. The objective should be to maintain the equipment so it is always safe to use. Following the manufacturer's maintenance instructions is an absolute minimum requirement. Daily checks need not be onerous and can often be completed in a couple of minutes.

With hydraulic cranes, for example, this might include looking for oil leaks, damage to steel sections or frays on wire ropes. Although potentially serious in themselves they might indicate a bigger underlying problem. There are other maintenance tasks that should be part of a regular routine. These can include, for example, checking the level of hydraulic reservoirs and topping up as necessary, lubricating components in line with manufacturers' recommendations and giving equipment a general clean or simple wipe over from time to time. It is surprising how many companies continue to ignore even the most basic tasks. Load handling equipment operators are also responsible for ensuring proper records are kept for a minimum of two years about a device's test, inspection and maintenance history.

This does not necessarily mean they must keep this information themselves because the records can be held by a third party, such as an inspection agent or service provider, as long as they can be accessed whenever required. The best service providers will offer this facility as part of their overall contract. The penalties for non-compliance can be severe. Companies that do not complete their STE and maintain records properly can be subjected to enforcement action or fined in a court of law. Penny Hydraulics designs, manufactures and services lifting and load handling equipment for use in a wide range of applications.

Products include the Swing Lift range of medium duty cranes for use on pick-ups, drop-sides and flat-beds and the Step Lift, Load Lift and Tail Lift lifting platform ranges for use on pick-ups, drop-sides and vans. The company also manufactures the Mezz Lift for handling loads between ground floor and mezzanines and specialist equipment for handling wheels, tyres and barrels in vehicles and at customers' premises.

The Formdrill process uses a special carbide tip to drill through thin materials such as sheet metal using friction, removing the need for nuts and bosses. The Formdrill process involves a carbide conical tip (Formdrill) that heats up the material by friction into a super-plastic state, enabling the Formdrill to push through and form the hole and displace the material into a bushing that generally triples the material thickness.

This additional wall surface is then threaded, eliminating the need for welded nuts, bosses or inserts. This bushing is also used as support for brazing or as a bearing wall in rotating shaft applications. It can be used on most drill presses, milling machines or CNC systems. The only parts required are a tool holder, a collet and the Formdrill. Each Formdrill will perform from 8,000 to 10,000 cycles in mild steel, a little less in stainless steel, and more in aluminum and copper.

This process is claimed to have the ability to reduce costs from 50 per cent to 90 per cent when compared to conventional methods. The savings come from the fact that overall cycle times are reduced and consumable costs are almost eliminated. There is virtually no post-process cleanup. The joints created are said to have exceptional torque and pull-out strength values that equal or excel the welded nut equivalents.