Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO

Industrial giant ABB is reporting a 3 per cent growth in total orders across its operation, but most of it seems to be coming from robotics. 

Net income was $525 million – for the second quarter ending July 6. Gross profit, however, was down 5 per cent, and was only $1 billion. Total revenues were up 1 per cent at almost $8.5 billion.

ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer says: “In Q2, ABB continued to build its growth momentum as our targeted initiatives are delivering. Order growth was broad-based and across all regions.

“Our industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, is taking off and starting to contribute to growth.

“Operational performance in the power grids and industrial automation divisions was solid in the quarter. Electrification products and robotics and motion improved margins sequentially, but were not able to fully compensate commodity price headwinds and overcapacity during the quarter.  Continue reading Robotics and automation news is good for ABB, says CEO

ABB claims world record in energy efficiency for its synchronous motor

 

abb AMS 1400 Motor

ABB says it has set a new world record in energy efficiency with its synchronous motor – and says the technology could save companies half a million dollars over 20 years.

The company says it achieved “almost 100 per cent energy efficiency” with the motor.

Tests carried out on a 44 megawatt 6-pole synchronous ABB motor shortly before delivery showed an efficiency 0.25 percent greater than the 98.8 percent stipulated in the contract, resulting in the world record for electric motor efficiency.  Continue reading ABB claims world record in energy efficiency for its synchronous motor

HMS Industrial launches new smart grid connectivity gateway

hms_ixxat-sg-gateways

New IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS Industrial Networks enable data exchange between infrastructure and energy networks based on IEC61850 or IEC60870-5-104, and common fieldbus and industrial Ethernet systems, says the company.

While industrial communication between devices and systems is typically done with fieldbus and industrial Ethernet, modern infrastructure and energy networks are based upon other protocol standards such as IEC61850 and IEC60870-5-104.

The new IXXAT SG-gateways from HMS address the increasing need for data exchange between these two worlds, offering a wide protocol coverage and easy integration.  Continue reading HMS Industrial launches new smart grid connectivity gateway

Solar power revolution ‘unavoidable’ in Asia, says industry expert

REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore
A robot operates at a production line during a tour of an REC solar panel manufacturing plant in Singapore. Reuters / Edgar Su

By Henning Gloystein and Vera Eckert, Reuters

Investors are increasingly excited about the prospects for much faster growth in the solar power industry in Southeast Asia, which has until now been a backwater for renewable energy.

They say that the region is in a perfect position to benefit from rapidly declining prices in solar panels. It has strong economic growth, relatively high costs of electricity and a shortage from traditional sources, undeveloped infrastructure in more remote areas, plenty of sunshine, and backing for more renewable energy from many of Southeast Asia’s governments.

“Dramatically falling costs for solar energy technologies means businesses and governments are choosing renewable energy not for environmental reasons but for economic ones,” said Roberto De Vido, spokesman for Singapore-based Equis, one of Asia’s biggest green energy-focused investment firms with $2.7 billion in committed capital. “It simply makes good business sense. And that’s a trend that’s not going to change.”  Continue reading Solar power revolution ‘unavoidable’ in Asia, says industry expert

Pepperl+Fuchs launches new Ethernet IO modules

pepperl+fuchs io module
EtherNet IO modules offer IO-Link sensor/actuator connections, function across multiple protocols, and are supplied with 16 A via the M12 power plug

Pepperl+Fuchs has launches new Ethernet IO modules with multiprotocol functionality and M12 power plugs which are now also with integrated eight-way IO-link master.

The new Ethernet IO modules support all common Ethernet protocols, such as Profinet, EtherNet/IP, and EtherCAT, in a single device.

The integrated IO-Link master function allows comprehensive diagnosis and parameterization. 

The L-coded M12 power plug provides a current of up to 16 A and reduces installation costs.

Modules with an integrated logic function can tackle autonomous applications, completely replace control panels, or deal only with status messages. Continue reading Pepperl+Fuchs launches new Ethernet IO modules

Recharging the energy industry: Managing demand and constraint

city at night overview

Partners in industrial automation, Martyn Williams, managing director of industrial software expert, Copa-Data UK and Mark Hardy, CEO of Capula, reveal how new technologies, such as smart grids, big data and business intelligence enable a more efficient use of resources in the industry

Humans have always searched for ways to harness energy, whether it be to complete laborious tasks or just improve their livelihood.

Propelled by the discoveries and inventions of the industrial revolution, this thirst for innovation has led to humanity’s quest for more powerful, smarter and more efficient energy sources.

Recent years have seen a new wave of technology and opportunities hit the energy sector, several of which have been presented by the onset of big data and Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

Ensuring that supply meets the customers’ demand is a key responsibility of the energy industry, however, these smart technologies are changing the way the grid generates, manages, distributes and stores energy.  Continue reading Recharging the energy industry: Managing demand and constraint

Rough seas: Resistors for severe environments

Container ship New Orleans

Resistor liquid cooling boosts 3.3kV medium voltage loads, and slashes resistor footprint in industrial and marine applications, as David Atkins, projects director at Cressall Resistors explains

In motor driven applications like cranes, lifts, hoists and conveyors, air cooled resistors are common, but in medium voltage, high power applications liquid cooling wins out.

A medium voltage drive running off a 3.3kV supply to turn a 500kW motor will put a severe heating load on the application’s power transistors – hence the need for water cooling.

The new EV2 advanced water cooled modular resistor range for low and medium voltage applications is especially designed to function in severe environments, like the ones marine systems have to function in.

This patented design encapsulates and completely separates the resistor elements from the coolant.  Continue reading Rough seas: Resistors for severe environments

ZF unveils AI driving system which could be used for forklift trucks, while Toyota adopts the fuel cell

toyota fuel cell forklift truck

ZF teams up with Nvidia on artificial intelligence system for autonomous cars, trucks and industrial applications

ZF says its ProAI system for automated driving is built on high-performance Nvidia Drive PX 2 AI computing platform, and will enable vehicles to “see, think, and act”. 

ZF is one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers and a global leader in active and passive safety technology, and has been working with Nvidia to develop artificial intelligence systems for the transportation industry for some time.

The two companies are looking at various sectors, including:

  • automated and autonomous driving systems for passenger cars;
  • commercial trucks; and
  • industrial applications.

The ZF ProAI for highway automated driving is ZF’s first system developed using Nvidia AI technology.  Continue reading ZF unveils AI driving system which could be used for forklift trucks, while Toyota adopts the fuel cell

Braking resistors that will not break

cressall braking resistors

David Atkins, projects director at Cressall Resistors, explains why design is essential not only in art, but also in industry, especially when designing equipment such as power resistors for demanding environments like oil and gas

One of the most popular works of Renaissance sculpture is Michelangelo’s David, a piece that has become synonymous with human strength and beauty.

Despite its seemingly perfect proportions, a basic design flaw of the statue has recently been brought to light.

Recurring micro-fractures in the ankles might cause the statue to collapse under its own weight.  Continue reading Braking resistors that will not break

Electric power: Clean energy infrastructure driving switch from AC to DC

nikola tesla
Nikoa Tesla, pictured in his Colorado Springs lab in 1899. Picture courtesy of Smithsonian.com

Nikola Tesla was a famous scientist who developed alternating current, the means of distribution for electricity for the vast majority of devices, appliances and machines in households and factories and just about every other electrified thing in the world today. 

But even as Tesla was inventing much of the technology used in the alternating current electricity supply system, another famous inventor, Thomas Edison argued that direct current was the best way to distribute electricity.

By the time Tesla tech came onstream, DC had already been in use for a decade, but within a relatively small area, and Edison lost that argument mostly because the components of an alternating current grid enabled electricity to be carried far and wide beyond the power generating facility.  Continue reading Electric power: Clean energy infrastructure driving switch from AC to DC

Obama warns of divisiveness of automation technology

obama farewell
US President Barack Obama making his farewell speech. Image: White House

In his farewell address to the nation, US President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of automation technology. 

Obama said: “The next wave of economic dislocations won’t come from overseas. It will come from the relentless pace of automation that makes a lot of good, middle-class jobs obsolete.”

The Obama administration has been looking the whole issue of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence, and consulting on the possible impact of those technologies on the US economy.  Continue reading Obama warns of divisiveness of automation technology

ABB wins $100 million order to upgrade historic power link In California

abb power hvdc
Last year ABB received an order worth around $140 million from transmission system operators Energinet.dk in Denmark and 50Hertz Transmission in Germany to design, supply and install an HVDC converter station in Bentwisch, Northern Germany.

Converter station upgrade to improve power reliability of 46-year-old Pacific Intertie power link

ABB has won an order worth more than $100 million from the US utility Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, to modernize the existing Sylmar high-voltage direct current converter station in California.

This station is an important part of the electricity link between the Pacific Northwest and southern California commissioned in 1970. The order was booked in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The Sylmar converter station, located to the north of Los Angeles, is the southern station of the Pacific Intertie, a 1,360 kilometer HVDC link that connects to the Celilo converter station near the Columbia River, Oregon.  Continue reading ABB wins $100 million order to upgrade historic power link In California

CES: What’s in it for me?

The Consumer Electronics Show will be on soon. January 5-8, in Las Vegas, US. If you’re one of the lucky people going along, send us a picture or note about your highlights of the event. 

As a preview to the show, we find out from Infineon, one of the leading chipmakers for the auto market, what their view of the highlights will be, not just at CES, but also for the year ahead.

Infineon is probably going to face much more intense competition this year, mainly because of Qualcomm’s entrance into the auto marketContinue reading CES: What’s in it for me?

Daimler develops ways for industrial robots and factories to save energy under Areus project

Saving energy has been a serious preoccupation of many industrial companies for many years, but especially in recent years with prices of fuel fluctuating and public concern about the environment growing. 

In the auto manufacturing sector, which buys the most number of industrial robots and uses vast amounts of energy, companies such as Kuka have been looking to make their automation systems more energy efficient.

Now, in the European Union, a project called Automation and Robotics for European Sustainable Manufacturing, or Areus, says it has developed the components of an energy-efficient automobile production system of the future.  Continue reading Daimler develops ways for industrial robots and factories to save energy under Areus project

Industrial power: The road to energy efficiency starts here

Leonardo da Vinci robot drummer
Leonardo da Vinci sketched a large number of mechanical ideas, including this robot drummer

Tony Young, owner and director of supply and repair specialist CP Automation, explains how easy it can be to make industrial applications more energy efficient by using regenerative braking

Did you know the invention of robots dates back to XVth century?

When Leonardo da Vinci explored the idea of the human body as a machine, he came up with a robotic knight – medieval armour designed with gears, wheels, pulleys and cables that allowed it to move its arms and legs.

Premature inventions like this one populate the engineering landscape to this day, often when it comes to energy-saving technologies such as regenerative braking.  Continue reading Industrial power: The road to energy efficiency starts here