Automation Update - Issue 84

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Issue 84

Power Security & Back-Up

Instruments Ltd


CBI Series Input 90-305 V AC Output 12/24/48 V DC upto 20 A MODbus / CANbus Comms Remote Monitoring via ethernet Status Relay

Battery Chargers CB Series Input 90-305 V AC Output 12/24/48 V DC upto 20 A MODbus / CANbus Comms Remote Monitoring via ethernet Status Relay

Power Supplies

FLEX Series Input 90-500 V AC Output 12/24/48 V DC upto 25 A Single / Dual or 3 Phase inputs


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Instruments Ltd

TVR Instruments Limited 143 Butt Road, Colchester CO3 3DP Essex United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1206 575755 Email:


AUTOMATION UPDATE Editorial Assistant Laura Sharpe 01843 580 460 Publishing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 Sales Director Tim Johnston 01843 448 443 Advertising Exec Jamie Simmons 01843 580 460

Automation Update is an engaging, editorially led publication & directory giving the reader news and updates on new products and services to our ever Progressing industry.

Publishing House Jet Digital Media Ltd The Forge, Spratling Court Offices, Manston, Kent CT12 5AN

Forerunner Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. The Sensor People have been setting technological standards in industrial automation for more than 50 years. In the field of safety at work, we convince right from the start with trend-setting inventions, such as the development of the first protective sensor ever, to our latest safety innovation, “Smart Process Gating” – the space-saving solution for access guarding on conveyor lines. This is how we ensure the success of our customers in an industry that is ever evolving. Automation Update - 3

ESAB LAUNCHES FABRICATOR SERIES OF HEAVY-DUTY, INVERTERBASED SYSTEMS FOR MIG/MAG AND STICK WELDING For fabrication and construction firms that need reliable and efficient welding systems that can withstand rugged industrial environments, ESAB Welding & Cutting Products has introduced its Fabricator EM 401i, EM 401iw and EM 501w inverter-based welding power sources and associated wire feeders for MIG/MAG and flux cored welding. The 401iw and 501iw feature a factoryintegrated water cooler. Fabricator controls simplify operation by optimising arc performance for the wire and gas combination selected with predefined settings, and operators can independently adjust wire feed speed and voltage at the feeder. For process flexibility, Fabricator also provides an MMA welding output. These units use inverter-based technology to increase welding performance to improve mobility with lighter weight, increase energy efficiency and offer more advanced controls to boost weld quality and productivity — all at a highly affordable price. The Fabricator EM 401i and EM 401iw have an output rating of 400 amps at 60% duty cycle. The Fabricator EM 501iw has an output rating of 500 amps at 60% duty cycle. Housed in a weather-protected IP23Srated case, the Fabricator has an air tunnel cooling design that isolates electronics from dust, oil, metal shavings and other airborne contaminants. Thick metal side panels provide impact protection, yet the design enables easy access for service and maintenance. Large feet provide ground clearance and extra protection for the chassis, while its two ergonomic handles are crane rated. Because of their rugged design, ESAB offers a 3-year warranty on the power source and wire feeder. Inverter-Based Advantages Fabricator units feature inverter-based power transformation technology. They operate at 87% electrical efficiency — a 30% improvement over step-regulated power sources — so they lower primary power consumption and are more environmentally friendly. An energy save mode reduces power consumption by 35 watts when the welder sits idle. These units also have a power factor of 0.91, which lowers primary amperage requirements; this may allow using more machines on the same circuit breaker or reduce worries about nuisance trips. All 4 - Automation Update

machines can operate in a wide input voltage range between 342 – 456V, 3ph, 50/60 Hz. Inverter technology also provides a faster response to changing arc conditions. Coupled with microprocess controls, inverter technology enables ESAB to incorporate additional functions to enhance welding performance while simplifying operation. Using highly visible LED displays and controls with easily understood terminology and symbols, operators start welding by selecting from one of three options: solid wire, cored wire or MMA. If a wire welding process is selected, operators then select the correct wire diameter and gas type and the Fabricator will then be set for optimised performance. Users can also adjust welding wire feed speed and voltage independently at the wire feeder. The Fabricator 400-amp models are optimised for performance with 0.8 to 1.2 mm wires, and the 500-amp model is optimised for performance with wires from 1.0 to 1.6 mm diameter. Additional controls allow operators to adjust inductance, which can reduce spatter, enhance bead wetting action and create a flatter bead profile when MIG/ MAG welding in the short circuit transfer mode. Users can also set crater fill voltage and amperage at the end of the weld to prevent crater cracking, with the crater fill function activated by setting the welder in the 4T or 4T repeat mode. For MMA welding, adjustable Arc Force provides additional amperage in low voltage situations to prevent the electrode from

sticking to the work piece and can provide increased penetration. Dedicated Wire Feeders ESAB offers two dedicated wire feeders, the Fabricator Feed 304 and Fabricator Feed 304w water-cooled feeder. Quick connectors at the back of the Fabricator power source make it easy to connect to the wire feeder with quick and heavy duty connectors. Water-cooled variations feature the water cooler integrated into the power source and a quick connection for the torch. The trolley features a low, easy-loading platform to hold a single gas cylinder. The Fabricator Feed 304 offers voltage and amperage (wire feed speed) control at the feeder. It features a 4-wheel feed mechanism protected by a steel case and plastic cover to shield the wire spool (up to 300 mm spools). At ESAB, we exist to shape the future of welding and cutting. We connect fabricators with the widest range of products under our industryleading brand portfolio with the latest technologies to solve virtually any industry challenge — then we back it up with our knowledge, experience and passion to help them be more productive than ever before. To learn more, visit esab. com.

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4 Comm ports, inc Ethernet Built-in data logging to microSD Free no-limit programming Slim stackable design Multiple i/o wiring options Starter kit available +44 (0)20 3026 2670

Lamonde Automation Limited Quality Products: Expert Advice

Lipstick, Powder and Pick Cosmetics distribution operation sees efficiency boost after automated investment.


or the retail industry it’s not about the technology, it’s about remaining competitive and driving an improved customer service whilst keeping a keen eye on the bottom line. Kardex Remstar is seeing a real requirement in enabling ‘real-time’ optimisation, which is then reflected in an increase in picking accuracy and picking speeds which are increased by 400%. Being competitive and delivering a faster more accurate service at a lower TCO is still the main motivator. Mary Kay is one of the leading companies for direct sales of makeup and skin care and Lesley Cosmetics is the authorised and exclusive distributor for Mary Kay in the Nordics. The company wanted an efficient solution that reduced delivery time and increased picking speed and accuracy. By purchasing a Megamat RS350 they increased picking speeds by 200-300%, reduced picking errors from 1.5% to 0.87% and created a better flow in the warehouse, with a more ergonomic workspace and rotation in staff work tasks. With Kardex Power Pick Global software they now deliver a fast storage and retrieval solution with 3,000 order lines easily picked in a oneday shift. In the end it’s about how your bottom line will be impacted. As Intralogistics applications continue to be scrutinised in terms of efficiency: They must work more flexibly, stock a wider range of items within a smaller space and guarantee faster retrieval times. To cope with these demands, Kardex has developed a new generation of automated storage systems, which also 6 - Automation Update

offer high order picking performance and represent excellent value for money, while consuming little energy and occupying little space. With customer demand escalating faster than ever before, e-commerce retailers and distributors are turning to more effective ways to maintain/increase intralogistics processes whilst keeping a keen eye on thve bottom line. Kardex is a global industry partner for intralogistics solutions and a leading supplier of automated storage solutions and material handling systems. To learn more contact or visit our ecommerce insights

IDS expands Ensenso 3D camera portfolio in the lower price segment Introducing Ensenso S, camera manufacturer IDS Imaging Development Systems shows that the use of industrial-grade 3D technology does not have to be expensive. The 3D camera is particularly suitable for 3D applications that require budgetfriendly, easy-to-integrate and industrialgrade camera technology. The new Ensenso S10 has an ultra-compact, IP65/67protected housing and generates 3D data using laser point triangulation, supported by artificial intelligence. This makes the camera suitable for a wide range of applications – and delivers robust 3D information even in low ambient light. Ensenso S10 is equipped with a 1.6 MP Sony sensor and operates on a laser-based 3D process. A narrow-band infrared laser projector creates a high-contrast dot pattern – even on objects with difficult surfaces or in low-light environments. The camera's laser point triangulation is accelerated by a neural network and enables reliable mapping of the captured pattern points to the hard-coded positions of the projection. This results in robust and geometrically precise 3D data with high depth accuracy. At object distances of 50


cm, the maximum deviation is only 0.6 mm. At full projector power, the Ensenso S10 3D system achieves up to 20 point clouds per second with consistently high quality and resolution. With a rugged zinc die-cast housing, a 60° field of view and a working range of 0.5 to 3 metres, the 3D camera can be used universally and is suitable for industrial applications with high cost efficiency. Combined with the proven flexibility of the Ensenso SDK, it is also quickly and easily integrated into many applications where, for example, variant objects need to be safely gripped in large numbers or obstacles need to be detected for collisionfree movements of robots and UAVs. The Ensenso S10 is also at home in logistics automation as well as in robotics or in the agricultural sector. Especially highvolume and price-sensitive projects can now benefit from 3D image processing in industrial quality.

Find out more about the new 3D camera: If you would like to learn even more about 3D vision technology, you can visit the IDS Vision Channel at From discussions about current developments in 3D vision to the realisation of intelligent picking solutions, you will find a lot of interesting video content in the media library, free of charge and on-demand.

Tel: 01296 611660 Email: 26 Faraday Road, Aylesbury Buckinghamshire HP19 8RU

Multitalented IO-Link Masters Murrelektronik expands its IO-Link portfolio with the IP67 rated MVK Pro and IMPACT67 Pro fieldbus modules.

The robust modules provide on-board diagnostics and 4A per port output current. They are available in all common protocols and also can be used independent of the fieldbus. IO-Link stands for “plug-and-play” installation in automation technology. Against a backdrop of increasingly complex production processes and plants, in which more and more data is being collected and networked, the communication standard creates maximum transparency from the sensor-actuator level all the way to the cloud. Murrelektronik has expanded its IOLink portfolio with the IP67 rated MVK Pro and IMPACT67 Pro fieldbus modules. The new modules have eight multifunctional class A/B master ports, two L-coded M12 ports for supplying up to 16A of power, and are available for PROFINET, Ethernet/ IP and EtherCAT. Fieldbus independent use is possible through OPC UA, MQTT, JSON REST API – thanks to the integrated Standardized Master Interface (SMI). All in


all, these devices lower costs and increase productivity while offering new options for service and maintenance. Installation and start up times are shortened because these modules can replace complexly wired, space-consuming control cabinets. In addition to pure process data (I/Os), the new MVK Pro and IMPACT67 Pro modules also provide additional diagnostic data (voltage, current and temperature) for each port as well as for the entire module. This enables operators to detect anomalies and optimize their processes using data analytics. Thanks to the IIOT protocols, this is standardized and does not require a controller. The integrated A/B ports are real multitalents: The function can be configured at each pin - IO-Link, DI, DO, DIO or a combination. Automatic supply voltage switching means that the correct voltage supply, actuator supply for DOs and sensor supply for DIs, is always used.

Devices with higher energy demand are also powered directly from the module. Thanks to the 4A rating on each port, the need for an external power source is eliminated for such devices. The L-coded M12 ports allow for daisy-chaining and provide up to 2 x 16 A power which simplifies installation and reduces cable runs. A plastic and a metal housing and IP67 rating make these robust master modules. The MVK Pro and IMPACT67 Pro fieldbus modules round out Murrelektronik's broad IO-Link portfolio that includes masters, hubs, converters, devices and connection technology. As a system provider Murrelektronik offers everything necessary to network the controller with the sensor/actuator level using IO-Link. Everything is designed to work together, is optimized for the application, and comes from a single source.



A PERFECT PARTNERSHIP Finding the right partner for your IO-Link projects. Are you looking for an easy entry into digitalization, a universal installation system or a future-proof IIoT concept? With the Murrelektronik IO-Link system you always make the best choice – and remain flexible and independent. A system made just for you. Let’s connect! 

Rittal celebrates the one millionth VX25 2021 is a triple milestone for Rittal, this year the company is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its founding, the 75th birthday of owner Prof. Friedhelm Loh and now also the one millionth VX25 been produced!


n the 16th August 2021 this year, the one millionth VX25 enclosure rolled off the assembly line, production of which would not have been possible, without the hard work and dedication of the 1240 employees, at the Ritterhausen site. To honour this incredible achievement Prof. Friedhelm Loh and representatives from the company’s management team, honoured this achievement with a commemorative ceremony, on the same production floor where the VX25 is manufactured day after day. How can we make the best even better? That was the question which Rittal asked itself as a starting point, for the development of the VX25 enclosure system. Three years after its initial market launch, Rittal is proud to advise that the VX25 is used by industrial and IT customers all over the world. In settings such as all automobile manufacturers, as well as in data centres for IT giants such as Facebook and Amazon, along with on cruise liners, in wind turbines and in several remote locations as well. On the 16th August 2021, the one millionth VX25 rolled off the production line, to mark this momentous occasion, it was celebrated with music and confetti, by the management and employees

The one millionth VX25 enclosure was gilded before it rolled off the production line at the Rittershausen location. The photo shows production technician Muhammet Akin.

at the Ritterhausen site. It was a memorable celebration, that celebrated the extraordinary achievements of so many Rittal employees, including the VX25 design engineers, product managers and production technicians.





“This was all only possible with your contributions, For that I cannot thank you enough. We have always been the global technology leader and the VX25 enclosure, has sent out yet another signal to the world market. Our customers were absolutely astounded and we have now been demonstrating excellence, in enclosure manufacturing over four product generations.” Prof. Friedhelm Loh told the employees attending the ceremony. Incredible! – that is how the owner and chairman, of the Friedhelm Loh Group described the Rittal success story. He recalled that Rittershausen was not only the birthplace of large enclosures, but also the foundation of the company as a whole. “With the people of this region, we have developed a business model which has revolutionised the entire world of electrical engineering.” Without the team members, Rittal would not have been able to develop the ideas. During the time in the initial conception of Rittal, no one including its founders and management, could have imagined just a few decades later, that Rittal’s enclosures would be used around the globe. With the slogan “Enclosures available off the shelf, immediately” Rittal sparked a revolution, via the mechanical engineering sector, from there standard enclosures conquered the industry. Since its initial success, Rittal has gone on to build factories in China, India, Brazil, America and England, with Prof. Loh commenting “It is amazing when we look at all the places where

these enclosures are manufactured today, across the world, Rittal manufacturer several thousand large enclosures every day.” Many others have attempted to follow suit, including several major electrical engineering groups, but without success. Prof. Loh went on to add that one of Rittal’s greatest strengths, is its readiness to diversify from general trends, within industry and look to be innovators, which places them at the forefront of development within industry. This is shown by the expansion of Rittal’s portfolio over the years, since the initial conception of large enclosure, Rittal has gone on to be successful in areas including climate control, power distribution and subsequently IT infrastructure. In Ritterhausen Germany, thanks to Rittal’s unprecedent success Rittal, has also become the largest employer in the region. “It cannot be taken for granted that a company will develop in this way for 60 years. It is a gift. It is an unbelievable success story and ample reason to celebrate.” Said Prof. Loh as he concluded his address. Markus Asch, CEO of Rittal International, went on to emphasize the important role that the VX25 plays in Rittal’s portfolio: “The large enclosure is the essence of Rittal and an expression of our expertise.” Available in thousands of configuration variants, it meets 90 per cent of all customer requirements worldwide. “Today’s gathering was organized to celebrate the one millionth VX25, but in reality we are celebrating you, the employees who manufacturer the enclosure on a daily basis.” Said the management board chairman. Together with the Norbert Peter, Vice president of operations in Germany and the plant manager in Ritterhausen, they presented a gilded enclosure key and a commemorative certificate to all the employees, in recognition of there hard work and dedication. For more information, visit and

VX25. SYSTEM PERFECTION. There are always two versions of this enclosure - real and digital. The maximum data quality of the VX25 ensures greater flexibility for configuration, manufacturing and assembly. And with the “digital twin”, the person who knows your company best – you yourself – can plan, order, process and do much more besides.




SICK’s Smart Light Tower Sheds Light on Efficiencies SICK has reimagined the industrial light stack as a versatile and customisable Smart Light Tower that can be easily set up with a wide range of parameters to communicate the real-time operational and maintenance status of machinery. The SICK Smart Light Tower exploits the benefits of IO-Link so that both machine builders and end users can easily program real-time displays and audible signals to support wide-ranging operational, maintenance, and management goals. The SICK Smart Light Tower can be easily installed via a single cable and an IOLink Master, and programmed through an intuitive graphical interface with a standard PC.

“Setting up a SICK Smart Light Tower is limited only by your imagination,” explains Charlie Walker, SICK’s UK Product Specialist – Presence Detection. “Where traditional light towers are restricted by a modular assembly of different colours at set positions, the SICK Smart Light Tower has 20 sets of LEDs that can be programmed to display any of 21 colours, either illuminated continuously or flashing, strobing or pulsating at user-selectable frequencies.

The SICK Smart Light Tower uses three operating modes: signal light, level meter, or animation to communicate the run status of machines and alert operating personnel to maintenance tasks or emergency conditions. It can be fitted to a wide variety of fixed machinery, as well as on mobile vehicles such as AGVs (automated guided vehicles) and AMRs (autonomous mobile robots), offering the benefit of long-distance visibility to enable a management overview of several machines over a production or logistics hall.

“IO-Link connectivity offers the cost saving benefits of using unshielded cables and fewer input and output cards. The Smart Light Tower can be quickly integrated into the PLC program to display higher-level management and performance data. We have even demonstrated its ability to indicate a real-time calculation of overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).”

14 - Automation Update

For example, when the SICK Smart Light Tower is used on a thermal printing machine on a packaging or labelling line, teamed with a SICK photoelectric

sensor (e.g. DT35) to measure the levels of the unwinding core, it provides a timely guide for operators to know when the ribbon needs replacing. The SLT can be programmed to alternate automatically between status alert and level mode, as required. A SICK Smart Light Tower can be used with presence detection sensors, for example, to display the progress of totes on a conveyor, particularly at junctions where the conveyor may become blocked. Any jams can be quickly located and easily-understood status messages tell operators how to respond.

Built-in IO-link Connectivity With built-in IO-Link connectivity, the SICK Smart Light Tower can be configured to indicate real-time data from sensors and other devices and visualise changing levels such as fill, temperature, pressure, speed, item counts or cycle times. An optional Smart

Light Buzzer can be programmed to support visual signals with audible alarms and melodies. High-brightness LEDs, positioned around the full 360° circumference of the tower, ensure the light signals can be seen from long distances. Up to five vertical segments can be configured for more straightforward status indication applications. When the optional SICK Smart Light Buzzer module is added to the top of the tower, for which no tools are necessary, users can choose from a broad range of effects to convey a wide variety of information in volumes up to 88dB. A choice of eight tone patterns ensures audibility in busy environments where one person is tending multiple machines or processes.

Intuitive Programming As an IO-Link device, installation and connection of the Smart Light Tower are both very easy, and device replacement is straightforward. The Smart Light Tower is mounted in a through-hole using a moulded M30 male thread or on a pole via an integral ½-inch NPT female thread. The electrical connection is made with an industry-standard M12 A-coded connector. SICK’s designers have ensured the Smart Light Tower will achieve a long, maintenance-free operating life. For example, LEDs never need to be changed unlike incandescent bulbs, the tough polycarbonate housing shrugs off minor knocks, the operating temperature range is from -25°C to +50°C, and the entire unit is sealed to IP65 to protect against the ingress of dust and moisture, even when the buzzer module is added. For more information about the SICK Smart Light Tower, please contact Andrea Hornby on 01727 831121 or email Automation Update - 15

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No matter where. No matter what, just measure.

io-key: Smart Monitoring. No cables, no limits.





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A power supply - that’s all the io-key needs to send the information from the connected sensors to the secure cloud via a cellular network. Since the undemanding problem solver also transmits via NB-IoT, there are no longer any limits to your process monitoring, regardless of whether you want to obtain data from a sea container, from a tank in the open or from any part of the system away from your network infrastructure: With the io-key, all of this is easily possible. Don’t limit yourself any longer. Keep an eye on your processes, wherever they take place. No ifs, no buts, uncomplicated and simple as never before. ifm - close to you!

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New Pumps For High Pressure, High Temperature Applications A new positive displacement axial piston pump which offers outstanding performance in high pressure, high temperature applications has been introduced by Precision Micro-hydraulic specialists THE LEE COMPANY. The HPHT family ofpumps can generate up to 10,000 psid (690 bar) at temperatures of 400ºF (200ºC) so are ideal for critical hydraulic fluids transfer applications such as down hole oil tools and aerospace. An important benefit of the innovative axial piston design of these pumps is that they don’t contain any elastomers, which increases resistance to contamination and significantly improves reliability in the most challenging applications. Also, the 32mm pump is a simple, drop-in replacement for existing pumps which are restricted to lower temperature applications due to the inclusion of elastomeric seals. Whilst HTHP pumps are officially rated to produce pressures of 10,000psi they actually have the capability of producing even higher pressures and are qualified for over 1000 hours of operation and will withstand high levels of shock and vibration.

They are designed to be driven by a Maxon Motor, with or without a gearbox and drive couplings are available separately. The pumps are available in 22mm and 30mm diameter options for packaging flexibility, benefits which will be especially appreciated in limited space applications, such as down hole. Cylindrical Hi-Bar inlet screens which slide onto the pump body are also available as an option. The pumps can be customised to meet specific application requirements, such as altering the mounting configuration, or the inlet and outlet connections.

More at: 18 - Automation Update

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Vacuum conveyor for transporting coffee capsules

When coffee capsules are manufactured, they must be transported out of the filling system in such a way that they cannot tip. 16 capsules each in 2 rows are discharged by a multi-gripper on a linear axis with a cycle of 2.4 seconds. To clear the storage position, the capsules must be moved 860 mm in 0.9 seconds. A straight section of the track also serves as an unloading station for random sampling using an air blast. The conveying direction must be rotated by 90° at the end of the conveying path so that the capsules can be transferred to the next customer conveyor. An ideal solution was developed using two interlinking belt conveyors. A GUF-P 20 - Automation Update

2000 belt conveyor with vacuum function is used for the loading area, which is directly connected to the filling system. The belt conveyor is at a standstill while the capsule packages are placed on the conveyor. In order to move the capsules by 860 mm in 0.9 seconds in cycle operation, a servo motor was designed with a speed of approx. 75 m/min and an acceleration of approx. 3 m/s². The capsules are prevented from tilting or slipping by the constant vacuum in the conveyor frame and the rows of holes in the belt conveyor which can be adapted to the product. After the random sample has been taken, the capsules are transferred to the second conveyor for further processing. This

mk recently helped a coffee capsule manufacturer find a way to achieve stable transportation of lightweight products.

conveyor runs continuously without a vacuum function. A rolling knife edge on the discharge end of the vacuum conveyor ensures that the capsules are transferred smoothly. The two conveyors are also equipped with side rails that are adapted to the product geometry. To see the system is action follow this link To see the full range of mk’s conveyors please visit, email or call (01949) 823751.

Small Belt Conveyor GUF-P MINI for small products with low volume and weight

Low installation height for easy integration into complex systems Belt recirculation integrated into the conveyor frame Small tail diameters keep gaps at product transfer points narrow

mk Profile Systems Limited a company of the mk Technology Group

DLM Load Cells for Catena’s Cleanroom C The custom DLM telemetry tensile links were of 500kg and 1,500kg capacity and for use in a cleanroom environment.

22 - Automation Update


Dynamic Load Monitoring (UK) Ltd. (DLM), of Southampton, UK has delivered two load cells to Catena Inspection & Engineering Services Ltd. for use at a nuclear cleanroom site where propulsion systems are developed for the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD).

The load cells, of 500kg and 1,500kg capacity, were the latest products to be delivered to the undisclosed location by Catena, of Nottinghamshire, UK, which constantly provides equipment and services to the facility, principally related to proof load testing and lifting applications. Stainless steel shackles with custom engraved asset numbers were also part of this project. Tyler Hickling, lifting and fabrication sales at Catena, explained that the order initially started with a request for load monitoring technology that could, firstly, measure low weights and, secondly, do so to an extreme degree of accuracy. DLM is a renowned manufacturer of equipment that can meet such requirements, while giving the user the ability to monitor data wirelessly, which is a further requirement of such end user environments. Hickling added: “Given the nature of the facility, there wasn’t a great deal of information provided, beyond what we needed to know to source the best possible solution, which turned out to be a pair of custom telemetry tensile links. I was only privy to the maximum weight lifted and the resolution required. They will be used separately, repeatedly, for specific lifts where the weight needs to be monitored closely.” As well as utilising load cells for proof load testing contracts, Catena is increasingly providing a range of force measurement technologies for a variety of industrial applications. DLM, a specialist in the design, manufacture, repair and calibration of load cells and load monitoring equipment, is its go-to manufacturer for product and expertise. Hickling said: “Using telemetry load links and compression load cells allows us to move away from using loose weights for proof load testing when used with a hydraulic set-up; we can apply smaller, incremental loads in a more controlled manner. We can also use a load link in the line to check lifts are equally distributed and not exerting excessive unknown loads.” These Catena-branded load cells were from DLM’s TL-3.0 family, a third-generation of its popular telemetry tensile link line. The lightweight wireless tension measuring unit combines a high level of performance with a robust design for harsh environments. They are made from aerospace grade aluminium and offer a range up to 800m (over 2,600 ft.) and a huge battery life of 700 hours. Hickling pointed out that the TL-3.0 can be paired with an unlimited number of displays to one load cell or 12 load cells to one handheld display. Martin Halford, managing director at DLM, said: “We have worked successfully with Catena for many years now, especially on MOD-type contracts where off-the-shelf solutions are not suitable and something customised is required to meet the high defence standards. In this instance, we drew on our extensive experience within the marine and offshore industry to design a stainless steel version of our popular TL-3.0 telemetry load link, suitable for the maritime defence industry. It is fantastic to be able to play a small part in supporting the UK government in keeping our waters safe, and this type of work really fits in nicely with our focus on the offshore and marine sector, which is reflective in the products and services we offer.”

Automation Update - 23

Delivering the Automation Dividend for Employees Ever since robots started to become a significant part of our manufacturing processes, the benefits of the technology, in terms of performing heavy, dirty, repetitive, and sometimes dangerous tasks have been extolled. Clearly for businesses, the automation dividend is seen in improved performance, productivity, quality, and often lower manufacturing costs. However, alleviating humans from these activities is just but one part of the story. Today, with labour shortages blighting many businesses, employee retention has never been more important. In this article, Stäubli’s Simon Jenkins looks at the need to ensure that there is also an automation dividend for employees if businesses are to maximise the benefits of their investment in robotics and automation, through the retention and upskilling of their workforce.


he perception of a clear dividing line between tasks for robots and tasks for humans started to become blurred when collaborative robots entered the workplace. Clearly, risk assessments need to be carried out to ensure safe and true collaboration, but the continued uptake of these systems confirms that they do have a place in our manufacturing environments. 24 - Automation Update

This collaboration between the operator and the robot is a benefit to both parties, with the operator generally being removed from the mundane tasks to add value through human flexibility and dexterity. This represents one level of improving an operators’ working environment and giving them a more interesting role.

Above: Investing in training can deliver more interesting roles for employees, upskilling them from operators to roles more akin to that of a technician. The continued shortage of labour in many of our manufacturing sectors has sparked a new and higher level of interest in robots and automation, and perhaps for the first time, businesses are looking even more closely at how they can re-deploy, re-train and upskill their existing workforce alongside their investment in automation to futureproof their production. Simon Jenkins explains: “The oftenvoiced mantra of ‘robots cost jobs’ has over the years proven to be largely false. It has now become crystal-clear that in many cases robots and automation are the route to not only saving jobs, but the means of providing employees who were once restricted to mundane tasks the opportunity to obtain new skills and develop as individuals.”

Ensuring an Employee Automation Dividend So how can one individual’s role change as a result of the introduction

of robotics and automation? Simon Jenkins continues: “It is true that many of the tasks once deemed to be the domain of the operator, are now being performed by a robot. However, despite the common perception of 24/7 unmanned running, robots and automation do at times require support. This is especially true in applications where multiple product variants are being produced. Although it is sometimes possible to automate many changeover tasks, in some cases there is still the need for human intervention to perform set up tasks such as swapping over grippers, fixtures and organising product for assembly or processing. The role of the operator here is now more akin to that of a technician. The once mundane tasks are now replaced with interesting operations which require increased skills and deliver a greater level of responsibility. Taken a step further, with the company investing in additional training, this one employee could also take responsibility for robot

programming and performing initial diagnostics on the robot cell should problems arise.” There are also other opportunities for business to entice existing employees to think about upskilling through additional training in some maintenance tasks. For those individuals who show yet more potential, further training, and education to obtain formal qualifications will be greatly appreciated by the individual and the business will have grown their skill base in-house as opposed to spending often large sums on ongoing recruitment to replace disillusioned employees. Investing in the existing workforce will not only increase the overall skill levels within the business, but also foster greater loyalty from employees who will have been able to realise a tangible dividend for themselves from the company’s investment in robotics and automation.

Stäubli (UK) Limited, Hadley Park East, Hadley, Telford, TF1 6QJ Email:

Telephone: +44 (0)1952 671917

Web: Automation Update - 25

Advanced Servo Motors Transforming 3D Metal Printing The combination of the latest Servo Motor designs, extremely flexible robots and an eclectic mix of other advanced technologies are the key factors driving the rapid growth of new fabrication processes in manufacturing. Specifically, servo motors and robots are transforming additive applications and revolutionising the way prototypes, parts and products are made.


dditive and subtractive manufacturing techniques are two prime examples which have provided fabricators with the efficiency and cost-savings helping them to remain competitive. Referred to as 3D printing, additive manufacturing (AM) is a nontraditional method that utilises digital design data to create solid three-dimensional objects by fusing materials, layer by layer, from the bottom up.

The benefits of advanced Servo Motors is an important factor in the transformation of 3D printing applications, where dimensional precision and finish quality is key and it’s why endusers are turning to 3D printers with servo systems (as opposed to stepper motors) to ensure optimal motion control.

Often making near-net-shape (NNS) parts with no waste, the use of AM for both basic and complex product designs continues to accelerate in industrial applications, such as automotive, aerospace, energy, medical, transportation and consumer products. On the contrary, the subtractive process entails removing sections from a block of material using high-precision cutting or machining to create a 3D product.

Motion control specialist YASKAWA has developed its range of servo motors which includes the SIGMA-7 series which are proving to be transformative in helping fabricators overcome the common issues via printer boosting capabilities.

Despite key differences, additive and subtractive processes are not always mutually exclusive because they can both be used to complement various stages of product development. For example, an early concept model or prototype is often created by the additive process and once that product is finalised larger batches may be required which opens the door to subtractive manufacturing. In time sensitive applications hybrid additive / subtractive techniques are being applied to repairing damaged or worn parts, or even creating quality parts with less lead time. 26 - Automation Update

For example, these robust motors incorporate vibration suppression filters as well as antiresonance and notch filters which together ensure extremely smooth motion that can eliminate visually unpleasant stepped lines caused by stepper motor torque ripple. Also, the latest speed enhancements mean print speeds of 350mm/sec are possible, more than doubling the average speed of a 3D printer using a stepper motor. Similarly, a travel speed of up to 1500 mm/sec can be achieved using rotary or up to 5 metres/sec using linear servo technology.

This extremely fast acceleration capability enables 3D print heads to be moved into their correct positions more rapidly removing the need to slow down the entire system to reach the desired finish quality. This means users can fabricate more parts per hour, without sacrificing quality. Automatic tuning on servo systems means users can independently perform their own customtuning so they can adapt to changes in the mechanics of a printer or variances in the process. Stepper motors don’t utilise position feedback, so it’s impossible to compensate for process changes or discrepancies in mechanics. Additional benefits of servo systems include absolute encoder feedback so users only need to perform a homing routine once resulting in

increased uptime and cost savings. Systems with stepper motors lack this feature as they need to be ‘homed’ every time they are powered-up. Servo systems also incorporate feedback sensing whereas stepper motor systems do not. The extruder of a 3D printer can cause bottlenecks and jams in the printing process which if undetected, can ruin an entire batch. With over 22 million servo systems in the field Yaskawa has the experience and technical knowhow in motion and control. The result: excellent performance and outstanding reliability. Automation Update - 27

Protecting Your Plant Before

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