Automation Update - Issue 94

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WWW.AUTOMATION-UPDATE.CO.UK Issue 94 AUTOMATION PDATE Linear motors for the Food and Pharmaceutical Industry - Linmot distributor for the UK & Ireland Full story here……
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AUTOMATION UPDATE 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. HIGH ACCURACY IS THE OPTION Pressure Ranges 0…0,3 to 0…1000 bar Accuracy ±0,05 %FS Total Error Band ±0,1 %FS @ -10…80 °C Interfaces RS485, 4…20 mA, 0…10 V Operational Temperature Range -40…120 °C Series 35X Publication & Managing Director Jodie Little 01843 580 460 Publication Assistant Taylor Owens 01843 267 690 Editorial Assistant Leigh Little 01843 448 443

Elliptical Optical Flats & Coated Flat Mirrors

Optical Surfaces Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of large, high precision optical flats and coated flat mirrors including a range of non-circular shapes such as elliptical and octagonal.

When the maximum possible clear aperture is required in a folded Newtonian or Cassegrain telescope design, the optical component of choice is an elliptically shaped coated flat mirror. Elliptical flat mirrors are used to fold and re-direct optical beams. Due to the elliptical geometry of the coated substrate, the aperture of a circular beam can be rotated by 45˚ around the minor axis without truncation.

Manufactured from highly stable optical materials such as Zerodur® or ClearCeram®-Z, Optical Surfaces talented optical engineers can regularly achieve surface accuracies of better than ʎ/10 peak to valley on elliptical optical flats up to 600mm length (long axis).

The most common coating on optical flats is aluminium which offers reasonable reflectivity in the UV, visible and midinfrared spectral wavebands. Protected silver coatings provides the highest reflectivity for coated flat mirrors operating in the visible and protected gold is the most efficient coating for infrared applications.

Optical Surfaces Ltd. has for over 50 years, supplied uncoated optical flats, and coated flat mirrors to renowned astronomy and defence groups worldwide. The company’s unique thermally stable production environment has made them preeminent in applications requiring optical flats and coated flat mirrors. All optical flats from Optical Surfaces Ltd. come with full quality testing assurance. Optics up to 600 mm diameter are provided with a Fizeau interferometric test report, larger flats are quality assured using the Ritchey-Common test procedure.

For further information please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 or

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Light weighted elliptical flat mirror (courtesy: Optical Surfaces Ltd.)
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Robots Contributing To Our Wellbeing

Science fiction becoming a reality

The world of robotics grows ever larger and more diverse as the capability and flexibility of the technology advances, opening up new areas of application. The use of robots within manufacturing industry is well established and very much taken for granted, and it is not uncommon to find robots being used within the medical device and pharmaceutical sectors. However, robotics has now reached the stage where they are not only manufacturing the medicines we rely upon, they are now also now finding their way into the operating theatre, playing a crucial role in assisting surgeons with medical interventions. This article by Stäubli’s Simon Jenkins takes a look at the latest developments and advances in the company’s medical robots.

Robotics has for many years, continued to develop robots for life science applications, and today the company’s robots are recognised as setting the benchmark for hygiene and safety. Whenever accuracy is a requirement, together with factors such as low particle emissions, and easyclean surfaces, Stäubli has long led the way in these areas.


Simon Jenkins explains: “Stäubli has developed a unique solution that meets a number of the constraints present in

patient care. Just as in our industrial focused solutions, the medical range of robots have been specially adapted to make them the perfect partner in patient care, addressing the specific demands within these high compliance and complex applications, whilst ensuring consistent performance, safety, and reliability.

Today, Stäubli robots help to relieve doctors of some of the strain they are under whilst performing operations that demand their full concentration. Our robots are also contributing to the development of innovative surgical techniques.”

For robots to interact with surgeons in the operating theatre, and perform the tasks demanded of them, they need to operate at the highest levels of safety. Robots within an Operating Theatre are effectively working in a collaborative manner alongside the Surgeon and other medical staff.

Stäubli robots use a unique set of modular SIL3-PLe safety functions including safe stop, safe speed, safe zone, etc. The latest TX2/CS9 systems are designed for collaborative applications with the highest levels of safety. In addition, reliable stopping and braking performance is ensured by a system embedded brake test.

Medical and patient care applications also require the highest levels of cleanliness and the company’s TX2 range of robots have a smooth, white, high-quality finish with sector specific surface preparation. This means that they are capable of meeting ISO Class 2 cleanroom standards, which demands fewer than 11 particles greater than 0.3 microns and no particles greater than 1.0 microns per cubic metre. The Stericlean range of H₂O₂ compliant robots also offer protection up to IP67 level.

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RoboticScope is an intuitive system which allow the surgeon to control the image field and viewing angle through a head mounted display

Robots at the heart of clinical interventions

Stäubli has been a key player in a series of collaborations and partnerships in recent years which has seen the company’s robots working alongside Doctors and Surgeons in a number of ways.

Based in San Sebastian, Spain, Cyber Surgery has developed a robotic system for spinal procedures. The solution guides the surgeon, making the procedure safer, more accurate and minimally invasive. The three main benefits of this system are: a reduction in reinterventions due to the levels of accuracy provided by the robot, postoperative time in hospital is shortened because the surgery is performed in a minimally invasive way producing less damage to soft tissues and subsequent bleeding, and reduced X-ray exposure thanks to the fact that the robot provides a guide for the surgeon.

The RoboticScope, developed in 2016 by BHS Technologies GmbH in Innsbruck comprises of a highprecision robot, a high-resolution 3D camera, and an innovative headmounted display.

Using this technology, the surgeon looks directly into the operating field via a Head-Mounted-Display (HMD). The two digital micro-displays integrated within the HMD directly in front of the surgeon’s eyes, show highresolution, real-time 3D images relayed by the dual camera lenses mounted on the robot head.

The position of the robot determines the visible image, allowing the surgeon to operate in a freely selectable and completely relaxed head position. The surgeon retains control over the exact image field and viewing angle, automatically steering the robot with contact-free head movements. Using this method, the surgeon can select the viewing angle of the 8x zoom lenses and even control a sophisticated menu from a micro-display, allowing the activation and control of further functions. Some 500 surgeons around the world have now used the RoboticScope, and the device is so intuitive that more than 90 percent of users master it after just ten minutes.

The robot technology behind the RoboticScope is a high-precision Stäubli TX2-60L robot which delivers the precise and jerk-free motion

sequences of the RoboticScope. As with the entire range of the latest 6-axis robots, the enclosed structure allows for a protection class of IP65, with the wrist being IP67 compliant. With cleanroom class ISO 5 as a standard, the robot allows BHS to also save on the potential extra costs of upgrading to a cleanroom version.

Simon Jenkins concludes: “Stäubli’s unique robot portfolio, combined with decades of industry experience, and a strong customer focus make it a valued partner for many renowned life science companies around the globe. The examples illustrated in this article are but a few of the areas where our robots are making a valuable contribution to interactive patient care.”

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


Telephone: +44 (0)1952 671917


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(Stäubli robots help to relieve doctors of some of the strain they are under whilst performing operations that demand their full concentration.)



Registration will open soon for next year’s StocExpo, the highlight event of the tank storage and future fuels industry. As always, the three-day exhibition and conference will give tank storage professionals the opportunity to learn from the brightest minds in the industry, see the latest innovations from the supply chain, and rub shoulders and strike deals with key decision makers.

StocExpo 2023 has more going on than its previous editions including FETSA Tank Storage Conference, Asset Management & Integrity Conference, Pitch Contest, Robotics Playground, SPRINT Robotics Pavilion, iTanks Networking Breakfast, Port of Rotterdam and ACE Ammonia Terminal Tour, Late-night networking party, Tank Storage awards and much more.

Rikki Bhachu, StocExpo’s Head of Marketing, says, “For 2023, we are focusing on inspiring, connecting and sharing knowledge across the tank storage community. Thought leaders from around the world will be gathering – alongside exhibitors and visitors – to discuss the future of the industry.

“As ever, it is a perfect event for networking, doing business and boosting careers. Highlights will include an incredible exhibition and conference, the StocExpo Forty Under 40, Women in Tanks and the Global Tank Storage Awards. The last StocExpo was an incredible success, and we can’t wait to bring everyone back together again. See you in March!”

For more information about StocExpo and to register, to exhibit, or for speaker slots available, visit

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StocExpo, the world’s biggest platform for the tank storage industry, will return to the Rotterdam Ahoy 14-16 March 2023.
Automation Update - 9


Market leader Kardex Remstar are now offering new and existing customers the opportunity to lease a fully automated Vertical carousel.

Cost savings are being scrutinised across the country and leasing offers many savings. Whether you’re an established manufacturer or just starting out in the industry the decision to lease or buy equipment for your business is a financial consideration.

In the short-term, leasing conserves cash due to initial lower upfront costs in comparison to purchasing. Lease payments are often tax deductible as an operational expense (Gov.UK ), plus monthly payments allow for easier management in the upcoming years.

If you need to expand production, expand your product portfolio, or have

a growing business then Kardex offers this option, which negates the need to increase capital expenditure.

Kardex vertical carousel models save up to 90% of floor space compared to standard shelving and pallet racking and comes with software that integrates with customer back-office systems. Automated storage optimises productivity and deliver faster picking.

Vertical carousels have been around for many years and for a good reason. They work in line with the goods-toperson principle, using simple vertical rotation that brings stored inventory to an operator. Vertical Carousels are perfectly suited for goods with a high picking frequency and for similarly sized inventory. Carousels can be modular and scalable meaning you as a company can start with basic functionalities and expand them afterwards.

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Automated Storage and Retrieval specialists Kardex Remstar offers a leasing option for its Vertical Carousel storage systems. To learn more visit our landing page or contact us at Or visit our website to see the benefits of the Vertical Carousel Module Kardex Megamat

ABB’s Robot Podcast is back for Season

Three, exploring the role of robotics in driving sustainability

panel of




society and

and what


Withseasons one and two ranking in the top five per cent of all podcasts globally in terms of listenership, The Robot Podcast from ABB returns for Season Three. Continuing to explore the world of robotics and automation in-depth, the series focuses on their benefits to society, industry and the environment.

The new season kicks off with Episode One on October 5th and looks at how robotics and automation is making production and processes more sustainable. From food production and takeaway packaging, to construction and retail – robots are already making a big difference and have the potential to do even more in the transformative decade to come.

Each of the five episodes will focus on a particular theme, with a panel of experts and commentators discussing the role of robotics in making production and processes safer, more efficient and more sustainable. Fran Scott, a regular contributor to the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, returns as host.

“I’m delighted we are back for Season Three and even more so as we are tackling the urgent subject of sustainability. I know that robotics and automation play such an important role within this field and I’m looking forward to catching up with the experts leading the way, and them sharing with me (and you) the evermore intriguing ways in which they are making a difference.”


Subscribe now to The Robot Podcast wherever you get your podcasts, or via and podcasts/the-robot-podcast , so you never miss an episode.

If you missed Season One and Two, you can catch up on all previous episodes at the same link. The Robot Podcast is part of the ABB Decoded series of podcasts.

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experts from industry, media and academia look
the cutting
of robotics,
how advances in automation are benefitting
the future
RELEASE SCHEDULE Episode Theme Release Date 1 Reshoring – Driving the New Global Value Chain 05.10.22  2 Sustainability and Robotics 12.10.22  3 Robots in Retail 19.10.22  4 Art and Robots 26.10.22  5 Food – Farm to Fork 02.11.22  6 Megamix (Season Highlights)  09.11.22
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Measuring Changing Flow Rates the Challenges of Pulsating Flow

Pulsating flow systems can be seen in process applications where the velocity profile of the flow undergoes dramatic cycling changes as compared to normal steady flow conditions.

Such conditions are common in blood flow monitoring, medical, and chemical dosing systems where peristaltic or diaphragm pumps are used.

Following Titan Enterprises’ published technical paper that discussed how to mitigate the effects of variation in flow velocity, here we look at the types of flow meter systems that give the best results with pulsing flow rates.

Neil Hannay, Titan’s Senior R&D Engineer, says: “Pulsations in a flow line are commonly caused by the pumping element: diaphragm, peristaltic, solenoid or piston pumps can all induce significant pressure and flow pulses.” Neil continues: “If this pulsation rate is not taken into account, errors in flow measurement will be seen. This can be most erroneous with electronic flowmeters as aliasing can occur.”

Compensating for Pulsating Flow

Few flow meters can measure these fluctuations accurately so removing the pulsations as near to the pump as possible is recommended to achieve the best results. Using advanced electronics, Titan’s Atrato® and Metraflow® ultrasonic flowmeters are able to accurately measure pulsating liquid flow that is less than 10Hz. To accurately measure pulsating flows above this frequency, inline pulse dampening is required to improve the effectiveness of the flow system. If it is not practical to install a damper, a length of flexible hose may reduce the undesirable effects of pulsations.

How Different Types of Flow Meters Compare when Faced with Pulsating Flow Conditions

See chart above.


Pulsating flow is always challenging to measure accurately. However, with consideration of the system design and flowmeter performance characteristics, successful flow measurement is possible.

Read the Pulsating Flow technical article in full. Visit Titan Enterprises’ website for further information on the Atrato® and Metraflow® range of ultrasonic flowmeters or contact Titan Enterprises on +44 (0)1935 812790 or

Automation Update - 15

Automating Production of Compound Libraries

The FlowSyn™ from Uniqsis is a compact integrated continuous flow reactor system designed for easy, safe and efficient operation.

ApplicationNote 29 describes an efficient continuous flow synthesis protocol to create a new library of pyrazoles developed by chemists at GalChimia (Coruna, Spain) on a FlowSyn™ continuous flow reactor system.

The aim of the described work was to develop a new continuous flow protocol to replace the traditional 2-step synthesis and to examine the scope of the new methodology. The authors of the application note demonstrate how using the FlowSyn system a range of conditions could be quickly evaluated under flow-through conditions thereby facilitating rapid reaction optimisation. In addition, using the FlowSyn system useful quantities of a wide range of pyrazoles could be prepared in less than 1 hour each.

The CEO of GalChimia commented "Taking in account all the data we gathered in the different experiments, we can conclude that the tandem synthesis of pyrazoles using the Uniqsis FlowSyn™ system offers a general, high-yielding method to prepare these compounds, which can be used with many different substrates".

The FlowSyn™ continuous flow reactor range includes models for performing single or multiple homogeneous or heterogeneous reactions, either manually or automatically. The range of chemistries that can be explored with Uniqsis’ integrated and modular flow chemistry systems grows ever wider and is exemplified by the growing number of applications published both in the academic press and in Uniqsis’ own application notes. Typical examples of flow chemistry applications include hydrogenation, nitration, bromination, metalation, molecular rearrangements and synthesis of compounds such as dihyropyridine, indole, pyrazole, quinolinone and benzimidazole.

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To download a copy of the GalChimia application note 29 please visit For further information on the FlowSyn™ system please visit or contact Uniqsis on +44-845-864-7747 /

Robotics Plus unveils autonomous modular vehicle to alleviate agriculture labour shortages

Multi-use, modular platform Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) automates tree and vine crop tasks, starting with intelligent spraying

Robotics Plus, a New Zealandbased agritech company, today launched its autonomous multi-use, modular vehicle platform for agriculture designed to carry out a variety of orchard and vineyard machine tasks - to alleviate ongoing labor shortages and transform the industry.

The multi-purpose Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) can be supervised in a fleet of vehicles by a single human operator. The vehicle uses a combination of vision systems and other technologies to sense the environment - to optimize tasks and allow intelligent and targeted application of inputs such as sprays. Growers will be able to rotate multiple tools on the highly adaptable and configurable agriculture platform, depending on the day’s work - for jobs such as spraying, weed control, mulching, mowing and crop analysis.

Robotics Plus, a specialist in the design and build of robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous machines, unveiled its demonstration vehicle at FIRA USA 2022, a Californiabased event dedicated to autonomous agriculture and agricultural robotics solutions for the North American market.

Steve Saunders, Co-founder and CEO of Robotics Plus, says its world-class team worked alongside growers, researchers and best-in-class technology suppliers to deliver the unique modular architecture for its multi-purpose UGV, which can operate in a range of environments.

“We’ve created a flexible agricultural platform with the power to adapt to different crop types with tools for various applications, providing year-round automation benefits and maximizing machine utilization.

“To adapt and thrive in a changing world and create a sustainable and competitive future in the agricultural and speciality tree crop sector - growers and orchardists need automation that solves real-world problems, reduces reliance on increasingly costly and hard-to-find machine operators and provides data-driven insights for informed decision-making.”

Saunders says that for automation to be adopted, it must also provide a good return on investment.

“Our multi-purpose vehicle replaces tractors and other tools. But, it does much more than just replacing labor – it’s loaded with intelligence to improve efficiencies,” he says.

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Above: Steve Saunders Co-founder and CEO of Robotics Plus Below: Dr Alistair Scarfe, Cofounder and CTO of Robotics Plus

The first application for the technology is intelligent spraying. The system intelligently varies the flow rate to ensure spray efficacy whilst reducing inputs. Spray rates and airspeed is controlled in zones and responds as the sprayer moves along orchard or vineyard rows.

The highly manoeuvrable UGV has a small footprint and unique steering configuration, incorporating electric steering and independent motors, which increases productivity - allowing significantly more ground to be covered than machines which turn on every second row or greater, depending on row configuration. The UGV can be deployed in a range of applications in

various crop types with a minimum row spacing of 1.8M/6ft.

Dr Alistair Scarfe, Co-founder and CTO of Robotics Plus, says its hybrid electric diesel UGV delivers outstanding performance in the field.

“Electric drive motors give superior torque and control, whilst a Tier 4 diesel generator means the vehicle can operate for extended periods. Fuel consumption is minimized by electrically driving all systems, including tools. Regenerative braking and high-capacity batteries also extend efficiency and range.

“In addition, the vehicle’s lightweight design and intelligent all-wheel-drive

system, with independent wheel motors to ensure grip and control - while significantly reducing ground compaction to protect the soil,” he says.

The vehicle has been designed from the ground up to be modular and easy to service. With no hydraulic, gearbox or differential fluids to be managed, operators can easily keep their vehicles running if a part fails by simply swapping out modules when needed. All of this is designed to reduce downtime and complexity for growers.

Robotics Plus has partnered with best-in-class technology suppliers, including Yamaha Motor Company, Autonomous Solutions Inc., and

Robotics Plus’ multi-use, modular platform Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) automates tree and vine crop tasks for orchards and vineyards
Automation Update - 19

Croplands, to significantly increase the robustness and support for the product in a demanding environment such as agriculture.

Saunders says by taking a partnership approach, Robotics Plus has created a best-in-class platform for the agriculture industry.

“We’ve benefited from our partner’s deep knowledge and access to high-quality technology components. In addition, growers can deploy Quantum sprayers with configurations adaptable to various crop types, growing formats, and heights.”

Robotics Plus has developed multiple autonomous systems for use in agriculture and automation for intelligent fruit-packing to address significant industry issues, including global labor shortages, rising costs, and yield security. In addition, its robotic automatic log scaling machines are transforming port logistics with improved safety and productivity.

Robotics Plus’ fast-growing team developed the modular platform UGV at its Tauranga base, with extensive testing in New Zealand and the US in various environments and applications. Robotics Plus investors include Yamaha Motor Company and New Zealand’s ACC Impact Fund.

Robotics Plus’ new autonomous modular vehicle is available for pre-order. For more information, see

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Linear Motors for the Food and Pharmaceutical Industry

Linear motors are ideal for fast and accurate motion in a machine.

Linmot, the leading manufacturer of cylindrical linear motors, has made them even more suitable for demanding food and pharmaceutical applications. For these environments, any mechanism needs to have a high protection class and be easy to clean and require little maintenance.

The motors have been developed to be fully sealed and are made in High grade Stainless Steel. The cylindrical design allows the motor to be completely smooth and does not require seals. There are no food or particle traps and they can be fully washed down.

This is a big advantage over screw, belt actuators or pneumatic cylinders.

The motors are available in Linear modules with protection class IP64S and stainless steel linear modules with protection class IP69 consisting of a linear guide and an integrated LinMot linear motor.

Motor series in stainless steel (EN 1.4404/ AISI 316L) for wash down applications. The motors are characterised by their hygienic design and the high motor protection class IP69 according to DIN EN 60529. Perfectly suited for «in place» cleaning processes like CIP and SIP.

Food processing with LinMot

LinMot linear motors have been used in the food industry for years. They score here with industry-specific advan

tages, such as simple integration, flexible programmability, dynamics and hygienic design. The motors can be connected to common control platforms in synchronous operation or simple point to point motion. The advantages of servo technology enable the gentle and dynamic processing of food. With the help of stored motion profiles, frequent product changes can be achieved simply by pressing a button. LinMot linear motors are available in stainless steel with a high protection class, meaning they can be cleaned under high pressure and with caustic cleaning solutions.

Filling in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Users wishing to combine the advantages of dosing based on flow measurement with those of piston dosing in a rotary filling machine now have clean design LinMot motor options. Using LinMot stainless steel motors, the stroke movement of the filling needles can be mechanically decoupled from the movement of the carousel. Even highly dynamic needle raising applications are possible.

Unlike mechanical lifting curves, electrical direct drives do not exert any destructive forces on the bearing shafts.

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Automation Update - 25
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