Engineering Update - November 2022

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At the forefront of digital marketing, Engineering Update strives to bring the latest in industrial engineering in a format that provides the best usability and ease of use for its readers.

Publication Director

Kane Weller

01843 580 460

Managing Director

Jodie Little

01843 595818

Editorial Assistant

Laura Sharpe

01843 448 443

Publishing House

Jet Digital Media Ltd, Suite 1 & 2 Spratling Court Offices, Spratling Street, Manston, Kent CT12 5AN


Kane’s Notes

Welcome to the November issue of Engineering Update!

In an extremely busy time of the year, we have received a record number of submissions for this edition!

Even against the backdrop of an escalating cost of living and energy crisis, companies are still pioneering great new products and services, and it is times like these that innovation is more important than ever.

With that in mind, we hear from a number of different businesses, organisations and events in this issue; sharing ideas, strategies, services and products that could help your business improve efficiency, and ultimately reduce cost, across a number of different sectors.

We hope you find it useful!

Disruptive metal additive manufacturing transforming the way metal parts are made. 18 |3 SP-Bar can optimise tolerances, mechanical properties and surface quality.30 StocExpo, returns to the Rotterdam Ahoy 14-16 March 2023 38 Automated Storage and Retrieval specialists Kardex Remstar offers a leasing option for its Vertical Carousel storage systems. 24 Robots Contributing To Our Wellbeing54 November 2022

Fraser Technologies is one-stop-shop for electronics cleaning and soldering

There are ever increasing demands from the consumer to make things smaller and more convenient. As a result, electronic devices are becoming smaller with more densely populated printed circuit board (PCBs) assemblies.

In many cases, traditional cleaning methods are not sufficient to achieve the expected standard of cleanliness on these smaller PCBs, so it is critical that considerations are made to accommodate new structures and designs.

Next generation cleaning products

KlensTek® cleaning products, developed by Fraser Technologies, deliver superior, environmentally friendly electronics cleaning solutions for a wide range of requirements and applications. They offer outstanding cleaning power; are gentle on components; non-flammable in ambient air temperatures and pressure conditions; and are environmentally friendly.

Fraser Technologies also offers the Koki soldering range of products, including PCB assembly materials, leaded and unleaded solder pastes, solder wires, liquid fluxes for both wave and selective soldering, tack fluxes for repair and rework and SMT adhesives.

Best in class cleaning equipment

Fraser Technologies is the UK supplier of the SlimLine PLW 6011 &

PLW 6111 machines from Miele. The single chamber aqueous cleaning systems offer a flexible chamber space, allowing a wide range of components to be cleaned quickly at the same time within a small, 65cmwide footprint.

With a smart load system, flexible and intelligent controls, a highly efficient cleaning process, and a wide range of load carriers and accessories, the machines also allow for visual monitoring of the chamber via a glass window with internal lighting. Especially effective for flux removal from electronic PCB assemblies, they are well-suited for many other specialist cleaning applications as well.

Fraser Technologies has been supplying electronics cleaning solutions for over 50 years and is a trusted partner. The company has achieved such expertise in the field, it developed its own chemistries in order to provide the best possible outcomes for customers.

With an extensive range of products, Fraser Technologies work with their customers to identify the best solution for nearly every cleaning application imaginable.

CLICK HERE for more info.

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|5 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA! @Engupdate @EngineeringUpdate

ST Drives Up Innovations with Three Automotive Chips

STMicroelectronics has doubled down on chip-level automotive advances. Here is a roundup of three notable products.

In an attempt to meet the requirements of next-gen vehicles and their systems, STMicroelectronics (ST) introduced a host of new products to the automotive industry last month. Carmakers can employ these products to upgrade the performance of already-existing autonomous vehicles or to design nextgen vehicles.

Some of the innovations include an alternator voltage regulator to stabilize electrical systems, an image sensor for driver monitoring systems, and a microcontroller to promote softwaredefined vehicles. This article unpacks the latest automotive innovations that ST is releasing to the market.

L9918 Alternator Voltage Regulator

Carmakers usually encounter stability challenges when designing a vehicle's electrical systems. ST claims it can eliminate stability problems in 12 V electrical systems with its new alternator voltage regulator, the L9918 (datasheet).

The device is equipped with an excitation high-side power metal-oxidesemiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) driver that delivers up to 13 A to the excitation coil of the alternator. It also features a freewheeling diode circuit that modulates the rotor current when excitation is turned off. Thanks to the closed-loop operation supported by the product, the voltage on carloads is kept consistent to a target point, even as the power demand changes.

The product incorporates a local interconnect network (LIN) bus interface. This allows easy communication between the regulator and the vehicle’s electronic control unit (ECU). Consequently, the target point that keeps the voltage steady is communicated to the ECU via the LIN bus interface.

According to the company, the L9918 alternator voltage regulator complies with the VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie) LIN alternator regulator specification. It is also AEC-Q 100 qualified and ASIL-B ready for use in functional-safety systems.

VD/VB1940 Hybrid Image Sensor

Next-gen vehicle systems must have an advanced safety system including driver-monitoring system (DMS) technology. ST’s new VD/VB1940 5.1 MP image sensor (databrief) supports such DMS with its 3D-stacked back-side illuminated (BSI) wafer technology.

ST says that the image sensor can monitor the full vehicle interior and finds applications in passenger safetybelt checks, vital sign monitoring, childleft detection, gesture recognition, and high-quality video/picture recording.

The DMS sensor can detect the driver’s alertness and use near-infrared (NIR) imaging to analyze the driver's head and eye movements in all lighting conditions.

The image sensor features rolling and global shutter modes. The rolling shutter mode allows the device to produce a single HDR color frame output through the MIPI CSI 2 interface. In this mode, the user can activate a function that converts the RGB NIR pattern to an RGGB format compatible with the vehicle’s ECU. The RGB pixels upscale the NIR image to a full resolution in the global shutter mode.

Like the L9918 alternator voltage regulator, the image sensor is also AEC-Q100 qualified.

Stellar P6 and P7 Automotive Microcontrollers

ST has also released the Stellar P6 and P7 lines of microcontrollers, the

latest addition to ST’s Stellar series of MCUs. ST calls the new Stellar MCUs a game-changer in the series because they facilitate the transition to software-defined vehicles. The Stellar P MCUs find application in the drivetrain technology for electric vehicles and domain-oriented architectures.

The products are manufactured using power-efficient 28nm FD-SOI technology. According to ST, the Stellar P6 is the first in the industry to support the new high-data-rate incar communication protocol, called the CAN-XL in-car communication standard, for the model year 2024 vehicles. Thanks to this protocol, the device ensures low-latency, high-safety communication among domains and in the peripheral actuation ECUs of the vehicle.

Furthermore, the Stellar P6 device incorporates six Arm Cortex R52+ processor cores and features nonvolatile phase-change memory of up to 20 Mbytes. The device also has a storage facility for up to twice the 20 Mbytes for OTA reprogramming purposes.

Luca Rodeschini, ST's automotive and discrete VP, remarked that the MCUs integrate advanced motion control and energy management domains with actuation capabilities, ensuring a smooth shift from traditional ICEs/ EVs to new drive-traction architectural patterns of software-defined vehicles.

November 2022 6| ENGINEERING PDATE
ST has released several new automotive components, including the L9918 alternator voltage regulator, to enhance vehicle safety and performance. Image used courtesy of STMicroelectronics
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Batch Scale-Up of Photochemical Processes

Specialists in flow chemistry - Uniqsis has introduced the Photochemistry LED Illuminator – a new tool to accelerate reaction optimization and batch scale-up of photochemical reactions.

The new illumination system incorporates LED arrays operating at 6 different wavelengths from 365 – 525nm. The LEDs are mounted on cassettes for easy interchangeability, in industrystandard 24 or 48 well configurations. The LED Illuminator also has the option of using the 6 multi wavelength screening plate for rapid reaction optimization.

Steve Evans, Chief Commercial Officer at Uniqsis commented "The Photochemistry LED Illuminator was originally developed for a leading pharmaceutical company. The Photochemistry LED Illuminator uses interchangeable arrays of pseudo-monochromatic highpower LEDs in a range of synthetically useful wavelengths, combined with excellent temperature control. This delivers powerful functionality to users to run reaction screening and optimization experiments with the multi wavelength

cassette and the opportunity to run batch scale-up synthesis using the optimum wavelength monochromatic cassette. Furthermore, the Photochemistry LED Illuminator can be fitted with an adapter which supports a flow through glass static mixer chip to allow continuous processing scale up at the designated optimum wavelength”

The Photochemistry LED Illuminator is designed and built to meet BS EN 61010 safety requirements for electrical equipment for measurement, control and laboratory use. The system employs interlocks to ensure that the LEDs are not powered when uncovered, thereby meeting strict eye safety requirements.

For further information please visit the Uniqsis website or contact Uniqsis on +44-845-864-7747 /

November 2022 8| ENGINEERING PDATE

New outdoor protective housing from Optris

Use infrared cameras under harsh environmental conditions

High or very low temperatures, humidity and dust - such environmental conditions pose great challenges for electronics. In order to be able to use sensitive devices without problems, protective measures are usually necessary. In order to be able to use the infrared cameras of the PI and Xi series, for example, even under adverse conditions, Optris now offers a new outdoor housing that ensures optimum protection for the sensitive devices. The new housing offers for the first time the possibility to integrate an infrared camera and an HD video camera together in one compact system. A compact USB server is also integrated in the housing.

Optional air purge attachment

The new housing complies with protection class IP66 and can therefore also be used in dusty or humid environments without any problems. In order to be able to use the infrared camera even at very low temperatures, an electrical heating element is included that switches on automatically at temperatures below +15 °C. A ventilation fan distributes the warm air evenly within the housing. This means

that the system can also be used at temperatures as low as -40 °C. In warmer areas of use, temperatures up to +50 °C are possible.

The optionally available air purge unit, which continuously purges the protective window of the housing with compressed air, ensures that no dust or condensing moisture can collect there. The infrared camera thus always has optimum visibility and can measure temperatures reliably.

Optional HD video camera

Together with the optional video camera with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, combined thermal and optical condition monitoring or fire protection applications can be ideally implemented.

To transfer the images from the infrared camera and the video camera, the USB server, which is also integrated in the housing, can be used. Here, the data from both cameras is combined into a single stream; transmission then takes place via an Ethernet line. This enables easy integration of the cameras into existing video controlsystems.

Condition monitoring in cold regions up to -40 °C and in hot regions up to +50 SL: The compact outdoor housing provides space for a PI or Xi series infrared camera, an HD video camera and a USB server that can transfer the video data via Ethernet.

For more efficient cleaning and higher system availability

The new compact conductivity sensors LDL100 and LDL200 from ifm impress with their fast and precise media differentiation.

This helps you to control CIP processes efficiently and to increase the availability of your system. The new LDLs are also simple to commission: They are ready for use out-of-the-box and transmit the conductivity and temperature of the medium via a single M12 connection - digitally and loss-free thanks to IO-Link. As there is no additional evaluation unit required, you also save system costs. So easy, so good. ifm – close to you!

Discover the new easy way to control CIP processes. / / uk Go ifmonlineGo ifmonline years WARRANTY on ifm products

Leading UK PPE manufacturer Globus Group launches new reusable respiratory range for protection against workplace hazards

TheUK’s largest PPE manufacturer, Globus Group, has launched a new range of face masks to protect workers against extremely hazardous substances found in the workplace. The new design provides improved comfort and fit to help encourage good PPE compliance.

Prolonged exposure to hazardous substances over an extended period is known to be extremely harmful, with workers in the manufacturing industry at particularly high risk. It is estimated that each year an average of 33,000 workers suffer from illness caused or made worse by their current or most recent job in manufacturing[i]

The Alpha Sentinel range has been designed for superior fit and comfort

for workers, especially those wearing the masks for long periods of time. Lead Product Designer Josh Moffat said, “When it came to designing the Alpha Sentinel range we really tried to prioritise the end-user. We know that workers are often wearing these masks for long periods of time, and so focusing on comfort and fit means that they are more likely to be worn correctly and workers can be confident that they are getting the right protection.

He continued, “Looking beyond fit and comfort, we know that another big reason for PPE non-compliance is masks getting too hot, so we have designed our unique large exhalation valve to minimise heat and moisture build-up. We really believe that the

design innovations we have been able to make with the Alpha Sentinel masks are going to make a huge difference to the workers using these products every day.”

The Alpha Sentinel range comes with a range of changeable filters to protect against solid particulates, liquid particulates, gases, and vapours, and are suitable for use in a wide variety of industry settings.

The Alpha Sentinel full and half face masks are the first Globus product range to be designed and manufactured entirely in the UK. Globus has committed to manufacturing as many of its products as possible in the UK.

November 2022 12| ENGINEERING PDATE
The new Alpha Sentinel range protects against some of the most dangerous respiratory hazards found in the workplace
|13 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE UNCOMMON EXCELLENCE • DESIGN • CUSTOMER SERVICE • INNOVATION • MANUFACTURING • QUALITY • TECHNICAL EXPERTISE • UNCOMMON EXCELLENCE • DESIGN • Hoses and hose assemblies • Hose & pipe fittings • No-spill couplings • Safety breakaway fittings • Blow-Out prevention couplings • Hydraulic Fracturing: Low Pressure Systems • Loading arms • Liquid level sensing • Zero emission valves Fluid transfer products for upstream, downstream and refining • Global inventory and locations • Sales and technical support worldwide • In-house engineering & design • ISO 9001 accredited • Pressure Equipment Directive Products: Dixon Petrochemical Products 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

Elliptical Optical Flats & Coated Flat Mirrors

Optical Surfaces Ltd. is a leading


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 mid-infrared 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 pre-eminent 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.

November 2022 14| ENGINEERING PDATE
large, high precision optical flats and coated flat mirrors including a range of non-circular shapes such as elliptical and octagonal. For further information please visit or contact Optical Surfaces Ltd. on +44-208-668-6126 or
Light weighted elliptical flat mirror (courtesy: Optical Surfaces Ltd.)
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C.K Tools, the trusted choice for trade professionals, has launched a brand-new Wide Field Head Light (T9630) to ensure greater visibility and safety when accessing wires or cables in dark and confined spaces.

The COB LED head light comes with an RRP of £39.00 and four modes of operation – spotlight, wide field, full beam, and dipped beam – providing the versatility needed to suit all manner of environments electricians find themselves in.

More importantly, the head light performs at a high CRI (Colour Rendering Index) rating of 80, which when optimised with a combination of 400 lumens of brightness (equivalent to a 40w LED bulb) and 5,700 kelvins of colour temperature (similar to natural light) means it can more closely project the true colour of the object it is shining on – critical when working with coloured electrical wires in dark spaces.

For extra portability, the head light is charged via USB, with six hours of runtime, three hours

of charge time, and a charging indicator. To withstand the variety of environments and spaces it will be used in, the head light also comes with an IK-07 impact rating and IP-54 ingress protection from limited dust and water spray, for extra durability.

Paul Pugh, Head of Marketing at C.K Tools, said: “Accessing wires in dark and confined spaces is a necessity for every electrical engineer, and it becomes that little bit harder in the winter months when brighter, natural light is less abundant.

“What many don’t consider is that the source of light is just as important as the tools being used on the wires – if not more so; it can make the difference in cutting or connecting the right wires. This is where electrical engineers should be looking beyond just practical elements, such as the portability and price, and placing more important on the CRI and Kelvin capabilities of their light choices.”

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Meltio’s technology is a disruptive metal additive manufacturing technology that is transforming the way metal parts are made.

The Meltio Engine Integration can turn a CNC machine tool into a hybrid manufacturing system with no inherent size constraints. The Meltio Engine is the ideal CNC complement for producing near-net shape parts, repairing existing ones or adding new features to existing stock. Metal parts can be printed in full density to any size allowed by the system to which it is integrated, providing a high degree of capability and flexibility.

The University of Central Lancashire acquired the first Meltio integrated into a HAAS machine and are currently completing initial testing phases and starting to develop applications internally and for local businesses.

Wire-Laser Metal Deposition is a Directed Energy Deposition (DED) process that functions by precisely stacking weld beads on top of one another when introduced into the laser generated melt pool. The combination of Meltio and Haas technology solutions lead to a machine which is capable of traditional machining coupled with an additive manufacturing process using direct energy deposition technology.

DED offers a cost-effective method of manufacturing and repairing components. Hybrid manufacturing combines the advantages of each additive and subtractive process in a single machine, offering value and complexity benefits that wouldn’t be accessible through just one process.

CNC machining is suitable for the application of the prototype industry and the prototype production in your early product development. This is also the most mainstream production process.


Production cost needs to be taken in all the aspects from the technology to the material. Including all this aspect it has the lowest production cost of the market.


Lowest production cost, lowest price of acquisition and high performance are converted in the best Return on Investment of the market

3DGBIRE aims to provide a 360 degree service and offer consultations for businesses to ensure they make the right investment, we support with application design consultations, advanced AM training, lifetime technical support and a print bureau service to enable you to get the most of these groundbreaking technologies.


Book a consultation:

Telephone: 01257 228411

18| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE
20| Pizzato Elettrica safety switches and relays Overview of solutions designed for industrial safety systems. ♦ Limit switches ♦ Safety switches with separate actuators ♦ Safety interlock switches ♦ Rope safety switches ♦ Hinge safety switches ♦ Safety relays ♦ Foot switches ♦ Microswitches

Oneof the most important elements of machine parks, regardless of the industry, are components protecting operators, workers and the machin ery itself. Such solutions must be characterised by high reliability and durability. Therefore, in this respect, you should always choose prod ucts from manufacturers who offer top-class components – especially those provided by highly specialised suppliers.

One of such manufacturers is the Italian brand Pizzato Elettrica, a leading European supplier of indus trial switches. The company pays great attention to every stage of the manufacturing process, which is carried out entirely – from the design phase to the final quality control – at manufacturer’s site in the Italian town of Marostica. Thanks to this strict supervision, Pizzato Elettrica’s safety switches and relays comply with the most stringent international industrial standards.

As the TME catalogue features a large number of products from this Italian brand, mainly including safety devices for automated plants and warehouses, below we present an overview of our offer – divided into types of available solutions.

Limit switches

AC (250V DC), while the contacts are rated for currents reaching even 10A. Most of these components also offer a high ingress protection rating of IP67, ensuring full dust and splash resistance. Another notewor thy aspect is the choice of mechan ical solutions that the switches are equipped with, thanks to which they can be used in almost any appli cation – the products may feature shafts and rollers of different diam eters, mounted on shock-absorbing rods, plungers (some of them exceeding 100mm in length) and levers. For some components, the manufacturer guarantees mechan ical durability of up to 20 million switching cycles. It should also be noted that the switches come in a variety of contact configurations.

Selected models of switches come with a pre-installed cable.

Safety switches with separate actuators

Safety interlock switches

Limit switches are essential com ponents in automation systems, as elements that provide both pro tection and control over the course of mechanised processes. They perform their function by detecting the extreme position of moving parts. Pizzato Elettrica limit switches offer excellent electrical parameters, many of them are capable of oper ating at voltages as high as 500V

Modular design of the switches facilitates installation and maintenance.

Limit switches with separate actua tors help restrict access to danger ous areas. They allow emergency stoppage of machines when a guard is removed or a door or a hatch is opened, which would expose moving parts and thus pose a health risk to operators and bystanders.

The universal Pizzato Elettrica actu ators are available in many spatial orientations and mounting methods, satisfying the needs of most appli cations. The switches themselves, as with the products described above, offer excellent current and voltage performance, a high ingress protection rating, as well as a wide thermal tolerance.

Pizzato interlock switches use the same actuators as those mentioned above, but in addition they offer the possibility of activating an interlock ing mechanism with a holding force of 900N to 2500N. The products are made of metal or plastic and can be controlled by voltage ranging from 12V DC to 230V AC (depending on the model), which makes them suitable for most common voltages present in industrial automation systems. The products offered by TME come from the FG and FS series, with various contact configurations (including aux iliary contacts) and a mechanical life of up to 1000000 switching cycles.

The interlock switches are available in versions with a master key lock.

Rope safety switches

A rope safety switch with a factory-fit ted thimble.

Rope safety switches are used as a simple yet effective method of switching off machinery and conveyor lines. The circuit is opened by pulling on a rope attached to the switch shaft (the same happens when the rope breaks) – usually equipped with a thimble, eyelet or other type of safety catch. According to the standards maintained by the manufacturer, the switches of the FC, FD, FL and FP series are characterised by a high degree of protection against environ mental factors as well as a remarkably long service life. They can be success fully used in all businesses, even in the harsh conditions of the wood or metal industry. The ratchet pin mech anism prevents accidental resetting of the device, as well as its deliberate, unauthorised locking. Pizzato Elettrica also supplies accessories for switches, thimbles, fasteners and spring ten sioners for trip ropes.

|21 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE

Hinge safety switches

Hinge safety switches are often used in situations where it is impossible or simply inconvenient to implement key/actuator switches. However, they perform the same function, i.e. control access to dangerous, moving parts of machinery. They are very sensitive devices, reacting to tilts of only a few degrees. To suit their intended appli cation, hinge safety switches can be adapted during installation, all thanks to the removable head, which can be fixed in one of four positions. With their tight and resistant construction, they can be used in places where plastics, metals, etc. are processed – wherever there is a risk of dust or splashing of the switch.

The hinge safety switch head can be installed in one of 4 positions.

Safety relays

DIN rail-mounted safety relay features LED indicators mounted on the front panel.

Safety relays allow the use of low-volt age signals fed from sensors to set device operating conditions. They make it possible to extend safety systems applied in machine parks, also in situations where traditional

safety switches cannot be used (e.g. opening a circuit when the liquid level in the tank is exceeded, or in the case of device overheating, etc.). Pizzato Elettrica products are enclosed in compact DIN rail-mounted modules. They are equipped with screw termi nals, making it easy to make electrical connections, as well as with signalling LEDs. They can operate in automatic, manual or supervised start mode. The relay contacts are protected against voltage spikes that may occur when monitoring inductive components. The product inputs offer wide electrical tolerance, so they can also be used for retrofitting less precise machines.

Foot switches

Foot switches are used at workplaces requiring human supervision, and also in places where the operator must be positioned at a precise location (behind a safety guard, at a certain dis tance from the machine, etc.) to ensure the safety of workers. Additional pro tection is provided by the foot guard available with most foot switches – this minimises the risk of accidental pedal actuation. These switches can also be used as control elements, all thanks to their excellent electrical parameters: the contact rating is up to 6A at 250V AC. The foot switches are available in both single and double versions.

The housing of the foot switch pre vents accidental activation of the circuit.


A microswitch fitted with a roller.

Obviously, the use of switches in automation systems is not limited to safety systems. Pizzato Elettrica product range also includes universal SNAP-ACTION switches, mostly adapted to lower voltages (24V DC), used as position sensors, to generate pulses in cycle counters and similar applications. They feature a simple SPDT contact configuration, so they can be easily implemented in different types of machines. Depending on their needs, customers can choose models with switching forces ranging from 0.06N to 6N, with a roller mechanism, threaded (adjustable) shaft, and also with levers of different lengths. The products offer a mechanical life of 10 million switching cycles, which makes it possible to apply them even in heavy-duty conditions, while reduc ing the costs associated with plant maintenance.

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Text prepared by Transfer Multisort Elektronik Sp. z o.o.

Buy or Lease

November 2022

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.

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.

If you need to expand production, expand

product portfolio, or have

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.

|25 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE 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

Belt conveyors of the mk

In addition to its low height of 50mm and a compact ø53mm drive roller – which can be coated with rubber according to the application – the conveyor also offers a wide range of different belt types. As with all mk belt conveyor systems, the crowned design of the driving and idler rollers make belt adjustment significantly easier. The system is available with an optional stationary or rolling knife edge.

System slots running along both sides (10 mm slot width in accordance with our profile technology) allow you to easily integrate the conveyors into existing machine frames or to attach stands, side rails, sensors and other accessories. In addition to our wide selection of side rails and stands, we also offer a standard range of end stops and electrical accessories. A further quality feature of this conveyor system is the stainless steel sheet installed below where the belt runs, which ensures long-term wear resistance of the belt.

Here we can see an example of an mk GUF-P 2000 belt conveyor being used in an application for sorted feeding and item collection for a mail order business.

The mail order business required a belt conveyor for picking items of clothing for order processing. The items from the individual orders, together with the shipping documents, needed to be fed to a manual workstation on a belt conveyor. The conveyor is loaded using a pocket sorting system, from which the items are discharged through a slide onto the belt conveyor. The shipping documents needed to be assigned to the corresponding delivery directly from the printer ensuring that the individual orders did not get mixed up.

mk used its GUF-P 2000 belt conveyor to provide the perfect solution for this task. Thanks to its high degree of standardisation and modular design, the belt conveyor is ideally suited for flexible use in the packaging industry. A belt with transverse cleats welded on was chosen for this particular application. As a result, a separate compartment was formed on the belt conveyor for each order, and the corresponding items were discharged into the compartment through the slide. The orders could no longer be mixed up. The delivery note for the order was printed out directly to the appropriate compartment, which ensures the documents were always matched to the correct order. The

ready-picked orders were sent to a manual workstation, where they were checked again and then transferred to the packaging machine.

mk’s solution used standard mk components compatible with the GUF-P 2000 conveyor to ensure delivery with inline delivery note printing for each order, and that items were collected order by order.

To find out more about the mk conveyor range please visit, call (01949) 823751 or email

26| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE
GUF-P 2000
series are true allrounders, with a large selection of drives, tails, stands and belt types for outstanding variability. They are based on the mk 2000 profile, which provides high load-bearing capacity and a torsionresistant structure.
mk Profile Systems Limited a company of the mk Technology GUF-P 2000 Belt Conveyor Many variants for light weight & medium weight products Suitable for bulk product, loose piece goods & boxes Wide range of different drives, tails, belt types, stands & side rails Built with the mk 2000 profile for high load capacity and a torsion-resistant structure

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

November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE |29

Taking hot-rolled round bar to a new level of performance

Adam Hylen, Head of Commercial for Business Unit Ovako Smedjebacken Boxholm, explains how SP-Bar can optimise tolerances, mechanical properties and surface quality.

Wehave developed Ovako’s Special Property Bar (SPBar) to eliminate the compromises from steel specification. For components ranging from rail clips to automotive stabiliser bars through to high-impact bolts for sub-zero climates, customers can order customised round bar that meets their specific performance while lowering costs.

Typical SP-Bar applications include when a customer is looking for steel characteristics that will extend the fatigue life of their component or to ensure greater impact strength. They might also be aiming to produce more components from the volume of steel they buy, or in some cases replace drawn or peeled bars.

Tweaking three properties

The key to the SP-Bar concept is the ability to modify three key properties –tolerances, mechanical properties and surface quality – to meet the particular requirements of an application (Figure 1). That is why before taking an order our engineers work closely with customers

to plan and calculate the rolling operation to achieve the properties that are most important to them.

SP-Bar can be delivered in round sizes from 14 to 52 mm and in lengths up to 12 m.

The main benefits of SP-Bar include:

• Tighter tolerances that deliver increased yields and repeatability as well as material savings.

• Improved mechanical properties that provide longer fatigue life and greater impact strength.

• Better surface quality that reduces scale and results in cleaner quenching tanks and improved environmental impact

A more cost-effective solution

In many cases, the tight tolerances of SP-Bar are comparable to those generated by peeled or cold drawn techniques, with are both costly processes (see Figure 2). That is why some manufacturers of stabilizer bars for trucks are replacing components made from peeled bars with SP-Bar.

Furthermore, residual surface stress levels in SP-Bar are lower than in cold drawn bars as a result of the reduced deformation in the straightening process. Although SP-bars can also be delivered non-straightened.

An added advantage of the tight dimensional tolerances is that they provide consistent bar diameter and tight ovality control, allowing for predictable and repeatable processes.

Increased yield

The tight SP-Bar tolerances allow customers to decrease the dimension of the bars and get more manufactured pieces per tonne of purchased bar.

By using SP-Bars for cutting blanks in the forging operation the weight variation of the blanks is reduced, resulting in less burr and more efficient deburring after forging. If a peeled surface is required, the excellent roundness of SP-Bar can minimize the amount of material removed. The product can also be offered in combination with Ovako’s M-Steel® concept for improved machinability, making the peeling operation even more effective.

Enhanced fatigue strength

Fatigue life is a very important property in applications with cyclic loading such as spring applications. By applying the

Figure 2 – The dimensional tolerances of SP-Bar compare well with peeled or cold drawn bar

Figure 1 – SP-Bar optimises three key properties of steel 30| 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.9 ± mm EN 10060 EN 10060 P SP-Bar Diameter (mm) 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55

SP-Bar process, fatigue strength can be improved for quenched and tempered bars as well as the as-rolled bar. This also gives customers the opportunity to downsize dimensions or to replace peeled bars.

Impact strength at low temperatures

One of the challenges in low temperature applications, such as high-strength bolts for windmills, is securing high-impact strength levels. By using the SP-Bar process with quenching and tempering, the steel can achieve superior impact strength levels combined with high tensile strength at temperatures as low as -40°C as shown in Figure 3.

Optimizing steel chemistry

The improved tensile strength and toughness of SP-Bar makes it possible to replace more expensive alloyed steel grades or reduce the amount of alloy content in the existing steel grade. Weldability also improves with alloy reduction. Moreover, the enhanced properties of SP-Bar enables customers in the construction industry, for example, to use less steel, reducing overall weight.

Eliminate costly annealing and reduce scale

To meet the specified hardness requirements, some steel grades require an additional annealing operation because of their high alloy content. Depending on the grade, however, SPBar enables customers to avoid this costly process.

Thickness of the scale is generally reduced on SP-Bar. The amount of the reduction can be up to 50 % compared to conventional hot rolling. This is particularly important in subsequent heat treatment or cold forming processes, resulting in cleaner quenching tanks and a better work environment

Testing guarantees quality

At Ovako we use several methods to test the quality of our round bar. One of these is Nondestructing Testing (NDT), which inspects the bars in stateof-the-art flux leakage crack detection equipment. The equipment works with high frequency alternating current (AC) that does not cause any residual magnetism.

Reducing machining waste

One business that has adopted SP Bar to reduce waste and simplify its operation is BSA Groupe, which supplies cold-formed steel and other alloys. Its facility in Vougy, France, purchased steel bar and other products in bulk and carries out pre-production steps such as peeling, grinding, cutting, chamfering and marking. As a result, it supplies material in the right grades, quality and dimension for customers in the construction, aerospace, nuclear and defense industries

Victor Asensio is CEO and owner of BSA Groupe and in 2019, he took the decision to switch to SP-Bar as the raw material for producing peeled bar.

He says: “Peeling removes imperfections and oxides from the surface of steel bar. We have three peeling lines and process around 18,000 tons of bar per year in diameters from 8 to 100 mm. The process provides a flawless surface so that machine builders and OEMs can build high precision into their equipment.”

SP-Bar’s tight dimensional tolerances and near-perfect roundness provide important advantages for the workshop. There is minimal variation in the bar’s diameter, so BSA Groupe has been able to reduce waste and improve its production yield.

Further reading

To find out more about how SP-Bar

please visit



|31 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE
32MnCrB5 120 110 100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1150 1100 1050 1000 950 900 850 SB27 SP SB30 SP<ø 35 <ø 42 MPaJ SB29 SP <ø 50 RmKV -40°C Rp 0.2 Figure 3 – The SP-Bar process can achieve superior impact strength
offers added value
enhanced performance together
cost savings

Large Format Lenses for High Resolution Camera & Sensors

Resolve Optics is a leading OEM design and development supplier of top quality, high performance large format lenses.


designed for use with line scan and area scan cameras – these large format lenses provide the very high resolution over a large image format required by demanding scientific and machine vision applications.

As well as providing very high resolution over a large image format – Resolve Optics has also designed diffraction-limited large format lenses with a large depth of field, low distortion edge to edge, applicationspecific F-number, exceptional contrast and a wide field of view for close-up imaging.

Resolve Optics take a customer centric approach to OEM optical design, development and supply. The company prides itself on nearly three decades of quickly translating each customer need into an optimised optical design, running projects successfully, and manufacturing production quantities of lenses or optical products on time, to the specified quality and target price.

For further information, or to discuss an optimised large format lens for your high resolution line scan or area scan camera please visit or contact Resolve Optics on +44-1494-777100 /

32| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE
|33 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE Fluid Carr ying Flexibility Swivel Joints Bingswood Trading Estate Whaley Bridge | High Peak | SK23 7LY | UK Articulated Pipework Torsion In Hoses Rotating Cylinders Swivel joints allow pipework to pressure 1/4” to 40” and beyond. Vacuum to over 20,000psi Stock and bespoke production. Unique bearing/seal design for longer life. ISO 9001 CE marked where applicable. Tel: +44(0)1663 735003 E-mail:

T&D Corporation

Mr Minoru Ito, European Sales Office, Gronauer Straße 1, 61194 Niddatal, Germany 0049 (0)6034 930970

Curtiss-Wright Surface Technologies

European Corporate Office, Hambridge Lane, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5TU 01635 279621

Phoenix Mecano Ltd

26 Faraday Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP19 8RY

+44 (0)1296 611660


Monitran Ltd, Monitor House, 33 Hazlemere Road, Penn, HP10 8AD, UK

T: +44 (0)1494 816569



Unit 3A, Whitworth Court, Manor Park, Runcorn WA7 1WA. Tel.: (0044)-330 002 0640,

TR Fastenings LTD

Trifast House, Bellbrook Park, Uckfield, East Sussex, TN22 1QW

Free phone: 08454 811 800


Blackfast Chemicals Ltd

Unit 5 Russell House , Molesey Road, Walton-onThames, Surrey, KT12 3PE 0207 339 7370,

Ecopac (UK) Power Ltd

Unit 4, Ridgeway, Crendon Industrial Area, Long Crendon, Bucks, HP18 9BF Tel: +44 1844204420

Directory November 2022 34|

Foremost Electronics Ltd

14 Bluegate Business Park Great Bardfield, Essex CM7 4PZ

TEL: +44 (0) 1371 811171

FAX: +44 (0) 1371 810933


HRS Heat Exchangers

3, Abloy House, Hatters Ln, Watford WD18 8AJ Email: Tel: +44 (0)1923 232 335

Rotech Machines Limited

1 Brownfields Court Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire, AL7 1AJ

Wood Automated Systems UK (ATG – Systems)

Tenter Road, Moulton Park Industrial Estate Northampton, NN3 6AX +44 (0)7827 327231

Seepex UK Ltd.

3 Armtech Row Houndstone Business Park Yeovil, Somerset, BA22 8RW

T +44 1935 472376

Mecmesin Ltd

Newton House, Spring Copse Business Park, Slinfold, West Sussex, RH13 0SZ w: t: +44 (0) 1403 799979 e:


Kunststofferzeugnisse Carl-Sonnenschein-Straße 22 D-59348 Lüdinghausen – Germany Phone: (+49) 02591 / 91 94 – 0

Lascar Electronics Ltd UK Module House

Whiteparish, Wiltshire SP5 2SJ +44 (0)1794 884 567

Directory |35 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE

Automating Production of Compound Libraries

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


Note 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.

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 /

November 2022 36| ENGINEERING PDATE
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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, Latenight 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

38| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE
StocExpo, the world’s biggest platform for the tank storage industry, will return to the Rotterdam Ahoy 14-16 March 2023.
|39 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE
Discover our newest range of digital pressure measurement solutions. With RS-485 output.

Simply NUC® Expands Executive Leadership Team

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer join company to further accelerate global expansion

SimplyNUC, Inc, a leading mini PC integration company, recently announced strategic organizational updates to its executive leadership team. The new executives will help further Simply NUC's mission to be the world's leading technology partner for customized mini computer experiences. Steve Savage joins as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Dan Houck as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Combined with their partnership announcement with Elan Growth Partners earlier this year, Simply NUC is poised to accelerate its global expansion.

Steve Savage, Chief Operating Officer

Bringing a vast array of experience in the IT industry spanning over 30 years, Steve Savage joins the executive team as Chief Operating Officer and will oversee crucial projects that are underway for 2023 and beyond. These projects include Simply NUC's continued global expansion, operations excellence, and world-class support.

Prior to joining Simply NUC, Steve was responsible for a system integration division that shipped over a billion dollars worth of hardware annually. Steve also successfully founded and sold an IT services business.

Dan Houck, Chief Financial Officer

As Chief Financial Officer, Dan Houck will lead Simply NUC's global finance organization and financial activities. Dan brings 20 years of business experience in financial leadership and information technologies, including tenures at Accenture, Dell Technologies, and, most recently, Diebold Nixdorf. He will be instrumental in driving Simply NUC's global profitable growth strategy through disciplined financial management and scalable processes.

Dan received a bachelor's degree in Computer Science from North Carolina State University and an International Master of Business Administration from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

"I'm extremely excited about Simply NUC's next chapter of growth and success with our impressive executive leadership team now in place," said Aaron Rowsell, Simply NUC CEO.

Steve and Dan join a highly accomplished leadership team with decades of experience in the technology industry; members of the Simply NUC executive team include:

• Aaron Rowsell, Chief Executive Officer, who is one of early pioneers in the mini PC industry and has taken Simply NUC from a start-up to one of the fastestgrowing companies in the world.

• Jonny Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Simply NUC, Ltd., who has overseen the UK / EMEA business for the past four years and grown it to a multimillion dollar turnover.

• Charles Abdouch, Chief Technology Officer, who brings a lifetime of high tech experience and expertise to the organization, having worked for multiple major tier one computer companies.

• Dan Knox, Chief Information Officer, who has more than 20 years of experience in the computer industry with a background in logic, design, and software development.

• John Deatherage, Chief Marketing Officer, who played a pivotal role in starting up the NUC business at Intel before joining Simply NUC in 2019.

• Jennifer Meza, Vice President of Sales, who brings over 20 years of experience in Sales and Learning Principles with a certification as a DDI facilitator.

• Amy Lynn, Vice President of Human Resources, who brings more than 17 years of HR experience in the planning and implementation of quality-based, integrated human resources.

For more information about Simply NUC visit:

November 2022 42| ENGINEERING PDATE

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

RoboticsPlus, a New Zealand-based agritech company, today launched its autonomous multiuse, 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 California-based 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-inclass 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.

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

Below: Dr Alistair Scarfe, Cofounder and CTO of Robotics Plus

44| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE
Above: Steve Saunders Cofounder and CEO 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 controlwhile 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 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-

|45 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE

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

46| November 2022 ENGINEERING PDATE

Filtration Innovation

– an Enabler for New 3D Printable Functional Materials

From toucan beaks and F1 steering wheels to bespoke medical devices and ultracomfy bicycle seats, the world of 3D print is rapidly evolving… and driving demand for a new generation of functional materials.


materials possess precise physical properties, such as strength, fire retardation, flexibility and scratch-resistance, that meet specific product specifications. Many also require high temperature 3D environments for processing, which, according to *research by leading portable filtration specialists BOFA International, increases the potential for off-gassing, which can be toxic and smelly, and particulate emissions.

BOFA is working with 3D print equipment manufacturers, materials providers and end users to develop technology that filters fume from these new materials and helps maintain both optimal chamber operating conditions and a safe working environment.

The result is the company’s 3D PrintPRO HT, currently in development, which uses advanced electronics components, thermal insulation and innovative air management to help deliver high levels of filtration performance while maintaining the desired operating temperatures through active convection.

At the same time, BOFA has redesigned its 3D PrintPRO 4 system to include more advanced multi-stage gas filtration, including a deeper carbon bed to filter a greater volume of fume. This helps extend filter life and helps create safer, odourless print operations.

Haydn Knight, Sales and Marketing Director at BOFA, said: “These latest innovations from BOFA enable equipment manufacturers to meet

growing market demand for technology capable of working new generation functional materials. Effective filtration and temperature control are increasingly important to 3D print processes, so systems such as our 3D PrintPRO HT have a vital role to play in enabling an agile additive manufacturing environment.”

BOFA will be exhibiting the 3D Print PRO 4 and 3D PrintPRO HT, along with its full range of additive manufacturing filtration systems, at Formnext 2022 in Frankfurt, from November 15-18, on stand 12.0-E18.

* BOFA’s industry research into 3D print emissions can be downloaded by visiting en/3d-printing-emissions/

|47 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE

Rittal is expanding its smart cooling unit solutions by adding the new Blue e+ S range. Our latest generation of cooling units with their lower output categories of 300, 500, and 1,000 W have been designed for efficiency, ensuring a smaller footprint and lower costs –just like their “bigger brothers.” So it’s a win-win both for users and for our future.

Cool successor with sustainable DNA


Solutionsthat reduce our carbon footprint during production are in high demand. But at the same time, these solutions need to be intelligent and communication-enabled so that they can be easily integrated into digitalised manufacturing environments. Seven years ago, Rittal responded to this demand with its Blue e+ range of cooling solutions and launched extremely efficient enclosure cooling units, which provided on average energy savings of 75 percent. Now we have a new generation – the next generation – but still developed with that same design DNA. These new cooling units with their lower cooling outputs of 300, 500, and 1,000 watts called “Blue e+ S” add to the Blue e+ family and bring with them additional smart capabilities. And furthermore, this new generation offers innovative energy-saving features for the production process.

What’s behind this energy-saving and therefore cost reduction is the technology used, combining a heat pipe with inverter-controlled components. The heat pipe works without a compressor, expansion valve, or other regulating elements and so does not need any electrical energy except to operate the fan. Depending on the thermal energy generated in the enclosure and the current ambient temperature, cooling can be performed with the heat pipe alone. The additional compressor cooling only operates if a large amount of heat has to be dissipated from the enclosure or if the ambient temperature is very high. And what’s more – when it does operate, it is far more energyefficient than conventional units. This is because the compressor and fans possess an inverter-controlled drive, which automatically adjusts their speeds depending on the requirements. As a result, the temperature within the enclosure remains constant, and the energy efficiency is significantly higher than with other more conventional cooling units.

Staying cool all the time

Alongside energy efficiency, another feature also reduces the carbon footprint: The new Blue e+ S series uses a refrigerant with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) that is 56 percent lower than those used in comparable cooling units. Furthermore, instead of the R-134a previously used, the cooling circuit in the new generation of units now runs with R-513A refrigerant.

Smart communication-enabled capabilities

With their additional smart functions, the new cooling units also help in the digitisation process. With a fully integrated IoT interface as standard, the cooling units can be intelligently monitored in digitalised environments and easily connected to Rittal’s new Smart Service Portal. This optimises the service processes and increases efficiency through predictive maintenance. As a result, fewer unplanned downtimes occur which all helps to manage the high cost of production, especially with Industry 4.0 processes.

Production-friendly facelift

These cooling units in the lower output classes have also undergone a facelift. Their most striking feature is an integrated coloured LED light strip. This means that warning messages can be immediately seen, even from far away. A display on the front of the enclosure provides additional up-to-date information. Moreover, the cooling units are equipped with the familiar NFC interface, which enables them to communicate with mobile devices that have the Rittal Scan & Service app installed.

For further information on the entire Rittal range visit or check out our linkedin page @rittal-ltd-uk


Contract manufacturing market for IVD products to reach $16.1B in 2022: Kalorama

The demand for in vitro diagnostics products that clinical laboratories use is growing so fast that manufacturers need help with the pace of production.

They are increasingly turning to contract manufacturing firms to make test instruments, reagents, and other supplies.

That's the finding of's sister company, Kalorama Information, in its report The Market for Contract Manufacturing in IVD.

The market research firm found that the contract manufacturing market for IVD products reached $15.6 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $16.1 Billion in 2022.

Who will perform these tasks? More than 500 competitors are active in global contract IVD manufacturing markets. Most participants are small- to medium-sized concerns that provide related products or services to other customers.

Affinity Life Sciences, Biokit, Calbiotech, Celestica, Fapon Biotech, InBios International, Invetech, Meridian Bioscience, MilliporeSigma, Nova Biomedical, Promega, Randox Laboratories, Savyon Diagnostics, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and others are among the notable firms in the business. Some, but not all of them, are also original manufacturers of their own branded test equipment.

Driving this trend is COVID-19, but the report affirms that market growth is not just about COVID-based PCR test demand -- in fact, more than one third of the market is for clinical chemistry tests unrelated to the pandemic.

Among the supplies most needed are immunoassay reagents, chemistry reagents, glucose enzymes, histology molecular probes, hematology reagents, blood bank test instrument components, and mass spectrometry systems and components.

Unlike other medical device segments, the IVD industry has been slow to transfer manufacturing responsibilities to outside contractors in developing countries. In spite of offering lower overall costs, contractors in these locations have often been unable to produce quality products on a consistent basis.

Growth is slightly higher (+1%) than for the IVD market itself, and is even reflective of

some decline in contracting for COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic tests.

Overall, contract manufacturing in IVD had been a developed-world phenomena, with companies using other large IVD companies to produce excess products.

In some developing nations, including China and India, contract manufacturers failed to protect the intellectual property of their clients, leading to widespread piracy of instrument designs and reagent formulations.

Rather than risk the prospect of product recalls and the loss of intellectual property, IVD companies historically have relied on developed-world firms for contract manufacturing services.

This trend is changing gradually as suppliers in China, India, and various other developing countries are upgrading production capabilities and expertise, as well as establishing tighter security measures to protect patents and other intellectual property.

Evolving trends in IVD contract manufacturing will result in developed economies retaining more than threefourths of the total global demand.

However, led by China and India, developing economies will account for much faster growth in revenues. The developing world will provide opportunities for an increasing level of contract IVD manufacturing business based on anticipated improvements in patient testing capabilities and the pursuit of expanded product lines by local IVD companies.

Moreover, with the increase in home testing -- a new outlet for IVD not incorporated in the production strategies of a few years ago -- contract manufacturing is seen as a major source of private label tests, instruments, and accessories sold by medical supply and device distributors, home healthcare outlets, and drug stores. Private label applications have expanded considerably over the past few years largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kalorama’s report can be found at: https://

November 2022 50| ENGINEERING PDATE
Lamonde Automation Limited Quality Products: Expert Advice +44 (0)20 3026 2670  PLC Web Browser  OPC UA Server  WebView  In Excess of 300 Communication Drivers  Event Bar Chart  Database Server  SQL Query  Energy Demand Display/Setting Features Include:

Be inspired by innovation at Advanced Engineering

Find out what’s in store for this year’s attendees

On November 2 and 3, Advanced Engineering will return to the NEC, Birmingham for its 13th edition. With 80 per cent of exhibitor space already sold, engineering and manufacturing businesses should act fast if they want to secure a stand. Last year, over 7,000 people attended across the two days, including representatives from Airbus, Jaguar Land Rover, Alpine F1, Ford, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and the Ministry of Defence.

This edition of Advanced Engineering will celebrate and display innovation, growth and development within the UK’s engineering industry. Across the show’s seven zones — aerospace, composites, automotive, advanced metals, connected manufacturing, space and satellite and, new for this year, product testing and quality control, businesses will showcase their latest, ground-breaking technologies and inspire cross-industry collaboration that pushes the UK’s engineering industry to new heights.

Following the success of the 2021 edition, attendees also found the 60 hours of free learning, courtesy of the four forums scattered across the show floor, insightful and inspiring. Highlights included workshops and talks from automotive lifestyle blogger James William Walker, also known as Mr JWW, the Aerospace Technology Institute, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, ADS, the UK Space Agency, Jaguar Land Rover, Composites UK, BAE Systems Make UK and more. These four forums will return in 2022, sponsored and supported by companies including HP, University of Strathclyde, GRP Solutions, Euroresins, Cristex Composite Materials, Ripley Solutions and more.

Advanced Engineering is the place to be for the UK’s engineering community. Exhibitor space is selling out fast. To book your stand, visit and make an enquiry. Alternatively, you can contact our Head of Sales, Ali Farr on +44 (0)20 3196 4244.

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BOOK YOUR STAND | +44 (0)20 3196 4300 The UK’s LEADING annual gathering of OEMs and engineering and manufacturing supply chain professionals 2 & 3 November 2022 | NEC Birmingham An absolutely outstanding event! We’ve met many great people who we will be looking to work with in the future, and overall it has been a very successful couple of days. Matt Travis, Engineering Manager, JCB Co-located with Scan the QR code to discover the event Association partners Trade AssociationComposites

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.”

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

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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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 high-precision robot, a high-resolution 3D camera, and an innovative head-mounted 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 high-resolution, 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.)


Scottish Water’s Kinneil Kerse WwTW produces an estimated 4,701 tds of dewatered sludge which is conditioned with lime for use as fertiliser on land. The sludge operation at this site has been funded and is operated by Veolia who are contracted by Scottish Water. In 2021, as part of a modernisation project delivered by Veolia, two competitor’s progressive cavity (PC) pumps were installed to feed dewatered sludge into a SEEPEX lime mixing pump.

Blocked Pipework after Commissioning

After commissioning the new pumps, the site began to experience regular blockages in the discharge pipework which affected feeding the lime mixing process and sludge disposal. To clear the blockages the pipework had to be dismantled and the site incurred additional costs associated with the hire of a mobile lime dewatering unit. Veolia approached SEEPEX for a solution.

After assessing the installation, it was clear that the high friction losses generated when pumping 22-25 % DS sludge through 55m pipe length with a 3m. elevation including 3x 45° and 5x 90° bends were affecting the pumps’ performance.

To address this, SEEPEX offered a trial for their Smart Air Injection (SAI). SAI is an energy efficient system that combines a SEEPEX open hopper progressive cavity pump with pneumatic dense phase conveying technology. The system is able to transport 16-40% DS dewatered sludge up to 1,000m. with a lower operating pressure requirement than conventional technology.

Blockage Free Solution for Sludge Cake Transfer

SEEPEX UK installed and commissioned the trial SAI system to demonstrate its effectiveness. Within the first 30 minutes of operation, SAI had cleared out all existing blockages and continued to perform.

SEEPEX retrofitted the SAI system to the competitor’s equipment. This included: SEEPEX SAI controls and MB Air Systems’ compressor and air receiver, both companies being part of Ingersoll Rand.

The SAI system has proven to be robust and reliable overcoming the existing pumps’ performance issues, enabling the sludge to be processed for land disposal. In addition, SAI enables the discharge pipework to be emptied when idle, removing the risk of blockages, thus reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Commenting on this project, Veolia said: “We were very happy to work with SEEPEX to get this SAI system installed. It has given our site a solution to a difficult issue and resolved it. We use this system daily and it is beneficial to our day to day working environment.”

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Combined Service and Support

SEEPEX and MB Air Systems have joined forces to deliver mission-critical, energy-efficient and market-leading technology for conveying applications. Our conveying systems are fully supported by a trained team of Field Service Engineers for service, installation and aftermarket support. Together we offer our customers our combined experience and technical expertise, providing one interaction point and one contract – for a streamlined project.

For further information please visit |57 November 2022ENGINEERING PDATE SEEPEX's Smart Air Injection vs Conventional Technologies .


With seasons 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 media/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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Weekly panel of experts from industry, media and academia look at the cutting edge of robotics, analyzing how advances in automation are benefitting society and business, and what the future holds THE ABB ROBOT PODCAST 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

Blueshift Memory awarded grant to develop AI Computer Vision module

Blueshift Memory, an innovator of novel proprietary high-speed computer architectures, has been selected to receive one of the Smart Grants awarded by Innovate UK (part of UK Research and Innovation) during early 2022.

The highly competitive £25 million Smart fund is intended to help UK SMEs to commercialise game-changing ideas, which have to be genuinely new and novel as well as disruptive within their sector.

Blueshift Memory’s 13-month project is entitled “Research on the application of a new generation memory architecture in computer vision AI solutions for IoT devices”. Its aim is to develop a next-generation computer vision (CV) application on edge devices for the Internet of Things (IoT), based around the company’s computer architecture (the Cambridge Architecture™).

CV uses artificial intelligence (AI) to enable the content of digital images to be analysed and interpreted by a computer in a similar way to how they are perceived by a human being, and to trigger actionable responses based on the results. This ability for computers to ‘see’ is seen as being

crucial to solving a wide range of real-world problems in a wide range of fields including robotics, Industry 4.0, Smart Cities and autonomous vehicles, but it currently requires a significant level of computing capacity that necessitates high power consumption.

“By dramatically increasing memory access speed, the compact CV AI module we are developing will open up use cases such as onboard realtime scenario analysis in body-worn cameras,” said Peter Marosan, Founder and CEO of Blueshift Memory. “It will also help us demonstrate the potential benefits of the Cambridge Architecture IP for larger system-on-chip designs for applications like High Frequency Trading and In-Memory Databases.”

“It is a great achievement for Blueshift Memory to have won a Smart Grant for this work, as it is a highly competitive selection procedure. Our project is one of only 71 out of a total of 1072 applications that were successful

in securing funding in this round,” he added.

The Blueshift Memory approach is radically different from the Graphics Processing Units (GPU) that are presently being used for CV AI. The current project involves custom configuration of a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) using deep learning, optimising it for faster performance and better power efficiency. It is also planned to integrate this technology into an Applications-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), along with leading-edge RISC-V processor capability.

The Cambridge Architecture –which reduces the performance gap between the processor and memory and provides faster calculations in high-performance computing – will be demonstrated in the final FPGA design that is being developed under the Smart Grant project.

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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.

Themotors 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 «inplace» 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 advantages, such as simple integration, flexible programmability, dynamics and hygienic design. The motors can be connected to common control platforms in synchronous operati on 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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Centrica gives UK gas boost with reopening of Rough storage facility

UK gas supplies have been bolstered with the reopening of Centrica’s Rough gas storage facility following engineering upgrades over the summer and commissioning over early autumn.

Theinitial investment programme means the company has made its first injection of gas into the site in over five years and is able to store up to 30 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas over winter 2022/23.

According to Centrica, Rough is currently operating at around 20 per cent of its previous capacity this winter, making it the UK’s largest gas storage site and adding 50 per cent to the UK’s gas storage volume. Rough will inject gas into the facility when prices are low and put the gas back into the UK’s gas network when demand is higher.

Centrica said its long-term aim is to turn the Rough gas field into the

largest long duration energy storage facility in Europe, capable of storing natural gas and hydrogen.

The UK has diverse gas supplies via connections with Norway and other European countries, plus LNG import terminals, but the country has some of the lowest levels of gas storage in Europe at nine days compared to Germany at 89 days, France at 103 days and the Netherlands at 123 days.

In a statement, Centrica Group chief executive, Chris O’Shea, said “We have managed to return Rough to storage operations for this winter following a substantial investment in engineering modifications. Our long-term aim remains to turn the Rough field into the world’s biggest methane and

hydrogen storage facility, bolstering the UK’s energy security, delivering a net zero electricity system by 2035, decarbonising the UK’s industrial clusters, such as the Humber region by 2040, and helping the UK economy by returning to being a net exporter of energy.

“In the short term we think Rough can help our energy system by storing natural gas when there is a surplus and producing this gas when the country needs it during cold snaps and peak demand. Rough is not a silver bullet for energy security, but it is a key part of a range of steps which can be taken to help the UK this winter.”

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