New products: Big names show their range at Hannover Fair 2007

By Control Engineering Staff May 22, 2007

Hannover, Germany —Like a giant department store of innovation, Hannover Fair 2007 displayed aisle after aisle of automation products and technological advances. When this “world meeting place for industry and business” closed on April 20, it had hosted 230,000 visitors and given vendors of all sizes and nationalities a place to show off what they’ve been working on all year. North American buyers and browsers found much that was new in energy efficiency, system cooling, robotics and more, being offered by familiar names.

busy stand presented a wide range of process and factory automation technologies. Among specific products were flowmeters, process analyzers, variable-frequency drives, asynchronous servo motors, robotic systems, wireless technology, bus systems, and switchgear. Ilpo Ruohonen, VP of technology drives, mentioned the popularity of ABB’s new high-performance Machinery Drive (ACMS1) in Europe. Intended for OEMs, the line ranges up to 45 kW power. In other ABB drive news, the ACS800 drive (up to 500 kW) has undergone dramatic size reduction (45%) due to cooling improvements. The regenerative liquid-cooled version also offers low-harmonic distortion (5% THD). Also shown was ABB’s integrated, low-voltage motor control center, MNS-iS. The intelligent, highly modular unit features Ethernet and circuit breaker integration, serial connection to modular starters, Web-browser based operator interface, and intelligence with data retrievable from its controllers.

Baldor Electric
increased presence at the fair with its main booth showing motion control and drive products, while a second booth in another hall displayed Reliance Electric and Dodge brand power transmission products, which it recently acquired from Rockwell Automation. New from Baldor is cooperation with HMS Industrial Networks to simplify connectivity of motor drives with various fieldbus network options using Anybus interface modules from HMS.

Endress+Hauser’s large exhibit focused on demonstrating competence in process automation for various industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food processing, and storage tank systems. E+H focuses on complete solutions that integrate into user systems and also interface with their legacy equipment, noted Dr. Thomas Beck, marketing manager. In E+H’s approach, supplier and user are appropriately linked for supply-chain optimization to reduce stocks and costs by ability to monitor inventory—with automatic replenishment made possible via software such as SAP or Oracle, explained Beck. Innovations in flow, level, temperature, pressure, and other process measurements were on display, along with graphic display recorders and sensor management systems.

Beckhoff Automation
has increased its industrial PC (IPC) production to the range of 26 to 28 thousand units per year, many of them custom designed to user specs, Gerd Hoppe, CTO of Beckhoff, told Control Engineering . Its in-house embedded PC products also are on the rise, helped by acquisition. Beckhoff now is shipping its own make of servo drives, but allows choice of another supplier if the customer desires, explained Hoppe.

Beckhoff also explained that it’s automation suite, EtherCAT (Ethernet for Control Automation Technology), is an open network, supported by some 10 operating systems and a 482-member organization, the EtherCAT Technology Group. On display was XFC (eXtreme fast control) technology, based on EtherCAT and complemented by Beckhoff’s real-time I/O subsystem and motion control software. An IPC-based system, XFC has extremely fast scan time and even faster distributed clocks to allow synchronization of multiple motion axes, said Hoppe. I/O response time is under 100μs.

Dynamic demos

Innovative booth demonstrations often liven up show visitors’ experience. Wago , for example, had four gymnasts on spring-loaded stilts performing every hour to call attention to its PCB terminals with Cage Clamp technology.
Bosch Rexroth
displayed a robotic system to solve Rubik’s Cube puzzles—demonstrating the prowess of its NYCe compact PC-based control. Repetitive puzzle solutions took less than 2 minutes, with software programming of the robot provided by Korean company Sejin-iGB Co. Ltd. Besides its wide range of electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic control technologies on display, other Bosch Rexroth product highlights included IndraDrive Mi, a combined servo motor and drive unit that reportedly cuts control cabinet volume up to 70% and cabling needs up to 85%–for networked, multiple-motor applications; IndraMotion MTX simulator that provides full control simulation of MTX CNC systems; and Rexroth MAC-8, an open motion control for up to 32 hydraulic or electric axes running in parallel in real-time.

B&R Industrie-Elektronik used a dynamic demo to show coordination of three robots by one of its controllers. B&R’s APC system can control up to eight robotic channels and up to 100 motion axes via Ethernet Powerlink, according to the company. Typical robot tasks coordinated in the demonstration were helix interpolation and various material handling and processing moves. In addition, B&R exhibited a large array of automation products such as industrial PCs, control and I/O systems, servo drives and motors, intelligent operator terminals, network modules, and control software.

Energy efficiency

Noted more for low-voltage motor drives, WEG Electric offerings included a medium-voltage (2.3, 3.3, 4.14 kV) variable-frequency drive applying the latest generation 6.5 kV IGBT power-switching devices. Target applications of this 12- or 18-pulse drive, named MVW-01, are in the process industries where high power factor per IEEE 519 is important.

SEW-Eurodrive’s Movifit HygienicPlusdrive has surface design and shape to minimize cleaning requirements, while an IP69K enclosure protects its control electronics from harsh cleaning agents. Removing one screw separates the electronics unit in case replacement is needed.

SEW-Eurodrive also stressed energy-efficiency. Its new higher efficiency DR Series induction motor comes with optional die-cast copper rotor, which the company claims to have introduced five years ago (see related CE article on energy efficient motors ) and a choice of up three modular brake sizes per motor. With electronic control, less braking effort is needed, adding to the motor’s energy-efficiency. Another product highlight was Movifit HygienicPlusdrive control that features a housing made of smooth, non-stick surface material similar to that used in pots and pans. This optional offering is important for food and beverage and other industries.

Chip power

Silicon chip power was on display at some fair exhibits. Several new board-level and computer products from Kontron AG featured the latest multi-core microprocessors. Intel Core Duo processor powers Kontron’s compact ThinkIO fanless “top-hat rail” PC, as well as its latest NotePAC Ultra notebook computer. Two 64-bit Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors are part of a new 19-in., 4U Kontron Industrial Silent Server—a quad core unit. Kontron KT965/ATX embedded ATX motherboard supports Intel Core 2 Duo desktop processor, with versions available for Core 2 Extreme or Core 2 Quad for up to four cores.

Chip power also was evident in B&R Automation’s APC810 PC controller with Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Meanwhile, Beckhoff’s embedded IPC motherboards boasted dual-core processors. Later in 2007, Beckhoff plans to add Intel Core Duo and Core 2 Duo processors to its high-end panel PC offerings. (See recent Control Engineeringcoverage of multi-core processors .)

Among exhibits at Moog’s stand were advanced motion-control systems; low-noise emission/high-durability radial piston pump design; and single- and multi-axis test rigs for automotive and aerospace applications. Moog’s new Hexapod design rig is especially suited for rapid structural and dynamic tests in the above areas. A new, three-stage servo valve series (D67x), featuring electrical feed­back for the main stage, was also introduced. D67x is said to offer highly dynamic valve behavior and contamination-resistant design for heavy industries.

Another Moog highlight was a patented failsafe actuator for emergency shutdown of industrial gas turbines—said to be the first electromechanically driven actuator for this type of application. Prior units were hydraulic powered and required associated costly and bulky piping.

Danfoss VLT Micro Drive includes a new embedded converter for power output of 100 W to 7.5 kW.

Danfoss displayed recently introduced electric drives. VLT Micro Drive is intended for OEM usage such as small machine tools and industrial laundries. VLT Automation Drive in the 11-75 kW power range with IP20 sealing now offers substantially smaller sizes and easier installation than prior models. High power VLT AutomationDrive FC 300 provides output up to 1.2 MW, yet is said to be unusually compact and efficient. Besides having its technology on display, Danfoss portrayed an ecological stance with its exhibit. The company has recently taken on responsibility for preserving a recently discovered endangered lemur monkey species of Madagascar, according to Lutz Jäckels, technical marketing.

View of the future

Siemens AG’s huge new stand emphasized engineering know-how channeled to specific industrial applications—food/beverage, oil and gas, pulp and paper, power, and others. Products ranged over PC-based control, machine safety systems, embedded computers, controllers, numerous motor drives, and high-efficiency induction motors using copper rotors. Simatic G120 drive had its first showing with Profinet interface, enabling real-time automation architectures.

At a press conference, two of Siemens’ Corporate Executive Committee members presented futuristic views. In “Pictures of the Future—Success Needs Innovation,” Prof. Dr.-phil. Hermann Requardt described aging populations as being behind a megatrend of growing healthcare needs. These require innovative solutions through earlier diagnosis/intervention, knowledge-based decision support, and integrated IT systems, he said.

Siemens Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus Wucherer looked ahead to 2020 in “On track for the Intelligent Factory,” when all of production life cycles, from planning to plant start-up and operation, will be virtually supported. “Product creation will be holistically mapped in the digital engineering process. Once virtual commissioning has been completed, data will be directly appli­cable to the real plant, and the automation solution generated auto­mati­cally,” said Wucherer.

Hannover Industrial Fair marked its 60thanniversary in 2007, drawing 6,400 exhibitors, of which more than half came from 68 nations outside Germany.For more on the Fair’s statistics and technologies, see other Control Engineering Hannover Fair coverage. The next Hannover Fair will take place April 21-25, 2008.

Frank J. Bartos, P.E., consulting editor, Control Engineering Weekly News
( Register here and scroll down to select your choice of eNewsletters free .)