Keeping modern industrial automation humming—from maintaining assembly lines running to managing power distribution—requires a multitude of products for businesses of all sizes. Manufacturers continually strive to create and refine products that will enhance productivity and safety while controlling costs. Maintaining automation standards means better customer service, the lifeblood for manufacturers in a competitive environment. This means increasing and upgrading quality, flexibility, and data analysis collection in the manufacturing process and building on the productivity gains associated with automation, including robots and collaborative robots.
With so many moving parts, it’s a process that seems to have no end.
Robots and cobots are significant to industrial automation’s progression. The evolution of Industry 4.0 has room for humans and bots working together on the factory floor. A 2017 International Federation of Robotics’ positioning paper maintains that automation and the ongoing development of robotics have a positive impact on employment, job quality, and wages.
To accomplish this progression, automation developers require a diverse array of parts—sensors providing raw data and feedback, control systems, programmable logic, connected embedded devices. This week's New Tech Tuesday highlights three of those products available to keep the industrial hum … humming.
Trinamic PD42-1-1243-IOLINK PANdrive™ IO-Link™ Actuator enables smart factories to remotely adjust an actuator's electrical characteristics to minimize factory downtime and maximize throughput. The device combines a NEMA-17 stepper motor with a controller and driver electronics. The actuator monitors 50 percent more configuration and performance parameters to reduce commission times and improve predictive maintenance data quality. It might be small (2.6x smaller than its competitors), but it incorporates motion-control technology into a plug-and-play solution.
Omron Industrial Automation J7 Low-Voltage Switch Gear is ideal for motor application solutions in every industry and conforms to space-saving control panel design's main safety standards. The Push-In Plus-style gear connects J7KC Magnetic Contactor, J7MC Manual Motor Starters, J7KC / J7KCA Industrial Relays, and the J7TC Thermal Overload Relay. The metal-enclosed switch gear is a three-phase power distribution product designed to safely, efficiently, and reliably supply power at voltages up to 1kV and current up to 6kA.
Bourns HES38U-RS485 Hybrid Position Sensor is designed for heavy-duty industrial applications requiring long cycle life and high reliability. The Bourns sensor comes in the form of a 6mm-diameter slotted shaft that provides position feedback on automated manufacturing robotics, 3D imaging, pneumatic control valves, draw wires, actuator motors, and electric linear actuators. Available in a servo mount configuration, the sensor is durable with a rotational life of up to 5 million shaft revolutions.
Industrial automation is regarded as the second step beyond mechanization in the scope of industrialization. For designers and developers, the human element means keeping up with a lot of diverse moving parts—from actuators to switch gears to sensors—to consider in maintaining the hum of the industrial automation machine.
Tommy Cummings is a freelance writer/editor based in Texas. He's had a journalism career that has spanned more than 40 years. He contributes to Texas Monthly and Oklahoma Today magazines. He's also worked at The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Francisco Chronicle, and others. Tommy covered the dot-com boom in Silicon Valley and has been a digital content and audience engagement editor at news outlets. Tommy worked at Mouser Electronics from 2018 to 2021 as a technical content and product content specialist.
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