Welcome to another exciting edition of our weekly components roundup, where we look at new products aimed at assisting with automation, robotics construction and other pieces and parts. Be sure to check out all of our previous weekly roundups (new every Thursday or Fridays) for more updates.
Variable frequency drive for winding, unwinding
Mitsubishi Electric Automation has released the FR-A800-RTR Series of variable frequency drives (VFD), designed for end users and machine designers that need an optimized control solution for continuous roll-to-roll processing. Building on the performance and functionality of the standard FR-A800 Series FVD, this model includes enhanced firmware engineered for unwinding and rewinding processes such as coating, laminating, slitting, drawing, and extruding, Mitsubishi said.
Industries that use roll-to-roll processing machines include printing, automotive, and material handling, the company added. The coating and laminating of flexible electronics, as well as aluminum and copper foils for batteries and photovoltaic cells in the clean energy industry, are also useful applications for the drive.
The drive includes dedicated functions, such as sensorless torque control and tension sensor feedback speed control, Mitsubishi said. Variable tension is applied to materials to maintain a constant flow on the winding and unwinding sides, which helps eliminate imperfections such as wrinkles or deformation. These functions don’t require additional sequence or motion control programming, Mitsubishi said, because the FR-A800-RTR inverter has a built-in PLC, and uses parametrization to set and enhance functions. This lets users control winding and unwinding, even if they don’t have advanced knowledge of tension control.
“The integrated PLC in the FR-A800-RTR eliminates the need for a tension controller for tension feedback torque control,” said Chris Rhodes, product marketing engineer at Mitsubishi Electric Automation. “This contributes to the overall cost savings of the system and allows for quick and easy system start-ups.”
NORD to show off LOGIDRIVE at ProMAT
NORD Gear Corp. plans to show off its LOGIDRIVE solutions at the ProMAT show in Chicago, to be held April 8-11. The integrated drive technologies for manufacturing and warehousing includes high efficiency gearboxes; IE4 permanent magnet synchronous motors; and decentralized variable frequency drives (VFDs). The company said its VFDs and IE4 motors “support large speed ranges through gearboxes, to deliver automation for stacker cranes, automated guided vehicles, chain conveyors and roller conveyors,” among other systems.
The VFDs can operate with all common field bus networks, with free PLC integration, and commissioning with plug-in parameter boxes or NORD’s free pgoramming software tool, NORDCON. The company said the LOGIDRIVE’s efficient operation at partial load and low speeds make it ideal for high-volume warehousing, manufacturing, and packaging systems.
Power management IC for energy harvesting
Belgium-based e-peas announced a new power management integrated circuit (IC) specifically optimized for energy harvesting from thermal sources in wireless sensor applications. The AEM20940 is a 28-pin QFN package that saves space, and is capable of extracting available input current up to levels of 110mA, e-peas said.
Taking DC power from a connected thermal electric generator, it can supervise the storing of energy in a rechargeable element, simultaneously supplying energy to the system through two different regulated voltages, the company said. “This is done through its built-in low noise, high stability 1.2/1.8V and 2.5/3.3V LDO voltage regulators. The lower voltage can be employed for driving the system microcontroller, while the higher voltage is intended for the RF transceiver.”
The company said with this system, it could extend the system battery life, or in some cases, eliminate the primary power source from the system completely, reducing or eliminating the dependence on having to regularly replace batteries.
“Having a thermal energy harvesting solution to add to our portfolio is a significant step forward for the company, as we look to establish ourselves as the leading IC manufacturer in the rapidly maturing energy harvesting sector, offering the most complete and innovative PMIC products,” said Geoffroy Gosset, co-founder and CEO of e-peas. “It means that our clients will be able to design IoT systems that can efficiently extract energy from their surrounding environment whatever the available sources.”
The company said target applications for the AEM20940 include industrial process monitoring, HVAC, and predictive maintenance.