Drives and Controls NEC April 2016
Review of Drives and Controls 2016
A few snippets
The pre-show info about the first dedicated area for Robots was true. The upper left hand corner of the show was indeed dedicated to Robots and it was hard not to think of that old Arnie movie which saw the rise of the machines, Terminator 3 just in case you were wondering. In true Arnie fashion the phrase "I'll be back" was wearing a little thin by the time yours truly said it 3 or 4 times to my partner in crime for day, Robbie.
Pick and place was used to highlight the precision control and speed used within robotics today, it all a bit of a blur to be honest, but the TP80 Fast Picker was on form.
But here is something a little slower, the Omron serving Robot, who ensured everyone at the event was kept in mints.
ABB were out in force in the Robotics corner, had a talk with Carl Eely who was great at explaining the machine safety associated with Robotics, also shown in is this corner were their Drives and Low Voltage Switchgear.
Also making a bid for top spot in the Robot corner were robots working along-side humans, reminiscent of another film starring the fresh prince himself, starter for 10 Will Smith and I Robot, or if you're are slightly older and more sinister think Blade Runner - Harrison Ford. Image from Active8 Robots Move-to-teach and touch-to-stop were the key features of the human integrated Robots. As the cost of bench robotics is becoming more reasonable, investment in time conscious continuous working robotics is much more appealing than ever before. With safety no longer an issue, (the slightest touch and they stop) end of bench pick and place robotics is the next big thing, single arm multi axis bench robotics is in the vanguard. Motion Control Schneider Electric demo rigs are fantastic no matter how many times you see them. True to form the golf rig made an appearance, just as soon as we walked in the entrance there it was in all its glory, every shot a hole in one - if only.
Did anyone catch a sweet in a cup? Robbie did, made his day. Here below the Schneider guys are talking motion control behind them is the latest demonstrate rig where said sweet was won. Lots of talk around complete motion applications and machine safety with these guys. We actually came across Balluff in the MACH hall, it was a nice excursion and bumping into them sparked a discussion around IO LINK together with Industry 4.0, which Richard Neill was only too happy to talk about at length. We then spotted this nice little demo rig below, It's great to see how well manufacturers put together their demo rigs to convey their product ranges, show me some sensors and beacons and I'm happy. Continuing the theme for motion control I was interested to see what SMC were up to, not so much in Pneumatics which is well established, great range here. I was more interested in Electric Actuators, and talking to Colin Burnett was very insightful, he confirmed a few opinions I had, there was indeed a move to Electric Actuators and that interest is gaining momentum. Driving this are lower running costs, more energy efficient products, cleaner technology and greater control giving raise to wider application opportunities.
IoT and Industry 4.0
No surprise that we had a lot of talk around the industrial terms above, went along to the seminar where Mike Lomax of Bosch Rexroth discussed many aspects of the above for industrial applications, together with their cloud based system.
From the audience one question struck me, Justin Cunningham technical editor Eureka magazine, "where do you see Artificial Intelligence fitting in with IoT, 4.0 from a Bosch point of view". In my mind I immediately thought asset management, preventative maintenance and big data, but now I'm interested, is my immediate thinking somewhat limited. For some reason I'm remembering Moore's law and the Turing test.
Here's the reason Moore's Law sprung to mind - makes for good reading.
For AI Check these links if you have time
A quick return to Schneider Electric in relation to IoT, where we found Dave Sutton was talking Smart Manufacturing, IIoT ready cybersecure ePAC, Legacy Systems and IoT and the 24/7 Hot Standby Link, see the video below.
To finish the day a quick stop over on the Parker truck to blag a coffee and talk Drives with David Newman. A bit wet outside.