Reducing energy consumption is a bit like exercise. People tend to agree it’s a good idea and should do it regularly –– but often times they don’t quite make it to the gym. Yet if energy costs keep rising, engineers won’t be able to sit on the sidelines for much longer and will have to work out new ways to trim the energy consumption of the machines they build.
This growing energy awareness was on display throughout this week’s Hannover Fair, where major suppliers and users of motion control and automation equipment showcased their energy-reduction strategies and technologies. The fair also itself featured brand new energy-efficiency displays, including an “Energy Tunnel” exhibit that highlighted ways to make common industrial processes — like pumping — more efficient.
According to a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, one of the factors in the collapse of the original World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was the reduction in the yield strength of the steel reinforcement as a result of the high temperatures of the fire and the loss of thermal insulation.
Robots are getting more agile and automation systems are becoming more complex. Yet the most impressive development in robotics and automation is increased intelligence. Machines in automation are increasingly able to analyze huge amounts of data. They are often able to see, speak, even imitate patterns of human thinking. Researchers at European Automation
call this deep learning.
The promise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that devices, gadgets, and appliances we use every day will be able to communicate with one another. This potential is not limited to household items or smartphones, but also things we find in our yard and garden, as evidenced by a recent challenge from the element14 design community.
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