Sophisticated control functionality and advanced software tools are key parts of new product offerings and trends in variable frequency drives and inverters. One of the most important trends is the continuing move to Ethernet communications. Suppliers are utilizing Ethernet and compatibility with standard control protocols such as Ethernet/IP to integrate the drives with the machine's control network and as a solution for enabling internet and enterprise-wide connectivity options.
Manufacturers are emphasizing simple user interfaces which allow these drives to be configured and made operational in minutes, without the need for a laptop computer.
VARIABLE SPEED DRIVES
A family of frequency inverter drives for ac motors from Baldor offers a simple user interface that provides “out of the box” solutions for variable speed motor control applications. The drives are also available with a range of environmental protection, from a standard industrial housing to a dust- and splash-proof version (IP55 or NEMA 12) and even a full washdown duty (IP66 or NEMA 4X) variant.
The new VS1MX family of drives is designed for common applications such as fan and pump control, as well as in clean area processing zones in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Simple front panel mounted user interfaces allow any of the drives to be made operational in minutes.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
Microchip recently released the 3D TouchPad, the first USB PC Peripheral device that couples 2D multi-touch input with 3D air gesture technology. The company seeks the help of developers to further enhance the capabilities of the technology.
To give engineers a better idea of the range of resins and polymers available as alternatives to other materials, this Technology Roundup presents several articles on engineering plastics that can do the job.
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