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.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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