Energy-efficient storage systems

Rising electricity costs are creating a demand for energy-efficient solutions in every industry, with logistics and distribution being no exception. With this in mind, Kasto has developed an energy-recovery and storage system for its German-built industrial warehouses, which are used for the automated storage and retrieval of bar, tube, sheet, plate and other materials.
The technology enables surplus kinetic energy to be converted into electricity and stored temporarily for later use as needed. Operating and investment costs are reduced and so are CO2 emissions. Energy recovery is available as an option on all Kasto storage products and it can also be retrofitted to systems already in use.
The electric circuits for the drives of the operating gantry crane are connected through a DC link. Surplus kinetic energy, such as that produced during braking of the crane or lowering of the lifting gear is converted into electricity and fed back into the grid. The energy can then be used for other purposes, either within the storage facility or by other users. Consumption of electric power can be reduced by as much as 40%, says Kasto, compared with conventional drive systems.
To achieve even greater efficiency, the company optionally equips its storage systems with an integrated energy storage unit. This is designed to temporarily hold surplus energy in double-layer capacitors for use as required. An intelligent controller charges and discharges the energy storage unit, depending on the process currently running.
Power is drawn from the grid at a nearly constant level, allowing peripheral equipment to operate at the rated load. In this way, users can reduce the connected load of the gantry crane by more than 50%.
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Extending the reach of heavy-duty robots

Güdel says that its latest TMF-5 linear track has been developed to help extend the reach of heavy-duty robots.
Many of today’s six-axis robots can handle payloads up to 1300 kg, but their horizontal reach is generally less than 4 m, which can be a limiting factor in certain applications. This is whyGüdel has developed its TMF-5 linear track, which is said to be the only standard module currently available that can move an articulated robot weighing over 6 tonnes (with a payload of 1300 kg) and sustain a static payload of over 10 tonnes.
Working as a fully-integrated seventh axis for robots, the TMF-5 opens up new possibilities in a number of production processes. A range of adaptor plates, designed to suit the increasing number of heavy-duty robots now available, maximises the potential for integration with different manufacturers and their respective robot models.
With the capability to accommodate up to four independently-driven carriages, multiple robots are able to share the same track if required. The carriages used on the TMF track have been designed to handle the often high dynamic loads of a moving robot, including those associated with emergency stop conditions.
The use of hardened and ground helical racks on the TMF-5, coupled with planetary gearboxes, deliver positional repeatability of ±0.05 mm. Available in lengths from 3 to 100 m, in 1 m increments, the optimum track length can be specified for any particular application. Another feature of the TMF track range is that the length can be extended, should this be required, to increase flexibility or future-proof existing installations.
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Collaborative robots added to industrial range

Now available from Fanuc are three small collaborative robots that have been added to the company’s industrial robot portfolio: the CR-4iA, CR-7iA and CR-7iA/L. These additions to the range will complement the larger CR-35iA collaborative robot, which offers a payload of 35 kg.
The CR-4iA is the smallest of the Fanuc collaborative series, with a payload of 4 kg, while the CR-7iA and CR-7iA/L (long arm) are able to lift up to 7 kg.
Collaborative robots are able to work alongside humans. In many cases, the need for safety fences is eliminated as the compact design of the robots enables full integration into a human workspace. Through established sensor technology, the Fanuc collaborative range comes to a safe stop whenever the robots encounter an unexpected obstacle; human or otherwise. The range is TÜV-certified to meet international safety requirements in line with ISO 10218-1.
Customers have the option to incorporate Fanuc’s intelligent functions into these robots, including vision and force sensor technologies. Fanuc vision sensors can be used in a variety of tasks, including locating workpieces, part or process inspection, or reading barcodes. The company’s force sensor technology offers a range of strategies for complex assembly tasks in fields such as automotive.
Due to their compact frames, the robots can be ceiling or wall-mounted, offering a wide range of motion without encroaching on the operator’s workspace. The robots can also be mounted on a mobile platform due to their lightweight and slim design.
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Open house

For three days during mid-June (13-15), visitors to the Trumpf 2017 open house will be introduced to what’s new in the company’s punching, laser and bending technologies, and be invited to take part in a programme of seminars focussed on smart production. The event will mark the UK launch of the TruMatic 1000 Fiber, a laser machine that comes with additional punching and forming functionality; the first model is due to be installed at a Bedfordshire fabricator in May.
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Bamforth joins XYZ

XYZ Machine Tools has announced the appointment of Howard Bamforth to the role of export sales director, with the key focus of developing the potential for XYZ’s range of ProtoTrak-controlled machines across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Bamforth has 28 years’ experience in the machine tool business, including time working on machine design and development, project engineering, customer service/satisfaction and sales, both through distribution and direct with customers. He joins at an exciting time for the company, with XYZ just concluding what looks like being its seventh consecutive year of record sales.
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