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Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation

Digitization for process optimization

Many companies see digitization as an important step for future success. They are therefore trying to optimize their processes in order to strengthen their own market position. For the familyrun company Maschinenfabrik Gustav Eirich, optimizing production processes and intelligently networking equipment is a step towards greater efficiency and sustainability. This creates flexible manufacturing structures, which are highly important in such a dynamic market. With its digital product portfolio, the company has also taken the issue of customer proximity to a new level: from fast spare parts ordering to technical support from the specialist staff at the machine factory, the company wants to offer its customers even more service and threshold-free accessibility through digital offerings. 

“How can a reprocessing plant that we deliver to a customer today, as a system, always move in an optimum without the customer having to resort to experienced experts, who can be found less and less? This knowledge must be implemented in the system by the machine supplier. We see this as a great opportunity and have a responsibility to our customers. With Life Cycle Service and Process Analytics, we offer our focus industries real added value to improve production processes safely and sustainably.” 

– Stephan Eirich, Managing Director

Life Cycle Service enables transparent service, via real-time monitoring of plants to an augmented reality maintenance service. The solutions focus on optimizing plant downtime and stoppages: 

– myEirich 

The electronic spare parts catalog enables customers to independently and intuitively identify installed components using visual models. The shopping cart rounds off the ServiceExpert ECD software. Required machine and system parts can be placed there and the ordering process can be triggered directly by e-mail. The application provides real-time information on the processing status of a service order and live tracking of the shipping status. 

– Condition monitoring 

The system is based on recording the condition of the machine by measuring and analyzing physical variables. Sensors provide data in real time. Permanent evaluation makes it possible to show trends and detect possible damage to components even before a failure occurs. Crashes, bearing damage, imbalance, gearbox faults and wear are detected and displayed at an early stage. The customer can order spare parts or contact the service department at an early stage, before the machine breaks down or he has to put up with waiting times for service engineers. 

– Teleservice 

Service without a technician on site with remote service and diagnosis. The automatic acquisition of machine and process data and their analysis enables fault localization from a distance. After the customer’s approval, troubleshooting measures can be initiated immediately and a customized update of the software can be carried out without an on-site visit. 

– EIRICH AR Services

Via augmented reality, the specialist can get a virtual overview of the condition of the plant using a smartphone camera and smartglasses. Using advanced 3D object tracking, they can annotate the display with arrows, notes and markers that make it easy for the user to follow the expert’s instructions. This maximizes productivity, reduces downtime and, most importantly, saves time and money. 

With digital tools for process analytics, the company offers optimization solutions that safely and reliably improve production processes: 

– QualiMaster with EIRICH ProView.

The individual systems are a guarantee of quality in their respective areas of application. Automatically, the system continuously takes and examines samples from the mix and measures them in a variety of ways. The ProView software visualizes and analyzes this determined data. High user-friendliness, clear display and many setting options give the user a multitude of possibilities to monitor and control process engineering processes. The results can be evaluated by specialist personnel or by artificial intelligence in order to successively improve the subsequent batches. 

Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

New Chairman of the VDI Society Materials Engineering



On March 23, 2022, at the board meeting of the VDI Society for Materials Engineering (GME), the board members elected Prof. Dr. Christian Hopmann as the new chairman. He succeeds Prof. Dr. Jörg Eßlinger (Director Materials at MTU Aero Engines), who held the chair for two terms and could not be re-elected.

“Whether it’s the energy transition, sustainable mobility, the circular economy or supplying the world’s growing population with food and clean water – materials innovations hold the key to mastering the major challenges facing society. The VDI Society Materials Engineering places this hidden champion at the center of its activities in order to make the world more sustainable and resilient through new materials and a new approach to materials.”

– Prof. Dr. Christian Hopmann

Hopmann has been head of the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and Trade at RWTH Aachen University since April 2011. He also holds the Chair of Plastics Processing at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University and is managing director of the institute’s sponsors’ association. Since 2014, Hopmann has been Vice Dean for Budget and Finance of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University.

Hopmann studied mechanical engineering with a specialization in plastics technology at RWTH Aachen University and received his doctorate in 2000 with a thesis on ceramic injection molding. Together with Univ. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher, holder of the Chair of Machine Tools at the WZL of RWTH Aachen, he founded the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Construction, AZL, in January 2012. Hopmann was awarded the Innovation Prize of the state of NRW in March 2014. Since October 2017, he has held a visiting professorship at the University of Chemical Technology in Beijing.

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Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

Increased efficiency in warehouse automation



E-commerce is booming and with it warehouse automation. Flexible storage systems are also in demand in warehouses of large food chains, which require environmentally friendly, sustainable and intelligent drive concepts. The drive specialist NORD DRIVESYSTEMS knows exactly the needs of the industry and offers a variety of dynamic drive solutions that meet different applications and requirements in warehouse logistics.

The company offers customized drive solutions for warehouse logistics for an optimal compromise between investment, operating and maintenance costs. The drive units with motor efficiency class IE4 and system efficiency class IES2 achieve excellent efficiencies especially in the partial load and partial speed range. With the latest generation IE5+ permanent magnet synchronous motor, even higher energy efficiency can be achieved and energy consumption significantly reduced. The constant torque over a wide speed range also enables targeted variant reduction. In this way, administrative expenses can be minimized and manufacturing, logistics, storage and service processes can be streamlined.

The decentralized frequency inverter 

The NORDAC ON decentralized frequency inverter was developed specifically for the requirements of horizontal conveyor technology in the warehouse area and the NORDAC ON+ variant for interaction with the new IE5+ synchronous motor. It is characterized by an integrated Ethernet interface, its ease of maintenance due to complete pluggability, and extremely compact design, and offers an economical as well as intelligent plug-and-play solution for IIoT environments. The compact, smart frequency inverter for decentralized use can be mounted directly on the gearmotor. It covers smaller power ranges up to 2.2 kW and offers an energy-saving function in the partial load range. The integrated Ethernet interface reduces the effort required for integration into modern automation systems: Whether ProfiNET, EtherNET IP or EtherCAT, the desired protocol can be easily set via parameters.

More efficiency in conveyor technology

The NORDAC FLEX SK 205E series is also ideal for applications in warehouse logistics. The compact, decentralized, and energy-efficient frequency inverter offers a wide power range up to 22 kW and enables energy savings across the entire load range. The inverter can be used to control standard asynchronous motors, high-efficiency synchronous motors and brake motors. It can be installed close to the drive in the field or mounted on the motor.

Power and data cables can be connected in a plug-in manner. The decentralized system allows short motor and encoder cables as well as short supply cables to sensors. Encoder feedbacks can be implemented, for example, for position-controlled transport systems. Since the NORDAC FLEX SK 205E offers a high overload capacity, dynamic movements with short start and stop times or cycle operation are also possible. The integrated control enables high accuracy in synchronous and positioning applications.

Modular system for optimum drive solutions

Overall, the company impresses with a wide range of products for the warehouse sector, including both established basic and high-efficiency products. The user benefits from customized and reliable drive solutions that ensure optimum system availability. The modular drive system thus enables an optimum compromise between investment, operating and maintenance costs.

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Measurement, Instrumentation, Control & Automation News Operation & Maintenance Processing Technologies

Collaboration to develop innovative 3D printing technology



3D printing solutions manufacturer BCN3D Technologies and global leader in adhesives, sealants and functional coatings Henkel Adhesive Technologies today announced a collaboration to develop formulations for the recently introduced Viscous Lithography Manufacturing (VLM)™ 3D printing technology. This official announcement is the latest step in an alliance between the two teams that has been in place since 2020.

With more than 100 years of experience in cross-industry applications, Henkel is more than qualified to provide end-to-end engineering solutions for additive manufacturing (AM), largely through its well-known Loctite brand. Accordingly, the company will use the collaboration to develop new materials for printing technology, advancing its vision of manufacturing autonomy to give manufacturers full control over every stage of the production process with AM.

The joint work is expected to leverage the properties to develop new solutions for high-performance resins. The technology is a patented lithography-based 3D printing process that laminates thin layers of high-viscosity resins onto a transparent transfer film to quickly and cost-effectively produce high-performance components. What sets the printing technology apart from other resin technologies on the market is its ability to process resins that are 50 times more viscous than the industry standard. By eliminating the strict restriction of low viscosity, a whole new range of ingredients and modifiers can be added to the resin to achieve the desired effect on thermal and mechanical properties.

The materials currently being developed by the two companies cannot yet be fully disclosed; however, one of the main areas of research is elastomeric applications – an area that will undoubtedly benefit from high-viscosity resins. These materials can contain a high proportion of oligomers to provide a loosely cross-linked polymer network: a structure that can flexibly withstand mechanical loads, behave like an industrially molded elastomer, and exhibit improved mechanical properties.

“BCN3D has introduced a breakthrough technology that enables printing of highly viscous resins. Thermal and mechanical properties are improved by additives that normally increase the viscosity of resins, which in other cases makes them difficult to print. The team has developed a novel technology that removes viscosity limitations and enables printing of a wide range of new materials, which we have seen firsthand over the past few years of collaboration. We look forward to seeing the tremendous impact this technology, along with Henkel Industrial’s new resins, will have on the additive market.”

– Sam Bail, Director of 3D Printing & Partnerships

Henkel’s 3D printing resins will be used in the new application center where the program will take place. Participants, along with renowned companies Saint Gobain and Prodrive, will be the first to discover the VLM and experience its full potential for themselves with real 3D-printed parts, accompanied by personalized support to meet their exact printing needs.

The first official highlight of this joint venture will take place at Rapid, May 17-19, 2022, at booth 1535, Huntington Place, Detroit, Michigan, where both companies will explain and illustrate the benefits of such collaboration while demonstrating 3D-printed parts produced with VLM.

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