Rexnord Corporation (NYSE: RXN) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Centa Power Transmission (Centa Antriebe Kirschey GmbH), a leading manufacturer of premium flexible couplings and drive shafts for industrial, marine, rail and power generation applications. Subject to customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of February.
“Centa is a business that we have long thought would be an outstanding fit with Rexnord and we are very excited to come to an agreement to make that a reality,” said Todd Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rexnord. “We expect to drive considerable revenue and cost synergies as the business is integrated into Rexnord and believe the complementary product portfolio opens up multiple growth opportunities for us.”
“With the mission-critical nature of the applications in which most of Centa’s products are used, we believe there is a substantial opportunity to bring our DiRXNTM digital productivity platform and connected products capabilities to create even more value for Centa’s long-standing and impressive customer relationships,” said Kevin Zaba, Group Executive and President Rexnord Process & Motion Control platform.
TRANSCYKO is the choice for RGV
Leader AGV and RGV companies’ choice has become Transcyko cycloidal drives for the reason of cost-efficient solutions and its added value over long term.
Transcyko drive systems support their customers to reduce manufacturing costs and keep the heights in competition in the market.
Transcyko drive engineering specialists offer solutions & expertise for virtually any automated transportation challenge on the plant floor. They have over two decades of expertise developing highly efficient, high speed, durable and cost-effective drive solutions for plant transportation systems across the USA.
Robustness, Trust & Easy Maintenance
Drives are also designed for rapid maintenance with a fast and flexible drive assembly process. They have support locations coast to coast, so they are always there when you need them. They also gurantee that drive designs feature modular components that can be rapidly delivered.
In Transcyko, system’s uptime’s importance is customer’s success. That’s why they build reliable products to industry standards and offer modular drive components for quick delivery; fast and flexible drive assembly processes; support locations coast-to-coast and committed staff near the customer who will do whatever it takes to keep them up and running with the shortest down time possible.
What Are Rail Guided Vehicle (RGV) Systems?
RGV Systems are fast flexible rail systems which make it possible to transport large quantities of heavy good over long distances at low cost with high efficiency.
RGV systems are vital for Storage, Handling, and Order fulfillment in a wide range of industries. Due to their widespread application, they are also seen as mission critical to daily operations for many large industrial plants.
This means that the reliability of the drive and control systems for these RGV systems is key to their overall operation efficiency and productivity. Transcyko produces the high reliability cycloidal drives which are used in these rail guided systems.
RGV Systems’ Advantages
RGV Systems are easily installable, highly scalable and easily maintainable. In all systems, the vehicles can easily be removed and replaced for maintenance or upgrade without affecting the overall operation of the system.
The patterns which the systems shall be installed can be linear or circular. It’s dependent on the position and manufacturing necessities.
Motion control looks set to keep running for many years
Industrial control is a highly developed field that advances year on year as the underlying technology advances. But will it and all its specialist sub-sets continue to thrive? Gerard Bush, a motion specialist with INMOCO, offers his opinion.
All technologies develop over time, with most eventually reaching an upper limit where they are as advanced as they can be. This is clearly evident in older technologies where the peak has been reached, an example being steam trains which over about 100 years developed from Stephenson’s Rocket to the Flying Scotsman. In other cases it is less clear. Cars, for instance, continue to develop at a rapid pace. There is no denying that a 10 year old car is not as sophisticated as one fresh off the production line, but it can be argued that the developments are actually advances in constituent technologies rather than fundamental car design – for example, is an engine management system an advance in automotive engineering or electronics applied to automotive applications? Is satnav automotive engineering or digital technology?
Cars are currently offering us another important insight to the advancement of technologies – the role of disruptive change, with the manufacturers responding to socio-political pressures and developing electric propulsion. A Cinderella technology for at least a couple of decades, electric and hybrid cars are now available from most automotive majors and are moving into the mainstream markets.
So is this development pattern being reflected in the world of industrial control? There have certainly been advances since the 1960s days of hand-assembled relay boards and the pneumatic (non-sparking) control of early North Sea oil rigs. Further, it is not surprising that specialist forms of control, such as SCADA, motion control and dual redundancy safety have developed.
There are two main things that drive the advancement of technology. The first is the makers of the technology pushing the performance envelope of their products, to improve performance and give them an edge over their competitors. The second is user demand, people wanting to do more with a given technology and asking the manufacturers to help.
Then we have to allow for the occasional step change caused by a disruptive event, and control technologists are experiencing one right now – Industry 4.0.
The term Industry 4.0 was coined to describe the merger of two separate things in the worlds of manufacturing and production: the field-level device control of automation and the transfer of the resultant data to higher-level control systems for both production and enterprise management. First used in 2011 – at that year’s Hanover Fair – it embraces cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things, cloud computing, cognitive computing and ‘smart factories’.
In fact it is fair to say that Industry 4.0 is a group of related technologies that are brought together to improve productivity by bringing as much information as possible to the control of machines and processes.
Motion control is now offering an illustration of how this evolving. Over the last few years the developers of motion technologies have improved the data communications and processing capacity of their control units. Naturally, once the controllers had more capacity, users started to set up systems with more information flowing through them. The result is that the host machines have become more responsive to their operating environment and production requirements and thus more productive.
An example of this is that a production machine may be in communication with a system that is measuring user demand in real time (or near-real time) and thus able to automatically react to market changes. Alternatively a machine may be equipped for continuous self-diagnostics, allowing the motion controller to slow down operations and summon maintenance help if a warming bearing is suggesting a possible pending breakdown.
Another example is in the growing popularity of AGVs (automated guided vehicles) in warehouses and factories. These are effectively mobile robots that can travel from workstation to workstation to deliver workpieces, or from storage bin to storage bin to picks parts for an order. The motion control system that drives these units is reacting to live information it is receiving from a central computer – a case of Industry 4.0 in action.
Another way in which motion control is improving is in the precision of its operations. The resolution of positional accuracy has improved steadily over the years and is now at a point where, for instance, precision assembly of small parts is commonplace. With increasing accuracy we see even more innovative applications emerging along with a widening of the areas of use. So today, we see motion control solutions being used for micro-machining, in operating theatres to perform surgeries with supreme accuracy, and to collect individual cells in biological laboratories.
These examples are very exciting, but it is notable that they are each based on the creative use of one or more relatively simple technological developments. Over time these developments will be applied to more and more projects.
As an illustration of a simple but important development, Kollmorgen’s single cable connections for motion systems building makes the physical assembly of systems easier and faster. This takes out cost, improves maintainability and – importantly – encourages widening use of motion control. Similarly, PMD Corp is working on pre-engineered subsystems that can be easily integrated to make large sophisticated systems.
So over the next several years it looks like motion control will be moving into new fields and be more widely used, that industrial control in general will continue to develop becoming more and more capable, easier to use and more widely spread.
The digitalization of food palletizing
The technological and social revolutions of the past few decades have completely reshaped industry. The food packaging and palletizing industry is no exception. In fact, the last ten years alone has seen the adoption of advanced technologies at an unprecedented rate. Here, Alan Spreckley, robotics food and beverage segment manager and palletizing robotics expert at ABB, explains how digitalization is repackaging the future of food palletizing.
The last two decades have seen a decline in the nuclear family and a global rise in the number of private households with only a single occupier. In 2017, the UK office of national statistics (ONS) conducted a study that found 27.8 per cent of UK households had only one inhabitant. Likewise, the labor force survey (LFS) showed that one-third of European households are single person, while the US has been experiencing a significant increase of single person households since the 1920s.
This growing trend places a higher demand for single-portion servings of pre-prepared and pre-packaged food on the food industry, which makes the packaging and palletizing processes less linear than they have previously been. Similarly, the unstable economy of recent years has nurtured a generation of savvy customers, eager for the special offers and deals that retailers regularly provide, further complicating the palletizing process. This leads to scenarios where manufacturers will be required to change palletizing patterns quickly and cost efficiently to deliver this.
Robots have been a staple of the food industry since the 1980s, with most businesses using at least one robotic system for some part of the production line. Palletizing robots have proven particularly popular among plant engineers as they increase productivity, improve working conditions and can be easily integrated into existing production systems.
However, the process of integrating palletizing robots has traditionally relied on computer assisted design (CAD) drawings and involved a lot of estimation.
To quicken this step, virtual commissioning is becoming increasingly popular among plant managers, often using ABB’s innovative suite of virtual commissioning tools. Instead of using CAD, the process is modeled in 3D which provides an accurate visualization of a factory layout. This allows plant engineers to see a digital representation of how the robot will integrate and move within the process and allows them to discover and resolve any potential technical issues before they become a reality, reducing commissioning time by up to 25 per cent.
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