European Automation Articles
Keeping industrial automation fit and healthy
In the last few years, fitness tracking technology has been increasingly popular, with a range of devices available to help you become healthier, improve your fitness performance and ultimately live longer. These devices use non-invasive, easy to use sensors that connect directly to your smartphone or computer, giving you instant results to track your progress.
What is the smart grid?
To help industry better understand the deluge of intelligent devices and systems setting the energy sector alight, EU Automation has produced a concise one page guide about smart technology. Smart technologies are currently taking over both the consumer and industrial automation markets. In the energy sector, this has given birth to smart meters and significant developments towards smart cities running on even smarter grids.
Engineering vs. IT
Steak and chips, strawberries and cream or rum and coke - some things are meant to be together. Yet, in the same breath, many things that are forced upon each other can create outstanding combinations. As the worlds of engineering and IT continue to band together, Jonathan Wilkins, Marketing Director of industrial automation supplier EU Automation, discusses what this combination means for the manufacturing industry.
Bridging the islands of automation
The ideal holiday arrangement for the world’s wealthy elite and a distant fantasy for the rest of us, private islands deliver ultimate isolation in our modern world. While this may seem like paradise for those stuck in rush hour traffic, in the real world, communication is key. Here, Robert Holloway, head of order fulfilment at industrial automation supplier EU Automation, discusses the potential of continuous manufacturing compared to its ...
The internet of zombies
Since Dawn of the Dead was first released in 1978, the possibility of a viral outbreak that will turn us all into night crawling, flesh-eating zombies has become a worry for many and a very prolific Hollywood theme. While it's unlikely this will ever happen, the industry has recently started facing an epidemic across IT systems that companies should be aware of. The internet of zombies won't result in the end of civilisation, but it does put your...
The rise and fall and rise of the electric car
This may surprise you, but did you know the electric car isn't a recent development? The idea has been around for over a century and has an interesting history of development. The early EVs, such as Wood's Phaeton, were little more than electrified horseless carriages. The Phaeton itself had a range of 18 miles and a top speed of 14 miles per hour.
War of the currents: AC/DC power
Steve Jobs and Bill Gates - two of the most well-known figures in modern technology and also, one of the industry’s most infamous rivalries. “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste,” Jobs famously stated in 1996. Despite the snide remarks and occasional lawsuits, both Jobs and Gates realised there was room on the IT market for both companies to coexist. The same however, cannot be said for George Westinghouse...
Automation for oil & gas
On Earth, it’s hard to imagine a more alien place than the unexplored environment of the deep sea. For the Attenborough enthusiasts among us, bizarre, bioluminescent creatures are what usually come to mind when we consider an ocean’s 3,000 ft depths. But by employing cutting-edge technology, these incredible depths are set to become the locations of large production sites for the subsea oil and gas industry. Rapid technological advanc...
Five misconceptions about reconditioned parts
Dismiss almost every Viking costume you’ve ever laid eyes on. While these threatening Scandinavian tribes did wear all sorts of bizarre headgear when marching into battle, there’s no reason to believe it was decked with the intimidating horns popular culture loves so much. There are countless myths and fallacies which over time, have become commonly accepted as the truth. Misconceptions about reconditioned industrial automation parts ...
Distributed control systems vs programmable logic controllers
The difference between distributed control systems (DCSs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) can be boiled down to a simple football metaphor. Your DCS is your captain. The first name on the team sheet, your DCS is dependable, hardworking and controls the whole outfit. Your PLC is more like a utility player - he's nippy and doesn't mind where he plays, but don't expect him to be as reliable as your captain. Here, Mark Proctor, managing dir...
The bigger, the better?
In 2009, Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully load tested the most powerful electric motor ever used by the US Navy. The motor is also the world's first 36.5MW high temperature superconductor (HTS) ship propulsion motor, which is double the US Navy's power rating test record. What may surprise you is the motor is less than half the size of a conventional motor, thanks to the use of HTS wire coils that are able to carry 150 times the power of...
The risks of replacement
We’ve all been there, the vacuum has been rattling for months and you’ve gotten used to the slight aroma of charred carpet after every clean. But a final diminishing groan forces you to admit your trusty vacuum has had its day. Instead of trying to patch up old Henry, most of us would take his demise as the perfect excuse to splash out on that lightweight, wall mounted, cordless number we have seen on the telly. In industrial environm...
Obsolescence challenges for the automotive industry
As the industry that introduced the traditional six-axis robotic arm to its production lines in the early 1960s, the automotive sector has, in some cases, stayed surprisingly stagnant when it comes to innovation. However, in the past few years the race to design and build self-driving cars, augmented reality windscreens and additive manufactured parts has started to gain speed.
Fear not the cobot
The world’s first industrial robot was an idea conceived after a conversation about science fiction novels between inventors George Devol and Joseph Eagleburger in 1954. Six years later, Unimate had secured its place in the robotic hall of fame as the world’s first industrial robot. It was then put to work on the General Motors assembly line in 1961.
The importance of ergonomics for industrial automation
Kettles that release red hot steam onto their handles, cupboard drawers that don’t quite slot in and of course, those pesky USB sticks that take three or four attempts to insert before realising you had right the first time. These niggles are part of everyday life and albeit annoying, their poor design is usually pretty easy to ignore. But in industry, the bad design of manufacturing environments and equipment is much more significant than ...
Increased connectivity with digital twins
Until the beginning of the 21st century, the only way to get information about the status of operating industrial equipment was to inspect it. Today, increased computing power and connectivity are making it possible to virtualise this task by creating and maintaining a digital twin of anything from electric motors to PLC systems.
The benefits of remanufactured automotive parts
During World War II, access to natural resources was incredibly difficult in most European countries. Most countries found that, the effort to build planes, ships and tanks was crippling, creating an urgent need to reuse and remanufacture industrial parts. Beginning with the rebuilding of automotive and truck parts in the 1940s, this gave birth to an entire industry and is now common practice. Here, Darren Halford, sales director of industrial au...
Planning a revamp?
Let me set the scene. As a plant manager, you've set your sights on a full system upgrade. You've broken the news to the rest of the team and you’re pleasantly surprised to see they share your excitement. You might think their happiness is a result of having a brand new system, but in reality it might be the prospect of having a short holiday while the upgrade is completed.
Beyond IoT: pervasive sensing
In manufacturing facilities, unplanned outages force continuously operating processes to go through shutdown and start-up procedures. It's under these conditions that serious incidents are most likely to occur. Ideally, manufacturers should to be able to anticipate equipment failures to prevent these outages.
The rise of ubiquitous computing
The concept of ubiquitous computing dates back to 1991, only two years after Marty McFly supposedly travelled to 2015 in Back to the Future Part II. The concept was first described by scientist, Mark Weiser who said: "The most profound technologies are those that disappear. They weave themselves into the fabric of everyday life until they are indistinguishable from it."