16:37 10 May 2017
Several exhibitors have launched “smart” versions of traditional mechanical component at the recent Hannover Fair. Some of their innovations have been designed to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0 applications.
ContiTech, one of the participants, unveiled an intelligent belt designed to continuously measure surface wear, elongation, temperature, and corrosion of its steel cords. Such information are processed by the belt’s internal and external sensors and sent to the users who can then replace their belts before they fail.
Another participant, Schunk, showcased a smart parallel gripper featuring on-board sensors and the processing power to capture data about the items it’s holding. The information can be used by users to identify the items, detect any damage, and decide whether a component is good or bad.
HiWin Technologies, on the other hand, unveiled an “intelligent” ball screw with built-in sensors to monitor lubrication, preload status, vibration levels and temperature. The data can be used to improve productivity and prevent unexpected machine shutdowns.
A German start-up called Sensosurf has developed ultra thin sensors that can be embedded into the surfaces of linear guides, gears, bearings and the likes. The company described its technology as the world’s first intelligent flange and pedestal bearings.