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The past and the future
1st Quarter 2012, News & events


All the best for the new year, may it be a good one for all our readers.

A crystal ball

It is always fun at the start of a new year to see what predictions have been made for the future but I often wonder about the accuracy of these forecasts. So it was with great interest that I came across some predictions published in 1900 by an American engineer called John Elfreth Watkins about what the world would be like in 2000. He began the article with the words: “These prophecies will seem strange, almost impossible,” and 10 of his predictions were startlingly accurate. They included the advent of digital colour photography (photographs will be telegraphed from any distance); mobile phones (wireless telegraph circuits will span the world); television (man will see around the world); and tanks (huge forts on wheels will dash across open spaces at the speed of express trains).

Inspired by Watkins, the BBC recently came up with its vision for 2112. Futurists give a 100% chance to the following ‘strange, almost impossible’ ideas: we will be able to communicate through thought transmission; we will be wired to computers to make our brains faster; nanorobots will flow around our bodies fixing cells and recording our memories; we will have nuclear fusion; and we will be able to control the weather.

I am not sure I want to be around for some of these, but there are some new technologies which are going to be a reality in the very short term. One of these is 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, which is set to revolutionise the world of manufacturing, which we cover in our story on ‘How to print a control valve’.

Nothing but the best

BMG Hydraulics chooses only the best when it decides whom to represent. Our ‘Cover Story’ is about BMG’s latest range of hoses and fittings from the world class RYCO Hydraulics.

A rich harvest

Agriculture is our industry feature in this issue and we have a story about the winning entry in the Pneudrive Challenge, which is sponsored by Festo and SEW-Eurodrive. The top team from Stellenbosch University delivered an impressive design for a high speed, accurate and selective apple packing machine designed to improve the marketability of boxed apples. The students noted that Festo’s fin gripper, which we also feature, would be ideal for this application. There is another one about how Sauer-Danfoss upgraded an entire range of combine harvesters to a propel system based on its H1 pumps.

Virtual flying

We have plenty of features on drives, including one on new torque motors from Siemens and another on inverted tooth conveyor chains from Tectra. A complete eye opener to me was Simulflight’s flight simulator, which uses a PC-based controller from Beckhoff Automation to manage the challenging I/O requirements. Having tried it out myself I can vouch that the flying experience is completely realistic.

Pneumatic conveyors and valves

At a SAFPA technical evening last year Dr Stephen Meijers from ELB Engineering gave a fascinating talk on pneumatic conveyors and we cover this for those who did not make the talk. On the subject of pneumatics we also cover valves from Axiom Hydraulics and Pneumatic Electric Control Systems (PECS).

Miniature hydraulics

On the hydraulics side we have an advanced electrohydraulic cylinder from Parker Hannifin. We also describe a new research area called mesofluidics, or miniaturised hydraulics. This is the application of millimetre to centimetre sized hydraulics to problems that require substantial amounts of power to be generated and applied in a limited space, and researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the USA have shrunk the technology down by orders of magnitude.

A new electronic newsletter

We are introducing a new guest column called Fluid Power Tips by international columnist Josh Cosford from The Fluid Power House in Canada. The first one is printed in this issue and will be followed up in our electronic newsletter, Newsbrief. This now has a new format which we hope will be more readable and easily accessible. In future our online Newsbrief will go out monthly and will contain the features and news published in the most recent hard copy of Motion Control, which is also now available in e-book form, complete with electronic page turning. Having also recently been dragged into the world of tablets, I would like to mention that both these can be accessed on Blackberry, Android, Kindle or iPad. To subscribe to Newsbrief at no cost please send an e-mail to brianj@technews.co.za

Kim Roberts, Editor


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Further reading:

  • Renewable energy challenges
    3rd Quarter 2014, Technews Publishing, News & events
    Welcome to our bumper issue of Motion Control. Technews would also like to welcome SAFPA’s new president, Eugene Tondolo. Motion Control was recently able to catch up with him to find out what his plans ...
  • Bosch Rexroth to acquire 50% of Hytec
    3rd Quarter 2014, News & events
    Bosch Rexroth plans to acquire a 50% share in its sales partner Hytec Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tesuco Group, subject to regulatory approval. Hytec Holdings generated sales of almost ...
  • Zest WEG celebrates 20 years in Cape Town
    3rd Quarter 2014, ZEST WEG Group, News & events
    Zest WEG Group first established a small office in Cape Town 20 years ago to cater for local customers who require fast turnaround times on the supply of electric motors. Today, this thriving business ...
  • Siemens grows its business through strategic partners
    3rd Quarter 2014, Siemens Industry Automation & Drives Technologies, News & events
    In the first annual Siemens partner golf day, Siemens’ strategic partners from all over Africa were treated to a day of golf at the Serengeti Golf Estate outside Johannesburg. Part of the proceedings ...
  • Premier Valves acquired by AVK
    3rd Quarter 2014, News & events
    A majority stake in South Africa’s Premier Valves Group (PVG) has been acquired by Denmark’s AVK, one of the world’s leading valve manufacturers. The R100 million investment will see AVK South Africa ...
  • General Pneumatics represents Gast Group
    3rd Quarter 2014, News & events
    The Gast Group has strengthened its Europe, Middle East and Africa distribution network with the appointment of General Pneumatics as a distributor and authorised service centre. Gast is a designer and ...
  • Opportunity knocks in the hydraulic hose industry
    3rd Quarter 2014, Genflex, News & events
    Over the last 25 years, Genflex Hydraulics has grown into a major supplier of hydraulic hoses and fittings. The company now wishes to expand its outlets by allowing suitable entrepreneurs to participate ...
  • Pirtek sponsors fluid power skills training
    3rd Quarter 2014, News & events
    Sparrow FET College based in Sophiatown has launched a new MERSETA accredited qualification. The college has made a name for itself by offering skills training in partnership with industry, and has now ...
  • A new global player in pneumatics
    3rd Quarter 2014, Tectra Automation, News & events
    A new standalone company has been created from the former pneumatics unit of Bosch Rexroth. Effective from 2014, the former subsidiary is named Aventics, and, with revised values and a new company structure, ...
  • Baldwin Filters on the move
    3rd Quarter 2014, News & events
    Baldwin Filters has recently relocated and upgraded its manufacturing and distribution facilities in Cape Town. As part of the relocation, the company has also taken the opportunity to upgrade both the ...
  • CPD credits for SEW-Eurodrive’s Drive Academy
    3rd Quarter 2014, SEW-Eurodrive, News & events
    SEW-Eurodrive is able to provide greater value-added services to its client base, after the company’s Drive Academy officially achieved ECSA recognised CPD credits for two training courses in April 2014. ...
  • Hydraulic training for Inergy automotive plants
    3rd Quarter 2014, Festo, News & events
    Festo Germany recently created an international training partnership with Inergy Automotive. A number of English-speaking countries were selected as pilot countries to start hydraulics training sessions, ...

 
 
 
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