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In brief

01 November, 2003

In brief

• The US Government is providing more than half of the funding ($61m) for a $115m programme of research, development and demonstration aimed at improving the energy efficiency of manufacturing industry. The three-year programme will involve more than 150 companies, working with universities and Government laboratories. Three of the projects deal with wireless sensor technologies.

• The 1394automation group, formed last year in Europe to promote the use of the IEEE 1394 bus standard (also known as FireWire), particularly in motion control, is merging with the much larger 1394 Trade Association, which was formed nine years ago and has 170 members including Intel, Microsoft, Sony and Philips.

• Following its recent acquisition of the VIA Wiring Diagram Products, Autodesk, the company behind AutoCAD software, has launched a product optimised for electrical control design and engineering. Autodesk claims that AutoCAD Electrical 2004 is the only package of its type that is integrated with AutoCad to provide full DWG file compatibility.

• The Mint motion control language is celebrating its 15th anniversary. The language was created in 1988 by the British company Optimised Control, which is now part of Baldor Electric. Inventor Mark Crocker says that Mint - which stands for Motion Intelligence - was almost called Bifmoc (Basic interpreter for motion control).

Rockwell Automation has recently shipped its millionth DeviceNet node since it started to sell them in 1995. Originally DeviceNet was developed as a proprietary Rockwell standard, but the specification is now owned and managed by the independent ODVA which has more than 250 members around the world.

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