The newly-combined Danfoss and Vacon drives business has set its sights on overtaking ABB to become the leader of the global drives market. Speaking at the recent Hannover Fair, Vesa Laisi, president of Danfoss Drives – the merged business formed following Danfoss’ €1bn acquisition of Vacon last year – said that the new business is “not too far” behind ABB.
The global market for industrial automation equipment (IAE) will continue to grow during 2015, but at a slower rate than before, as a result of the low oil and commodity prices and weakened demand from some developing economies. A research note issued by the analyst IHS suggests that these factors will dampen revenue growth by about 1–2% this year, resulting in a growth rate of 4.5% above 2014 levels.
The OPC Foundation and the EtherCat Technology Group (ETG) have agreed to develop open interfaces between their technologies. At the recent Hannover Fair, OPC Foundation president Tom Burke and ETG executive director Martin Rostan signed a memorandum of understanding, agreeing to co-operate on developing these interfaces, rather than each developing technology extensions into the other’s core areas.
ABB has acquired the German robotics specialist Gomtec to expand its offering in the field of collaborative robots. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
China is the world’s biggest market for linear and torque motors, due to the rapid growth of its high-tech industries. A new report from IHS Technology points out that China is strong in the semiconductor equipment, machine tool, and electronic assembly and flat-panel display sectors which, together, accounted for more than 55% of the global market for linear and torque motors in 2014.
The drives-maker Control Techniques is warning that new European legislation covering the export of high-frequency (HF) drives could result in hefty penalties, including potential prison sentences for machine-builders and system integrators.
More than 200,000 industrial robots were sold globally for the first time in 2014, according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). More than 60% of the sales were in just two countries – China and South Korea, which together bought about 140,000 robots.
ABB is investing $30m to build a new manufacturing plant in the US that will produce low-voltage products, including circuit-breakers, soft-starters, switches and power distribution systems. The investment in the new 11,000m2 plant – located near Memphis, Tennessee – will initially create more than 200 jobs, with a further 100 jobs expected to be added over the coming five years.
Global shipments of motion control products grew by 9% in 2014 to exceed $3bn, according to figures released by the Motion Control Association (MCA). But the MCA’s most recent survey of motion control manufacturers reveals that 72% of them believe that shipments of motion control products will remain flat in the first half of 2015, with just 27% expecting the market to expand further, and 1% forecasting a decline.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited a Siemens factory where the company is introducing elements of Industry 4.0 into the manufacturing of PLCs (programmable logic controllers).
By 2025, the widespread adoption of advanced industrial robots will boost manufacturing productivity by up to 30% in many industries, and cut labour costs by 18% or more, according to a new study from the US analyst, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).
Fanuc has announced plans to invest more than $1bn in new factories in Japan to produce servodrives and CNC (computer numerical control) systems, and to expand its central laboratories.
GSI Group, the US motion control and photonics equipment supplier, is buying Applimotion, the Californian manufacturer of precision motor and motion control technologies for advanced industrial and medical markets, for $13m in cash. Applimotion will be integrated into GSI’s MicroE Systems business, which supplies position measurement technologies for precision motion control.
The global market for industrial operator panels is undergoing a ‘fundamental’ change, with text-based and semi-graphical panels disappearing, and the number of panels with widescreens and touch displays increasing, according to a new study from the ARC Advisory Group.
The global market for industrial Ethernet infrastructure components was worth nearly $1.38bn in 2013, and grew by 7.1% to reach $1.48bn in 2014, according to a new study published by IHS. It predicts that sales will continue to grow with a CAGR of around 8.6% from 2013 to 2018.