A new report from Transparency Market Research predicts that the global market for industrial automation equipment will expand from $183bn in 2015 to reach $352bn by the end of 2024 – a CAGR of 6.6% over the period. Part of this growth will be driven by manufacturing industry revolutionising the way that it operates. Another driving factor is said to be a strong growth in demand for CNC technologies.
The US vehicle technologies supplier Dana Incorporated is acquiring the power transmission and fluid power businesses of the Italian Brevini Group in a deal that values the group at €325m, including the assumption of about €100m of debt. Dana plans initially to buy an 80% share in the Brevini businesses, with an option to acquire the remaining 20% by 2020.
The automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is buying a 51% stake in Compact Dynamcs, the German manufacturer of high-performance motors currently owned by the power semiconductor specialist, Semikron. Under the deal, which gives Schaeffler the option of acquiring the remaining shares in 2018, it will also cooperate with Semikron in the development of power electronic systems and the integration of power electronic components. Financial details have not been released.
Danfoss Drives has entered the $2.5bn medium-voltage drives market with a novel modular design that allows system integrators (SIs) and OEMs to customise their drives and to fit them more easily into tight spaces, such as on board ships. The Vacon 3000 drives will initially cover voltage ratings from 3.3–4.16kV, and power ratings up to 6MW. The range will probably be extended upwards at a later stage.
The Italian motor-maker Lafert is investing around €4.5m to expand its main production site near Venice by 5,000m2, adding to the existing 23,000m2 of floorspace. The expansion is part of a programme aimed at raising the company’s revenues from €143m this year to at least €220m by 2020. Production logistics are being improved to allow the company to meet demand, which has been expanding by about 10% a year recently. Turnover at the family-owned company has almost doubled during the past six years.
The US electric car-maker Tesla is buying a German automation specialist, Grohmann Engineering, to help it boost output from around 80,000 vehicles a year at present, to 500,000 by 2018. Grohmann will be renamed Tesla Grohmann Automation and its workforce is expected to expand from around 700 to more than 1,000 over the next two years. Grohmann’s site in Prüm will also serve as the initial base for Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, with other locations to follow.
The global market for precision-geared products slowed to around $1.9bn in 2015, with 2.2 billion units being shipped, according to the analyst, IHS Markit. Revenue growth in US dollars fell by 0.8% compared to 2014, due mainly to the depreciation of the euro and Japanese yen against the US dollar, as well as a sluggish Asian market. But the analyst expects the market to recover in 2016.
The German bearings manufacturer Schaeffler has announced plans to cut around 500 jobs from its industrial division over the next three years. The cutbacks, which are intended to revitalise the division and to improve its profitability by about €60m, follow a 5.3% drop in revenue for business during the first nine months of 2016, which Schaeffler blames on “a weak economic market environment”.
Cyber-security researchers have found vulnerabilities in Schneider Electric’s Magelis HMIs (human-machine interfaces) that could allow attackers to “freeze” the panels remotely and prevent them from communicating with PLCs and other devices, potentially affecting the operation of industrial plants.
After expanding by 10.1% in 2015, global revenues from industrial Ethernet infrastructure components are likely to grow by just 4.5% this year, according to the analyst, IHS Markit. However, the horizon looks brighter for 2017 and beyond.
Global electricity consumption could be cut by around 7% by using more efficient electric motors and related systems, according to the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). The Centre has calculated that such measures could save more than 1,350TWh of electricity and would mean that 17% less coal-fired generating capacity would be needed, avoiding the need to build around 200 new power plants and saving around $375bn in the process.
Cognex has bought the German 3D vision sensor specialist EnShape. This follows its earlier acquisition of AQSense, a Spanish developer of 3D vision software, which sells a library of 3D vision tools and configuration software that simplifies the setting up of 3D vision applications.
Pepperl+Fuchs, the German intrinsic safety and industrial sensing specialist, has acquired ecom instruments, which it describes as the global market-leader in mobile phones and tablets for use in hazardous areas. Details of the deal have not been revealed.
UPDATED: Schneider Electric has denied a suggestion by a US financial analyst that it is looking to buy Rockwell Automation in a deal that could value the US automation giant at around $18bn. Rockwell’s share price surged by 6.9% on the rumour, before dropping back to a 4.2% gain for the day (21 October). It closed at $122.99 – its highest price since July 2015. Following Schneider's denial, the stock price dropped back below $120.
Altra Industrial Motion is buying the brake, clutch and couplings manufacturer Stromag from GKN for around €184m (£164m). GKN says the sale will allow it to redeploy capital into its core aerospace and automotive businesses. The deal includes the transfer of debt-like obligations of around €14m (£13 million) for a total enterprise value of €198 million (£177 million).