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28 June, 2017

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‘Revolutionary’ app-driven pneumatics will replace 50 parts

30 March, 2017

Festo is claiming a “breakthrough” in pneumatic technology – a digital valve system that combines the functions of more than 50 separate components and is programmed to perform a variety of duties using on-board apps. Festo has spent three years developing its Festo Motion Terminal (codenamed VTEM) which, it says, will “catapult pneumatics into the era of Industry 4.0”.


ABB's digital portfolio spans 180 products and services

30 March, 2017

ABB has formally launched its portfolio of more than 180 digital products and services which it will market under the ABB Ability name. It says that that the digital offering, first revealed last year, will unlock the value of the fourth industrial revolution for its customers.


Siemens invests in power electronics for future converters

30 March, 2017

Siemens is investing in its Motion Control facility in Erlangen, Germany, to make it the company’s centre for power electronics. The move is in preparation for the next generation of power converters which will need highly integrated semiconductors to cut costs, boost reliability, and miniaturise product designs.


$25m investment brings LV switchgear to North America

15 March, 2017

ABB has announced a family of low-voltage switchgear, motor control centres and panels which, it says, represent more than $25m of research and development investment to bring its switchgear to the North American market. The launch is an expansion of ABB’s power distribution equipment portfolio, in which all medium- and low-voltage systems are branded as ReliaGear for standard equipment, and SafeGear for arc-resistant equipment.


Simulation shows how controls could be hit by ‘ransomware’

28 February, 2017

Cyber-security researchers in the US have shown how hackers could take control of industrial control systems and hold their operators to ransom. The researchers, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, have demonstrated how attackers could, for example, take control of PLCs in a water treatment plant to shut down valves, increase the amount of chlorine added to water in the plant, and display false readings. They could demand payments to stop the sabotage from happening.


Fieldbuses fall below 50% of the industrial networking market

27 February, 2017

Fieldbuses now account for less than half of the global industrial networking market for the first time, according to the latest analysis by the Swedish networking specialist, HMS. During 2016, fieldbuses represented 48% of installed nodes, down from 58% in 2015, while industrial Ethernet technologies accounted for 46%, up from 38%.


Siemens separates off mechanical drives business

17 February, 2017

Siemens is setting up its Mechanical Drives (MD) business as a separate company, in a move that could lead to its eventual sell-off. Siemens says that the new setup that will enable the business to operate more efficiently and flexibly in implementing its growth plans in a competitive environment.


ABB acquires Spanish 3D inspection pioneer, NUB3D

14 February, 2017

ABB has acquired a Spanish start-up company called NUB3D, which specialises in white-light 3D sensor technologies, which use digital scanning to optimise inspection and quality assurance in manufacturing. The sensors are said to detect defects in manufactured parts with high levels of accuracy.


Midea takes control of Israeli motion firm, Servotronix

14 February, 2017

The Chinese appliances giant Midea has taken control of the Israeli motion control specialist Servotronix Motion Control in a transaction that is reported to value Servotronix at $170m. The deal comes shortly after Midea acquired the German robot-maker, Kuka, for €4.5m, and a week after another Chinese company, Estun Automation, bought the UK motion control specialist, Trio Motion Technology, for £15.5m.


Nidec completes $1.2bn takeover of Emerson units

01 February, 2017

UPDATED: The Japanese motor manufacturer Nidec has completed its $1.2bn purchase of Emerson Electric’s motors, drives and power generation businesses – principally, the Welsh drives-maker Control Techniques and the French motor manufacturer, Leroy-Somer. Nidec predicts that the deal will accelerate its growth and help it to meet a mid-term goal of achieving two trillion yen ($17.6bn) in sales by the year ending March 2021.


The factory of the future could cut costs by up to 40%

02 February, 2017

Manufacturers who start to implement the factory of the future today will save up to 40% of their conversion costs in ten years. This is the conclusion of a US-German study that quizzed more than 750 production managers in leading industrial companies around the world.


Minimum motor efficiencies in EU now extend down to 750W

01 February, 2017

The latest phase of the EU’s motor efficiency regulations came into force last month, requiring most new single-speed, three-phase induction motors from 750W up to 375kW either to have an IE3 (“premium efficiency”) efficiency rating, or to be IE2 (“high efficiency”) and used with a variable-speed drive.


Italy’s ESA Automation buys drive-maker Selema

31 January, 2017

Italy’s ESA Automation has acquired the drives-maker Selema for an undisclosed sum. Selema, founded in 1978 and based near Bologna, produces drives with current ratings from 0.5–60A, to control brushless, linear and torque motors, among others.


€17.5m distribution centre will accelerate bearings deliveries

31 January, 2017

The bearings manufacturer NSK is investing almost €17.5m to build a new European Distribution Centre (EDC), 4km from its existing site at Tilburg in the Netherlands. It says that the 17,357m² facility, due to be completed by July, will allow it to stock more, to operate more efficiently, and to make faster deliveries to customers.


A return to growth in 2017 is one of top 7 automation trends

30 January, 2017

Following two years of contraction, the global automation market will return to growth this year, according to the market analyst, IHS Markit, which has published a list of what it thinks will be the top seven manufacturing trends during 2017.


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