Electric motor manufacturers in North America and Europe are working together to develop efficiency standards for complete motor-driven systems, rather than focusing on motors in isolation.
The Japanese robot-maker Fanuc has teamed up with the computer technology specialist Nvidia to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics to boost productivity and to bring new capabilities to automated factories.
The global market for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) shrank by 11.5% in 2015, and is continuing to contract this year, according to analysis by IHS Markit. It attributes the decline to a combination of factors, including the unfavourable economic climate in emerging economies, China’s economic slowdown, over-capacity in heavy industries, as well as the end of the commodity super-cycle.
ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division is being reborn as Robotics and Motion in the latest stage in its Next Level Strategy designed “to unlock value for customers and shareholders”. The former Process Automation division is being renamed Industrial Automation.
Rockwell Automation has acquired North America’s largest independent systems integrator, Maverick Technologies, to help it to deliver control and information systems to customers in industries such as chemicals, food and beverage, and oil and gas. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
The Switch, the Finnish specialist in advanced drivetrain technology which is owned by Yaskawa, is buying Wärtsilä’s marine drives business which produces Megawatt-scale drives for marine applications. The deal will give The Switch a stronger foothold in the growing marine drives sector and allow it to offer drivetrain components for marine applications, while Wärtsilä’s Norwegian Electrical and Automation (E&A) business will be able to focus on system-level offerings.
More than 1.4 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world by 2019, taking the total number to 2.6 million, according to the latest forecast from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
The test tool giant Fluke has acquired US-based eMaint Enterprises, which specialises in computerised maintenance management software (CMMS). The terms of the deal have not been released.
Prices of medium-voltage motors are falling for the first time in more than a decade, according to the market analyst, IHS Markit, which expects average selling prices for MV motors to drop by 2.3% year-on-year by the end of 2016. It attributes the fall largely to lower materials prices, especially for copper, steel and wire cable.
Following a complaint lodged by Rockwell Automation, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) has voted to start an investigation into certain industrial control software, systems and components. The products at issue are programmable industrial controllers and associated software used for the automation of industrial processes.
Rockwell Automation has acquired US-based Automation Control Products (ACP), which specialises in centralised thin-client, remote desktop and server management software. ACP’s two core products, ThinManager and Relevance, help to manage information and streamline workflows in connected manufacturing environments.
Danfoss claims that it has become the world leader in hydraulic motors following approval from the competition authorities for it to proceed with its acquisition of US-based White Drive Products. The bid was announced in July. No financial details have been revealed.
The drives-maker Control Techniques (CT) and the motor manufacturer Leroy-Somer (LS) - both part of Emerson Industrial Automation - have launched a new service, called Express Availability, designed to cut European delivery times for their motors, drives, servos, geared motors, options and accessories, in ratings from 0.09–500kW. The companies are committing themselves to shipping products in one to ten working days inside Europe, with the option of a 24-hour service in emergencies.
Three automation industry groups – Omac (the Organisation for Machine Automation and Control), the OPC Foundation, and PLCopen – have joined forces to help advance the communications protocols needed for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The organisations develop and promote standards to improve manufacturing efficiency, but until now they have been working in parallel on different aspects of automation standardisation.
The global market for low-voltage motors will plummet by nearly 13% between 2015, when was worth $11.8bn, to 2017, when sales will total $10.3bn, according to a new assessment by IHS Markit. It says that sales of integral horsepower motors up to 690V have suffered since the third quarter of 2014 as the market has faced “numerous economic and political headwinds”.