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In brief

01 September, 2002

• Rockwell Automation has expanded its Global Manufacturing Solutions business into Central Europe by acquiring the engineering services and system integration assets of a Czech firm, SPEL. The 60 people working at SPEL`s headquarters at Kolin, near Prague, will continue to design and build automation systems for clients in the UK, and other Eastern and Western European countries. Rockwell has been working since the 1980s with SPEL, which will be renamed Rockwell Automation Services.

• Schneider Electric has taken a 35% stake in the Japanese HMI (human-machine interface) specialist Digital Electronics and intends to mount a takeover bid for the rest of Digital`s share capital. Digital employs 1,100 people and has annual sales of around €200m. Schneider plans to use Digital to enter the Japanese industrial market.

• Mitsubishi Electric is reported to be investing £15.4m (¥3bn) in a new line to produce AC servomotors at its plant in Nagoya, Japan. According to a report from Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the company plans to boost its output capacity by 60% to 50,000 motors a month, as part of a strategy to become the Japanese market-leader within three years.

Enclosure-maker Rittal has opened a "state of the art" facility in Germany to maufacture and test its thermal management products. The plant is located at Rennerod, north of Frankfurt.

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