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In Brief

01 August, 2005

ARC Advisory Group reports that Omron is investing about $100m to restructure its industrial automation business. Around half of the money will be invested in China, and half in Japan, with the aim of accelerating new product development, strengthening core technologies and improving cost competitiveness.

Autodesk is buying Solid Dynamics, the French developer of software which allows designers to simulate, test and optimise the motion of mechanical assemblies without building physical prototypes. Autodesk will integrate the technology into its own design software.

• The global demand for machine tool products will grow by an average of 5.2% a year until 2009, when the market will be worth more than $84bn, according to the US-based market analyst, Freedonia. After falling by 0.3% between 1999 and 2004, the Western European machine tools market is forecast to grow by 2.7% between 2004 and 2009, when it will be worth $19.8bn - less than half the value of the Asia-Pacific market.

Siemens Automation and Drives is collaborating with the business software giant, SAP, to supply systems that integrate MES (manufacturing execution systems) with business software. In a separate move, SAP has bought Pennsylvania-based Lighthammer Software Development Corporation, which supplies enterprise manufacturing intelligence and collaborative manufacturing software.

Ormec and National Instruments have formed a strategic relationship to market NI`s new SoftMotion controller with Ormec`s FireWire-based ServoWire SM drives. NI`s LabView graphical development package will be used as the front-end to create distributed motion applications.

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