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16 November, 2018

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Tesla buys German automation firm to boost output six-fold

21 November, 2016

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.


Precision-geared sales slowed in 2015, but will rebound

21 November, 2016

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.


Schaeffler cuts 500 jobs in industrial division to save €60m

09 November, 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-flaws in Schneider HMIs could allow attacks

02 November, 2016

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.


More efficient motors ‘could cut global electricity use by 7%’

01 November, 2016

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 buys two European 3D machine vision firms

01 November, 2016

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.


Industrial Ethernet sales growth rate set to halve in 2016

01 November, 2016

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.


Pepperl+Fuchs buys explosion-protected phone pioneer

31 October, 2016

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.


Schneider denies that it is looking to buy Rockwell

24 October, 2016

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 buys GKN’s Stromag brake and clutch unit for €184m

24 October, 2016

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).


US and EU motor-makers join forces on system efficiency

14 October, 2016

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.


AI collaboration will let robots think for themselves

07 October, 2016

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.


Global PLC sales slump by 11.5%, but 'will rebound'

06 October, 2016

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 unveils Robotics & Motion division and ties up with Microsoft

04 October, 2016

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 buys leading US systems integrator, Maverick

03 October, 2016

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.


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