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Schaeffler buys Dutch bearing tools maker to boost service arm

03 August, 2021

Schaeffler has acquired Bega International, the Dutch manufacturer of tools for mounting and dismounting rolling bearings. The acquisition expands Schaeffler’s lifecycle service portfolio. Terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Google robot software firm emerges from 5 years of stealth r&d

26 July, 2021

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has launched a business that aims to make industrial robots easier to use, less costly and more flexible. The announcement of the business, called Intrinsic, follows more than five years of stealth development inside Alphabet’s secretive X "moonshot factory" which works on future technologies.

ABB sells Dodge to RBC for $2.9bn, doubling its size

26 July, 2021

UPDATED: ABB is selling its Dodge mechanical power transmission business to the US bearings-maker RBC Bearings for $2.9bn in cash. The deal will double RBC’s revenues, and create a leading manufacturer of highly-engineered, performance critical bearings and motion control components, with customers including OEMs and the industrial aftermarket.

ABB expands into mobile robotics by buying Asti

20 July, 2021

ABB is entering the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) market by buying the Spanish-headquartered AMR manufacturer, Asti Mobile Robotics Group, for an undisclosed sum. The deal will expand ABB’s robotics and automation offering and, it claims, make it the only company to offer a complete portfolio for the next generation of flexible automation. The acquisition, a key part of ABB’s external growth strategy, is expected to close soon.

Video service links robot users to experts via their phones

19 July, 2021

ABB has announced a service that allows users of its robots and controllers to transmit video and images of any technical problems from a smartphone to a remotely located ABB technician who can provide expert assistance. It says that the Virtual Assistance app and service will cut downtime and boost productivity.

Component and transport woes raise VSD prices by 2–5%

06 July, 2021

Prices of variable-speed drives (VSDs) have risen by 2–5% as drives manufacturers continue to battle component shortages, rising materials costs and transportation problems. The latest analysis from Interact Analysis suggests that high-performance drives, which need more powerful processors, have been hit harder than general-purpose drives which use simpler processors that are easier to source.

Hackers harness control systems to mine for crypto-coins

05 July, 2021

Hackers are using industrial control systems (ICSs) to “mine” for cryptocurrency coins, according to a new report from the cybersecurity firm, Trend Micro. It says that the coin-miners are accessing ICSs mainly through unpatched operating systems and that by hijacking the ICS CPUs, they can affect control system performance, leading to a potential loss of control, especially on systems that have low CPU capacity or are running outdated operation systems – “a setup that is not rare in industrial environments”, according to Trend.

Siemens plans to shift its software sales to the SaaS model

02 July, 2021

Siemens is planning a “fundamental transformation” of the way it sells software products, starting next year, when its Digital Industries (DI) business will start to transition a significant part of its software activities to Software as a Service (SaaS). It says that the new SaaS offerings that will give users greater accessibility, easier collaboration and unlimited scalability to help them accelerate their digital transformation.

Global robot sales fell by 2% in 2020, but China leads recovery

01 July, 2021

The number of industrial robots installed around the world fell by 2% in 2020 compared to 2019, despite a 19% growth in the number installed in China, according to preliminary figures issued by the International Federation of Robotics. The IFR describes the fall in sales during the year that the globe was gripped by the Covid-19 pandemic as “more moderate than expected”.

Industrial firms lose a day a month to machine failures

29 June, 2021

Machine failures are causing large industrial facilities to lose an average of more than a day of production (27 hours) every month, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to a new survey by the UK machine health monitoring specialist, Senseye. The study, based on interviews with maintenance, engineering and IT professionals in 72 multinational industrial and manufacturing organisations operating in 21 countries, finds that, on average, large plants lose 323 production hours a year. The cost of lost revenue, financial penalties, idle staff time and restarting lines averages $532,000 per hour, or $172m annually per plant.

Rockwell buys Plex for $2.2bn to boost its cloud activities

25 June, 2021

Rockwell Automation is buying the cloud-based manufacturing specialist Plex Systems for $2.22bn in cash, to expand its industrial cloud software offering. Rockwell says that Plex’s software capabilities will be further differentiated by Rockwell’s global market access, complementary industry expertise, and ability to turn real-time data into actionable insights

5G-enabled smart factory will be opened to others for testing

23 June, 2021

The industrial PC and HMI manufacturer Exor International has built a 5G-enabled end-to-end smart factory in Verona, Italy, as an example of the benefits that Industry 4.0 digitalisation can offer to manufacturers of all sizes. It plans to open up parts of the factory to other companies to explore how they could adopt Industry 4.0 practices using wireless communications.

Free guide lists ‘top 20’ secure PLC coding practices

16 June, 2021

The ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA) has joined forces with the German industrial IT security specialist admeritia to produce a document that provides a list of coding practices for PLC programmers designed to improve the IT security of PLCs and the plants they control.

Pandemic pushes manufacturers to adopt AI technologies

15 June, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a significant rise in the use of AI (artificial intelligence) and other digital technologies among manufacturers around the world, according to a survey of more than 1,100 senior manufacturing executives in seven countries, conducted by Google Cloud. The study found that 76% of those quizzed have turned increasingly to technologies such as data analytics, the cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI) because of the pandemic.

81% of construction companies plan to adopt robots

09 June, 2021

More than four out of five (81%) of the world’s construction companies say they are planning to introduce robots into their operations during the coming decade, partly in response to a growing skills crisis being experienced by 91% of them.

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