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28 November, 2021

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Novanta buys Schneider Electric Motion for $115m

11 October, 2021

Novanta, the US-based industrial conglomerate whose businesses include Celera Motion and ATI Industrial Automation, has bought US-based Schneider Electric Motion for $115m in cash and renamed it Novanta IMS. It specialises in brushless motors, integrated motor drives and electronic controls.

$1.6bn start-up’s software will ‘liberate’ manufacturers

21 September, 2021

Bright Machines, the US automation start-up that was valued at $1.6bn when it announced its intention to go public earlier this year, has released a software package “that liberates manufacturers from the constraints of traditional factory automation and introduces a new self-service capability that enables flexible automation at greater speed and lower cost”.

Automation firm founder becomes Japan’s richest man

21 September, 2021

Takemitsu Takizaki, who founded the sensor and controls manufacturer Keyence in in 1974, has become Japan’s richest man with an estimated fortune worth $38.2bn – putting him ahead of the previous frontrunner Tadashi Yanai, who founded the clothing giant Uniqlo and has lost $9.7bn in the past year, leaving him with a mere $35.5bn.

Aerotech sets up precision metrology offshoot

17 September, 2021

Aerotech, the US-headquartered manufacturer of precision motion control and positioning systems, has set up a subsidiary dedicated to designing and building equipment for accurate surface measurement applications. Called Peak Metrology, and based at Aerotech's Pittsburgh headquarters, it will draw on the company’s expertise in positioning systems, but will focus on surface measurement applications, offering product development, engineering, installation and training services.

Hackers ‘can access networks at 91% of industrial companies’

09 September, 2021

A Russian cyber-research firm, Positive Technologies has reported that industrial companies were the second-most targeted sector by cybercriminals during 2020, and found that external attackers can penetrate corporate networks at 91% of industrial organisations. “Penetration testers” working for the company were able to access to the ICS (industrial control system) networks at 75% of these companies.

ICS vulnerabilities soared by ‘staggering’ 41% in early 2021

19 August, 2021

The number of vulnerabilities discovered in industrial control systems (ICSs) hit a “staggering” level in the first half of 2021, with 637 new vulnerabilities being revealed – 41% more than during the previous six months. A new report from the cyber-researcher Claroty shows that most of these ICS vulnerabilities have a high or critical severity, a low attack complexity, are remotely exploitable, and could result in a total loss of ICS availability.

LiDar collaboration could ‘up-end’ industrial automation

11 August, 2021

The Nikon Corporation has formed a strategic collaboration with the US sensing and perception start-up Aeva Technologies, to bring a 4D LiDar (light detection and ranging) technology with an “unique” micron-level measurement capability to precision industrial automation and metrology applications. The aim is to develop next-generation industrial sensing systems using Aeva’s “industry-first” 4D LiDar-on-chip technology, first developed for use on autonomous vehicles.

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.

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.

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 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.

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