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October News in Brief

01 October, 2007

º  The US motor manufacturer AO Smith is closing three factories – two in the US and one in Hungary – and transferring production to plants in Mexico and China. The company has been hit by a downturn in demand for motors for domestic applications, and by high copper and steel prices.

º  The Danaher Corporation has bought the test and measurement equipment manufacturer Tektronix for $2.85bn. Tektronix, which produced a profit of $90m on sales of $1.11bn in the last financial year, will join Danaher’s Fluke business, almost doubling Danaher’s revenue in the T&M sector.

º  The Brazilian motor-maker WEG has appointed Harry Schmelzer, currently its regional director for Europe, to become its new president and CEO. He will succeed Décio da Silva who has held the position for 18 years and will be stepping down in January, when he will become president of the WEG board. Schmelzer, 49, has been with WEG since 1980.

º  The market analyst IMS Research says that the European machine tool market is growing steadily at about 4.5% a year and will be worth more than €18.9bn by 2011. The fastest-growing end-user segment is medical applications, which is forecast to grow at around 7.6% per year.

º  The Finnish drives-maker Vacon has signed a contract worth "a few million Euros" to deliver hundreds of liquid-cooled drives to The Switch, a Finnish manufacturer of permanent magnet generators and power converter packages for use in wind turbines. The Vacon drives, due to be delivered next year, will be used to control the PM generators, reduce mechanical stresses, and improve efficiency and power quality.

º  The Eaton Corporation has acquired the assets of the Canadian Babco Electric Group, which manufactures low- and medium-voltage switchgear and electrical housings for harsh environments. Babco had sales worth $11m in the year to April 2007.

º  A US survey of the earnings of PLC and automation engineers has found that the median salary paid to control project engineers is $68,342. The online survey, conducted by PayScale, was based on data from 217 participants.

º  The German automation and gripping technology specialist Schunck has taken a 28% stake in the industrial image processing manufacturer, Vision & Control. The two companies are now working together and showed a jointly developed, self-contained intelligent vision sensor at the recent Motek handling exhibition in Stuttgart.

º  Rockwell Automation has appointed Ted Crandall as chief financial officer. Crandall, who previously ran Rockwell’s Control Products & Solutions, business, has been acting CFO since James Gelly resigned unexpectedly in April. Crandall is succeeded at CP&S by Bob Ruff.

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