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24 June, 2024

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Mitsubishi announces plans for $110m automation plant

28 March, 2022

Mitsubishi Electric has announced plans to invest about 13 billion yen ($110m) to build a new factory to produce FA (factory automation) products in Japan. It has acquired 42,000m2 site in Owariasahi City, near its main FA plant in Nagoya, for the new factory which is due to come on stream in April 2025.

War in Ukraine could hit prices of electric motors and drives

24 March, 2022

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is likely to push up prices of electric motors and variable-speed drives, according to the analyst, Interact Analysis. Russia is a key supplier of copper and aluminium which together represent around 16% of the cost of manufacturing a motor, while Ukraine produces about half of the world’s supply of neon gas – a key ingredient in the production of semiconductor components, which could affect the prices of equipment containing these components, such as VSDs and other automation equipment.

Beckhoff’s sales soar by 28% to exceed €1bn for first time

23 March, 2022

Beckhoff Automation’s global sales climbed by 28% last year to exceed €1bn for the first time in its 42-year history, despite the challenges of component shortages and the Covid-19 pandemic. Owner Hans Beckhoff describes the 2021 sales figure of €1.18bn as “a great result that we are incredibly proud of. We could definitely have seen even more growth last year, but the shortage of components, along with the limits on our own capacities, held us back in some areas.”

Rexroth takes control of Danish 7-axis cobot-maker

22 March, 2022

Bosch Rexroth is taking a majority stake in Kassow Robots, a Danish manufacturer of seven-axis collaborative robots (cobots). The companies have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

Schneider teams up with NTT to drive industrial uses of 5G

22 March, 2022

Schneider Electric has joined forces with the global telecommunications giant NTT to implement private 5G (P5G) – a private on-premises networking and digitisation-enabling platform designed to advance digital technologies in manufacturing environments. The two companies are building on an existing long-term partnership to use 5G to power IoT environments.

Take-up of smart manufacturing soared by 50% during 2021

21 March, 2022

Adoption of smart manufacturing technologies grew by 50% during 2021, according to a new global survey of more than 300 manufacturers operating in a wide variety of industries. Two out of three manufacturers, it reports, are now turning to some form of smart technology to overcome the challenges they face, while making their processes faster and more effective.

Industrial software sales will overtake hardware in 2022

18 March, 2022

This year will be “a turning point” for industrial automation, with the average manufacturer spending more on industrial software than on automation hardware for the first time ever, according to new research by IoT Analytics. It says that just five years ago, the industrial software market was about 40% smaller than the hardware OT (operational technology) market, but manufacturing is increasingly becoming software-based and five years from now, the industrial software market will be twice the size of the hardware market.

‘Reinvented’ switch could slash industrial costs by $7 trillion

10 March, 2022

A Californian company claims to have reinvented the switch with a device that offers all of the benefits of mechanical relays and semiconductor switches, without any compromises. Menlo Micro says that its Ideal Switch is tiny, fast, reliable, can handle thousands of Watts, has extremely low losses, can withstand extreme temperatures, and is manufactured using standard semiconductor techniques. The company has just raised $150m of Series C funding, taking its total backing to date to $225m.

Global platform links users of CAE systems to suppliers

08 March, 2022

The German engineering software specialist Eplan has launched a global service that brings together users of its CAE (computer-aided engineering) software with service providers such as panel-builders and consultants. Called the Eplan Marketplace, the Web-based platform allows Eplan users to search for providers that offer services related to their applications.

WEG invests €23.5m to build new motors factory in Portugal

06 March, 2022

The Brazilian motor and automation manufacturer WEG is investing €23.5m to build a 22,680m² electric motors factory in Santo Tirso, Portugal, where it already has a 16,300m² low-voltage motor factory. The new plant will expand WEG’s production of large electric motors. Operations from an existing factory in Maia, 24km away, will be transferred to the new facility, centralising manufacturing at a single site.

ICS vulnerability discoveries soar by 110% in four years

03 March, 2022

The number of cyber-vulnerabilities discovered in industrial control systems (ICSs) soared by 110% over the past four years, with a 25% increase (to 797) in the second half of 2021 alone, compared to the previous six months, according to new research from the security company, Claroty. Almost all (87%) of the vulnerabilities were rated as “low complexity”, meaning they don’t need special conditions and that attackers exploiting them could expect to be successful every time.

Nema index compares VSDs to maximise energy savings

01 March, 2022

The US-based National Electrical Manufacturers Association (Nema) has published a procedure that allows variable-speed drives to be compared to optimise their energy savings. The organisation has also produced a guide that defines a process for validating digital models for predicting the efficiency of electric motors.

Robots blamed for rising death rates among US workers

28 February, 2022

The automation of US manufacturing – with robots replacing people on factory floors – is fuelling a rise in mortality rates among America’s working-age adults, according to a new study by researchers at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

80% of critical organisations suffer ransomware attacks

22 February, 2022

A global survey of 1,100 IT and operational technology (OT) professionals working in critical infrastructure organisations has revealed that 80% experienced a ransomware attack in the past year – almost half of these affecting industrial control systems – and that more than 60% of them paid the ransom, the majority paying at least $500,000 to the cyber-attackers.

Line will produce 120,000 EV drivetrains a year

21 February, 2022

The Italian automation supplier Comau has developed and commissioned an automated end-to-end assembly line to produce electric motors, gearboxes and inverters for the Chinese car-maker Geely. The flexible line will assemble permanent magnet motor rotors, gearboxes and electronic drives, as well as performing automated quality control and testing of up to of 120,000 drivetrains a year.

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