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31 January, 2023

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Sales of AGVs and mobile robots will hit $1.5bn this year

16 May, 2018

Demand for automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) used in manufacturing is “exploding”, with global sales set to reach nearly $1.5bn this year, and revenues from AMRs expected to grow by almost 75% during 2018. A new report from Interact Analysis predicts that, within five years, mobile robots will account for a quarter of all robot shipments for manufacturing applications, with sales worth more than $14bn.

Omron-Techman deal will put cobots on mobile platforms

15 May, 2018

The Japanese automation giant Omron is forming a strategic alliance with Techman Robot, the Taiwanese manufacturer of integrated-vision collaborative robots (cobots), under which Omron will sell Techman’s TM series of cobots globally using a co-branded logo. The two companies will also cooperate to develop a new generation of collaborative robots that will be easier to integrate with Omron’s other factory automation products.

Group will drive the ‘disruptive’ use of 5G in industry

08 May, 2018

The German electrotechnical trade body ZVEI has set up a working group of companies and organisations to help establish the use of 5G in industrial production and to make the high-speed wireless communications technology “industry-ready”. The 5G Alliance for Connected Industries and Automation (5G-ACIA) initiative brings together 26 automation and IT organisations, including Beckhoff, Bosch, Deutsche Telekom, Endress+Hauser, Ericsson, Festo, Fraunhofer, Harting, Hirschmann, Huawei, Infineon, Intel, Mitsubishi, Nokia, Pepperl+Fuchs, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, Trumpf, Vodaphone, Weidmüller and Yokogawa.

ABB, Rittal and HPE develop rugged processing system

04 May, 2018

At the recent Hannover Fair, ABB, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Rittal unveiled a jointly developed technology for running data acquisition, analytics and control processes close to industrial equipment, thus avoiding latency issues and ensuring secure, reliable digital processing. The Secure Edge Data Center (SEDC) will be delivered as a factory-integrated and tested turnkey system, ready to operate in harsh environments.

Rockwell hops aboard the OPC UA / TSN bandwagon

27 April, 2018

Rockwell Automation is the latest major automation player to join the group of suppliers that are backing the use of OPC UA for sharing information across multiple vendor systems, and TSN (time-sensitive networking) for improving the latency and robustness of converged industrial networks.

UR owner Teledyne buys another Danish robot firm in €222m deal

26 April, 2018

Teradyne, the American owner of the Danish collaborative robots pioneer, Universal Robots, has added another Danish robot-maker to its portfolio by buying Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), which develops and manufactures collaborative autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for industrial applications. Teradyne is paying €121m ($148m) in cash for the business, with an additional €101m ($124m) if MiR meets certain performance targets in the period to 2020.

ABB to invest €100m in r&d campus at B&R’s Austrian HQ

06 April, 2018

ABB is investing €100m to build an innovation and training campus at B&R Automation’s headquarters in Eggelsberg, Austria. The investment, which will create around 1,000 high-tech jobs, is ABB’s largest organic investment in industrial automation in its 130-year history.

€7.4m software r&d centre doubles Pilz’s presence in Ireland

28 March, 2018

The industrial safety and automation specialist Pilz has opened a €7.4m software development centre in Cork, Ireland, where it will develop engineering tools used to plan, design, program and visualise automation systems. The centre, which will house 120 employees in Pilz’s software product research and development division, doubles the size of the company’s campus on the Cork Business and Technology Park.

Michelin buys Fenner for £1.3bn to boost its high-tech activities

20 March, 2018

The French tyres to maps giant, Michelin, is buying Fenner, the UK-headquartered conveyor belt and reinforced polymer products manufacturer, in a deal that values Fenner at £1.3bn. Michelin sees the acquisition as being “in perfect strategic alignment” with its ambition to enhance its expertise in high-technology materials.

Seven years on, Baldor Electric becomes ABB

19 March, 2018

Seven years after ABB bought the motor and power transmission manufacturer Baldor Electric for $4.2bn, it has announced that it is integrating the Baldor name into the ABB brand. The move is part of ABB’s Next Level strategy, which includes harmonising different ABB-owned brands under the global ABB master brand. Baldor Electric will now be known as ABB.

Altra adds Portescap and Kollmorgen in $3bn deal

08 March, 2018

The electromechanical power transmission and motion control products manufacturer Altra Industrial Motion is buying four businesses from Fortive's Automation and Specialty (A&S) platform – including its Kollmorgen, Thomson and Portescap brands – in a $3bn deal that will double Altra's revenue to around $1.8bn and increase its EBITDA to around $350m, before synergies estimated to be worth more than $50m. The combined company – which Altra says will be a “global leader in the power transmission and motion control industry” – is expected to generate cumulative five-year free cashflows worth more than $1bn.

SEW-Eurodrive and GE do deal to sell each other’s products

27 February, 2018

GE Power’s Automation and Controls business and SEW-Eurodrive have reached an agreement to sell each other’s motion control and automation products around the world. They plan to offer complementary solutions for drive and controller-based motion controls for discrete and process applications.

Switched reluctance motor aims to disrupt the market

27 February, 2018

A Californian company has developed a new form of high-efficiency switched reluctance motor which, it claims, will dramatically improve the performance of HVAC, refrigeration, pumping and other applications. The Sunnyvale-based Software Motor Company (SMC) says that its motors will cut energy use by 20–50% compared to Nema Premium motors in the 1-5hp (0.75–3.7kW) range, and will typically pay for themselves within 6–36 months.

Industrial Ethernet sales overtook fieldbus in 2017

19 February, 2018

Industrial Ethernet has for the first time overtaken traditional fieldbuses in terms of the number of new nodes installed for factory automation, according to the latest in a series of annual surveys of the industrial networking market conducted by HMS Industrial Networks. During 2017, industrial Ethernet accounted for 52% of new installed nodes (up from 46% in 2016), while fieldbus nodes dropped from 48% to 42% of the market. EtherNet/IP is now the most widely installed network, with 15% of the market, followed by Profinet and Profibus, both on 12%. Wireless technologies held steady with a 6% market share.

UK drops below the global average in use of industrial robots

07 February, 2018

The UK has fallen below the global average in its use of industrial robots – the only G7 country to be in this position. Figures just released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) reveal that the UK had 71 robots per 10,000 people employed in manufacturing industry during 2016, putting it below the global average of 74, and in 22nd position behind countries such as Slovenia (on 137 per 10,000), Slovakia (135) and the Czech Republic (101).

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