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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).

Users of MindSphere open IoT platform form a global group

05 February, 2018

Siemens is setting up a global organisation for users of its MindSphere cloud-based open IoT operating system, in partnership with 18 companies, including Festo, Heitec, Kuka, Rittal, Sick and Trumpf. The aim is to expand the global reach of the ecosystem based on MindSphere.

Japanese trio form JV to develop smart edge systems

02 February, 2018

Three Japanese companies – Fanuc, Hitachi and Preferred Networks (PFN) – are establishing a joint venture company to develop “the world’s most advanced” intelligent edge systems using AI (artificial intelligence) technologies to achieve cyclic, real-time control by linking edge devices such as industrial machines, machine tools and robots to the cloud. They will also work on other next-generation control systems.

Rexnord buys Centa, adding $100m of couplings revenues

09 January, 2018

The American power transmission and water management corporation, Rexnord, is buying the German mechanical couplings manufacturer, Centa Power Transmission (Centa Antriebe Kirschey), for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which is expected to close by the end of February, will add about $100m of revenues to Rexnord’s existing $1.9bn.

Consortium plans to build a hybrid-electric passenger plane

20 December, 2017

Siemens, Rolls-Royce, and Airbus have formed a partnership to develop a partly electric powered passenger aircraft as a step towards a new generation of commercial aircraft with hybrid-electric propulsion. By 2020, they are planning to fly a testbed aircraft in which one of the four gas turbine engines has been replaced by a 2MW electric motor.

WEG invests €30m to build its biggest European plant

12 December, 2017

The Brazilian motor manufacturer WEG has invested more than €30m to build a new plant in Portugal where it will produce standard and customised low-voltage motors, mainly for the European market. The factory – WEG’s largest in Europe – is a further step in WEG’s expansion of its European operations, which has included the acquisition in recent years of the Austrian company Watt Drive, two German companies, Katt and Württembergische Elektromotoren, and Autrial in Spain.

Nidec Leroy-Somer sets up traction motor JV with PSA

04 December, 2017

The Japanese electric motor-maker Nidec is setting up a joint venture with Europe’s second-largest automotive manufacturer, Groupe PSA, to design, develop, manufacture and sell electric traction motors. The partners are investing an initial €220m in the as-yet-unnamed business, which will combine PSA’s automotive experience with Nidec Leroy-Somer’s expertise in electric motors and related equipment.

Emerson withdraws $29bn bid for Rockwell after target rejects it as poor value

23 November, 2017

UPDATED: Emerson has withdrawn its latest $29bn bid for Rockwell Automation "due to the Rockwell board of directors' continued unwilingness to engage in discussions about a potential combination".

Eaton enters the enclosed drives market in Europe

21 November, 2017

Eaton is entering the enclosed drives market in the EMEA region and is launching this extended capability at this month’s SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany. The company will offer combinations of drives, protection and control equipment built into pre-wired and tested cabinets, which can be configured to user requirements. The range will cover power ratings from 18.5–630kW, 400V.

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