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31 January, 2023

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Industrial firms lose a day a month to machine failures

29 June, 2021

Machine failures are causing large industrial facilities to lose an average of more than a day of production (27 hours) every month, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to a new survey by the UK machine health monitoring specialist, Senseye. The study, based on interviews with maintenance, engineering and IT professionals in 72 multinational industrial and manufacturing organisations operating in 21 countries, finds that, on average, large plants lose 323 production hours a year. The cost of lost revenue, financial penalties, idle staff time and restarting lines averages $532,000 per hour, or $172m annually per plant.

Rockwell buys Plex for $2.2bn to boost its cloud activities

25 June, 2021

Rockwell Automation is buying the cloud-based manufacturing specialist Plex Systems for $2.22bn in cash, to expand its industrial cloud software offering. Rockwell says that Plex’s software capabilities will be further differentiated by Rockwell’s global market access, complementary industry expertise, and ability to turn real-time data into actionable insights

5G-enabled smart factory will be opened to others for testing

23 June, 2021

The industrial PC and HMI manufacturer Exor International has built a 5G-enabled end-to-end smart factory in Verona, Italy, as an example of the benefits that Industry 4.0 digitalisation can offer to manufacturers of all sizes. It plans to open up parts of the factory to other companies to explore how they could adopt Industry 4.0 practices using wireless communications.

Free guide lists ‘top 20’ secure PLC coding practices

16 June, 2021

The ISA Global Cybersecurity Alliance (ISAGCA) has joined forces with the German industrial IT security specialist admeritia to produce a document that provides a list of coding practices for PLC programmers designed to improve the IT security of PLCs and the plants they control.

Pandemic pushes manufacturers to adopt AI technologies

15 June, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has spurred a significant rise in the use of AI (artificial intelligence) and other digital technologies among manufacturers around the world, according to a survey of more than 1,100 senior manufacturing executives in seven countries, conducted by Google Cloud. The study found that 76% of those quizzed have turned increasingly to technologies such as data analytics, the cloud, and artificial intelligence (AI) because of the pandemic.

81% of construction companies plan to adopt robots

09 June, 2021

More than four out of five (81%) of the world’s construction companies say they are planning to introduce robots into their operations during the coming decade, partly in response to a growing skills crisis being experienced by 91% of them.

Ten vulnerabilities discovered in Codesys control software

07 June, 2021

Russian cyber-security experts have discovered ten vulnerabilities – some of them rated as critical – in the Codesys 2 industrial control software used as the basis for the firmware in controllers from 15 manufacturers, including Beckhoff, Kontron, Festo and Mitsubishi. The German-based developer, Codesys, has released a software update to fix the vulnerabilities and has issued advisory notices for the three software components affected.

Siemens PLC vulnerability is cyber-attackers’ ‘holy grail’

01 June, 2021

Cyber-researchers have found a vulnerability in Siemens’ Simatic S7-1200 and S7-1500 PLCs that could give attackers read and write access anywhere on the PLC, allowing them to execute malicious code remotely. The researchers at Claroty describe such unrestricted and undetected code execution as the “holy grail” for cyber-attackers, allowing them to hide code deep inside the PLC undetected by the operating system, or any diagnostic software.

Rockwell invests in PCB motor firm in $40m funding round

26 May, 2021

Rockwell Automation has taken an equity stake in the Texan motor developer and manufacturer, Infinitum Electric, as part of a $40m funding round that takes total funding in the company to date to $55m. Infinitum’s integrated motors, which use PCB (printed circuit board) stators instead of the copper wire and laminated iron cores of conventional motors, are claimed to be 10% more efficient, 50% lighter and smaller, and much quieter than standard motors.

Drives-maker tackles component lead times of up to two years

24 May, 2021

As the world starts to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, manufacturers around the world are having to cope with a new series of problems including shortages of critical electronic components, soaring materials costs, and severe supply-chain disruptions. Steve Brooks, director of global operations finance and procurement at the Welsh drives-maker, Nidec Control Techniques, says that together these problems are creating “the most challenging supply chain event of my career”.

Merger will take automation start-up public after 3 years

18 May, 2021

A Californian start-up that specialises in intelligent, software-based manufacturing, is merging with a SPAC (special-purpose acquisition company) to become a publicly listed company just three years after it was founded. San Francisco-based Bright Machines has doubled its revenue every year since its inception in 2018 and currently employs more than 500 people, including 150 software engineers. It is projecting a CAGR of more than 84% for the five years from 2020 to 2025, and expects to achieve $727m in sales and a gross margin of 50% by 2025.

Siemens and Schaeffler cut motor maintenance bills

14 May, 2021

Siemens is collaborating with the bearings manufacturer Schaeffler to offer intelligent diagnostics for motor-based drive systems. They are using automated bearing diagnostics to deliver informed maintenance decisions and to integrate information on bearing condition into motor health monitoring systems.

Rockwell and Comau offer a single interface for integrating robots

05 May, 2021

Rockwell Automation and the Italian robot-maker Comau have teamed up to offer industrial customers easier, smarter, and more productive ways to design, deploy, and manage robot applications. The development will allow engineers to program entire machines, including Comau robot arms, in a single environment controlled via Rockwell Logix-based controllers. They will also be able to use Rockwell’s Studio 5000 design software to simplify the time-consuming, and often difficult task, of coordinating traditionally separate machine control and robot systems.

US and German groups shape future of smart production

21 April, 2021

The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 organisation is collaborating with the US national institute for smart manufacturing CESMII to map out the future of manufacturing. The two organisations are aiming to promote interoperability and a shared set of skills and competencies, and at the recent virtual Hannover Fair they presented first results of their cooperation.

Siemens links up with Google to ease use of AI in manufacturing

19 April, 2021

Siemens and Google Cloud have announced a cooperation designed to optimise factory processes and improve productivity on the shop floor. Siemens plans to integrate Google Cloud’s data cloud and AI/ML (artificial intelligence/machine learning) technologies with its own factory automation systems to help manufacturers to innovate.

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