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Robots will show off their moves at the 2016 Drives Show

Next April’s Drives & Controls Show in Birmingham, UK, will, for the first time, include a dedicated area where some of the latest industrial robot technology will be demonstrated. Interest in robotics is growing rapidly as prices come down and capabilities increase. “The technology is moving ahead incredibly quickly,” says exhibition director, Doug Devlin, “and the time is right for us to launch a robotics demonstration area”.

Welsh drives-maker targets 50% growth with £5.6m factory

The Welsh drives-maker, Invertek Drives, has announced plans to expand into a new factory that will boost its production capacity from 150,000 to more than 400,000 drives per year, and create about 50 new jobs in the process. The 5,000m2 factory – which the Welsh Government is building at a cost of £5.6m – will be next to Invertek’s existing headquarters and production facility in Welshpool, which the company leases from the Government.

Drives Show heads for a full house as bookings surge

A flurry of bookings in recent weeks from companies wanting to exhibit at next April’s Drives & Controls Show means that all of the available space could be taken by end of this year.

Parsons Peebles buys Anstee & Ware, doubling its size

Parsons Peebles Group (PPG) has acquired Anstee & Ware which offers motor, pump and gearbox repair, maintenance, reconditioning and field services to the water, rail and industrial sectors in England and Wales. The acquisition expands PPG’s service capabilities and adds seven new locations to its previous two sites.

Atlas Copco adds Pivotware to Chicago Pneumatic Tools

Atlas Copco has acquired the assets of NJS Technologies, a UK engineering and sales company specialising in process control systems for assembly operations. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Walder joins Schneider as VP of industry for the UK

Schneider Electric has appointed Martin Walder as its vice-president of industry for the UK and Ireland. Walder, who has held senior managerial roles at Rockwell Automation and ABB, and who currently chairs the Engineering & Machinery Alliance, joins Schneider Electric as it reshapes its leadership team for future growth.

Wood Group buys ATG to expand into manufacturing

The oil, gas and power generation services company Wood Group has acquired Automated Technology Group (ATG), one of the UK’s largest independent suppliers of control and power systems for industrial automation. Financial details of the transaction have not been revealed.

£2m IMechE fund will help to launch new technologies

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has launched a fund to help engineering companies to overcome the investment hurdle between research and development and bringing a product to market. It is thought to be the first investment fund of its kind from any UK engineering institution.

Gambica moves in with Beama and forms a partnership

Gambica, the UK trade association for the automation, control, instrumentation and laboratory technology sectors, has moved its London office to share premises with Beama, the trade body for manufacturers of electrical and related equipment in the UK. The two organisations have formed a “strategic partnership” and will share back-office administration in their offices next to the River Thames in Westminster.

ATB merges UK motor-making businesses

The Austrian motor-maker ATB is merging three of its UK subsidiaries – Laurence Scott, Morley and Special Products – into a single organisation called ATB Group UK. Ian Lomax, who served as managing director of Morley for almost ten years before becoming chief operating officer of ATB in Austria, has been appointed chairman of the new business.

2016 Drives & Controls Show is more than 70% full

The 2016 Drives & Controls Show – which takes place in Birmingham, UK, from 12–14 April, 2016 – is on track to have 50% more stands than at its previous outing in 2014. “With eight months still to go, we are over 70% full, even after increasing stand space by 40%,” says exhibition director, Doug Devlin.

UK start-up raises £2m to develop high-temp piezo materials

A British start-up company specialising in novel high-performance piezoelectric materials and devices has raised £2m of funding to accelerate the commercialisation of a range of devices for applications such as condition monitoring, actuation and flow measurement in extreme environments.

Aerospace technology will help to monitor earth-based machines

A new British company called Senseye is developing a technology for predicting the health of industrial machinery, based on concepts that are already being used in the aerospace and defence sectors to help cut operations and maintenance costs by 20%. The company says that the technology, which “costs less than a pump”, could be affordable for smaller manufacturers and machine-users for whom this type of condition-monitoring has previously been too costly.

Delphi buys HellermannTyton for £1.07bn

Delphi Automotive is buying the UK-headquartered cable management specialist HellermannTyton Group in a deal that values the business at around £1.07bn ($1.67bn). Delphi’s main interest is thought to be in HellermannTyton’s automotive portfolio, but the deal will also strengthen Delphi’s position in the electrical architecture market, while providing a platform for it to expand in HellermannTyton’s other industrial end-markets, including aerospace, defence, alternative energy and mass transit.

Vipa UK distributor is reborn as Gapp Automation

The UK automation distributor Vipa has changed its name to Gapp Automation, reflecting the wide range of products and services from a variety of manufacturers that it now supplies.