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ABB and Rittal link up to offer industrial data centres

Rittal and ABB have announced a global strategic alliance to supply edge data centre systems to industrial customers wanting to deploy robust IT capacity close to their operations. The alliance, based on an existing UPS (uninterruptible power supply) partnership, will cover areas such as secure edge data centre systems with fire protection, edge data centres for OEM manufacturers, scalable modular data centres, as well as power container systems.

Rockwell invests $1bn in PTC to form a strategic partnership

Rockwell Automation has entered a strategic partnership with the US software developer PTC, including a $1bn equity investment which gives Rockwell an 8.4% stake in PTC. The agreement is expected to accelerate growth for both companies who plan to target potential customers around the world wanting to transform their physical operations with digital technology.

Cobot trio merge to create a specialist in end-of-arm tooling

Three companies specialising in end-of-arm tooling for collaborative robots (cobots) have merged to create a market-leader in this rapidly-growing market which, they say, is currently “under-served”. US-based Perception Robotics, Hungary-based OptoForce and Denmark-based On Robot, have joined forces to create OnRobot, which will drive innovation and ease-of-use for robotic end-of-arm tooling.

Omron and Cisco join forces to enhance factory security

Omron and Cisco Systems have agreed to collaborate by integrating Cisco’s networking and security technology into Omron PLCs (programmable logic controllers) to enhance the security of manufacturing sites with IoT, and to help manufacturers to achieve safe and secure manufacturing.

SIG and GE link up to drive ‘new era for food and bev plants’

SIG, the Swiss packaging giant, has formed a strategic partnership with GE Digital to deliver digital innovation in food and beverage packaging. Starting in July, SIG will deploy GE’s Predix Asset Performance Management (APM) and Predix ServiceMax applications in more than 400 customer factories worldwide to drive new levels of efficiency, add intelligence and enable new possibilities for its customers. A full global rollout is expected to start in January 2019.

Sumitomo buys Italy’s Lafert for €172m to boost its motors arm

Japan’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) is buying the Italian electric motor manufacturer Lafert for €172.65m to reinforce its position in the motors market, to expand its product portfolio, and to reach a wider range of customers. Lafert will join SHI’s Power Transmission and Controls (PTC) division – which uses the Sumitomo Drives Technologies brand – and will become its r&d competence centre for motors.

Emerson buys Aventics for €527m, to create $1.5bn giant

Emerson is buying Bosch Rexroth’s former pneumatics business, now known as Aventics, for €527m in cash from its current owner, the German-Scandinavian investor, Triton, which acquired it for around €200m in 2013. Emerson says that the deal will create a $1.5bn business, significantly expanding its reach in the $13bn market for smart pneumatics for machine and factory automation applications.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.