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Teco invests $10m in smart plant and signs Finnish deal

The Taiwanese motor manufacturer Teco Electric & Machinery has invested more than $10m to create what is describes as the world’s first “smart” motor production facility. It has upgraded an existing plant in Taoyuan, more than doubling its production capacity for IE3 motors from 100,000 to 220,000 motors per year, and cutting production costs by about 10% compared with traditional manufacturing processes.

Digitalisation of motor plant boosts throughput by 40%

Siemens is using one of its German factories that produces electric motors as a testbed and showcase and for the “digitalisation” of manufacturing and has already cut throughput times by 40%. It has also reduced correction loops by 50% at the plant in Bad Neustadt an der Saale, and improved ramp-up times for new machines by 60%.

Only 26% of IoT projects are regarded as a complete success

A survey by Cisco has revealed that 60% of IoT (Internet of Things) initiatives stall at the proof-of-concept stage, with only 26% of companies having had an IoT initiative that they considered a complete success, and a third of all completed projects regarded as failures.

Idec partners with AMCI to simplify multi-axis controls

The Japanese automation manufacturer Idec has joined forces with the US motion controls specialist Advanced Micro Controls (AMCI) to offer a family of components ‒ including drives, stepper motors, indexers and integrated controls ‒ which will be sold under the “AMCI by Idec” banner. The global arrangement will allow users to implement single- and multi-axis controls quickly and easily, based on Idec’s FC6A PLC, which has embedded motion control macro instructions. In addition, users of Idec PLCs will be able to add motion controls without having to buy separate software.

Advent plans to add IPH to Brammer to form €2.1bn business

Advent International, the private equity firm that bought the UK-based MRO (maintenance, repairs and operations) specialist Brammer earlier this year, is now negotiating to buy the European industrial supplies distributor, IPH. It plans to combine the two businesses to create a “leading” European distributor of industrial supplies with revenues of more than €2.1bn.

Cyber-researchers show how to hack an industrial robot

Researchers working for the cyber-security firm Trend Micro and at the Politecnico di Milano (Polimi) in Italy have demonstrated that it is relatively easy to hack an industrial robot to change its behaviour – with potentially deadly consequences.

Hannover tie-ups include ABB-IBM plan to apply AI

A flurry of of collaborations and tie-ups were announced at the recent Hannover Fair, including a strategic collaboration between ABB and IBM aimed at combining ABB’s Ability digital portfolio with IBM Watson’s Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities. Some of the other collabrations are listed in the table below.

Profinet jumps aboard the TSN bandwagon

PI (Profibus and Profinet International) is the latest organisation to adopt the IEEE’s TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) technology, which combines the bandwidth of IT (information technology) networks with the latency of OT (operational technology) networks.

ABB-B&R merger is 'a fantastic platform for growth'

At the recent Hannover Fair, the Austrian firm B&R Automation announced plans to expand its operations, including an expansion to accommodate new production lines for its mechatronic products, and a new surface-mount line which will boost its PCB production capacity by 20%. The company also plans to add 50 jobs at its r&d offices in Salzburg to work on communications, robotics and controls.

Collaborative robot gripper wins 2017 Hermes Award

The German gripping systems specialist Schunk has won this year’s Hermes technology award at the Hannover Fair for an intelligent gripper for human-robot collaboration that can interact and communicate with human operators. It is the second time in three years that Schunk has won the prestigious award, which celebrates innovative technologies.

Sumitomo buys US developer of spray motor technology

Japan’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) has acquired a US start-up, Persimmon Technologies, which is developing a “disruptive” electric motor manufacturing technology in which metallic particles are sprayed to form composite components that are used instead of conventional laminated cores. The magnetic composite cores suppress eddy currents and are claimed to have 40% higher power densities and up to 15% lower energy losses than today’s best motors.

Idec buys Apem for $266m to create a $500m HMI giant

The Japanese automation manufacturer Idec has bought the French HMI and switching components specialist Apem, to create one of the world’s largest producers of HMI components, panels and systems. With combined sales of more than $500m, the enlarged business will expand Idec’s European presence, and add new industry segments to its portfolio. Idec made the purchase by acquiring Apem’s parent, MMI Technologies, for 29.2 billion yen (US $266m).

ABB buys Austria's B&R to plug PLC and industrial PC gap

ABB is buying the Austrian automation and drives manufacturer B&R in a move designed to plug a well-known weakness in ABB’s portfolio – its limited range of controls for discrete automation. The two parties have not disclosed the value of the deal, but reports suggest it is close to $2bn.

Hannover merges shows to form annual automation event

Deutsche Messe, the organiser of the Hannover Fair, has announced that from 2018 it is merging its annual Industrial Automation (IA) show with the biennial Motion, Drive & Automation (MDA) event, to create a combined flagship tradeshow called Integrated Automation, Motion & Drives (IAMD). The new show, which will also be rolled out to other Deutsche Messe events around the world, will cover industrial automation, mechanical power transmission and fluid power technologies.

Almost 40% of IPCs faced cyber-attacks in late 2016

Almost 40% of computers in industrial applications were subjected to cyber-attacks in the second half of 2016, according to new research from Kaspersky Lab ICS Cert. It also reveals that the percentage of industrial computers (IPCs) under attack rose from more than 17% in July 2016 to more than 24% by December 2016. The top three sources of infection were the Internet, removable storage devices, and malicious e-mail attachments and scripts embedded in the body of e-mails.