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Fanuc invests $1.1bn in servodrive and CNC plants, and r&d

Fanuc has announced plans to invest more than $1bn in new factories in Japan to produce servodrives and CNC (computer numerical control) systems, and to expand its central laboratories.

GSI buys precision motor-maker Applimotion for $13m

GSI Group, the US motion control and photonics equipment supplier, is buying Applimotion, the Californian manufacturer of precision motor and motion control technologies for advanced industrial and medical markets, for $13m in cash. Applimotion will be integrated into GSI’s MicroE Systems business, which supplies position measurement technologies for precision motion control.

Multi-touch HMIs are ‘not ideal’ for changing market

The global market for industrial operator panels is undergoing a ‘fundamental’ change, with text-based and semi-graphical panels disappearing, and the number of panels with widescreens and touch displays increasing, according to a new study from the ARC Advisory Group.

Ethernet market will grow, but sales of gateways will slow

The global market for industrial Ethernet infrastructure components was worth nearly $1.38bn in 2013, and grew by 7.1% to reach $1.48bn in 2014, according to a new study published by IHS. It predicts that sales will continue to grow with a CAGR of around 8.6% from 2013 to 2018.

China’s robots will double by 2017 to overtake the US

The number of industrial robots in use in China will more than double over the next two years ­– from 182,000 today to 428,000 by 2017 – thus overtaking the robot populations of either North America or the EU’s five largest economies.

Fieldbus market is still twice as big as industrial Ethernet

Fieldbuses still account for two-thirds (66%) of new industrial communications nodes, with various versions of industrial Ethernet making up the remaining third (34%), according to figures released by the Swedish industrial communications specialist, HMS Industrial Networks.

Cyber-attack causes ‘massive’ damage to German steel plant

Evidence is emerging of a cyber-attack targeting the control systems at a German steelworks that resulted in “massive” damage to a blast furnace. It could be the first publicly confirmed example of targeted damage to an industrial installation since the Stuxnet malware damaged almost 3,000 centrifuges in Iran in 2010.

Global sales of PLCs bounce back after a sharp decline

After slowing sharply in 2012, the global market for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) has rebounded strongly and will expand from $10.4bn in 2013 to reach $14.6bn by 2018, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Most of the growth is coming from sales of small- and medium-sized PLCs.

Global IE4 motors market heads towards $300m

The global market for IE4 “super-premium efficiency” motors is expanding at double-digit rates and will more than double in size between 2013, when it was worth $115m, and 2018, when it will generate more than $297m in revenues. This prediction is made in a new report from IHS which also suggests that the number of suppliers of IE4 machines will soar from just two when the market emerged in 2009, to as many as 30 by 2018.

Permanent magnet motor market heads above $45bn

Global sales of permanent magnet (PM) motors will expand at an average annual rate of 11.7% over the coming six years to reach $45.3bn by 2020. A new report, from Allied Market Research, says that industry is witnessing a shift from induction motors to PM machines, driven by factors such as the PM motors’ high efficiencies and power densities, their simple construction, and their durability.

Efficiency helps to drive US motor sales towards $16bn

The US market for electric motors is expanding by an average of 5.4% a year and will reach $16.2bn by 2018, according to a new report from the Freedonia Group. It says that rising demand for more efficient (and more expensive) motor products will boost the market, but that pricing pressure from OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), as well as competition from lower-cost imports, will limit the increases.

Delta buys Norwegian power supply firm Eltek for $530m

The Taiwanese automation and power electronics manufacturer Delta Electronics is buying the Norwegian power supply maker Eltek in a deal that values the business at around NOK3.9bn (US $530m). The transaction, which is being conducted through Delta’s Dutch subsidiary, Deltronics, is expected to be completed by June 2015.

PLCopen sets up safe motion working group

The PLCopen automation standards organisation has set up a new working group to look at safe motion.

Rebounding motion control market heads for a new peak

After declining for two years, global revenues from motion-control products have bounced back, growing by more than 6% in 2014 to reach $12.2bn, according to a new study from IHS. However, this still leaves the market about 4% below its peak, which it reached in 2011 following two years of 20%-plus growth.

Regal Beloit buys Emerson unit for $1.4bn

After months of speculation, the US motors and motion control giant Regal Beloit has announced that it is buying Emerson Electric’s Power Transmission Solutions (PTS) business for $1.4bn in cash and $40m of assumed liabilities.