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UR’s owner adds AutoGuide to its robotics portfolio

The US robotics and test systems manufacturer Teradyne is buying the AMR (autonomous mobile robot) producer AutoGuide Mobile Robots for $165m – consisting of $58m net of cash acquired, plus $107m if certain performance targets are met.

Cloud-based service predicts when drives are likely to fail

ABB has launched a condition-based maintenance service for variable-speed drives (VSDs) that gives early warnings of abnormal conditions that might cause a premature failure. The service covers its ACS800 or ACS880 air-cooled drives being used in critical applications in the oil and gas, metals, water and paper industries, where it is vital to avoid costly, unplanned shutdowns.

SKF Motion Technologies gets a new name

One year after the venture capital company Triton Partners bought SKF Motion Technologies for $310m, it has relaunched the business with a new name and a new strategy. It will now be known as Ewellix: Makers in Motion. The new name is pronounced “Eve-Liks”.

€20m EU project will create digital twin platform for industry

Researchers across Europe have embarked on a €20m, three-year project to build a flexible platform for creating digital twins for industrial plants. Funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the IoTwins project will experiment with new technologies for digitising industrial processes and products, with 12 testbeds that will create “digital twins” – virtual copies of industrial processes that can be used to test plants and infrastructure management tools in advance.

Sumitomo buys Welsh drives-maker, Invertek, for £100m

Japan’s Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) is buying the Welsh driver-maker, Invertek Drives, for around £100m (13 billion Japanese Yen). SHI says it is planning “significant investment” to expand and develop Invertek, and intends to combine Invertek’s motor control products with the portfolio of industrial motors that it acquired when it bought the Italian motor-maker Lafert last year.

Robots sales likely to stagnate in 2019, after a record 2018

A new record number of 422,000 industrial robots were shipped globally during 2018 – 6% more than the previous year – according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). But the organisation expects shipments to stagnate this year for the first time in many years as a result of the US-China tariff dispute and a downturn in key user industries.

Schaeffler enters motor-making with a portfolio for EVs

Schaeffler is entering electric motor manufacturing with a family of modular motors aimed at electric vehicle applications. The motors, in ratings from 20kW to more than 300kW, at voltages from 48 to 800V, are being designed for efficiency and a good price/performance ratios. Volume production is due to begin in 2021.

Integrated portfolio will help companies to go digital

Siemens has announced an integrated portfolio of software, services and an application development platform to help companies of all sizes to become digital enterprises. Called Xcelerator, the portfolio combines Siemens’ software for design, engineering and manufacturing, with an expanded version of its Mendix low-code, multi-experience application development platform, which now includes cloud and app services for digital engineering and Internet of Things (IoT), powered by Siemens’ MindSphere cloud-based, open IoT operating system.

Timken buys Beka to become automated lubrication number 2

The US-based Timken Company is buying the German automated lubrication specialist, Beka Lubrication, for around $165m. The acquisition will make Timken the world’s second-largest producer of industrial automatic lubrication systems.

Staff blamed for more than half of ICS cyber-incidents

More than half of all cybersecurity incidents involving industrial networks last year were caused by errors or unintentional actions by company employees, according to a new survey of 282 industrial organisations around the world. A report based on the survey blames this phenomenon on the growing complexity of industrial infrastructures, a shortage of professionals who understand how to detect threats, and low levels of awareness among employees.

Aerotech and Micronix form global partnership for motion control

Aerotech and Micronix USA have formed a global partnership under which they will offer complementary precision systems for industry and research – in particular, for precision nanopositioning. By working together, the companies hope to expand their core competencies, while advancing the development of new applications which need powerful, user-friendly nanopositioning technologies. They say that by cooperating, they will be able to offer a wider array of stepper motors, controllers, drives and software for positioning applications.

Cobot sales will top $11bn by 2030, taking 29% of the market

The market for collaborative robot (or cobot) arms will become increasingly mainstream over the next 10 years, with annual sales soaring from $711m in 2019 to reach $11.8bn by 2030, according to a new analysis by ABI Research. If revenues from related products such as end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) accessories and software are included, the cobot ecosystem will mushroom from just over $1bn in 2019, to $24bn by 2030 – a CAGR of 28.6%.

US centre will develop medical cobots for non-surgical duties

ABB is setting up a research centre in Texas where it will develop collaborative robot (cobot) technologies for non-surgical roles in laboratories and hospitals. Currently, the number of patients that can be treated using high-tech treatments, such as the cancer therapies, is limited by the need for skilled medical experts who spend much of their day doing repetitive, low-value tasks, such as preparing slides and loading centrifuges. Using robots to automate these tasks would allow them to focus on more skilled and productive work, and could help more people to receive treatment by speeding up the testing processes dramatically.

Group aims to standardise industrial cloud interfaces

More than 30 companies and organisations involved in industrial automation and communications have come together to draw up a standard interface for industrial cloud communications that will ensure interoperability between factory systems and cloud platforms.

Design your own low-cost robot ‘in just a few clicks’

A group of German robotics suppliers has joined forces to create a platform where users can create low-cost robots by choosing compatible components from different suppliers “with just a few clicks”. Initial supporters of the platform, called RBTX.com, include igus, ifm, Schunk, Servotronix, Schmalz and Commonplace Robotics.