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China aims for robot leadership in new five-year plan

China has released a new five-year plan for its industrial robotics industry, aimed at making it a global leader. Already China has the largest number of installed industrial robots (943,200 in 2020) and is the world’s biggest market for robots, with 168,377 new robots being installed in 2020. But most of these (73%) were from non-Chinese manufacturers, with domestic manufacturers accounting for just 27% of the robots shipped – a total of 45,347.

Hannover Fair is put back by a month and cut to four days

The organisers of the Hannover Messe (Fair) have rescheduled this year’s industrial mega-show from its original dates of 25-29 April to 30 May-2 June. The show is being reduced from five days to four because of existing commitments at the Hannover showground. The organisers say the fair will return to its traditional five-day event in 2023.

SPS will return in November, two weeks earlier than before

The German automation mega-show SPS will be returning to its usual Nuremberg venue from 8–10 November, 2022 – two weeks earlier than its traditional slot in the last week of November. The show’s organiser, Mesago, says that the announcement will give the industry planning certainty.

Delta buys Universal Instruments to boost smart manufacturing

The Taiwanese automation manufacturer Delta Electronics is buying US-based Universal Instruments Corporation and its worldwide operations for around $88.9m. Universal specialises in precision automation systems for applications requiring high accuracy, high-speed handling, assembly and inspection – especially for the electronics industry. Its Advanced Process Lab (APL) platform assists users at every phase of a product’s lifecycle – prototyping, process development, analytics and advanced assembly.

TE Connectivity acquires Phoenix Contact safety relays

TE Connectivity has acquired Phoenix Contact’s force-guided narrow safety relay (NSR) technology as part of a long-term partnership agreement between the companies. TE will assume responsibility for manufacturing and marketing the PSRmini single-pole NSR relays, as part of its focus on bringing miniaturised systems and advanced safety technologies to the market, especially for robot, PLC, elevator and servodrive applications.

€33.7m project will develop digital motor production methods

A consortium of 17 German companies and research organisations has embarked on a €33.7m Government-backed project to develop a digitalised system for producing innovative electric motors. The AgiloDrive2 project is being led by Schaeffler, with other participants including Siemens, Kuka, Schunk and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

UK robot density rises by 77% in 5 years, as the world doubles

The UK’s industrial robot density – the number of installed robots per 10,000 manufacturing workers – climbed from 71 in 2015 to 101 in 2020, according to figures released by the International Federation of Robotics. Although this represents a growth rate of 77% over the five years, it is far behind the global average, which almost doubled from 66 to 126 over the same period. It puts the UK in 24th position in the global league of robot densities, behind countries including Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

EU AI and machinery plans ‘will disrupt manufacturing’

Four organisations representing the robotics and automation industry have attacked the European Commission's plans to place limitations on AI (artificial intelligence) and to update its machinery regulations, warning the proposed changes would disrupt manufacturing, cause severe damage to small businesses and robotics companies, and stifle innovation.

Rockwell names Åsa Arvidsson as vp for UK and its region

Rockwell Automation has appointed Åsa Arvidsson as vice-president for its Emea North Region which covers the UK, the Nordic countries, Ireland and Russia. She succeeds Mark Bottomley who has a new role as Emea vice-president for strategic accounts and sales specialists. Christian Reuter has been named as Emea regional vice-president for market access.

Open industrial edge app store works like a consumer store

Siemens has launched a vendor-independent app store for industrial buyers. As well as Siemens’ own Industrial Edge apps for the discrete and machine tool industries, the store will offer apps from third-party suppliers that support the platform such as Braincube, Cybus, SeioTec and Tosibox.

SPS show is cancelled as Bavaria tightens Covid restrictions

The SPS automation show, which was due to take place next week in Nuremberg, Germany, has been cancelled following the announcement by the Bavarian prime minister Dr Markus Söder of strict new measures in an attempt to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in the region.

Mercedes to build UK-designed axial-flux motors in Berlin

Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to start building high-performance axial-flux electric motors designed by its UK subsidiary Yasa in Berlin, as it prepares to go all-electric by 2030.

Siemens and ABB quit SPS as German Covid cases soar

With Covid-19 infection rates hitting an all-time high in Germany, several major exhibitors at next week’s SPS automation show in Nuremberg – including Siemens, ABB, Beckhoff, Schneider Electric, Rittal, Wago, Pilz, Lenze, Sick, Weidmüller, Bosch Rexroth, B&R Automation, TE Connectivity and Harting – have decided to pull out of a physical presence at the show, although many will still take part in online activities that are running in parallel.

Automation centre will help to design future factories

Omron has upgraded its Barcelona-based Automation Centre where visitors from across the Emea region can collaborate with the company’s engineers to develop industrial automation systems, including robotics, vision, quality control, flexible manufacturing and AI. Covering more than 800m2 of floor space, the Centre allows customers to experience the benefits of connected, intelligent factories before making an investment.

Rockwell sets up cybersecurity centre and adds partners

Rockwell Automation has set up a Cybersecurity Operations Center in Israel to deliver remote cybersecurity services to customers around the world. The centre is one of several moves that that Rockwell has announced to bolster its cybersecurity activities, including partnerships with the cybersecurity specialists Dragos and CrowdStrike.