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Pilz is recovering from a ‘major’ ransomware attack

The German machine safety and automation specialist Pilz is recovering from the effects of a “major” ransomware cyber-attack which affected much of its IT infrastructure around the world in the middle of October.

Danfoss overtakes Siemens to lead EMEA drives market

Danfoss overtook Siemens in 2018 to become the leading supplier of variable-speed drives in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) region, according to a new study of the global low-voltage AC drives market by Interact Analysis. ABB remains the global leader in a market where average drive prices fell by 2.7% compared with 2017 – a trend that the analyst predicts will continue.

Smart factories could boost global economy by $2.2 trillion

A new study from the Capgemini Research Institute has found that smart factories could add $1.5–2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2023 through productivity gains, improvements in quality and market share, and customer services. However, two-thirds of this value has yet to be realised.

B&R integrates ABB robots into its controls portfolio

At this month’s SPS automation show in Germany, B&R Automation is starting to move closer to ABB, which acquired the Austrian business in 2017. At SPS, it is demonstrating ABB robots as an integral aspect of its offering, eliminating the need for dedicated robot controllers, separate control cabinets and programming specialists.

Sensor-maker expects to become a €1bn business

The German sensor-maker, ifm electronic, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, believes that it had a good chance of becoming a €1bn-turnover business by the end of this year. The family-owned company achieved €943m of sales in 2018 and joint CEO Martin Buck is confident that it can hit the target, despite the downturn in the German economy.

Aluminium LV motor sales will hit $5.8bn by 2027

The global market for high-efficiency low-voltage aluminium motors is expanding by around 5% per year and will reach $5.8bn by 2027, when 14 million of these machines will be sold, according to a new report from Transparency Market Research. It says that Europe was the largest market for these motors in 2018, and predicts that it will hold this position over the forecast period from 2019-2027.

ADI buys motor-testing firm to boost condition-monitoring

Analog Devices (ADI), the global analogue technology company, is buying Test Motors, a Spanish company specialising in predictive maintenance technologies for electric motors and generators. The acquisition will expand ADI’s growing condition-based monitoring portfolio for identifying faults in equipment before downtime or catastrophic failures occur. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

Robot-maker Toshiba Machine plans return to the Shibaura name

The Japanese robot-maker Toshiba Machine is changing its name to Shibaura Machine from 1 April 2020. The change reflects the company’s separation from the Toshiba Corporation in 2017, and is a return to the Shibaura Machine Tool name that it originally used when it was founded in 1938. The company is aiming for a seamless transition go the new name with no impact on business, customers or shareholders.

ABB and Microsoft help to found cyber-security alliance

A new global cyber-security alliance has been established to help companies address OT (operational technology) security risks that could threaten their operations and businesses. The 12 founder members of the Operational Technology Cyber Security Alliance (OTCSA) include ABB, Microsoft, SCADAFence and Wärtsilä.

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.