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IO-Link revenues hit $3.5bn in 2018 and are booming

Global sales of IO-Link compatible equipment were worth more than $3.5bn in 2018 and will grow by a further 12.2% in 2019, according to a new study by the analyst, Future Market Insights (FMI). It adds that IO-Link devices accounted for more than 56% of global turnover (almost $2bn) last year, with IO-Link masters accounting for the remainder.

Sales of motor-drives and on-machine VSDs ‘will hit $1.4bn’

The global market for integrated motors and machine-mounted drives will expand with a CAGR of 6.8% in the five years from 2017, reaching $1.4bn by 2022, according to a new study from IHS Markit. Factors driving the market include an expansion in machinery production and additional revenues being generated by sales of AC brushless servo and AC induction motors and drives.

Nidec takes 70% stake in German gearbox manufacturer, Desch

The Japanese motors and drives giant Nidec is acquiring a 70% stake in the German precision gearbox and drive component manufacturer, Desch Antriebstechnik, and its subsidiaries in Germany and China. The transaction will give Nidec’s gearbox subsidiary Nidec-Shimpo access to the market for large precision gearboxes, in addition to its current presence in the small precision gearbox market. Desch’s companies in North America are not part of the agreement, whose financial details have not been disclosed.

P+F buys US industrial comms specialist Comtrol

The German industrial automation company Pepperl+Fuchs is acquiring Comtrol Corporation, the US-based pioneer of industrial Ethernet technologies and manufacturer of IO-Link products. From 1 February, Comtrol will join P+F’s Factory Automation division and a new company called Pepperl+Fuchs Comtrol Inc, will be established in the US. The business will remain in Minneapolis and plans to increase its headcount during 2019. The financial terms of the deal have not been revealed.

KEB takes 30% stake in Italian motor-maker, Brusatori

The German motors and drives manufacturer KEB Automation has acquired a 30% stake in the Italian motor producer, Brusatori Motori Elettrici, thus expanding its servo and high-torque portfolio.

EU scheme hopes to create 1,000 start-ups by 2030

The European Union has set up a consortium with the goal of creating 1,000 manufacturing start-up businesses, and training and upskilling 50,000 people across the EU by 2030. The EIT Manufacturing consortium brings together 50 partners from 17 countries (not including the UK) with aim of helping the European manufacturing sector to become more competitive, sustainable and productive.

Global group aims to accelerate uptake of Industry 4.0

Five organisations – Siemens, SAP, the management consultancy McKinsey, the testing body TÜV SÜD, and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) – have joined forces to help manufacturers around the world adopt Industry 4.0 technologies. The group aims to develop tools that will accelerate the digital transformation of manufacturers in Singapore and elsewhere.

Rockwell buys UK automation simulation developer

Rockwell Automation has acquired Emulate3D, a UK engineering software developer whose products simulate and emulate industrial automation systems digitally. By using accurate simulation models to improve systems planning and decision-making, followed by emulation trials that test the control system before installation, Emulate3D’s software allows customers to test machine and system designs virtually before incurring manufacturing and automation costs and committing to a final design. The financial details of the transaction have not been released.

Bosch buys Daimler’s stake in their EV motor venture

Robert Bosch has bought Daimler’s share of EM-motive, the 50:50 joint venture that they set up in 2011 to manufacture electric motors for electric and hybrid vehicles. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Piezo motors challenge traditional technologies

The global market for piezoelectric motors was worth $8.3bn last year and will reach $12.5bn by 2027 – a CAGR of 4.7% – according to a new study from the analyst Fact.MR. It reports that more than two billion piezo motors were sold last year (about a quarter of them linear motors) and says that the market is being driven by factors including the motors’ high torque and force capabilities.

Danfoss buys US drivetrain developer UQM in $100m deal

Danfoss is buying the US electric drivetrain developer UQM Technologies in a cash transaction worth around $100m, including the assumption of UQM’s debts. Danfoss says that UQM’s expertise in motors and inverters up to 250kW for electric, hybrid electric, plug-in hybrid electric propulsion systems, “adds an important and complementary technology to our current product range”.

Austria's Keba buys Germany’s LTI and Heinz Fiege

The Austrian automation specialist Keba has acquired two German companies – the servodrives manufacturer LTI Motion and the spindles-maker Heinz Fiege – to widen its technology base and strengthen its position in industrial automation. Lahnau-based LTI and Röllbach-based Fiege were previously owned by the German technology group Körber. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

LV motor sales to process sector are booming

Global sales of low-voltage motors to the process sector have been growing faster than those to the discrete industries, according to a new report from IHS Markit. It says that LV motor revenues from the process sector grew by 4% between 2016 and 2017, generating $3.7bn in revenues, and will reach $4.4bn by 2022.

Automation giants join forces to back OPC UA TSN

Visitors to the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany witnessed the remarkable sight of representatives from Siemens, Rockwell Automation and Mitsubishi Electric sharing a stage to endorse a single industrial networking technology ­–  the OPC Foundation’s recently announced version of OPC UA which will use TSN (Time Sensitive Networking) down to the field level.

Schaeffler buys Elmotec to launch into motor production

Schaeffler has acquired the German motor-making machinery specialist Elmotec Statomat, setting it on course to become a large-scale producer of electric motors, especially for automotive applications. The company wants to reduce its reliance on producing components for combustion engine powertrains, and to tap into the burgeoning market for electric drivetrains.