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Vulnerability could give attackers control of Rockwell PLCs

Cisco’s “threat intelligence organisation” Talos has discovered a vulnerability in Rockwell Automation’s MicroLogix 1400 PLCs that could allow cyber-attackers to take control of affected devices and to manipulate their settings, replace their firmware or disrupt their operation in other ways.

Rockwell accuses two companies of infringing patents

Rockwell Automation has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that the Taiwanese controls manufacturer, Advantech, and 3S-Smart Software Solutions, the German developer of the Codesys automation software, are infringing one or more of eight of its US patents covering industrial control systems.

Industrial Ethernet cable sales growing faster than 17%

The global market for industrial Ethernet cables is expanding with a CAGR of more than 17%, and will be worth $941m by 2020, according to a new study by Technavio. Although copper cables still dominate – with a market share of more than 77% in 2015 – fibre optic cables are the fastest-growing technology, due to their ability to operate at gigabit speeds over long distances and to withstand radio and electromagnetic interference. They are the preferred technology in the oil and gas, and pulp and paper industries.

Chinese firm takes control of German robot-maker, Kuka

In a controversial deal, the Chinese appliance manufacturer Midea has acquired almost 95% of the shares in the German robot-maker Kuka.

Nidec pays $1.2bn for Emerson’s motors and drives businesses

The acquisitive Japanese motor-maker Nidec has agreed to pay $1.2bn in cash for Emerson Electric’s Motors & Drives and Electric Power Generation businesses. The acquired operations include the Welsh-based drives manufacturer Control Techniques and the French motor- and generator-maker, Leroy-Somer. A key driver for Nidec is a desire to reduce its current dependence on its small precision motors activities.

GE and Microsoft join forces to put Predix on the cloud

GE and Microsoft have announced a partnership that will make GE’s Predix platform for the industrial Internet available on Microsoft's Azure cloud for industrial businesses. The move marks the first step in a strategic collaboration between the two companies that will allow customers to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications.

Koch backs AC Kinetics to deliver ‘third era for drives’

Koch Minerals – a subsidiary of the $115bn US conglomerate Koch Industries – has entered into strategic agreements with the US motor control software developer, AC Kinetics, to commercialise its software that runs on existing VFD (variable-frequency drive) hardware and is claimed to achieve energy savings of up to 50%, while maintaining performance in both steady-state and dynamic operation. The terms of the agreements have not been revealed.

Will Emerson sell Leroy-Somer and CT to a Chinese buyer?

Two Chinese companies and a private equity group are among the potential bidders for Emerson Electric’s Motors and Drives business, according to a report from the Reuters news agency. Emerson announced last year that it was exploring “strategic alternatives” for the business, which includes the UK-based drives-maker Control Techniques and the French motor manufacturer Leroy-Somer, as part of a plan to streamline its portfolio and to drive growth. Reports suggest that Emerson wants to sell the business – potentially worth around €1bn – within the next few months.

Drives lab will help users to test combos of motors and VSDs

ABB has set up a test laboratory at its drives factory in Helsinki, Finland, where customers can have their own motors tested with ABB’s variable-speed drives (VSDs) to verify their impact on performance and energy consumption.

US motor-maker buys gearmotor specialist to offer motion packages

The US motor manufacturer, HTI Technology, has acquired the fractional horsepower gearmotor producer, Klauber Machine & Gear (KMG), for an undisclosed sum. HTI plans to combine its own expertise in AC and DC motor and drives systems with Klauber’s technology and expertise in AC and DC gearmotors, to offer application-engineered motion packages.

Siemens stalwart will run ABB's automation and motion division

ABB has appointed Sami Atiya to be the new president of its Discrete Automation and Motion (DM) division, succeeding Pekka Tiitinen, who is returning to his home country to be managing director of ABB in Finland.

German suppliers aim to simplify the ordering process

At the Hannover Fair, SEW-Eurodrive, Festo and Sick announced a joint initiative designed to make it easier for their customers to do business with them. They say that the Esis (Easy Supplier Integration Services) scheme will cut the time and costs of processing orders, as well as increasing reliability and integrating better with customers’ own IT systems.

ZF sets up industrial gearbox business

The German engineering giant, ZF, best-known as an automotive supplier, has set up an industrial drives business based on the large gearbox operation of Bosch Rexroth which is acquired last December. The ZF Industrieantriebe business, which employs 900 people in Germany and China, made its public debut at the recent Hannover Fair. The business will supply modular drive, winch and swing gearboxes for industrial applications and mobile machines.

Motion control sales slumped in 2015, but are starting to recover

The global market for motion control hardware suffered a 10.6% decline during 2015, with total revenues amounting to $10.4bn, according to the latest research from the IHS Motion Controls Intelligence Service. But the analyst suggests that the market will gradually return to growth starting this year.

David Brown and Santasalo merge to create a global brand

David Brown and Santasalo – two mechanical power transmission companies owned by Clyde Blowers Capital – have merged to create David Brown Santasalo, a global industrial gearbox business with more than 1,000 employees, 5,000 customers, seven manufacturing plants and 23 service centres on six continents.