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Minimum motor efficiencies in EU now extend down to 750W

The latest phase of the EU’s motor efficiency regulations came into force last month, requiring most new single-speed, three-phase induction motors from 750W up to 375kW either to have an IE3 (“premium efficiency”) efficiency rating, or to be IE2 (“high efficiency”) and used with a variable-speed drive.

Italy’s ESA Automation buys drive-maker Selema

Italy’s ESA Automation has acquired the drives-maker Selema for an undisclosed sum. Selema, founded in 1978 and based near Bologna, produces drives with current ratings from 0.5–60A, to control brushless, linear and torque motors, among others.

€17.5m distribution centre will accelerate bearings deliveries

The bearings manufacturer NSK is investing almost €17.5m to build a new European Distribution Centre (EDC), 4km from its existing site at Tilburg in the Netherlands. It says that the 17,357m² facility, due to be completed by July, will allow it to stock more, to operate more efficiently, and to make faster deliveries to customers.

A return to growth in 2017 is one of top 7 automation trends

Following two years of contraction, the global automation market will return to growth this year, according to the market analyst, IHS Markit, which has published a list of what it thinks will be the top seven manufacturing trends during 2017.

PI acquires 80% of Israeli motion control specialist, ACS

The motion control and nanopositioning systems specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) has acquired 80% of ACS Motion Control, the Israeli developer and manufacturer of controllers and drives for multi-axis systems. The financial terms have not been disclosed.

Yaskawa invests €25m to expand its European activities

The Japanese automation and robotics manufacturer Yaskawa is investing around €25m to expand its production facilities in Europe and to open a new robot manufacturing plant and European robotics development centre in Slovenia, creating around 200 jobs in the process.

US invests $25m in advanced motor technologies

The US Department of Energy has announced nearly $25m of funding for 13 projects aimed at advancing technologies for high-efficiency electric motors. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Next Generation Electric Machines projects will address the limitations of traditional materials and designs by enhancing their efficiency, improving their performance, and reducing their weight.

Industrial automation market ‘will exceed $250bn by 2024’

A new report from Transparency Market Research predicts that the global market for industrial automation equipment will expand from $183bn in 2015 to reach $352bn by the end of 2024 – a CAGR of 6.6% over the period. Part of this growth will be driven by manufacturing industry revolutionising the way that it operates. Another driving factor is said to be a strong growth in demand for CNC technologies.

Dana buys Brevini's power transmission and fluid power activities

The US vehicle technologies supplier Dana Incorporated is acquiring the power transmission and fluid power businesses of the Italian Brevini Group in a deal that values the group at €325m, including the assumption of about €100m of debt. Dana plans initially to buy an 80% share in the Brevini businesses, with an option to acquire the remaining 20% by 2020.

Schaeffler buys Compact Dynamics to boost drives activities

The automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler is buying a 51% stake in Compact Dynamcs, the German manufacturer of high-performance motors currently owned by the power semiconductor specialist, Semikron. Under the deal, which gives Schaeffler the option of acquiring the remaining shares in 2018, it will also cooperate with Semikron in the development of power electronic systems and the integration of power electronic components. Financial details have not been released.

Danfoss enters MV drives market with novel kit-based design

Danfoss Drives has entered the $2.5bn medium-voltage drives market with a novel modular design that allows system integrators (SIs) and OEMs to customise their drives and to fit them more easily into tight spaces, such as on board ships. The Vacon 3000 drives will initially cover voltage ratings from 3.3–4.16kV, and power ratings up to 6MW. The range will probably be extended upwards at a later stage.

Lafert expands to boost sales by more than 50% by 2020

The Italian motor-maker Lafert is investing around €4.5m to expand its main production site near Venice by 5,000m2, adding to the existing 23,000m2 of floorspace. The expansion is part of a programme aimed at raising the company’s revenues from €143m this year to at least €220m by 2020. Production logistics are being improved to allow the company to meet demand, which has been expanding by about 10% a year recently. Turnover at the family-owned company has almost doubled during the past six years.

Tesla buys German automation firm to boost output six-fold

The US electric car-maker Tesla is buying a German automation specialist, Grohmann Engineering, to help it boost output from around 80,000 vehicles a year at present, to 500,000 by 2018. Grohmann will be renamed Tesla Grohmann Automation and its workforce is expected to expand from around 700 to more than 1,000 over the next two years. Grohmann’s site in Prüm will also serve as the initial base for Tesla Advanced Automation Germany, with other locations to follow.

Precision-geared sales slowed in 2015, but will rebound

The global market for precision-geared products slowed to around $1.9bn in 2015, with 2.2 billion units being shipped, according to the analyst, IHS Markit. Revenue growth in US dollars fell by 0.8% compared to 2014, due mainly to the depreciation of the euro and Japanese yen against the US dollar, as well as a sluggish Asian market. But the analyst expects the market to recover in 2016.

Schaeffler cuts 500 jobs in industrial division to save €60m

The German bearings manufacturer Schaeffler has announced plans to cut around 500 jobs from its industrial division over the next three years. The cutbacks, which are intended to revitalise the division and to improve its profitability by about €60m, follow a 5.3% drop in revenue for business during the first nine months of 2016, which Schaeffler blames on “a weak economic market environment”.