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Cyber-flaws in Schneider HMIs could allow attacks

Cyber-security researchers have found vulnerabilities in Schneider Electric’s Magelis HMIs (human-machine interfaces) that could allow attackers to “freeze” the panels remotely and prevent them from communicating with PLCs and other devices, potentially affecting the operation of industrial plants.

More efficient motors ‘could cut global electricity use by 7%’

Global electricity consumption could be cut by around 7% by using more efficient electric motors and related systems, according to the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN). The Centre has calculated that such measures could save more than 1,350TWh of electricity and would mean that 17% less coal-fired generating capacity would be needed, avoiding the need to build around 200 new power plants and saving around $375bn in the process.

Cognex buys two European 3D machine vision firms

Cognex has bought the German 3D vision sensor specialist EnShape. This follows its earlier acquisition of AQSense, a Spanish developer of 3D vision software, which sells a library of 3D vision tools and configuration software that simplifies the setting up of 3D vision applications.

Industrial Ethernet sales growth rate set to halve in 2016

After expanding by 10.1% in 2015, global revenues from industrial Ethernet infrastructure components are likely to grow by just 4.5% this year, according to the analyst, IHS Markit. However, the horizon looks brighter for 2017 and beyond.

Pepperl+Fuchs buys explosion-protected phone pioneer

Pepperl+Fuchs, the German intrinsic safety and industrial sensing specialist, has acquired ecom instruments, which it describes as the global market-leader in mobile phones and tablets for use in hazardous areas. Details of the deal have not been revealed.

Schneider denies that it is looking to buy Rockwell

UPDATED: Schneider Electric has denied a suggestion by a US financial analyst that it is looking to buy Rockwell Automation in a deal that could value the US automation giant at around $18bn. Rockwell’s share price surged by 6.9% on the rumour, before dropping back to a 4.2% gain for the day (21 October). It closed at $122.99 – its highest price since July 2015. Following Schneider's denial, the stock price dropped back below $120.

Altra buys GKN’s Stromag brake and clutch unit for €184m

Altra Industrial Motion is buying the brake, clutch and couplings manufacturer Stromag from GKN for around €184m (£164m). GKN says the sale will allow it to redeploy capital into its core aerospace and automotive businesses. The deal includes the transfer of debt-like obligations of around €14m (£13 million) for a total enterprise value of €198 million (£177 million).

US and EU motor-makers join forces on system efficiency

Electric motor manufacturers in North America and Europe are working together to develop efficiency standards for complete motor-driven systems, rather than focusing on motors in isolation.

AI collaboration will let robots think for themselves

The Japanese robot-maker Fanuc has teamed up with the computer technology specialist Nvidia to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to robotics to boost productivity and to bring new capabilities to automated factories.

Global PLC sales slump by 11.5%, but 'will rebound'

The global market for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) shrank by 11.5% in 2015, and is continuing to contract this year, according to analysis by IHS Markit. It attributes the decline to a combination of factors, including the unfavourable economic climate in emerging economies, China’s economic slowdown, over-capacity in heavy industries, as well as the end of the commodity super-cycle.

ABB unveils Robotics & Motion division and ties up with Microsoft

ABB’s Discrete Automation and Motion division is being reborn as Robotics and Motion in the latest stage in its Next Level Strategy designed “to unlock value for customers and shareholders”. The former Process Automation division is being renamed Industrial Automation.

Rockwell buys leading US systems integrator, Maverick

Rockwell Automation has acquired North America’s largest independent systems integrator, Maverick Technologies, to help it to deliver control and information systems to customers in industries such as chemicals, food and beverage, and oil and gas. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

Yaskawa’s The Switch buys Wärtsilä marine drives business

The Switch, the Finnish specialist in advanced drivetrain technology which is owned by Yaskawa, is buying Wärtsilä’s marine drives business which produces Megawatt-scale drives for marine applications. The deal will give The Switch a stronger foothold in the growing marine drives sector and allow it to offer drivetrain components for marine applications, while Wärtsilä’s Norwegian Electrical and Automation (E&A) business will be able to focus on system-level offerings.

Industrial robot installations set to soar by 14% in 2016

More than 1.4 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world by 2019, taking the total number to 2.6 million, according to the latest forecast from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Fluke adds asset management specialist to its portfolio

The test tool giant Fluke has acquired US-based eMaint Enterprises, which specialises in computerised maintenance management software (CMMS). The terms of the deal have not been released.