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Minebea and Mitsumi plan to merge their businesses

The Japanese bearings-maker Minebea is merging its business with that of the electronics parts manufacturer Mitsumi Electric, whose wide-ranging portfolio includes DC motors, stepper motors and sensors. The aim of the deal – which takes the form of a share swap which will turn Mitsumi into a wholly owned subsidiary of a new business called Minebea Mitsumi – is to combine Minebea’s expertise in metal processing with Mitsumi’s electronics know-how to produce tiny, high-performance components that meet the needs of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Danfoss Drives aims to be the world number one

One year after Danfoss’ takeover of the Finnish drives-maker Vacon, the leaders of the the merged business have been talking about their plans for the future. At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Danfoss Drives’ president, Vesa Laisi, restated his aim of becoming the world’s biggest drives-maker. “We really want to challenge ABB as market-leader,” he said in Nuremberg.

Industrial comms organisations get talking

The 2015 SPS IPC Drives show was remarkable for the number of agreements and understandings signed by various industrial communications organisations during the event.

€70m pneumatics plant implements Industry 4.0 concepts

Festo has opened a new factory in Germany that implements many Industry 4.0 concepts. The 66,000m2 plant, in Scharnhausen near Stuttgart, has cost around €70m to date, and is three times the size of the previous plant, located 8km away. It employs around 1,200 people making products such as pneumatic valves, valve terminals, linear actuators and electronic assemblies.

Profinet and CC-Link join forces to develop interfaces

Profibus and Profinet International (PI) and the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) have announced plans to jointly develop standardised interfaces that will allow bi-directional communications between CC-Link IE and Profinet networks.

Bonfiglioli takes 55% stake in gear-maker O&K for €25.7m

The Italian power transmission manufacturer Bonfiglioli Riduttori is acquiring a 55% stake in the German heavy-duty gear-maker O&K Antriebstechnik for €25.7m. O&K’s former sole owner, Italy’s Carraro Group, will retain a 45% share in the business and will have a strategic role as a key partner in the delivery of specific components.

Advantech buys B+B for $99.85m to boost its comms activities

The Taiwanese automation and embedded computing manufacturer Advantech, is buying the Canadian industrial communications specialist B+B SmartWorx for $99.85m. Ottwa-based B+B will be continue to be led by its current management team and will join Advantech’s Industrial IoT Business Group.

GE merges Intelligent Platforms with Alstom's controls

GE is merging its Intelligent Platforms business with Alstom Power Automation & Controls – which it acquired recently as part of its $13.6bn purchase of Alstom’s Power and Grid business – to create a new operation called GE Automation & Controls, employing 2,400 people in 30 countries.

EU plans tougher motor efficiency regs – and to add VSDs

The European Commission wants to extend its energy-efficiency regulations affecting electric motors to save a further 22.3TWh per year across the European Union by 2030.

Rockwell issues updates to plug PLC vulnerabilities

Rockwell Automation has issued firmware updates for some of its Allen-Bradley MicroLogic 1100 and 1400 PLCs to tackle security vulnerabilities that, if left unpatched, could allow remote cyber-attackers to interfere with the PLCs’ operation.

Schneider invests €65m to boost its presence in Singapore

Schneider Electric has announced plans to invest around €65m over the next few years to expand its operations in Singapore. It plans to establish a new East Asia headquarters, a software development and demonstration centre, and a control centre for network logistics, analytics and transportation.

HTI acquires ACE to combine their technologies

The US motor producer HTI Technology has acquired American Control Electronics (ACE) with the aim of combining its own AC and DC motors and powered mechanisms with ACE’s DC and AC drives and controls technologies, which include the Minarik Drives and American Control Electronics brands.

Motion Tech acquires the sensor-maker, Lion Precision

The US motion control specialist, Motion Tech Automation (MTA), has acquired the Minnesota-based precision sensor manufacturer, Lion Precision. The acquisition will enhance MTA’s position-sensing capabilities and the markets it serves. For its part, MTA will provide Lion Precision with manufacturing capabilities and resources to help it expand its business globally.

Industrial robot sales set to double to 400,000 by 2018

The number of industrial robots sold worldwide will almost double between 2014 and 2018 to reach around 400,000 machines a year, according to latest forecast from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). It predicts that in the period to 2018, global sales will grow at a year-on-year average rate of 15%, with the big regional driver being China which is already the largest and fastest-growing robotics market in the world, with sales in 2014 being 56% higher than in 2013.

Era of rapid growth in LV drives revenues ‘has ended’

In the five years leading up to the economic downturn in 2009, revenues from global sales of low-voltage drives grew at an annual average of more than 12%. In the six years since then, the CAGR has been only about 2%.