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ABB buys Swedish robotic machine-tending specialist

ABB has bought SVIA, a Swedish company that specialises in systems for automated machine-tending, using robots to feed components to lathes and mills, and to processes such as assembly, washing and part-marking. The financial terms of the deal have not been revealed.

Eplan opens up its product data library for use by others

Eplan, the German engineering design software developer, has announced that it is opening up its vast library of product data to users of rival products such as AutoCad. It is also making the data available to users of ERP (enterprise resource planning), PDM (product data management) and PLM (product life management) systems.

Toyota opts for EtherCat as its global Ethernet standard

The world’s largest car-maker, Toyota, has decided that EtherCat will be its industrial Ethernet technology of choice and that it will base all of its new factories worldwide on this communications technology. Announcing the decision at the recent Hannover Fair, Morihiko Ohkura, general manager of Toyota’s production engineering innovation division, said that it was based on a “thorough” analysis of various industrial Ethernet technologies.

SKF sells Kaydon velocity controls business for $339m

SKF is selling its Kaydon velocity control business to Stabilus for $339m. SKF acquired the business as part of the Kaydon Corporation, which it bought for $1.25bn in 2013.

Harting wins Hermes Award for smart factory technology

The German manufacturer Harting has won the prestigious Hermes Award for industrial innovation for its Mica (Modular Industry Computing Architecture) mini-industrial computer. This the second time that Harting has won the award, which is presented every year at the Hannover Fair. The presentation was made at the opening ceremony in the presence of US president Barak Obama and German chancellor Angela Merkel, who also visited the Harting stand the following day.

Moret succeeds Nosbuch as president and CEO of Rockwell

Rockwell Automation’s board of directors has elected Blake Moret, a 30-year veteran with the company, to succeed Keith Nosbusch as president and chief executive officer of the company, with effect from 1 July. Nosbusch, 65, who has been president and CEO since 2004, will continue to be chairman of the board. Moret, 53, is currently senior vice-president of Rockwell’s Control Products & Solutions business.

Global sales of industrial robots hit a new record in 2015

The number of industrial robots sold worldwide last year exceeded 240,000 for the first time – equivalent to a year-on-year growth rate of 8% – according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

PI invests €13m in a technology centre in Germany

The precision motion and nanopositioning specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) is investing €13m to build a new technology centre at its global headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany. After a year of planning, the cornerstone for the 9,600m² centre was laid recently.

Siemens and Airbus aim for an electric aircraft breakthrough

Siemens and Airbus have signed a long-term collaboration agreement aimed at demonstrating the technical feasibility of hybrid/electric propulsion systems for aircraft by 2020. They have set up a joint development team of around 200 people to drive innovation and the development of electrically powered aircraft in Europe.

WEG buys US motor producer, Bluffton Motor Works

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG is buying the US fractional horsepower motor manufacturer, Bluffton Motor Works, for an undisclosed sum. The Indiana-based business – formerly part of Franklin Electric – employs about 400 people and achieved revenues worth $64m in 2015.

Operator terminal sales are growing slower than expected

The global market for operator terminals was worth $2.4bn in 2014, and will expand to $2.9bn by 2019 – a CAGR of 3.5% – according to the latest analysis from IHS Technology. The figures represent a downward revision as a result of pressure from the slowing economy, weak commodity prices and low oil prices.

US government offers up to $25m for r&d on electric motors

The US Department of Energy is offering up to $25m in funding over the next five years to help develop advanced technologies for energy-efficient electric motors.

Variable-speed drive sales ‘will hit $25bn by 2020’

The global market for variable-speed drives (VSDs) will expand at a CAGR of almost 8% in the period to 2020, by when it will be worth $25.3bn, according to a new report from Technavio. The analyst attributes the growth to the need to optimise manufacturing processes and to cut operating costs by monitoring energy consumption.

Siemens to cut around 2,500 Drives and Process jobs

Siemens has announced plans to cut around 2,500 jobs from its Large Drives and Process Solutions businesses worldwide, in response to the downturn in the oil and gas, metals and mining sectors.

Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0 groups collaborate

Two groups working on future industrial architectures – the Industrial Internet Consortium and Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 consortium – have agreed to work together to align their efforts more closely.