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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%.

Tests cast doubt on higher efficiencies of PM motors

A series of tests, funded by the Copper Development Association (CDA), comparing the efficiencies of a copper-rotor motor (CRM) with three permanent magnet (PM) motors, have failed to show that one type is clearly more efficient than the other. In one test, the efficiency of a copper-rotor induction motor was found to be higher than that of a commercially available PM motor.

Omron buys the biggest US robot-maker for $200m

The Japanese automation giant Omron is buying Adept, the largest American manufacturer of industrial robots, in a deal that values Adept at about $200m. Omron is offering Adept investors $13 per share of common stock, which represents a 63% premium over the closing price on September 15, 2015.

ABB slims down to four divisions to save $1bn

ABB has announced plans to slim down from five divisions to four as part of a programme aimed at delivering $1bn of white-collar cost savings across its 140,000-strong workforce. The main change – which will take effect from January 2016 – is to combine most of its Power Products and Power Systems divisions into a new Power Grids Division.

Free electrical design software targets smaller users

RS Components has launched a free electrical design software package which, it says, will bring the benefits of design software to those not already using electrical CAD (computer-aided design) tools. The global launch of DesignSpark Electrical follows RS’ earlier free packages, DesignSpark PCB (which has had 230,000 activations since its launch in 2010) and DesignSpark Mechanical (which has had 175,000 activations since its launch in 2013).

Nidec buys Florida motor controls manufacturer

The Japanese motor manufacturer Nidec has acquired the privately-owned US motor controls producer KB Electronics, for an undisclosed sum.

Industrial robot revenues head above $40bn

The global market for industrial robots will climb from $26.8bn in 2012 to reach $41.2bn by 2020, according to a new report from Allied Market Research. This represents a CAGR of 5.4% from 2013 to 2020. Allied attributes the rapid growth to a combination of demand for automation applications, and a reduction of duties on refurbished goods in the Asia-Pacific region.

Global sales of precision motors ‘will double by 2020’

The global market for precision electric motors will be worth $52.2bn by 2020 – more than double its 2013 value of $22.7bn – according to a new report from Transparency Market Research. This represents a CAGR of 12.7% between 2014 and 2020.