Drives and Controls Magazine
55% of torque and linear motor sales go to three sectors

China is the world’s biggest market for linear and torque motors, due to the rapid growth of its high-tech industries. A new report from IHS Technology points out that China is strong in the semiconductor equipment, machine tool, and electronic assembly and flat-panel display sectors which, together, accounted for more than 55% of the global market for linear and torque motors in 2014.

Exporters of machines using HF VSDs could face jail

The drives-maker Control Techniques is warning that new European legislation covering the export of high-frequency (HF) drives could result in hefty penalties, including potential prison sentences for machine-builders and system integrators.

Robot sales soar by 27% to top 200,000 for the first time

More than 200,000 industrial robots were sold globally for the first time in 2014, according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). More than 60% of the sales were in just two countries – China and South Korea, which together bought about 140,000 robots.

$30m US plant will manufacture low-voltage products

ABB is investing $30m to build a new manufacturing plant in the US that will produce low-voltage products, including circuit-breakers, soft-starters, switches and power distribution systems. The investment in the new 11,000m2 plant – located near Memphis, Tennessee – will initially create more than 200 jobs, with a further 100 jobs expected to be added over the coming five years.

Global sales of motion control products grew by 9% in 2014

Global shipments of motion control products grew by 9% in 2014 to exceed $3bn, according to figures released by the Motion Control Association (MCA). But the MCA’s most recent survey of motion control manufacturers reveals that 72% of them believe that shipments of motion control products will remain flat in the first half of 2015, with just 27% expecting the market to expand further, and 1% forecasting a decline.

Merkel sees Industry 4.0 in action at German PLC plant

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has visited a Siemens factory where the company is introducing elements of Industry 4.0 into the manufacturing of PLCs (programmable logic controllers).

Surging robot sales 'could reshape manufacturing'

By 2025, the widespread adoption of advanced industrial robots will boost manufacturing productivity by up to 30% in many industries, and cut labour costs by 18% or more, according to a new study from the US analyst, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Fanuc invests $1.1bn in servodrive and CNC plants, and r&d

Fanuc has announced plans to invest more than $1bn in new factories in Japan to produce servodrives and CNC (computer numerical control) systems, and to expand its central laboratories.

GSI buys precision motor-maker Applimotion for $13m

GSI Group, the US motion control and photonics equipment supplier, is buying Applimotion, the Californian manufacturer of precision motor and motion control technologies for advanced industrial and medical markets, for $13m in cash. Applimotion will be integrated into GSI’s MicroE Systems business, which supplies position measurement technologies for precision motion control.

Multi-touch HMIs are ‘not ideal’ for changing market

The global market for industrial operator panels is undergoing a ‘fundamental’ change, with text-based and semi-graphical panels disappearing, and the number of panels with widescreens and touch displays increasing, according to a new study from the ARC Advisory Group.

Ethernet market will grow, but sales of gateways will slow

The global market for industrial Ethernet infrastructure components was worth nearly $1.38bn in 2013, and grew by 7.1% to reach $1.48bn in 2014, according to a new study published by IHS. It predicts that sales will continue to grow with a CAGR of around 8.6% from 2013 to 2018.

China’s robots will double by 2017 to overtake the US

The number of industrial robots in use in China will more than double over the next two years ­– from 182,000 today to 428,000 by 2017 – thus overtaking the robot populations of either North America or the EU’s five largest economies.

Fieldbus market is still twice as big as industrial Ethernet

Fieldbuses still account for two-thirds (66%) of new industrial communications nodes, with various versions of industrial Ethernet making up the remaining third (34%), according to figures released by the Swedish industrial communications specialist, HMS Industrial Networks.

Cyber-attack causes ‘massive’ damage to German steel plant

Evidence is emerging of a cyber-attack targeting the control systems at a German steelworks that resulted in “massive” damage to a blast furnace. It could be the first publicly confirmed example of targeted damage to an industrial installation since the Stuxnet malware damaged almost 3,000 centrifuges in Iran in 2010.

Global sales of PLCs bounce back after a sharp decline

After slowing sharply in 2012, the global market for PLCs (programmable logic controllers) has rebounded strongly and will expand from $10.4bn in 2013 to reach $14.6bn by 2018, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Most of the growth is coming from sales of small- and medium-sized PLCs.