Drives and Controls Magazine
LED lighting could overtake sensor-maker’s main business

The sensor-maker Turck Banner is harnessing its experience of using LEDs in photoelectric sensors, to diversify into the general LED-based lighting market, with a portfolio of products ranging from lighting for industrial control cabinets to fittings for mobile homes.

SKF to build $30m innovation centre in the US

The bearings-maker SKF is investing $30m to establish a Global Technical Centre in the US. The centre will employ around 80 engineers within its first four years of operation, with plans to expand to 200 subsequently.

€10m investment will halve gear-motor lead times

Bauer Gear Motors is building a new manufacturing headquarters in Esslingen, Germany, which, it says, will halve lead times for configured gear-motors. Most of the €10m investment is being spent on a new building for producing gear-motors and on a new office building with conference rooms.

2014 US robot sales are 30% up on 2013 levels

A record number of 14,135 robots, worth $788m, were ordered from North American robotics suppliers in the first half of 2014 – an increase of 30% in units sold and 16% in revenue over the same period in 2013 – according to new figures issued by the industry’s trade group, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).

Members to vote on merger of Fieldbus Foundation and Hart

The boards of directors of the Fieldbus Foundation and the Hart Communication Foundation have agreed, in principle, to merge their organisations to form a new industry body dedicated to the needs of intelligent devices and their integration in process automation. The announcement comes about ten months after they revealed that they were talking about possibly unifying their operations.

Yaskawa adds The Switch to its growing renewables portfolio

The Japanese motion control and robotics supplier Yaskawa Electric is buying the Finnish permanent magnet (PM) generator and power conversion specialist, The Switch, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition follows a collaboration agreement between the two companies in September 2013, under which they have been distributing each other’s wind turbine generators and converters.

US acquisition expands Yaskawa’s PV inverter business

The Japanese inverter and robotics manufacturer Yaskawa Electric has expanded into the US solar energy market by buying the photovoltaic (PV) inverter manufacturer, Solectria Renewables. Massachusetts-based Solectria, which produces high-performance PV inverters for residential, commercial and utility-scale power systems, will operate as a Yaskawa subsidiary.

Compressor-maker develops and builds its own VSDs

The compressor manufacturer Atlas Copco has developed its first in-house-designed inverter drive, claiming that it is 70kg lighter and less than half the size of the largest comparable generic inverters.

LV drives market poised for growth after three flat years

Global sales of low-voltage variable-speed drives (VSDs) will start to pick this year, after staying almost flat since 2011, according to new research published by the analyst, IHS.

$240m Chinese IGBT plant uses UK technology

A Chinese semiconductor manufacturer, Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric Co, has inaugurated a $240m IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) production plant – said to be the first of its kind in China, and the second worldwide – incorporating technology developed by its UK subsidiary, Dynex Semiconductor.

Malware targets industrial controls and OPC servers

Cyber-security organisations have issued warnings about a malware campaign that has targeted industrial control systems (ICS) from at least three suppliers, including systems running OPC servers.

Robots ‘created 80,000 jobs in the electronics sector’

A report from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), suggests that robots created up to 80,000 jobs in the electronics sector between 2008 and 2011. The report is based on an updated 2013 study by the research firm, Metra Martech, which concluded that for every robot deployed, 3.6 jobs are created. By 2016, robotics is predicted to account for an extra 110,000 jobs in the electronics sector, globally.

ElectroCraft buys fellow US motor-maker, Hansen

The fractional horsepower motor manufacturer ElectroCraft has acquired another US motor-maker, Hansen Corporation, which produces DC motors, synchronous motors and clock movements. Terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

EEF’s Scouler takes the chair of EU manufacturing body

Terry Scuoler, chief executive of the UK manufacturers' organisation, EEF, has been appointed chair of Ceemet, the body that represents more than 200,000 manufacturers across Europe. He will lead the organisation in its discussions with officials at the European Commission and Parliament for the next three years.

US order and output growth rates hit a four-year high

US manufacturers experienced a further rebound in business conditions at the end of the second quarter, driven by the fastest expansions of output and new orders for more than four years. This, in turn, spurred the fastest upturn in manufacturing employment in the US for four months, according to the latest Markit US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).