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Robot sales soar by a record 35% in North America

Robot orders and shipments in North America set new records in the first nine months of 2014, according to the industry’s trade group, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA). A total of 21,235 robots, worth $1.2bn, were ordered from North American companies in the first nine months of 2014 – an increase of 35% in terms of the numbers sold, and 22% in monetary value, over the same period in 2013.

Rockwell buys ‘biggest’ lockout-tagout supplier

Rockwell Automation has bought US-based ESC Services, which claims to be the world’s largest provider of lockout-tagout systems for hazardous energy control. Its graphical-based technology uses QR (quick response) codes that users scan to obtain asset information and to streamline compliance with external regulations and with their companies’ internal safety policies.

Timken, Altra and Regal ‘eyeing Emerson business’

Several potential purchasers, including Regal Beloit, Timken and Altra Industrial Motion, have shown an interest in acquiring Emerson Electric’s mechanical power transmission business, according to a report from the Reuters news agency. Citing “people familiar with the matter”, the report says that private equity firms including Warburg Pincus and Onex are also interested in the business, which could be sold for $1.2–1.6bn.

Siemens buys Camstar to expand its MES portfolio

Siemens is buying the US MES (manufacturing execution systems) specialist Camstar Systems, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will enhance Siemens’ industrial digitalisation strategy and broaden its portfolio of product development and automation systems for the electronics, semiconductor and medical device industries.

GE opens up industrial Internet platform to any user

GE has announced that it is making its industrial Internet software platform, called Predix, available to any company from next year, allowing them to create and deploy their own customised apps to manage the performance of their assets better.

Global robot population heads towards two million

More than 200,000 industrial robots will be installed worldwide this year – 15% more than in 2013 – and the total number in use in factories around the world could reach two million by the end of 2017, according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

Schneider buys real-time software specialist, InStep

Schneider Electric is buying InStep Software, a US provider of real-time performance management and predictive asset analytics software. It says that the acquisition will strengthen the presence of its software division in the power and energy market. Financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

Mitsubishi and Intel collaborate on IoT automation

Mitsubishi Electric and the chip-maker Intel have revealed that they have been collaborating to develop next-generation factory automation (FA) systems using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. They have established a pilot plant in Malaysia to demonstrate the benefits of IoT in a factory setting, with a focus on improving productivity by using innovative functions such as predictive failure

Motovario takes over the Spanish gear-maker, Pujol Muntalà

The Italian gear-maker, the Motovario Group, has taken over the Spanish firm Pujol Muntalà, which designs, produces and distributes geared units and elements for power transmission.

Globalspec portal is reborn as IHS Engineering360

IHS, the market analysis giant which bought the Globalspec Web portal for $135m in 2012, has relaunched the site as IHS Engineering360, describing it as “the world’s largest online destination for engineers”.

Industrial cyber-security suppliers face a shakeout

There are currently more than 160 suppliers of industrial cyber-security products, offering a variety of hardware, software and services, according to new research from IHS. It describes the market as “extremely immature” and predicts that there will be a shakeout. Although the market is likely to attract some new entrants, this will be largely offset by companies choosing to quit the business, and by acquisition-driven consolidation.

Motion control sales grew by 6.2% in first half of 2014

Global shipments of motion control products grew by 6.2% in the first half of 2014 to reach around $1.5bn, according to new figures released by the Motion Control Association (MCA). 

Dragonfly malware targets pharma, not energy

New analysis of the recently revealed Dragonfly (Havex) malware suggests that it has been targeting packaged consumer goods industries – especially the pharmaceutical sector – rather than the energy sector as was previously believed.

Danfoss launches €1bn bid for Finnish drives-maker Vacon

UPDATED: Danfoss has launched a bid to buy the Finnish drives-maker Vacon in a cash deal offering €34 for each Vacon share and valuing the business at €1,038m. Danfoss says that the bid is in line with its strategic focus on creating profitable growth and that Vacon is a good match to achieve this ambition. Both Danfoss Power Electronics and Vacon are significant players in the AC drives business, it adds, and together they would gain an even stronger market position.

Rockwell and Fanuc announce global collaboration

Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation, and Fanuc, the world’s largest company in CNC and robots, have announced a global collaboration agreement aimed at achieving more seamless integrated manufacturing.