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Social media grow in importance for B2B purchasers

Business-to-business (B2B) decision-makers are increasingly using social media – in particular, LinkedIn – when making purchases, according a new US study. The survey of 443 people working in American industry reveals that 25% of them use LinkedIn to gather information when making purchasing decisions, compared to 12% in a similar survey in 2011.

Buy a compressor and plant a forest

The Swedish compressor manufacturer Atlas Copco has launched a campaign under which it will donate trees to the landlocked African nation of Burkina Faso for every VSD (variable speed drive) controlled compressor that it sells. It hopes to donate 225,000 trees by the end of the campaign in March 2014, to create 550 acres of forest – an area similar to New York’s Central Park.

12 billion non-industrial motors set to ship by 2018

Global sales of electric motors for non-industrial applications – from domestic appliances to cars – will grow from 9.8 billion in 2012 to 12 billion by 2018, according to a new study by IHS. It attributes the predicted 23% growth partly to consumers demanding higher efficiencies and more automated features in their products.

Rockwell buys ‘disruptive’ machine motion technology

Rockwell Automation is buying Jacobs Automation, a US high-tech manufacturer that has developed an “intelligent” track-based motion control technology for use in machines. Details of the deal have not been released.

GE consolidates its control platforms on open technologies

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced plans to consolidate its control platforms, standardising them on open systems such as OPC-UA, to support the Industrial Internet. It says that using open systems across its platforms will provide customers with interoperability, secure communications and an optimal user experience (UX).

Managed switches ‘will take market share from routers’

The share of the industrial communications market held by traditional standalone industrial routers is set to decline over the coming five years as sales of managed Ethernet switches rise, according to a new report by the analyst IHS.

WEG plans to invest $345m in Mexico and China

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG has announced plans to invest $345m over the coming five years to expand its facilities and boost production in Mexico and China.

Regal Beloit adds Italy’s Cemp to its portfolio

US-based Regal Beloit Corporation is buying the Italian motor manufacturer, Cemp, which produces flameproof motors, mainly for oil, gas and marine applications.

Rockwell buys wireless wellhead monitoring specialist

Rockwell Automation is buying vMonitor, which specialises in wireless systems for the oil and gas industry and is claimed to have the world’s largest installed base of wireless wellhead monitoring systems, with more than 6,000 oil and gas well sites around the world. The details of the transaction have not been released.

China heads for 40% of global demand for electric motors

China will account for almost 40% of the global market for electric motors by 2017, with motor sales in China outstripping those of Western Europe, North America and Japan combined. This prediction is made in a new report from the Freedonia Group which forecasts that global demand for electric motors will grow by 6.5% per year in the period to 2017, when the global market will be worth $122.5bn.

Vulnerability is found in wireless automation software

The US information security specialist IOActive says it has discovered a vulnerability in ProSoft Technology’s RadioLinx ControlScape application. The software is used to configure and install radios in frequency-hopping networks and to monitor the performance of the devices, mainly in Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electric systems used in industries such as water and wastewater, oil and gas, and electric utilities.

Japan-China joint ventures will target HV drives market

The Japanese inverter manufacturer Fuji Electric is forming two joint ventures in China with the Shanghai Electric Group (SEC) to produce and sell high-voltage inverters. They will target the Chinese market for HV (3kV and higher) inverters which is expanding at about 15% a year, due to growing demand from sectors such as such as power generation and petrochemicals­.

SEW aims to be global leader in industrial gearboxes

The German industrial motion giant SEW-Eurodrive has set itself the goal of becoming the global market-leader in large industrial gearboxes within ten years. It currently lies in second place behind Siemens/Flender and expects to double its existing market share to capture pole position.

Siemens abandons regional cluster structure

Joe Kaeser, Siemens’ recently appointed president and CEO, has decided to axe the regional cluster organisation implemented by his predecessor and to return more power to country managers around the world. The move is intended to “intensify” Siemens' access to its customers, and to expand its regional activities.

Industrial Internet could boost global GDP by $10–15 trillion

The industrial Internet, predictive analytics and machine-human collaboration in the workplace, could save up to $20bn a year and create new jobs, and skills, according to a new report released by GE. The Industrial Internet at Work suggests that these developments could boost productivity, minimise unplanned downtime, and reduce the time taken to service complex machines by more than 300 million man-hours a year, saving industries around the world up to $20bn.