Drives and Controls Magazine
Global sales of industrial robots hit a new record in 2015

The number of industrial robots sold worldwide last year exceeded 240,000 for the first time – equivalent to a year-on-year growth rate of 8% – according to new figures released by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

PI invests €13m in a technology centre in Germany

The precision motion and nanopositioning specialist PI (Physik Instrumente) is investing €13m to build a new technology centre at its global headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany. After a year of planning, the cornerstone for the 9,600m² centre was laid recently.

Siemens and Airbus aim for an electric aircraft breakthrough

Siemens and Airbus have signed a long-term collaboration agreement aimed at demonstrating the technical feasibility of hybrid/electric propulsion systems for aircraft by 2020. They have set up a joint development team of around 200 people to drive innovation and the development of electrically powered aircraft in Europe.

WEG buys US motor producer, Bluffton Motor Works

The Brazilian motor-maker WEG is buying the US fractional horsepower motor manufacturer, Bluffton Motor Works, for an undisclosed sum. The Indiana-based business – formerly part of Franklin Electric – employs about 400 people and achieved revenues worth $64m in 2015.

Operator terminal sales are growing slower than expected

The global market for operator terminals was worth $2.4bn in 2014, and will expand to $2.9bn by 2019 – a CAGR of 3.5% – according to the latest analysis from IHS Technology. The figures represent a downward revision as a result of pressure from the slowing economy, weak commodity prices and low oil prices.

US government offers up to $25m for r&d on electric motors

The US Department of Energy is offering up to $25m in funding over the next five years to help develop advanced technologies for energy-efficient electric motors.

Variable-speed drive sales ‘will hit $25bn by 2020’

The global market for variable-speed drives (VSDs) will expand at a CAGR of almost 8% in the period to 2020, by when it will be worth $25.3bn, according to a new report from Technavio. The analyst attributes the growth to the need to optimise manufacturing processes and to cut operating costs by monitoring energy consumption.

Siemens to cut around 2,500 Drives and Process jobs

Siemens has announced plans to cut around 2,500 jobs from its Large Drives and Process Solutions businesses worldwide, in response to the downturn in the oil and gas, metals and mining sectors.

Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0 groups collaborate

Two groups working on future industrial architectures – the Industrial Internet Consortium and Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 consortium – have agreed to work together to align their efforts more closely.

Global motion control shipments ‘fell by 3.9% in 2015’

Global shipments of motion control products fell by 3.9% last year to $2.9bn, according to statistics released by the US-based trade group, the Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA).

Global industrial robot sales ‘will reach 1.3 million by 2018’

By 2018, around 1.3 million industrial robots will be entering service in factories around the world, according to the latest forecast from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Revenues are soaring and the global market for robotic systems is already worth around $32bn. Between 2013 and 2014, sales to the high-revenue automotive sector grew by a record-breaking 43%, the IFR reports.

Sales of industrial Ethernet surge, but fieldbuses still lead

Sales of industrial Ethernet technologies are growing faster than ever before and now account for 38% of the global market for industrial networks, according to the latest annual analysis by the Swedish industrial networking specialist, HMS.

ISO issues guidance on using collaborative robots safely

The ISO (International Standards Organisation) has published its long-awaited standard that gives guidance on ensuring the safety of humans working with collaborative robots. ISO/TS 15066:2016 – Robots and robotic devices – Collaborative robots specifies safety requirements for collaborative industrial robot systems and the work environment, and supplements the requirements and guidance given in ISO 10218-1 and ISO 10218-2, published in 2011. The 33-page document will help integrators of robotic cells to conduct risk assessments when installing collaborative robots.

Rockwell buys linear motion developer MagneMotion

Rockwell Automation is buying MagneMotion, the US manufacturer of intelligent conveying systems, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will complement Rockwell’s existing iTrak linear transport system – which it acquired when it bought Jacobs Automation in 2013 – to create what Rockwell calls “the broadest portfolio of independent cart solutions” in this emerging technology area.

Sweden’s HMS Networks is buying Belgium’s eWon for €30m

The Swedish industrial communications company, HMS Industrial Networks – a subsidiary of HMS Networks – is buying eWon, the Belgian specialist in IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) and intelligent Internet-based remote access routers, for €30m. HMS says the deal will make it a market-leader in remote access and monitoring technologies for industrial communications.