Drives and Controls Magazine
Tests show gearbox efficiency ratings are out by up to 25%

A series of tests of industrial gearbox efficiencies conducted by a team of Belgian researchers have cast doubt on the accuracy of efficiency figures given in gearbox manufacturers' catalogues. The researchers, from the University of Ghent, tested more than a dozen gearboxes and found that the measured efficiencies ranged from 25% worse to 11% better than those given by the manufacturers in their catalogues.

RS turns the spotlight on its own-label products

RS Components has announced plans to place a greater emphasis on its own-label products and has launched a new brand, RS Pro, to identify its range of more than 40,000 own-label industrial and electronics products. It also plans to extend the range and to back them with an RS Seal of Approval, “representing leading industry standards for audit, inspection, test and certification”.

Industry 4.0 will be a factor in 5m job losses in next five years

The Fourth Industrial Revolution – also known as Industry 4.0 – combined with other socio-economic and demographic changes, will transform labour markets in the next five years, leading to a net loss of more than five million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies, according to new research published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) at its meeting in Davos, Switzerland, this week.

Global electric motors market heads above $140bn

The global market for electric motors will expand from just under $100bn in 2014 to reach more than $140bn by 2022, according to a new report from Grand View Research. It says that advances in technology and regulatory policies aimed at improving energy efficiency will be vital factors in driving this growth, which represents a CAGR of 4.5% from 2015 to 2022.

Password vulnerability found in Schneider PLCs

Schneider Electric is issuing firmware updates for more than a dozen Ethernet communications modules and CPUs in its Modicon M340 PLC family after a vulnerability was found that could be exploited to stop a device or execute code on it remotely.

Allied Motion buys German motor-maker Heidrive for €20m

The US motion control specialist Allied Motion Technologies is buying the German motors and servodrives manufacturer, Heidrive, for €20m (about $22m). Allied says that the acquisition will broaden its geographical reach and expand its product and technical capabilities.

Minebea and Mitsumi plan to merge their businesses

The Japanese bearings-maker Minebea is merging its business with that of the electronics parts manufacturer Mitsumi Electric, whose wide-ranging portfolio includes DC motors, stepper motors and sensors. The aim of the deal – which takes the form of a share swap which will turn Mitsumi into a wholly owned subsidiary of a new business called Minebea Mitsumi – is to combine Minebea’s expertise in metal processing with Mitsumi’s electronics know-how to produce tiny, high-performance components that meet the needs of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Danfoss Drives aims to be the world number one

One year after Danfoss’ takeover of the Finnish drives-maker Vacon, the leaders of the the merged business have been talking about their plans for the future. At the recent SPS IPC Drives show in Germany, Danfoss Drives’ president, Vesa Laisi, restated his aim of becoming the world’s biggest drives-maker. “We really want to challenge ABB as market-leader,” he said in Nuremberg.

Industrial comms organisations get talking

The 2015 SPS IPC Drives show was remarkable for the number of agreements and understandings signed by various industrial communications organisations during the event.

€70m pneumatics plant implements Industry 4.0 concepts

Festo has opened a new factory in Germany that implements many Industry 4.0 concepts. The 66,000m2 plant, in Scharnhausen near Stuttgart, has cost around €70m to date, and is three times the size of the previous plant, located 8km away. It employs around 1,200 people making products such as pneumatic valves, valve terminals, linear actuators and electronic assemblies.

Profinet and CC-Link join forces to develop interfaces

Profibus and Profinet International (PI) and the CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) have announced plans to jointly develop standardised interfaces that will allow bi-directional communications between CC-Link IE and Profinet networks.

Bonfiglioli takes 55% stake in gear-maker O&K for €25.7m

The Italian power transmission manufacturer Bonfiglioli Riduttori is acquiring a 55% stake in the German heavy-duty gear-maker O&K Antriebstechnik for €25.7m. O&K’s former sole owner, Italy’s Carraro Group, will retain a 45% share in the business and will have a strategic role as a key partner in the delivery of specific components.

Advantech buys B+B for $99.85m to boost its comms activities

The Taiwanese automation and embedded computing manufacturer Advantech, is buying the Canadian industrial communications specialist B+B SmartWorx for $99.85m. Ottwa-based B+B will be continue to be led by its current management team and will join Advantech’s Industrial IoT Business Group.

GE merges Intelligent Platforms with Alstom's controls

GE is merging its Intelligent Platforms business with Alstom Power Automation & Controls – which it acquired recently as part of its $13.6bn purchase of Alstom’s Power and Grid business – to create a new operation called GE Automation & Controls, employing 2,400 people in 30 countries.

EU plans tougher motor efficiency regs – and to add VSDs

The European Commission wants to extend its energy-efficiency regulations affecting electric motors to save a further 22.3TWh per year across the European Union by 2030.