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Apple and GE join up to bring industrial apps to iPhones

Apple and GE have formed a partnership to deliver industrial apps that will bring predictive data and analytics from Predix, GE’s industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform, to Apple's iPhones and iPads. The two companies have unveiled a software development kit (SDK) for Apple's iOS operating system, that gives developers the tools to make their own Predix-based industrial IoT apps.

Toyota and Hitachi to install IoT platform at automotive plants

Toyota Motor Corporation and Hitachi are collaborating to build an efficient production model based on Hitachi’s Lumada IoT (Internet of Things) platform, which incorporates technologies such as AI (artificial intelligence) and big data analysis.

Weidmüller buys W Interconnections from Rockwell

The German connectivity and automation manufacturer, Weidmüller, has bought Rockwell Automation’s W Interconnections group, which operates in the US, Canada and Mexico, with effect from 1 October, 2017. The group sells products for industrial connectivity and automation. Both parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price or contractual details.

A third of industrial controls hit by cyber-attacks in early 2017

During the first half of 2017, the global manufacturing industry was the sector most susceptible to cyber-attacks – with the industrial control systems (ICSs) and manufacturing industry computers accounting for almost one third of all attacks, according to the cyber-security firm, Kaspersky Lab.

ABB’s $2.6bn GE deal will make it global switchgear leader

ABB’s recently announced acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions will allow it to leapfrog ahead of Siemens to become leader of the global switchgear market, according to a research note issued by IHS Markit. The market analyst estimates that ABB was previously behind Siemens and slightly ahead of Eaton in its share of this market, and that the GE acquisition will move it marginally ahead of Siemens.

ABB buys GE Industrial Solutions for $2.6bn

ABB is buying GE Industrial Solutions, GE’s electrical systems business, for $2.6bn, securing its second position in the $32bn global market, behind Schneider Electric, and ahead of Eaton and Siemens. It also expands ABB’s access to the North American market via GE’s large installed base and extensive distribution networks.

Omron sets up two robot production lines in the Netherlands

Omron has installed two new lines to produce parallel robots at its European manufacturing site in Den Bosch, the Netherlands. The aim is to cut lead times, accelerate responses and improve productivity for robots delivered to customers in Europe.

Brammer and IPH unite to create a €2.2bn MRO giant

The European industrial equipment distributors Brammer and IPH have joined forces to form a single business, called IPH-Brammer, with close to €2.2bn in revenues and more than 8,000 employees in 23 European countries. The MRO (maintenance, repairs and operations) business will be headquartered in London, with Pierre Pouletty, former CEO of IPH serving as CEO of the merged operation, and Hermann Maier, former CEO of Brammer, serving as its chief operating officer.

Machine-builders join forces to offer open IIoT platform

A group of machine-builders and software developers – consisting of DMG Mori, Dürr, Software AG, Zeiss and ASM PT – have formed a strategic alliance to set a new digital standard for machine- and plant-building, based on an open, non-proprietary IIoT platform, and customised to meet the needs of machine- and plant-builders and their customers. They want to establish the platform, called Adamos (ADAptive Manufacturing Open Solutions), as a global standard for the sector and to attract other machine-builders to become partners.

Rockwell CEO Blake Moret becomes chairman as well

Rockwell Automation has announced that Blake Moret, the company’s president and chief executive, has been elected chairman of the board, succeeding Keith Nosbusch, who has been chairman since 2005 and will remain a director. Moret will take on his expanded role on 1 January, 2018.

Festo and Huawei collaborate on smart 5G manufacturing

The Chinese telecommunications and electronics giant Huawei has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the German pneumatics and automation supplier Festo to explore the use of ultra-high-speed 5G networks in manufacturing, and to promote the digital transformation of manufacturing using 5G “slicing” technology.

Schneider Electric hopes to win Aveva at the third attempt

Schneider Electric is taking a majority stake in the British industrial software developer Aveva and plans to merge it with its own software operation “to create a global leader in engineering and industrial software”. The deal follows the failure of two earlier attempts to merge the businesses over the past three years.

Siemens and ISA join forces to raise cyber-security awareness

Siemens and the International Society of Automation (ISA) have entered a global partnership to raise the awareness about industrial security needs and standards, and to promote best practices for security to owner-operators of industrial equipment.

Omron buys code-reading specialist Microscan for $157m

Omron is buying the US-based industrial barcode-reader and machine vision specialist, Microscan Systems, from its UK parent, Spectris, for $157m (£123m) in cash. The Japanese automation supplier says that the aim of the purchase is “to further advance the control of manufacturing equipment and production lines, using IoT (Internet of Things) to connect virtually all objects on a manufacturing floor, including components and machines”.

Hackers ‘could turn collaborative robots into killers’

UPDATED: A US cyber-security researcher claims to have discovered vulnerabilities in collaborative robots (cobots) which, if exploited by hackers, “could directly threaten human life”.