News

New President at Mesago

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As of February 1, 2016, Dipl.-Ing. Martin Roschkowski (50) joins the Board of Management of Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH and its subsidiaries Mesago Messemanagement GmbH and Mesago PCIM GmbH. Continuing the proven success of dual leadership at the company, he will lead together with co-president Petra Haarburger. Martin Roschkowski takes over the reins from Johann Thoma, who will be taking up his new role at the Messe Frankfurt headquarters as of May 2016, after nine years at the head of Mesago.

Martin Roschkowski (50) joins the Board of Management of Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH

In Martin Roschkowski, Mesago is gaining an experienced manager. For the last ten years, he has held the role of Managing Director at Xylem Water Solutions Deutschland GmbH. Before that, the qualified electrical engineer served as a head of department for a number of years at Weidmüller Interface, where he was responsible for strategic marketing worldwide. Given his technological background and many years of sales experience, he is the perfect choice for Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, an active player in the area of technology events.

“I would like to start by thanking my predecessor, Johann Thoma. Together with Petra Haarburger, he has really made his mark on Mesago in recent years and has helped make the company what it is today. I consciously opted for Mesago for the same reason. I also wanted to contribute to shaping the company and continuing its success, in close collaboration with our customers, partners, and employees,” explains Martin Roschkowski.

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[#HM2016] Adjusting production processes in real time

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Industry 4.0 requires comprehensive data collection in order to control highly automated process sequences in complex production environments. One example is the cultivation of living cells. But digitalizing and networking biotech production equipment is a huge challenge: relevant standards have yet to be established, and biology has a dynamic all its own. Using fully automated equipment for producing stem cells, Fraunhofer researchers have managed to adjust the process control to cell growth – delivering an adaptive system that is suitable for use in a number of sectors.

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft Industry 4.0

The term industry 4.0 is generally associated with the manufacturing of cars, machinery or industrial goods. But, as the partners (see box) in the StemCellFactory collaborative project show, the comprehensive networking of machines and products is also making headway in biotechnology. This is a particular challenge, because this field deals not with solid components but with living objects that – unlike screws or gears – change and multiply. Networked process control needs to take this into account and be able to adjust the process accordingly in real time.

The StemCellFactory project partners have set up a fully automated production line for culturing stem cells, which can develop into any kind of cell found in the body; experts call them induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will be presenting the production line at the Hannover Messe Preview on January 27 and at the Hannover Messe (Hall 17, Booth C18 and Hall 2, Booth C16) from April 25 to 29. Medical expertise was provided by experts from the university clinics in Bonn and Aachen, among others. iPS cells such as these are necessary in the development of medications used in personalized medicine. They are obtained from adult body cells such as human skin or blood cells. First, a doctor takes cells from a patient. Next, these cells are reprogrammed to become iPS cells by adding certain substances. This causes the cells to revert to an embryonic state, from which they can theoretically differentiate into any cell type – even heart or nerve cells, which, owing to the risk to the patient, cannot be obtained by means of a biopsy. The pharmaceutical industry uses these cells for medical tests: since they contain the patient’s own genetic information, the cells are very useful for determining which medications will be effective.

Fully automated, modular production platform

To date, iPS cells are grown by lab specialists in a painstaking, time-consuming process. The number and quality of iPS cells that can be cultured depend entirely on how experienced the lab technician is. This is why the project aimed to develop fully automated, modular equipment that achieves both a high throughput and a consistently high quality of stem cells. The IPT experts were given the task of developing both the equipment and its control mechanisms. They faced a number of challenges, the first being how to network the various biotech devices – liquid handling robot, a microscope, an incubator, and the automatic magazine for storing cells and containers – in a way that permitted the use of process-control technology in the first place. “Despite the industry’s efforts to establish uniform interfaces for lab automation equipment, there is as yet no international standard for networking the devices used,” says IPT developer Michael Kulik. “That means plug and play is not an option, so we first had to develop a standard of our own before we could integrate everything.”

This approach achieved a very high degree of networking in order to allow the process-control technology and the lab equipment to exchange information. That in turn was the prerequisite for the equipment to adjust extremely flexibly to the biological processes at work. Cell growth is the decisive factor. As the cells grow in the cell culture vessels, they divide again and again. To ensure conditions don’t get too cramped for the cells, from time to time the pipette feeder robot has to distribute them among a larger number of fresh, empty cell culture vessels.

To this end, the microscope developed at the IPT regularly examines the growth density inside the cell culture vessels. Once a critical density is reached, the microscope sends out an instruction to rehouse the cells. “This is an example of the product, in this case the growing stem cells, determining how the overall process unfolds,” says Kulik. In other words: production has the capability to adjust itself to the present situation.

A user interface makes it easy to control each device included in the equipment. If the user needs to alter or add to the equipment’s process steps, there are pre-programmed blocks of instructions that they can simply drag into or out of the control menu. Staff can choose whether to operate the equipment in fully automated or manual mode.

The technology developed as part of the StemCellFactory project can also be applied in other situations, for instance in tissue engineering and the production of tissue models. It would also be possible to use it to manufacture gears, screws, engines, etc. in a fully automated way. The software is scalable, making it suitable for small and large production facilities alike. Since the programming is extremely flexible, the process-control technology can be transferred to any other production setup in need of adaptive control on the basis of current measurement data. During the Hannover Messe, visitors will be treated to a live demonstration of how the StemCellFactory is controlled remotely, specifically from Bonn.

The following are partners on the StemCellFactory project:

• Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT

• University Clinic Bonn

• Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

• HiTec Zang GmbH

• LIFE & BRAIN GmbH

• Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine

Further information: http://www.stemcellfactory.de

Rockwell Automation and Cisco Launch New Architectures to Reduce Security Risks in Industrial Automation

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As industrial markets evolve to unlock the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), Rockwell Automation and Cisco today are announcing new additions to their Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) architectures to help operations technology (OT) and information technology (IT) professionals address constantly changing security practices. The latest CPwE security expansions, featuring technology from both companies, include design guidance and validated architectures to help build a more secure network across the plant and enterprise.

The Industrial IoT is elevating the need for highly flexible, secure connectivity between things, machines, work flows, databases and people, enabling new models of policy-based plant-floor access. Through these new connections, machine data on the plant floor can be analyzed and applied to determine optimal operation and supply-chain work flows for improved efficiencies and cost savings. A securely connected environment also enables organizations to mitigate risk with policy compliance, and protects intellectual property with secure sharing between global stakeholders.

Core to the new validated architectures is a focus on enabling OT and IT professionals to utilize security policies and procedures by forming multiple layers of defense. A defense-in-depth approach helps manufacturers by establishing processes and policies that identify and contain evolving threats in industrial automation and control systems. The new CPwE architectures leverage open industry standards, such as IEC 62443, and provide recommendations for more securely sharing data across an industrial demilitarized zone, as well as enforcing policies that control access to the plantwide wired or wireless network.

“The key to industrial network security is in how you design and implement your infrastructure and holistically address security for internal and external threats,” said Lee Lane, business director, Rockwell Automation. “The new guidance considers security factors for the industrial zone of the CPwE architectures, leveraging the combined experience of Rockwell Automation and Cisco.”

“Security can’t be an afterthought in today’s plant environment. As we connect more devices and create more efficient ways of operating, we also create certain vulnerabilities,” said Bryan Tantzen, senior director, Cisco. “Cisco and Rockwell Automation have been teaming for nearly a decade on joint solutions, serving as the standards-based resource for security in industrial environments. These new architectures and guides build on our collaboration by helping organizations recognize and proactively address today’s security concerns.”

Companies can now take advantage of industry-leading solutions from Rockwell Automation and Cisco to address security from a holistic perspective. Together, the two companies provide a common, scalable architecture for ruggedized industrial Ethernet and enterprise networks, along with unique services, such as security assessments and managed security, to help manufacturers define and meet performance metrics and scale in-house resources.

ams acquires NXP CMOS sensor business

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Sensor and analog IC company ams AG has acquired the CMOS Sensor Business from NXP Semiconductors. The acquisition expands ams’ environmental sensor portfolio with advanced monolithic and integrated CMOS sensors that measure several environmental variables such as relative humidity, pressure and temperature in one sensor device.

“Environmental sensors can replicate and enhance human responses by monitoring and measuring smell, pressure and temperature. By capturing this information electronically, data-driven decisions can be made automatically and efficiently,” said Thomas Riener, Executive Vice President, Marketing & Strategy at ams. “The acquisition of NXP’s CMOS Sensor Business expands our existing environmental sensor technologies and is a synergistic addition to our chemical sensor capabilities and smart lighting solutions. This portfolio makes ams the one-stop shop for environmental sensors.”

The newly enlarged line of ams environmental sensors is anticipated to drive high-value growth opportunities for smart phones, wearables, and other mobile devices as well as for smart buildings and the industrial, medical and automotive markets. The cost-effective smart sensor systems will combine intelligence, wired and wireless interfaces, and advanced power management to increase human comfort, reduce energy costs, and provide additional safety and security. Particular attributes of the new sensors include the following:

Minimum size, leveraging on chip-scale package (CSP) technology
Greatly reduced package complexity and cost
Very low power consumption
Best-in-class analog front ends
Outstanding performance and accuracy
Easy integration with other sensors
Specially developed sensor fusion software allows information from multiple sources within the environment to be combined and creates context awareness for delivering information to users.

Sample applications include the following:

Mobile devices/Wearables: Sensors are expected to allow for the detection of air quality or breath alcohol levels, and can provide weather alarms. Sensors will also be able to offer humidity compensation for gas sensing and allow for comfort awareness and indoor navigation.
In Home and Building Automation, distributed Relative Humidity (RH) and temperature sensors in combination with Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) sensors will be able to accurately monitor the indoor climate and air quality, which will contribute to a more efficient use of the air conditioning and ventilation systems. VOC and RH sensors can be used in the distribution chain of perishable goods such as food to monitor the quality during transportation and storage. RH and T sensors can also assist in improving the drying process of ink-jet printers by sensing humidity levels in the air and within the paper, and can assist in improving print quality for toner-based printers by sensing RH in the toner.
Automotive: Sensors will be able to test interior humidity and air quality, then instruct the vehicle to make changes in airflow such as defogging the windshield or turning on the air conditioning.

The new additions to the environmental sensor product portfolio are available for customer sampling now. Temperature and relative humidity sensor solutions will be in mass production early in 2016.

Konica Minolta Acquires Radiant Vision Systems

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Radiant Vision Systems - ProMetric I includes Smart Technology
Radiant Vision Systems – ProMetric I includes Smart Technology

Konica Minolta, Inc. (Konica Minolta) has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Radiant Vision Systems, LLC (Radiant), a leading provider of test and measurement solutions to the flat panel display industry.

Konica Minolta has established itself as a leading manufacturer in the display and light source color measurement sectors, providing high-quality products and solutions to customers around the world. Already positioned as a best-in-class provider in these sectors, Konica Minolta is striving to transform its measurement business by expanding into growing fields through the addition of new and innovative technology, skills and resources.

Radiant offers fully integrated test and measurement systems precisely engineered to meet specific customer requirements and provides turnkey systems that combine highly accurate CCD-based colorimeters or photometers with application specific software and unmatched support services to deliver easy to use systems with reliable, repeatable results.

“The combination will enable us to deliver more solutions to customers, invest in new product development, and strengthen relationships with partners and customers globally.”

Through the acquisition, Konica Minolta will not only solidify the foundation of its measurement business with Radiant’s sophisticated products and solutions, but will also gain the technological strength to enter the growing market for automated inspection systems in manufacturing, including visual surface inspection. Manufacturers are expected to increasingly adopt automated inspection technologies, which improve product quality and productivity.

“The acquisition of Radiant will significantly strengthen Konica Minolta’s position as a leading provider of optical and sensing solutions, and supports our core strategy of offering custom capabilities to customers globally across multiple industries and applications,” said Hitoshi Kamezawa, General Manager of Konica Minolta’s Sensing Business Unit. Paul Caragher, CEO of Radiant, added, “The combination will enable us to deliver more solutions to customers, invest in new product development, and strengthen relationships with partners and customers globally.”

Radiant has developed a breakthrough visual surface testing system engineered to meet the strict requirements of high-speed production lines and cutting-edge development labs. Given the proliferation and increased complexity of consumer electronic devices, there is a large opportunity for Konica Minolta to leverage Radiant’s technologies to support the ever increasing demand for defect measurement technologies. The expected technological synergies from the acquisition will further aid Konica Minolta’s growth strategy to enter the automated inspection market, a rapidly growing, innovation-driven field that is advancing quality and productivity in manufacturing. The acquisition will also strengthen Konica Minolta’s presence on the West Coast, where Radiant is headquartered in Redmond, WA, and facilitate broader relationships with leading customers.

As a result of the transaction, Konica Minolta will obtain 100% of the outstanding equity of Radiant. The transaction is expected to close in August 2015, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory compliance approvals.

ABB starts manufacturing industrial robots in the U.S.

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ABB has announced it will start production of robots in the United States, making it the first global industrial robotics company to fully commit to and invest in a North American robotics manufacturing footprint. The company made the announcement at the opening of a new robotics plant at an existing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where it already has about 500 highly skilled employees. Production is to commence immediately.

The new plant is ABB’s third robotics production facility, alongside Shanghai, China, and Västerås, Sweden, and will manufacture ABB robots and related equipment for the North American market.

The United States is ABB’s largest market with US$7.5 billion in sales. The company has invested more than US$ 10 billion in local R&D, capital expenditure and acquisitions since 2010, taking local employment from 11,500 to 26,300. Continued investment in the North American value chain and manufacturing constitutes a significant part of ABB’s global growth plans reflecting the company’s Next Level strategy.

Start of local robot manufacturing cements ABB’s commitment to North American customers.
Start of local robot manufacturing cements ABB’s commitment to North American customers.

“Today, we are marking and celebrating the next stage of our commitment and growth in North America with the start of local robot manufacturing in Auburn Hills, US,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is the first global automation company to open a robot manufacturing facility in the United States. Robotics is a fundamental enabler of the next level of North American industrial growth in an increasingly competitive world. With our continued commitment and investment, our local team is well positioned to support our customers with robotics solutions made in the United States. Our leading technology of web-enabled, collaborative and safe robots will contribute to job security and quality of work.”

“The new North American manufacturing presence elevates our offering and service to robotics customers in the United States, Mexico and Canada, allowing us to achieve best-in-class delivery schedules and technical support in North America,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB Robotics. “The expansion is consistent with our global strategy, which is to establish a local presence in key robotics growth markets to provide our leading technology to our customers. Thanks to the strong robotics market, I’m confident we will expand our workforce here to a total of 1,000 highly skilled employees in the not-too-distant future.”

The portfolio of products manufactured at the new facility will expand in phases, with the goal that most ABB robots and robot controllers delivered in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be manufactured in Auburn Hills. Localized manufacturing streamlines the delivery process and results in significantly reduced robot lead times for customers.

ICN MAGAZINE

ABB – first global industrial robotics company to manufacture robots in the United States

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ABB, the global leader in power and automation technologies, announced it will start production of robots in the United States, making it the first global industrial robotics company to fully commit to and invest in a North American robotics manufacturing footprint. The company made the announcement at the opening of a new robotics plant at an existing facility in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where it already has about 500 highly skilled employees. Production is to commence immediately.

The new plant is ABB’s third robotics production facility, alongside Shanghai, China, and Västerås, Sweden, and will manufacture ABB robots and related equipment for the North American market.

“ABB is the first global automation company to open a robot manufacturing facility in the United States.”

– Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO

 

Start of local robot manufacturing cements ABB’s commitment to North American customers
Start of local robot manufacturing cements ABB’s commitment to North American customers

 
The United States is ABB’s largest market with US$7.5 billion in sales. The company has invested more than US$ 10 billion in local R&D, capital expenditure and acquisitions since 2010, taking local employment from 11,500 to 26,300. Continued investment in the North American value chain and manufacturing constitutes a significant part of ABB’s global growth plans reflecting the company’s Next Level strategy.

“Today, we are marking and celebrating the next stage of our commitment and growth in North America with the start of local robot manufacturing in Auburn Hills, US,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “ABB is the first global automation company to open a robot manufacturing facility in the United States. Robotics is a fundamental enabler of the next level of North American industrial growth in an increasingly competitive world. With our continued commitment and investment, our local team is well positioned to support our customers with robotics solutions made in the United States. Our leading technology of web-enabled, collaborative and safe robots will contribute to job security and quality of work.”

“The new North American manufacturing presence elevates our offering and service to robotics customers in the United States, Mexico and Canada, allowing us to achieve best-in-class delivery schedules and technical support in North America,” said Per Vegard Nerseth, Managing Director of ABB Robotics. “The expansion is consistent with our global strategy, which is to establish a local presence in key robotics growth markets to provide our leading technology to our customers. Thanks to the strong robotics market, I’m confident we will expand our workforce here to a total of 1,000 highly skilled employees in the not-too-distant future.”