Drives & Controls Magazine September 2023

n NEWS September 2023 6 THE WELSH DRIVES-MAKER Invertek is planning to create at least 250 new jobs over the coming five years at its global headquarters and manufacturing facility at Welshpool, Powys. The roles will be in innovation, production and other areas as the company invests in the design and production of variable-speed drives. It will also expand the development of careers through college and graduate training programmes. The announcement comes after the company, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, revealed a 45% year-on-year sales growth during 2022, generating a turnover of £76.3m. Invertek has increased its workforce significantly in recent years, and currently employs 380 people at its UK base. “We’re already in the process of building a 2,750m2 extension to our existing 5,500m2 manufacturing and distribution facility which will allow us to increase production capacity to more than 1.2 million units annually,” says Adrian Ellam, who was appointed CEO of Invertek Drives earlier this year. “This will come on stream in early 2024. “As a result of this, we’ll be creating a range of roles in the areas of production, distribution, and manufacturing engineering to support this. “In addition, we will are planning to significantly expand our innovation and r&d teams to create next-generation electric motor control technology,” he adds. “This includes a new Innovation and HQ Centre at our UK base.” Shaun Dean, chairman of Invertek Drives chairman and senior vice-president of its parent, Sumitomo Drive Technologies (SHI), says the investment demonstrates SHI’s commitment to Invertek and this “green energy” segment. “Since Invertek was acquired in 2019, SHI has invested more than £30m into the business at Welshpool,” he reports. “We have an amazing team and facility that is a world-leader in the development and manufacturing of variablefrequency drive technology. We anticipate significant growth in this area.” Invertek plans to create 250 jobs in Wales over the next five years p The global market for automation hardware will expand from $38.7bn at present to $64bn by 2033 (a CAGR of 5.1%), according to a new analysis by ABI Research. PLCs are the biggest segment of the market, with sales projected to be worth $30bn by 2033, $5.6bn of this coming from large PLCs (with more than 1,024 I/O), which ABI identifies as being the fastest-growing PLC segment, with a CAGR of 6.1%. Together, Mitsubishi, Rockwell, Emerson and ABB account for 42% of the automation market. p The US motion control specialist Allied Motion Technologies has changed its name to Allient and is aiming to almost double its revenues to more than $1bn. The company, which employs more than 2,250 people globally, designs and makes precision and specialty motion, controls and power products and systems for targeted industries and applications. It generates revenues of $557.8m and has a market capitalisation of $540.6m. Since 2017, it has been growing by an average of around 15% a year. p The UK manufacturing sector experienced the second-highest number of administrations of any sector in the country during the first six months of 2023, according to the law firm, Shakespeare Martineau. There were 91 administrations in the sector – 22% more than in 2022 – with only the retail sector seeing more, with 118 administrations. In the first half of 2023, a total of 759 UK firms went into administration (compared to 621 in 2022), with manufacturing accounting for 12% of these. p Nearly half (47%) of UK manufacturers plan to invest in digital technologies to decarbonise their business, according to research published by the manufacturers’ organisation Make UK and the cloud business management specialist, Sage. Almost a quarter have already invested in digital systems with a further 23% planning to do so in the coming 12 months. Make UK is calling for the Made Smarter digitalisation programme to be rolled out across the UK, and for its remit to be expanded to include industrial decarbonisation. p Collaborative robots (cobots) will account for more than 20% of all industrial robot sales by 2032, according to a new study from Interact Analysis. The cobot market is expected to expand at around 20% a year until then, driven partly by new applications and the growing importance of the logistics market. NEWS BRIEFS THE BURGEONING USE OF mobile robots will drive the global market for ultra-low-voltage (ULV) motors to $6.5bn by 2027 – representing a CAGR of 12.6% between 2022 and 2027 – according to a new report from Interact Analysis. Demand for these motors, which have operating voltages below 60V, is also being driven by battery-powered applications and by the need for more flexible manufacturing processes. The three top suppliers in the sector are currently Maxon, Ametek and Minebea Mitsumi, but Interact predicts that the supplier landscape will change dramatically. The market is highly fragmented and its development will depend on which technologies the various suppliers decide to develop for different sectors. One trend that Interact identifies in the manufacturing sector is the need for more flexible machines because of the growing number of product variations that automated machines need to handle. This will result in more small actuation points requiring ULV motors. There is also a significant trend towards integrated motors and drives, particularly for mobile robotic applications. “The growth opportunity for integrated motors is staggering,” reports Interact Analysis research manager, Blake Griffin. “We estimate the growth of revenues for this product to carry a CAGR of 45% between 2022 and 2027. By 2027, integrated motors will account for 14% of the motors used in mobile robots. While the mobile robotics segment only accounts for 3% of motor shipments today, by the end of 2027 the sector will account for 15.6% total market shipments”. Mobile robots are driving sales of ULV motors above $6bn An architect's impression of how the extension to Invertek Drives’ manufacturing facility will look when completed in 2024.