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Industry News


Kicks Off Vaccination Hub in June

The Bonfiglioli Riduttori Vaccination HUB in Calderara di Reno kicked off June 14th.

The Calderara di Reno Hub, obtained by dedicating part of a Bonfiglioli Group plant, has a total area of 1,500 square meters. Equipped according to the protocols and functionalities provided by the vaccination plans, it began its activity immediately after cutting the ribbon and will be able to guarantee 500 vaccinations per day.

“The creation of this hub is part of a system operation on the territory promoted by Confindustria Emilia Centro, which sees the birth of an intercompany network of vaccination hubs open to all related and not related companies in the territory, their employees and collaborators and their family members. All coordinated with the institutions and the public health service. A major effort to support the community and businesses, in order to help accelerate the current vaccination campaign. We guarantee employees and their family members certain dates, which will allow them to complete the vaccination cycle by the summer break, to spend safely and with greater serenity, with a view to restarting and returning to normal,” said Sonia Bonfiglioli, chairwoman of the group and vice-president of Confindustria Emilia.

“Bonfiglioli Riduttori is proud to represent an important part of this teamwork, hosting a hub that started immediately with the first vaccine administrations, and I’d also like to remember the other two active hubs, promoted in collaboration with Confindustria Emilia: the one hosted by IMA, belonging to our former President, Alberto Vacchi in Ozzano dell ‘Emilia, and the one organized by Voiláp, belonging to our president Valter Caiumi in Limidi di Soliera.

We are very proud as Bonfiglioli to be a step on this imaginary scale of solidarity that aims to drive us — also thanks to the spread of vaccinations — out of the darkness and anguish of these long months. Together, with cohesion, we can start running again,” she added.


Introduces Drive Exchange Service

ABB’s Drives Service team reduces the impact of unplanned downtime with the Drive Exchange Service offering. Utilizing real-time inventory and a dedicated Exchange program team, ABB can ship a replacement unit within 24 hours of a purchase order receipt.

The ABB Drives Exchange Service offering is an extension of the Expanded Drives Services offering which includes reconditioning service, preventive maintenance, and standard or premium repair, all of which are performed at ABB’s state-of-the-art, ISO certified Drives Service Workshop in New, Berlin, Wisconsin. All drives are repaired by ABB certified technicians using genuine ABB parts to ensure the drive operates as designed. All work performed is factory tested and backed by at least a one-year warranty.

All ABB Drives Exchange units will have a 1-year complete drive warranty from date of shipment from ABB.

“We know that for a customer who is down, every minute is a loss of productivity and profit, possibly even raw materials,” explains Michelle Schwery, director of sales and marketing — US Drives Service. “The goal of the Exchange service offering is to get them up and running quickly.”

ABB Drives Service also offers on-site assistance and training through a nation-wide network of field service technicians. All of this is backed by 24/7 customer service and technical support.


Wins ASM International Engineering Materials Achievement Award

QuesTek Innovations LLC has announced that it received the 2021 ASM International Engineering Materials Achievement Award for the design and commercialization of Ferrium C64, a novel high-performance carburizable steel enabling more durable, lighter weight transmission gears with increased power density. QuesTek will officially accept the award in 2022 at ASM’s IMAT annual meeting in New Orleans.

“This puts us in the rarified company of previous award winners like the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, NASA Glenn Research Center, IBM Systems and Technology Group, GE Aviation, and Northrop Grumman Corporation, among others,” said Jason Sebastian, QuesTek president. “We’re grateful for the recognition by ASM.”

The Ferrium C64 story began in 2005 in response to a problem that the U.S. Navy couldn’t solve: how to enhance the performance and safety of its helicopters. QuesTek responded with the answer: a high-strength steel that provided gearbox longevity, increased power-to-weight ratio, and a reduction in production, operation and support costs. Ferrium C64’s unique properties--high surface hardness, quench hardenability, high strength and toughness, long fatigue life, and high temperature resistance--next attracted the attention of the U.S. Army.

QuesTek, through the Army’s Future Advanced Rotorcraft Drive System (FARDS) program, was awarded a subcontract from Bell Helicopter to jointly evaluate the applications of C64 in an effort to improve the performance and affordability of current aircraft drive systems. QuesTek has also demonstrated C64 in powder bed additive manufacturing, where initial results show similar properties to forged bar.

“As a leading provider of Aerospace and Defense gear material solutions, Carpenter Technology has seen significant interest and adoption of Ferrium C64,” said Marshall Akins, Carpenter’s Vice President of Aerospace and Defense. “Due to its excellent core and fatigue strength, as well as its high case hardness and temperature resistance, C64 is a cutting-edge solution enabling step-changes in the performance of key applications. We expect Ferrium C64 to play a major role in our specialty steel portfolio for decades to come.”

“This stellar achievement sets an example for future alloy development across a range of materials and applications,” added Sebastian. “The impacts of Ferrium C64 are significant from enhanced safety to increased fuel-efficiency.”

This award was given to the cross-functional team at QuesTek for their direct contributions to the design, qualification and commercialization of C64 steel: Jason Sebastian, Chris Kern, Jeff Grabowski, Kerem Taskin, Tom Kozmel and Greg Olson.

Koch Industries

Collaborates with MIR

Mobile Industrial Robots recently announced a worldwide strategic collaboration with one of the world’s largest private companies, Koch Industries. Cooperation started between MiR and Guardian Industries, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, in 2020. To optimize productivity and internal workflows, Guardian Industries tested different solutions for automating inhouse transportation, including deploying MiR robots in two U.S. sites as pilot projects. The success of these pilot projects resulted in the agreement between Koch Industries and MiR to evaluate the technology globally.

“We have entered into this strategic agreement with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimizing our logistics operations,” said Antonio Blanco, global category manager, Guardian Industries. “MiR offers flexible automation solutions that can be tailored to address our current and future operational needs. We are implementing this technology at multiple facilities because we consider MiR as a long-term partner that has the experience and capabilities to support us in achieving our productivity goals.”

With five autonomous mobile robots, MiR has the widest range of AMRs in the market to take over various transportation tasks, from moving smaller parts to heavy duty loads up to 2200 pounds (1000kg). The largest robots can automatically pick up, transport and deliver pallets. Regardless of the task, these collaborative AMRs are designed to work alongside human colleagues and relieve them of various physically strenuous work so they can focus on more valuable tasks.

The versatility of MiR’s robots, which can be customized with different top modules to meet customer needs, is another key reason why Guardian Industries chose to collaborate with MiR, and why other Koch companies are also evaluating possible implementations.

“We will implement the robots in multiple plants with different layouts and products, so it is important for us to have a logistics solution that can fit into all types of environments and easily adapt to new tasks,” said Peter Westrick, material handling engineer, Guardian. “That is exactly what MiR offers.”

Autonomous mobile robots on the rise

As demonstrated by MiR’s 55% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2021, Guardian Industries and Koch Industries are not the only companies that want to optimize internal transportation flows.

“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Guardian’s productivity goals by deploying our flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots,” said Christian Clausen, sales director, MiR. “In general, we see a great potential across industries for optimizing internal logistic workflows, from inbound and outbound logistics to material handling in manufacturing plants, and our industry-graded robots can be deployed directly into these different workflows. The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways.”

“Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments very well,” Clausen added. “With their collaborative, autonomous navigation, automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”

According to robotics analyst Frank Tobe, “Almost every MiR pilot project has resulted in the client subsequently ordering multiple MiR AMRs. There are many reasons, but two stand out: First, with the addition of low-cost shelving and handling accessories, clients keep finding new applications for these versatile mobile robots, and second, MiR’s navigation, fleet and handling software is simple to install and activate and provides continuing ROI. MiR focuses on flat-surface apps, which are ideal for almost all manufacturing and logistics operations around the world. I can see why Koch and other inventive multi-business conglomerates are interested in MiR. It’s an ideal fit of need and product.”

MiR has a global distribution network in more than 60 countries and local offices in New York, San Diego, Singapore, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Tokyo and Shanghai.


Offers New Resources Through PT WORK Force

The PTDA Foundation, through its PT WORK Force initiative, provides resources to support power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) employers in their recruitment and retention efforts as they navigate a new world of work post-pandemic. In fact, it’s more important than ever to have the right people on the team to take advantage of future growth opportunities. All the resources can be accessed, free of charge, at

PT WORK Force is helping employers:

  • Stand out as the employer of choice with proven strategies from the PT WORK Force webinar, Winning the Labor War: Finding and Keeping Good People in Uncertain Times.
  • Thrive in a remote work environment with tips from the PT WORK Force webinar, Maximizing Your Remote Work Environment.
  • Determine what students are looking for in an employer. Four students from Georgia Tech University shared their work expectations. A summary of their insights from the Building Your Workforce student panel session is available.
  • Evaluate if employers’ compensation and benefit packages meet the needs of today’s employees — especially post-pandemic. The PT/MC Compensation and Benefit Ideas for 2021 and Beyond resource reveals what employees are looking for in a contemporary benefits package.
  • Promote the value of the industry and the work we do in order to attract new talent. PT WORK Force supports the Manufacturing Day as just one way for employers to get exposure for their company within the community.

Additional resources currently in development include updated job descriptions that reflect remote working needs and diverse skill set requirements and a Virtual Onboarding Resource.


Offers Oil Regeneration Service to Customers in Mexico

Industrial end-users in Mexico will now be able to make use of regenerated oil services using a unique and recently developed system from SKF.

Molecular Oil Technology (MOT) has purchased, and will operate under license, a RecondOil Double Separation Technology (DST) stand-alone unit from SKF.

SKF already uses the oil recovery system at several of its own facilities and is now in the process of making the technology available to customers around the world — both as part of its offer around the rotating shaft as well as via license partners in selected markets.

“With this solution, MOT and SKF will help customers to reduce carbon emissions and cut costs, while increasing machine performance and contributing to a circular economy,” says Nacip Fayad, industrial market business unit director at SKF in Mexico.

The DST unit removes contamination, including nano-sized particles, from lubricant oil. It is more effective than conventional filters and extends the time between oil changes in industrial operations.

The presence of nano-sized particles usually causes oil to oxidize and degrade. By removing these particles, the DST unit helps maintain oil conditions for longer. Regenerating oil can raise machine performance by preserving lubricant cleanliness. In this way, it can also cut the cost of oil purchase and disposal, and help companies meet environmental targets.

“We are very happy to have teamed up with SKF to bring the DST technology to Mexico. Our mission is to provide a sustainable solution to our customers through a truly circular use of industrial oils, which will allow our customers not only to reduce costs, but more importantly, reducing their carbon footprint,” said Michael Heidkamp, CEO, Molecular Oil Technology.

The full capacity of the DST unit purchased by MOT is approximately 2.5 million liters/year.

NSK Americas

Launches Website for Metal-Making Operations

To help meet the increasing demand for high-productivity solutions in steel mills and related industries, NSK Americas has launched The website presents the company’s diverse range of rolling bearing technology and service solutions expressly designed for the extreme environments found in metal-making plants.

“Modern mill operators are under enormous pressure to increase production due to global demand, while simultaneously lowering cost-per-ton,” says Paul Brda, NSK strategic segment manager. “Our intent with this website is to present game-changing products and technologies that help mills meet variable output targets, while lowering overall operating costs.”

The website highlights the specialized bearing products NSK has engineered for virtually every mill application — from furnaces and casting, to rolling mills, to the array of critical process machinery and equipment that keep everything running smoothly. It also details the comprehensive technical support the company provides on-site with NSK industry experts, in design stage with Application Engineering and in perpetuity with extensive end-to-end services.

An expanding library of technical resources provides product- and service-literature downloads. And industry-specific case studies demonstrate how NSK has made real-world improvements in mill productivity and cost control with its holistic Added Value Program (AIP).

“Our mantra is ‘Keep Metal Moving.’ We know that if one bearing fails on a segment roll in the casting facility, all downstream processes come to a halt, output ceases, and the costs quickly mount,” adds Brda. “NSK has been specializing in bearing solutions in mills for decades, introducing metallurgical and tribological advancements, and breakthrough bearing products that consistently outlast and outperform conventional solutions.”


Introduces optime in the United States and Canada

Schaeffler is launching its acclaimed OPTIME condition monitoring system in the U.S. and Canada. OPTIME is an efficient, easy-to-use and low-cost solution designed specifically for the comprehensive condition monitoring of all balance of plant assets across entire manufacturing facilities.

Due to cost considerations, permanently installed vibration-based condition monitoring systems are typically used only for production machines that are directly process- or quality-critical. In fact, within the process manufacturing and automation industries, it is not uncommon for up to 95% of all assets in a production facility to be either totally unmonitored or monitored only periodically by means of route-based, manual measurements. “With OPTIME from Schaeffler, however, comprehensive and automated condition monitoring is now a cost-effective proposition for reliability personnel and facility operators,” said Frank Mignano, Schaeffler Americas manager for condition monitoring and Industry 4.0 service solutions.

Automated data analysis – powered by Schaeffler expertise

OPTIME is an easily scalable condition monitoring system that consists of wireless, battery-powered vibration sensors, a cellular gateway and an app to visualize the resulting data. This information, which is captured by the sensors, is analyzed using proprietary algorithms that draw on Schaeffler’s technical expertise, its extensive library of physical models developed and refined over many decades, and the experience in condition monitoring that Schaeffler has built up in the course of its bearing servicing operations.

OPTIME is designed to provide advance warning of potential damage to machines such as electric motors, fans and pumps. It also offers early notification of imbalance, misalignment and loose-fitting components. The OPTIME mobile app displays trends in graph format and visualizes the severity of incidents using traffic light colors, alarm states and other information. Assets can be grouped according to the user’s requirements, and their condition can be presented in a range of user group-specific views. With OPTIME, in-house maintenance personnel and external service contractors receive specific recommendations regarding the steps required to remedy any issues, enabling them to easily plan their maintenance activities, manpower requirements and spare parts procurement in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Quick and easy setup

OPTIME can be installed and put into operation without any prior condition monitoring expertise. This means that several hundred measuring points can easily be set up in a single day. Vibration sensors are attached to the monitored assets by means of screws or adhesive, after which they are activated using the accompanying app that connects to them via near-field communication (NFC). All installed sensors communicate autonomously with each other and the gateway, thereby forming a dedicated mesh network that ranks among the most reliable and energy-efficient types of IoT networks in use in industry today.

The sensors in OPTIME’s mesh network capture and transmit seven key performance indicators, including six different vibration readings plus temperature, via the gateway to the Schaeffler IoT Hub. The Schaeffler hub analyzes the data, and the results are displayed on the PC-based dashboard or within the included mobile app, the latter of which supports a broad range of devices commonly used by maintenance personnel and plant operators. Alternatively, the diagnostic results can be made available for integration into the customer’s own IT environment via a REST API.

The ideal complement to existing walk-around systems

OPTIME is designed to complement users’ existing condition monitoring programs by collecting 100% of the data generated by a facility’s machinery, and then automatically identifying those assets that are experiencing performance issues. OPTIME also provides more accurate diagnostics than most wireless online condition monitoring systems, thanks to its complex, proprietary algorithm-based analytics. Moreover, OPTIME’s compact size, wireless design and ease of installation enable it to be used on a multitude of assets for which permanently installed condition monitoring was previously not commercially viable. This makes OPTIME the first condition monitoring solution capable of providing a machine status overview that is truly comprehensive and encompasses all subsystems and auxiliary assets. This is important, because monitoring the condition of all assets within a manufacturing operation is fundamental to the reliable prevention of unplanned machine downtime and plant shutdowns.

2021 Red Dot Design Award winner in two categories

OPTIME was recently honored with the prestigious 2021 Red Dot Design Award in the “Smart Product” and “Industrial Design” categories for its outstanding product design, functional configuration and high level of innovation. According to Dr. Stefan Spindler, CEO Industrial of Schaeffler AG, “Our passion for technology and innovation is a key part of Schaeffler’s DNA. The fact that OPTIME received this coveted award proves that we can successfully expand our portfolio of solutions with digital services that prioritize the benefit to our customers.”


Launches online tools for miniature motors

Portescap has unveiled two new online tools to streamline the process of evaluating and buying miniature motors. MotionCompass delivers product recommendations for brush and brushless DC motors based on user criteria, and the eStore lets users quickly and easily find, configure and order Portescap miniature motors.

Here’s how they work:

MotionCompass: This dynamic tool allows users to input operating points such as torque, speed and voltage, along with key application parameters and gearbox and position feedback requirements. MotionCompass will generate a list of motor recommendations that users can prioritize in ascending or descending order according to their speed, efficiency, power or current needs. It also immediately displays prices and availability so users can proceed to the eStore, confirm the order quantity and complete their purchase.

eStore: Portescap customers can browse or search for off-the-shelf products to suit their desired configuration, environment or envelope. When a customer selects a motor, they can easily download its specifications as well as 2D drawings and 3D CAD models, check its availability and, if the product is not available for immediate shipment, request a quote. In addition, users can customize a motor for a hard-to-satisfy application by reviewing options for gearheads and encoders. And checkouts are even faster with an e-store account.


Wins 2021 AHTD Foundation Award

Electromate received a Foundation Award from the Association for High Technology Distribution (AHTD), recognizing the company’s 25 years of membership and support. This is the first year the Award has been given, honoring a small group of members out of approximately 300 automation solution providers and manufacturers.

The AHTD is dedicated to maximizing the productivity, growth, and enterprise opportunities of its high-tech automation solution provider and manufacturer members. These goals align with Electromate’s commitment to driving innovation, identifying emerging technologies and products, promoting the education of automation and motion control, and fostering its relationships with industry peers.

“Electromate is proud to be honored with an AHTD Foundation Award. We strongly support their mission to increase the productivity, profitability and market share of their membership” said Warren Osak, CEO and Founder of Electromate. “Our membership in the AHTD has been instrumental in fostering partnerships and alliances to help us deliver high-tech solutions to our customers. I thank the AHTD for their steadfast commitment to advance the welfare of the high technology distribution industry.”

“Electromate has shown unwavering commitment to doing high tech better with the Association for High Technology Distribution for 25 years. We thank them for their long-standing and steadfast support of AHTD,” said Leigha Schatzman, executive director, AHTD. “We look forward to recognizing them with the AHTD Foundation Award at our Fall Meeting 2021. Congratulations, Electromate!”

The article "Industry News" appeared in the August 2021 issue of Power Transmission Engineering.

Koch Industries
NSK Americas