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Industry Automation, Instrumentation, Control Systems - Business News - Europe

Honeywell to provide Control And Safety Support for major North Sea Oil And Gas Producer

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Honeywell recently announced a new multi-year agreement to provide comprehensive services and support for Lundin Norway, Norway’s fastest-growing upstream oil and gas company. Honeywell’s new Assurance 360 program will help Lundin achieve continual and optimal performance of its automation system at the Edvard Grieg field in the Utsira High area of the central North Sea.

Under the program, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) will provide all necessary technology, processes and support for the system over the next four years, including hardware refresh, software updates and upgrades, and remote support. Key performance indicators in the contract will allow Lundin’s management to monitor delivery of the service, while dedicated program management provides a single point of accountability for performance.

“A company like Lundin will really benefit from the Assurance 360 services program,” said John Rudolph, vice president and general manager of HPS’s Lifecycle Solutions and Services business. “It takes workload for ongoing services, maintenance and upgrades off their plate so they can focus on their core capabilities, while Honeywell focuses on the areas where we are experts such as control systems, safety systems and operator training. Lundin Norway is focussed on oil and gas exploration, development and production in Europe’s biggest oil producing nation.

“This contract forges a close partnership with Honeywell that gives us certainty in terms of both costs and performance of the automation system at Edvard Grieg,” said Kari Nilsen, Head of Operations at Lundin Norway. “With Honeywell providing all the technology and people necessary, it allows Lundin to maintain its lean operating structure, even as we grow and look to develop existing and new opportunities more fully.”

Rotork wins new valve actuation framework with South East Water

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Following formal pre-qualification and tender processes, Rotork UK has been awarded a new and exclusive valve actuator supply framework agreement with South East Water for a period of three years, with the option to extend to five years.

South East Water serves a population of 2.1 million, supplying safe, high quality drinking water to 880,000 properties in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. Rotork valve actuators play an important part in processes that abstract, treat and distribute the water 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Many of these processes utilise Rotork IQ intelligent multi-turn and part-turn valve actuators and Profibus control networks to assist with high levels of automation and provide diagnostic and preventative maintenance functions.

Rotork UK’s framework is also designed to provide training and support services to South East Water staff and its delivery contractors, enabling the design, commissioning and maintenance of flow control equipment to be achieved in the most efficient way and deliver reliable, automated control.

New Service Centre enhances support for Rotork clients in Scotland

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Rotork Scotland.jpgRotork UK has announced the opening of a new Service Centre in Glasgow to provide enhanced, faster and more economical support for its flow control products in Scotland.

During nearly 60 years of serving Scottish industries, tens of thousands of Rotork actuators and associated products have been installed in market sectors including conventional and nuclear power generation, oil & gas, water treatment, food and beverages. The Scottish Service Centre will strengthen both the scope and level of support available for products in the field, complementing and building on the benefits of Rotork’s Client Support Programme, which enables users to select a level of service precisely tailored for their individual requirements.

Customers can choose from the comprehensive range of service products provided by Rotork Site Services. Health checks enable customers to prioritise maintenance and replacement planning whilst preventative maintenance enhances the integrity of actuators to maximise plant utilisation. Emergency and planned service encompasses installation, commissioning, upgrading, installation of control systems, troubleshooting and repair of damaged or deteriorating assets. Actuator overhauls, performed in the Glasgow workshop, will bring long service units back to guaranteed ‘as new’ condition, whilst the provision of loan actuators to cover workshop overhauls and repairs - a Rotork innovation - has proved to save significant downtime costs.

Rotork Site Services has a wealth of experience in retrofitting new actuators to valves, penstocks and dampers installed on existing plant, as well as the factory assembly of new valves and actuators for plant upgrades and extensions. Capabilities for extended scope projects include surveys, design, procurement, manufacturing and commissioning to cover the broad scope of activities surrounding actuation projects.

These activities are all performed by a fully qualified specialist workforce and supported by large spares stockholdings held at Glasgow and the recently expanded Rotork UK head office and workshop in Leeds.

Ian Elliott, Rotork UK Site Services Sales Manager, explains: “Our mission in Scotland as elsewhere is to enable clients to concentrate on their core businesses and increase production by providing maximum reliability and availability of our products by reducing the cost of ownership and year-on-year maintenance risks.”

Endress+Hauser increases net sales in 2014 by 11.0 percent to 2.013 billion euros

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Endress+Hauser has stood its ground in the market in an uncertain economic environment. The Swiss Group increased net sales in 2014 by 11.0 percent to 2.013 billion euros and achieved a net income of 192 million euros. The company invested over 126 million euros worldwide and employed 12,435 staff by the end of the year. However, prospects for 2015 are clouded by economic risks and currency movements.

In his first year as CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group, Matthias Altendorf presented good figures – “despite all the unpredictable external influences that hadn’t been considered in our budgets,” as he stressed. Endress+Hauser has doubled turnover within eight years. “For the first time in our history, over half of our net sales were generated outside Europe.”

Broad-based growth in sales:

Above all, business was good on the American continent, reported COO Michael Ziesemer, as seen in the US. Germany, the country with the highest sales volume, also improved significantly – as did Europe in general. Development in Asia was inconsistent. Growth slowed in China, whilst in Southeast Asia sales grew dynamically. In Africa and the Middle East, political instability in individual countries was noticeable.

Increased employment, higher capital expenditure:

At the end of 2014 Endress+Hauser employed 12,435 people worldwide – 516 more than the year before. The company invested 126 million euros and increased the production of flow measurement technology in Reinach, Switzerland, amongst others. 259 initial applications at patent offices around the world give evidence of the Group’s innovative powers.

Profitable and financially strong:

Operating profit (EBIT) decreased by 3.2 percent to 268 million euros. Thanks to the effects of favorable exchange rates and rewarding financial investments, the financial results were positive. As a result, profit before taxes (EBT) increased by 1.7 percent to 274 million euros. A slightly decreasing tax rate of 30.2 percent raised the net income by 2.3 percent to 192 million euros. CFO Dr Luc Schultheiss emphasized the Group’s robust financing. Equity ratio grew by 0.5 points to 68.3 percent.

Current year clouded by strength of Swiss franc:

The influence of foreign exchange rates was small in 2014. The consequences of the abolition of the minimum euro exchange rate by the Swiss National Bank in the current year are far harder to predict. “The Endress+Hauser Group as a whole can cope with the strengthening of the franc,” emphasized Luc Schultheiss. A large part of the added value is independent of the Swiss currency. However, the CFO anticipates lower profits due to the pressure on the Swiss companies in the Group.

Investments in more sustainability:

For the first time, Endress+Hauser presented a sustainability report together with the annual report. The report is intended to make developments visible and measurable. For example, cogeneration plants reduced carbon dioxide emissions at production sites in Maulburg and Gerlingen, Germany. A new plant to treat the surface of metal parts that uses metal beads instead of glass beads has significantly reduced the amount of special waste in Reinach, Switzerland.

Beckhoff Automation surpasses 500 million euro mark with 17 % increase in turnover

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Beckhoff Automation turned in a very successful performance in the 2014 financial year, generating global turnover of 510 million euros, an increase of 17 % year over year. The company’s increased sales stem from a growing global market and new project and customer wins for the PC-based control technology from Beckhoff. In keeping with the growth in turnover, the number of employees increased by 12 % to 2,800. Beckhoff has an optimistic outlook for the current financial year and expects another double-digit increase in sales.

Managing Director Hans Beckhoff is satisfied: “We can look back on a successful financial year. We are especially happy that this growth pattern extended to all regions and market segments. All continents contributed with new applications in areas ranging from industrial engineering and energy generation to building automation and the entertainment industry.”

Exports in 2014 accounted for 62 % of the company’s total turnover; of that, 29 % was generated in Europe (outside of Germany), 22 % in Asia, 10 % in North America, and 1 % in the remaining countries worldwide in which Beckhoff operates. “We’ve grown in all regions of the world, but especially in Asia and above all in China (+38 %). We are pleased to see healthy growth also in other regions – for example in southern Europe, with Spain (+10 %) and Italy (+19 %) delivering significant increases,” notes Hans Beckhoff.

PC control technology wins new projects worldwide:

“Beckhoff has achieved average growth of 16 % annually during the period from 2000 to 2014. This positive performance can be traced back to our leading-edge technology, which has helped build our strong reputation worldwide. Our high-performance technology platform of PC-based automation software, Industrial PCs, distributed I/O components and Drive Technology can be universally used in a multitude of applications,”

Hans Beckhoff explains, detailing the company’s rising market share in a wide variety of industries. “Our product innovations contribute similarly to our sustained growth. For example, we have won many new customers worldwide with the introduction of new product groups such as e.g. our state-of-the-art XTS drive system,” adds the Managing Director.

In terms of technology, Beckhoff customers are ideally positioned through the use of PC-based control. This is also true for the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts. “Our ongoing research and development is a driver of advances in automation technology and that’s why we offer our customers a technological ‘head start’, due in large part to innovations such as the many-core control concept introduced with the C6670 many-core Industrial PC. With this high-end platform we can deliver what we believe are the most powerful control systems on the market today,” emphasises Hans Beckhoff. He continues: “With processor options reaching as high as 36 cores and 2,048 GB of RAM we offer our customers a level of performance today that will be the industry standard in 2020.”

“Technology is one aspect of our company. The other is our 35 years of experience in automation paired with a pronounced company culture of trust and stability. All these are the factors on which our sustained growth is based,” says Beckhoff.

Strengthening global sales channels:

Beckhoff Automation also continues to expand on a global scale. Following the establishment of a subsidiary company in the Czech Republic and representative offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Indonesia in 2014, Beckhoff is primarily investing in strengthening its existing sales network in 2015. “We are represented in over 70 countries worldwide with 34 subsidiary companies and distributors. Our focus this year will be on enhancing the density of our existing sales network. This includes adding more regional branch offices throughout all countries. We are particularly pleased to establish a larger office in Silicon Valley this year. Not only is German automation technology very much in demand in California, we also want to benefit from the spirit and the speed of technological development in this area,” says Beckhoff.

Training initiative for over 180 junior employees:

Beckhoff currently has approximately 2,800 employees worldwide; of these, almost 2,000 work in Germany, with about 1,800 at the company’s headquarters in Verl. Trained engineers account for almost one-third of the workforce. “We are again investing heavily in research and development in 2015, allocating funds of roughly 40 million euros,”

Hans Beckhoff announces. “As a technology-driven company whose success is based on supplying its customers with new ideas and technology, we have a very great demand for skilled engineers. We are always happy to add fresh new talent to our roster.”


Current Industry 4.0 projects, which are part of the “it’s OWL” Leading-Edge Cluster, also contribute to the company’s progress. “The Leading-Edge Cluster has developed very successfully. This East-Westphalia-based alliance between companies, universities, and scientific centres of competence was only founded in 2011, but is already highly regarded as a pioneer for Industry 4.0 in Germany and even in Europe,” Beckhoff points out.