May/June 2012
Automation by the Numbers

May/June Automation by the Numbers


The Drive Technologies Division of Siemens Industry announced a multi-million dollar drive train project with global natural gas leader Williams Partners to provide a high-speed motor application for a natural gas pipeline.

Siemens will provide two 16,000 hp (4,160v input) ROBICON Perfect Harmony WCIII drives and two 7,200v (9,500 rpm) high-speed induction motors. The project will replace two old 7,000 hp motors and drives in an effort to increase flow and enhance reliability. This is the first time that high-speed motors in this size range have been used for a natural gas pipeline in the U.S.

The project, scheduled to be operational in the fall of 2012, is part of an upgrade to Station 205 in Princeton, N.J., part of Williams Partners' Transco Pipeline System, a 10,000-mile natural gas pipeline system that extends from Texas to the New York City metropolitan area, serving customers in 13 states.

-Courtesy of


Based on end-user payments, CIMdata estimates that the worldwide NC software and related services market grew by 14.4% in 2011. The estimated end-user payments grew from $1.333 billion in 2010 to $1.525 billion in 2011. The market growth rate reflects a strong overall PLM spend, continuing the economic recovery that manifested itself in dramatically higher machine tool sales into the manufacturing industry. It has been estimated that worldwide shipments of machine tools increased by 35% from 2010 to 2011, which is directly related to the volume of CAM software employed to drive these tools. CIMdata projects that, in 2012, growth in manufacturing will continue and end-user payments for NC software will increase by 12.4% to $1.714 billion.

-Courtesy of


DailyTech reports that Dr Jonathan Rossiter, Senior Lecturer in the University of Bristol's Department of Engineering Mathematics and a member of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), was awarded £200,000 ($320,000) from the Leverhulme Trust for proposing, "A robot that decomposes: towards biodegradable robotic organisms."

Most robots are made out of manmade materials like petroleum-based plastics, rubber, and smelted metals-not exactly environmentally friendly creatures once their rusty joints are laid to rest.

The BRL is designing a special robot called "Ecobot," which is soft and decomposable. The robot will likely be made from soft plant textiles and bioplastics, allowing it to be digested by microorganisms and melt away when its objectives are complete. A biodegradable robot, having reached the end of its mission of, say, performing environmental cleanup following an oil spill, will decompose into harmless material. Rossiter says this should allow many more robots to be deployed worldwide to fill new tasks.