Italian Manufacturers’ Input Sculpts New Drive Family

Nov. 1, 2012
Last month, after reaching other main cities of the Old Continent, the Control Techniques European Roadshow finally landed in Milan.

Control Techniques is an Emerson Group business, and the technical press was invited to a preview of the company’s newest family of drives, the Unidrive M, tailored to the needs of manufacturing automation (‘M’ stands for Manufacturing). The products will be officially presented to the market in November at SPS Nuremberg 2012.

“To develop these drives, first the company focused on its customers’ needs, asking important end users and main buyers about today’s and tomorrow’s expectations, said Carlo Previderè, general manager of Drive Centre Milan for Control Techniques. “Our company conducted more than 100 qualitative interviews with end users and machine builders and sent more than 800 customized surveys to its main buyers to understand their feeling about the future.”

This way, seven macro-groups of functionalities, indicated as a priority by the interviewed, were selected. The final result has been the development of a family of seven drives, each one featuring high levels of performance and carefully designed to meet the requirements of, and improve productivity in, a specific area of the manufacturing market.

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“Even if this new family has the same name of one of our ‘historical’ drive ranges, it is not expected to replace it, as it presents specific technical characteristics designed to meet the needs of a vertical sector of manufacturing automation,” said Guido Colombo, marketing director for Italy. The new top range product, the Unidrive M800, for example, integrates a new breed of high performance machine controller within the drive. The solution utilizes the industry-leading CoDeSys programming environment with standard IEC 61131-3 programming languages and standard Ethernet for communication across drives, I/O, HMIs, PLCs and other industrial devices.

Separately, another important industrial player confirmed its confidence in Italy: the well-known German company Rittal ( decided to invest by building a new production line in the plant of Valeggio sul Mincio, near Verona. In the Valeggio plant the TopTherm Blue “e” family will be produced, a new solution for industrial air conditioning which will be more efficient and eco-compatible.

Ilaria De Poli, [email protected], is an editor at “Fiera Milano Editore,” a magazine covering automation and manufacturing in Italy.

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