Automation acquisitions update
Many of the biggest players in the automation and controls space continue to aggressively expand their product lines and global reach with new acquisitions. Here’s a rundown of five of the latest moves: Emerson acquired TopWorx, a manufacturer of industrial sensors and controls used for valves, for an undisclosed amount.
Many of the biggest players in the automation and controls space continue to aggressively expand their product lines and global reach with new acquisitions. Here’s a rundown of five of the latest moves:
• Emerson acquired TopWorx , a manufacturer of industrial sensors and controls used for valves, for an undisclosed amount. Emerson says the move expands its valve instrument product line and extends the reach of its PlantWeb digital plant architecture to on/off valves and other instruments. TopWorx Valvetop discrete valve controllers connect on/off valves to fieldbus networking protocols, and its GO Switch leverless limit switches provide position sensing in harsh environments. The company has locations in the U.K., Singapore, and South Africa.
“The acquisition gives us a quick and significant entry into the discrete instrumentation market, and is highly complementary to our existing valve, valve automation, and instrument businesses by allowing us to offer a complete valve instrument portfolio, both wired and wireless,” says John Berra, president, Emerson Process Management.
• Honeywell has acquired Norcross (Oak Brook, IL), which is described as one of the largest providers of personal protective equipment, providing integrated head-to-toe solutions for those needing safety protection, such as fire service, electrical safety, and general industrial worker segments. The company offers air purifying respirators, protective footwear, protective headgear, firefighter turnout gear, high-voltage sleeves and gloves, and arc flash protection. Norcross sells products under names that include North, KCL, Fibre-Metal, Morning Pride, Pro-Warrington, Salisbury, and Servus and maintains an extensive distribution network with more than 2,500 locations.
• ABB has signed an agreement to acquire U.S. transformer company Kuhlman Electric Corp. for an undisclosed amount from global private equity firm The Carlyle Group. After purchasing Kuhlman Electric, which manufactures a range of high-quality transformers for the industrial and electric utility sectors, ABB plans to integrate those operations into ABB’s Power Products business in North America to expand it power products portfolio in the Americas.
According to ABB, Kuhlman Electric (based in Versailles, KY, and employing approximately 800 people) has had double-digit annual sales growth over the past five years, and the business is well-positioned to benefit from the investments required to modernize and expand the U.S. utility infrastructure and to increase industrial efficiency and reliability.
• Ferraz Shawmut has acquired a majority share in China’s Zhejiang Mingrong Electrical Protection (MEP) company . Ferraz Shawmut is a subsidiary of the Carbone Lorraine Group and a provider of circuit protection. The joint venture expands Carbone Lorraine’s Asian presence and positions Ferraz Shawmut as a platform for product development for Asian markets.
Privately-held, MEP deals in the fuse and fusegear market, claiming the most extensive product range of all Chinese market participants. MEP’s vertical integration–plastic injection-molding, metal components and tooling–is seen as able to help accelerate the pace at which Carbone Lorraine’s electrical protection division develops sourcing in China.
MEP manufactures and sells, under the brand name Miro, IEC products and brand-labeled products. The company traditionally exported about 45% of production to Spain, the U.K., Russia, Southeast Asia, Italy, and the U.S.
Electrification needs and strong demand for sophisticated equipment for power generation, distribution, and control applications have made China a prime market. Combining the complementary product ranges of Ferraz Shawmut and MEP, as well as stronger commercial positions at distributors and OEMs, is expected to drive a substantial sales increase in China and export markets.
• TÜVRheinland acquired Unified Testing Services Inc. (UTS), a full-service testing and consulting engineering firm in Woodstock, AL. UTS will be a standalone member of TUV Rheinland of North America Group, which is based in Newtown, CT.
Founded in 1993, the 70-employee, privately-based UTS, offers testing and inspection services focused on materials, construction, transportation, facilities, and environmental engineering, including environmental consulting and testing; destructive and nondestructive materials testing; and shop fabrication inspection of structural steel bridges.
UTS has five service groups that will become part of TÜVRheinland’s testing, inspection, and certification services for global clients:
Engineering and Environmental Services Group;
NDE Services Group (visual, radiographic, ultrasonic, magnetic particle, and liquid penetrant inspections, as well as destructive or nondestructive testing of manufactured and mechanical parts);
Industrial Services Group (non-destructive testing for pulp and paper mills, power plants, chemical refineries, and bulk storage facilities;
D.O.T. Services Group (shop fabrication inspection services on welded structural steel bridges, qualifications of welders and welder procedures, nondestructive testing of welds, and material verification; and
Construction Services (combines expertise from multiple service groups to assist owners, lending institutions, architects, and developers in the construction industry.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.