Automation Technologies

Bombshell in automation – ABB to acquire B&R

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Substantial investments in innovation

Innovation is at the heart of both companies. B&R invests more than 10% of its sales in R&D and employs more than 1,000 people in R&D and application engineering. ABB spends $1.5 bn annually on R&D and employs some 30,000 technologists and engineering specialists. Going forward, ABB and B&R will continue to invest considerably in R&D.

Automation of machines and factories is a key driver of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the IoT. ABB will continue B&R's strong solution-based business model and build on its deep domain expertise to develop new software-based services and solutions for end-to-end digitalisation. ABB’s industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, will now capitalise on the large installed base, application and solution know-how, simulation software expertise and advanced engineering tools of B&R.

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Proven integration approach

On closing the transaction, B&R will become part of ABB’s Industrial Automation division as a new global business unit – Machine & Factory Automation – headed by the current Managing Director, Hans Wimmer. Both companies consider B&R's management and employees as a key driver of future growth and the business integration together with their counterparts from ABB. The co-founders of B&R, Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, will act as advisors during the integration phase to ensure continuity.

The integration will be growth focused and live by the “best-of-both-worlds” principle, with ABB adding its own PLC and servo-drive activities to the offering of the new business unit in a phased approach. ABB underlines its clear commitment to continuing the B&R growth story by articulating a mid-term sales ambition to exceed $1 bn.

ABB is committed to further investing in the expansion of B&R’s operations and to building on the company’s successful business model and brand. B&R's headquarters in Eggelsberg will become ABB’s global centre for machine and factory automation.

This article appeared in www.process-worldwide.com.

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