Closing historic gap in machine and factory automation.

01/05/2017

B&R, the largest independent provider focused on product- and software-based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation worldwide has been acquired by ABB.

B&R, founded in 1979 by Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer is headquartered in Eggelsberg, Austria, employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 R&D and application engineers. It operates across 70 countries, generating sales of more than $600 million (2015/16) in the $20 billion machine and factory automation market segment. The combination will result in an unmatched, comprehensive offering for customers of industrial automation, by pairing B&R’s innovative products, software and solutions for modern machine and factory automation with ABB’s world-leading offering in robotics, process automation, digitalization and electrification.



A video of This announcement and other details here on the ABB Website (4 April 2017)

Benefits for Austria
With this acquisition, ABB becomes the largest industrial automation player in Austria. ABB has operated in Austria for more than 100 years. With the strong future role, B&R and its headquarters in Austria will play as part of ABB, Austria, particularly Upper Austria, will benefit. The planned expansion of the R&D and production activities in Eggelsberg and Gilgenberg will strengthen Austria’s high-tech industrial landscape.
Transaction financials
The transaction multiple is in line with peer valuations. The parties agreed not to disclose the purchase price. ABB will finance the acquisition in cash. The transaction is expected to be operationally EPS accretive in the first year, and is expected to add significant synergies of about 8% of B&R’s stand-alone revenue in year four. The transaction is expected to close in summer 2017, subject to customary regulatory clearances.

Through the acquisition, ABB expands its position in industrial automation and be uniquely positioned to seize growth opportunities resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industrie 4.0). In addition, ABB takes a major step in expanding its digital offering by combining its industry-leading portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability, with B&R’s strong application and software platforms, its large installed base, customer access and tailored automation solutions.

“B&R is a gem in the world of machine and factory automation and this combination is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This transaction marks a true milestone for ABB, as B&R will close the historic gap within ABB’s automation offering. This is a perfect fit and will make us the only industrial automation provider offering customers the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalization and electrification,” said ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer. “This acquisition perfectly delivers on our Next Level strategy. With our unique digital offering and our installed base of more than 70 million connected devices, 70,000 control systems and now more than 3 million automated machines and 27,000 factory installations around the world, we enable our combined global customer base to seize the huge opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

“This combination offers fantastic opportunities for B&R, its customers and employees. We are convinced that ABB offers the best platform for the next chapter of our growth story. ABB’s global presence, digital offering and complementary portfolio will be key for us to further accelerate our pace of innovation and growth,” said Josef Rainer, co-founder of B&R.

“This is a strong signal for our employees as our operations in Eggelsberg will become ABB’s global center for machine and factory automation,” said Erwin Bernecker, the other co-founder of B&R. “The most important thing to me is that the companies and their people fit so well together and that our founding location will play such a key role.”

Complementary strengths
With the acquisition, ABB will expand its industrial automation offering by integrating B&R’s innovative products in PLC, Industrial PCs and servo motion as well as its software and solution suite. ABB will offer its customers a uniquely comprehensive, open-architecture automation portfolio.

B&R has grown successfully with a revenue CAGR of 11 % over the last two decades. Revenues more than quintupled since 2000 to more than $600 million (2015/16). The company has a rapidly growing global customer base of more than 4,000 machine manufacturers, a proven track record in automation software and solutions and unrivaled application expertise for customers in the machine and factory automation market segment.

Both companies have complementary portfolios: ABB as a leading provider of solutions serving customers in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure; B&R as a leading solution provider in the automation of machines and factories for industries such as plastics, packaging, food and beverage. The joint commitment to open architecture increases customer choice and flexibility facilitating connectivity in increasingly digitalized industries.

Substantial investments in innovation
Innovation is at the heart of both companies. B&R invests more than 10 percent of its sales in R&D and employs more than 1,000 people in R&D and application engineering. ABB spends $1.5 billion 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 digitalization. ABB’s industry-leading digital offering, ABB Ability, will now capitalize on the large installed base, application and solution know-how, simulation software expertise and advanced engineering tools of B&R.

Proven integration approach
On closing of 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 billion.

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 center for machine and factory automation.

@ABBgroupnews #PAuto #Industry4
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ABB Process instrumentation, analytical technology and gas detection in Ireland

19/01/2015

Hanley Measurement & Control has built a reputation for the supply of specialist solutions and expertise in process instrumentation, process analytical technology and gas detection. Founded in 1981 it has long been considered as a leading automation in Ireland. The company has recently been appointed as channel partner in Ireland by ABB, to expand its instrument and analyser offering into the Irish process market

Left to Right: Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll & Eoin O’Neill of Hanley Measurement & Control together with Aidan Edwards of ABB stand next to a representation of a 3 meter magnetic flowmeter (the largest every supplied!) during a recent visit to the ABB flow meter manufacturing facility in Stonehouse, GB.

Left to Right: Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll & Eoin O’Neill of Hanley Measurement & Control together with Aidan Edwards of ABB stand next to a representation of a 2.4 meter magnetic flowmeter (the largest every supplied!) during a recent visit to the ABB flow meter manufacturing facility in Stonehouse, GB.

The partnership will see the company acting as the official sales agent for ABB’s complete portfolio of instrumentation and analyser products for applications in the pharmaceutical, chemical, food and beverage and other related industries.

Chris Kennedy, Managing Director of Hanley Measurement & Control commented that “partnering with ABB enables the company to provide its customers with an enhance product range specifically in relation to flow measurement and analytical solutions.”

Commenting on the partnership, Tim Door, General Manager for ABB’s Measurement and Analytics business in the Britain and Ireland says: “The partnership with Hanley Measurement and Control marks a positive move forward that underlines our intent to grow our presence in the Irish process market. The company is a great fit for our growing range of measurement and control products for improving process performance and efficiency.”

“Utilising a well-known and respected partner such as Hanley Measurement & Control will allow our customers in Ireland to get full access to support and service going forward into 2015 and beyond.”

• Following the completion of a management buyout Hanley Measurement & Control is no longer part of the Hanley group of companies. Hanley Measurement & Control is now a subsidiary of Eolas Scientific which also has an operating company in the UK called Eolas Technology. The management team of Chris Kennedy, Gavin O’Driscoll and Eoin O’Neill are committed to ensuring our customers receive exceptional service and a world class range of products.

#WiFi for La Serenissima! ABB connects Venice!

21/10/2013
High-performance wireless broadband solution provides free Internet access in one of the world’s most iconic cities

The high-performance wireless broadband network for the city of Venice (I) has been commissioned by ABB . The network provides free Internet access for residents and businesses and (for a small fee) the 22 million tourists who visit the city every year. The contract was awarded by the Municipality of Venice.

Canalside scene in Venice

Canalside scene in Venice

The Wi-Fi solution comprises a network of fixed and mobile nodes that can handle more than 200 gigabytes of data and 40,000 subscribers a day. It is equipped with 200 wireless mesh routers, that have been supplied by Tropos Networks, a company acquired by ABB in 2011, which now forms a part of ABB’s comprehensive communications offering. The routers are deployed in discrete enclosures that blend aesthetically with the city’s historical architecture.

Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its majestic buildings and narrow winding streets. Built on a group of 118 small islands, the city is separated by canals and linked together by bridges. Venice enjoys an unrivalled reputation as a romantic and beautiful city, which also makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

“Our solution provides reliable high-capacity Wi-Fi access and seamless Internet roaming in the challenging topography of this historic and beautiful city,” said Brice Koch, head of ABB’s Power Systems division . “The technology offers fast and easy deployment and blends well with the environment.”

Among the features that differentiate the solution is its ability to switch automatically between two frequencies (2.4 and 5 gigahertz). This ensures maximum signal strength and continuous connectivity, even in narrow and winding alleys where there is no line of sight. The onboard routers that provide reliable and seamless roaming for users on water buses that traffic the Grand Canal and other waterways of the city are another distinguishing feature. As Venice residents typically travel 30 minutes a day by boat, the ability to access the network is a welcome convenience. Scalability and ease of installation are other benefits offered by the solution.

The Venice Wi-Fi project is part of the ‘Free ItaliaWifi’ initiative, started by Rome, Venice and the island of Sardinia. Its objective is to create a national network of free wireless broadband networks. The initiative currently embraces 41 networks, 2,130 Wi-Fi hotspots and 427,000 members in Italy.


ABB & Zenith join forces for life sciences in China & India

28/09/2012
Combined expertise to help customers in China and India meet new industry regulations

ABB and system integrator Zenith Technologies have announced that they will work together to develop and implement automation solutions that will help life science customers in China and India meet new regulatory and product safety requirements.

Headquartered in Cork (IRL), Zenith Technologies is a leading Global Automation and MES Engineering company which focuses exclusively on the life science industry.

ABB will collaborate with Zenith to implement solutions based on ABB’s market leading System 800xA and Freelance automation systems, for the growing life sciences industry in China and India. ABB and Zenith will also deliver solutions that use ABB’s PAT (Process Analytical Technology) and MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) technology. Increasing governmental regulations, and new requirements that mandate compliance with Food & Drug Administration (FDA) standards and other food safety regulations have made it imperative for life sciences companies in China and India to be able to accurately track products at all points in the manufacturing process to ensure high quality and safety.

“ABB’s field-proven automation solutions, combined with Zenith’s expertise in implementing systems designed to meet these validation requirements, will help our mutual customers in this region improve their overall process and product quality, and meet current and future regulations,” said Tobias Becker, head of ABB Control Technologies. “Our collective knowledge can help our customers better understand how these requirements impact their manufacturing process and what steps are needed to comply with them.


#EFMExpo – an industrial event in Cork

30/09/2011

Instrument Technology exhibit at EFM Exhibition in Cork

It is quite a number of years since the capital of Munster hosted an industrial exhibition so it was a great pleasure to reaquaint ourselves with many old and indeed new friends at the ENFMExpo held in the Silver Springs complex on the 27th and 28th of September.

The Exhibitors!
ABB Limited
ACE Control Systems
ADA Security Systems
ADI Ireland Ltd
Alpha Sign Nameplate & Decal
Alternative Heating & Cooling Ltd
Apex Fire Ltd

Bord Gáis Networks
Business Safety
Butler Transtest

Camfil Irl Ltd
Clarke Energy Ireland

Clasit Beecher
Complete Alternative Energy
Cooper Industries
Cross Hire
CSC LTD Chemical Systems
Cylon Active Energy

Dalkia

Edina Ltd
EFT Control Systems
EMC Energy
Eurotech Calibration Services Ltd

Finning (Ireland) Ltd
Firebird Boilers
Focus Hygiene Supplies Limited
Frontline Energy & Environmental

GARO Electric Irl
Gem Utilities
General Electronic Access Ltd
GSH Group Ireland

Honeywell
HSG Zander Ireland Ltd

In’Flector Ireland Ltd
Instrument Technology – ABB
Irish Cooling Towers
Irish Industrial Coatings
Irish Power & Process Ltd

Kellihers Electrical

Manotherm
MARK EIRE B.V.
Moloney & Associates

Newbridge Metal Products Ltd

O Neill Industrial Ltd

Phoenix Contact (Irl) Ltd
powerPerfector Ireland Ltd
Premium Power
PurchaseControl.com

Radio & Security Products Ltd
Rittal Ltd
RPS Group

Sartorius Mechatronics Ireland Ltd
Sartorius Stedim Ireland
Screenguard Ltd
Shred-it
Sirus Engineering Systems

TEMP TECHNOLOGY/ENER.G
Traka KMS Ltd

Watersave

The event promised the  latest developments in Energy Management, Facilities Management along with Safety Health & Security. It was an opportunity too to meet industry experts at the concurrent seminars discussing the latest ideas, technology and services capable of helping plants to increase efficiency.

Over 60 companies exhibited and some of these provided speakers for the almost 20 different seminar talks given throughout the period of the show.

Of course our principal interest was the area of automation and there were a number of instrument companies and system providers among these. We provide a short impression of some of these here.

Manotherm is a company which hardly needs an introduction in Ireland. They have, since time immemorial it seems, been supplying Irish industry with control and instrumentation products, the basics of all process, manufacturing and construction industry automation requirements. They have been called the Instrumentation Supermarket and many times they have come to the rescue in solving a knotty problem with an instrument, sensor or valve, from their extensive stock.

John Watts

JS Watts of Schubert & Salzer

One of their principals, Schubert & Salzer gave one of the seminars on control valves in reducing energy consumption, handling and maintenace costs. John Watts discussed their GS 3 valve – a handy light and highly accurate valve based on principles discussed many centuries by Leonardo da Vinci. Known as a sliding gate valve, the GS3 seat design features a non turbulent, straight through flow path.  The flow is broken apart into multiple streams creating a reduced field of energy.  The result is greater service life, quieter operation and a control valve that performs at the highest levels possible within extreme conditions.

Instrument Technology, who are now  associates for marketing the line of ABB process instruments, had a large selection of flow, pressure and temperature instruments from this range. They marketed the Fisher & Porter range for many years and after the takeover of F&P by ABB their association with the larger entity is a logical development.

A new company to us was Eurotech Calibration Services (ECSL) where Kevin Davis showed the New Zealand based Temprecord range of temperature mapping and monitoring instrumentation. Aplications included the transportaion of blood for transfusions a truly critical application. This company provides calibration to the pharma, medical device, food and beverage industries as well as to other sectors.

Representing the Yokogawa interest, Irish Power & Process  displayed field instrumentation and calibration equipment. These cover, data acquisition, analytical, pressure, flow, wired and wireless – using ISA 100 standard. This company also represents Fluke test and measurement equipment and Camille Bauer.

Phoenix Contact are leading edge manufacturers of industrial control and automation solutions. They have an enviable reputation in the energy industry as suppliers of terminal blocks, DC UPS and Power Supplies surge protection devices, HMIs, IPCs and Wireless communications.

The very active Ireland Section of the International Society of Automation (ISA) also had a stand under the watchful eye of Douglas Control & Automation’s Declan Lordan.

The event was organised by SDL Exhibitions with their usual flair an  professionalism and hopefully this successful show will see a return of industrial events as the ecnomic situation improves in the years to come.

The busy Manotherm Stand at EFM


Resurrection at conference says Nick Denbow

17/05/2011

An about turn as ABB resurrects Symphony, after seven years telling customers to move to 800xA

by Nick Denbow in Industrial Automation Insider May 2011.

A news release from ABB coinciding with their Automation and Power World conference in Orlando last month announced the launch of the ‘ABB Symphony Plus distributed control system’, to be sold by the ABB power generation business. Symphony Plus is described as the latest generation of ABB’s highly successful Symphony family of control systems: these originated from original Elsag Bailey designs, and were superceeded by the 800xA in 2004.

However, the head of the power business, Franz-Joseph Mengede, comments that “With the launch of Symphony Plus, we take the Symphony success story to the next level, ushering in a new era of total plant automation that is simple, scalable, seamless and secure.”  The press release advises that “With more than 6,000 systems installed worldwide, over the past 30 years, Symphony has represented one of the largest installed bases of distributed control systems (DCS) in the world, with many of them operating in the power generation and water sectors.” Key customer benefits are quoted to include improved plant productivity and energy efficiency, as well as enhanced operational security, plant safety, and a lower total cost of ownership” – presumably compared to the Industrial IT System 800xA control system.

The 800xA migration plan

CEO ABB Ltd

Joe Hogan - The integration of Elsag Bailey and its Symphony products into ABB was not handled well.

The 800xA is currently sold by ABB Instrumentation and Automation, and was launched early in 2004 (INSIDER, February 2004 Page 1). Then, System 800xA was quoted to be designed to allow for implementation with the entire family of ABB control and I/O products, including Symphony and Symphony Harmony, which had emerged from the acquired Elsag Bailey Infi90 system. It was then stated that these systems would have a migration plan, moving customers to the new 800xA by 2010.

The interesting aspect now is that Joe Hogan, ABB Group ceo, conceded that the integration of Elsag Bailey and its Symphony products into ABB was not handled well. Hogan admitted to being stunned by what ABB did to the Elsag-Bailey Harmony and Melody platforms “because we thought we’d have a universal process automation platform that would take care of everything.”

So, said Hogan, ABB came to realize it needed to rescue the Symphony product line and bring it back as an integral piece of the ABB offering. “Now, we’re not looking for another platform. We have enough, and we can apply it to certain markets, and we can optimise what we have. I’m not a ‘grand unification’ theorist about process automation platforms. Nothing can do everything.”

The future for Symphony
Current management has decided that it is time to reinvigorate Symphony, and the first action is to move the team of development people, that presumably still exists as a discrete Elsag-Bailey group within ABB, even after seven years of working to migrate over to 800xA, from process automation to the power group. Then ABB is going to invest in further development of the platform.

The problem for Symphony Plus is that the installed base has been a happy hunting ground for all the normal control system competitors to provide their own products, with well thought out migration strategies and integration offerings for Symphony users, presented for the last seven years. One of the main beneficiaries in this is said to have been the DeltaV automation systems from Emerson.

Emerson may have shown ABB how to handle an acquired specific industry product, in the way that the Ovation power and water targeted control system obtained from Westinghouse has been developed and maintained separately and in parallel with the DeltaV digital automation systems, from the outset.

Converging automation and power

Peter Terwiesch

Also at Automation and Power World, Peter Terwiesch, ABB chief technology officer, repeated the ABB mantra at the press briefing, that “The convergence of automation and power creates more value than each separately. For industry we create energy efficiency and productivity; for utilities, we make a stronger and smarter grid.”  With the Symphony products moving from Automation to Power Divisions, and with the comment that  “We are going to revive and enhance our Symphony system offering so we can produce an integrated and more robust smart grid from producer to consumer”, it would seem that there is a slight divergence developing between some aspects of automation and power at the same time. Maybe this started last year with Freelance, the latest version of the Hartmann & Braun small to medium scale DCS (INSIDER, June 2010 page 11).

So, with Freelance and Symphony now re-emerging from under the 800xA banner, what is the future for some of the other acquired control systems, such as SattLine for the pharmaceutical industry, the Compact 800, a smaller version of 800xA with up to 1000 tags, and the Advant OCS, which was planned to be absorbed into 800xA, but is reported as still being sold?

Humility was the theme
There was much more at Automation and Power World, but the tone was perhaps set by the frequent references to the Baldor acquisition, where Hogan said one key was humbleness. In other words, ABB didn’t come in and tell everyone to change the way they did business, wipe out management and subsume the company’s image. ABB will maintain the brands, and not smother them. Greg Livelli, marketing vp for ABB’s Instrumentation Business Unit, perhaps followed this line in mentioning the many legendary brands contained within his product lines: like Fischer & Porter, Bailey, Taylor, Hartmann & Braun, etc.

This article appears in the May 2011 issue of Industrial Automation Insider by kind permission.

• See also: ABB resurrects Bailey DCS – CEO Joe Hogan admits mistake (Jim Pinto – 20 May 2011)


Automation and power highlighted at conference

29/04/2011

Record attendance at ABB conference

Automation & Power World 2011 was held in Orlando,(FL US) in April. This is now an annual event showcasing the products and expertise of the huge multinational group ABB.

ABB Automation & Power World
18-21 April 2011, Orlando, (FL US)

APWorld YouTube and
ABB’s own Blog from the Event: Automation & Power World. Also the ABB YouTube site which includes video snippits from the event!

Show News – produced by Contr0lGlobal
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3Gary Mintchell’s Feed Forward!:
ABB A Technology Company Converging Power and Automation (19 Apl)
Part II (21 Apl)
Further reports from Automation World on #APWorld

Bill Lydon, InTech & Automation.com:
From the Field (May’11)

Nick Denbow, IAI: Resurrection at ABB Conference (May’11)

Though we were not there we were able to follow proceedings somewhat thanks to tweets from the organisers and attendees. We are particularly grateful for the independent contributions from Control’s Walt Boyes and Automation World’s Gary Mintchel and we have included links to their blogs in the box on the right.

Numbers exceeded projected event attendance expectations according to the organisers. The conference attracted a record number of participants for any ABB event, totaling more than 4,200 attendees.

ABB Automation & Power World, #APworld for those on twitter, is a three-day, comprehensive users conference and exhibition that showcases the group’s extensive automation and power offerings and expertise under one roof, “the widest range of technologies from one company at any one conference.”  The 2011 event included more than over 500 hours of workshops, customer case histories, partner presentations, and hands-on training sessions, as well as the massive exhibit hall and unique demonstration areas. Although primarily a North American affair with the increased use of social media platforms more and more people outside of that geographic area are taking an interest in proceedings at this now annual event. We reported last years event also, Power, Energy and er Automation? and there the question among the automation people there was Where is the automation? This question appears not to have been raised this time!

“We are honoured with the continued record breaking attendance of this event, and for the opportunity to host this valuable learning forum for our customers,” said Enrique Santacana, Region Manager for ABB North America and Event Chairman. “The energy, enthusiasm and optimism found throughout the entire conference this year is indicative of improving economic conditions in the industries we serve. We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers and partners on how they will benefit going forward from attending this event.”

ABB designed its largest customer event for automation, robotics, industrial power and utility power users in engineering, operations, mill, plant, general management, and executive management in a wide variety of industries. Organised workshops, as well as information networking with their experts, industry experts and end user peers helped attendees share best practices, as well as learn how to reduce costs while improving their productivity and efficiency, be more competitive in today’s challenging economic environment, and build the foundation for future growth and prosperity.

The continued convergence of key market issues, such as the need to improve energy efficiency, optimize all aspects of manufacturing productivity and use of raw materials, and critical issues such as cybersecurity and process safety, have exponentially increased interest for automation and power customers.. ABB’s unique scope of supply and resident expertise addresses the entire spectrum of the energy efficiency and industrial productivity issues, from power generation and distribution to use in production and automation, as well as process reliability, efficiency and safety, and provides customers with the competitive edge they need to succeed today and in the future.

The dates and venue for ABB Automation & Power World 2012 was announced at the conclusion. The event will return to the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas, on April 23-26, 2012.