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ABB’s move to a more sophisticated technology offering has been continued with its recent acquisition of Austrian company B&R (Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik). The company, a leader in Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Industrial PCs (IPC) and servo motion-based machine and factory automation, will become part of ABB’s Industrial Automation division as a new global business unit: Machine & Factory Automation.

ABB Ulrich SpiesshoferAccording to ABB, the combination of the two companies “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, digitalisation and electrification”.

With the acquisition, ABB will expand its industrial automation offering by integrating B&R's products in PLC, Industrial PCs and servo motion as well as its software and solution suite. In addition, ABB will be combining its 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, digitalisation and electrification,” says ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer.

Founded in 1979, B&R employs more than 3 000 people across 70 countries. The company will continue to be headed up by current Managing Director Hans Wimmer as a division of ABB, and both companies have stressed their intention to retain B&R's management and employees. The co-founders of B&R, Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, will act as advisors during the integration phase to ensure continuity, according to a statement.

“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,” they said. The companies have also said that they will continue to invest considerably in R&D going forward.

 

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