25 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

ABB-B&R merger is ‘a fantastic platform for growth’

At the recent Hannover Fair, the Austrian firm B&R Automation announced plans to expand its operations, including an expansion to accommodate new production lines for its mechatronic products, and a new surface-mount line which will boost its PCB production capacity by 20%. The company also plans to add 50 jobs at its r&d offices in Salzburg to work on communications, robotics and controls.

Managing director Hans Wimmer described his company’s recently announced acquisition by ABB as a “unique opportunity” which will deliver “a fantastic platform for the next chapter in our long history of growth”.

Wimmer stressed that B&R “will remain an autonomous company that makes its own decisions”. Its management structure and points of contact with customers will remain the same.                                                                                                                               

Although there is not much overlap between the businesses, Wimmer told Drives & Controls that some issues will have to be resolved after the deal closes, probably in July. These include B&R’s relationships with Schneider Electric, for whom it manufactures certain equipment, and with the Italian robot-maker Comau, to whom it supplies with controllers.

B&R and ABB both have process control offerings, but Wimmer points out that ABB focuses its activities on large-scale applications. “It remains to be seen how the two solutions may tie in together,” he says. However, with both companies’ products already doing well in their chosen sectors, “this is not a top priority”.