24 Jul 2024

AUTOMATION FOR MANUFACTURING

Hitachi buys MA micro automation to boost SI business

MA micro automation’s modular Centauri IVD machine is used to injection-mould pipette tips

Hitachi is buying the German robotic and automation technology specialist, MA micro automation, for €71.5m and plans to combine it with its US-headquartered systems integrator JR Automation Technologies (which it bought in 2019) to accelerate the expansion of its automation activities.

MA, which was originally Siemens’ specialist machine-building business before it was acquired by Rohwedder in 2003, had a turnover in 2023 of €46.5m, and employs around 200 people. In 2013, MA became part of the Max Automation group, which has now sold the business to Hiitachi.

MA has an expertise in high-speed linear handling systems, precision assembly lines and high-speed vision inspection technologies, and has operations in Europe, North America and South-East Asia. It focuses on automating medical technology applications such as machinery for producing contact lenses and injection moulding machines for medical uses.

The acquisition will allow JR Automation to expand its geographical footprint and its presence in the medical market. JR currently employs more than 2,000 people at more than 20 manufacturing sites in North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia, covering a combined space of almost 2 million square feet (185,806m2).

“This partnership will further enhance our ability to deliver added value and support to all of our customers worldwide and continue to grow our capabilities in the medical market,” says JR’s CEO, Dave DeGraaf.

The acquisition enhances Hitachi’s ability to connect manufacturers’ factory floors digitally with their front offices. The aim is to link organisations’ operational activities such as engineering, supply chain, and purchasing to the plant floor, and to allow real-time, data-driven decision-making.

MA micro automation’s CEO, Joachim Hardt, describes the Hitachi acquisition as “opening a new chapter” for his company. “Our partnership with Hitachi will not only strengthen our global competitive position, but we will also benefit from joint technological synergies and a global market presence.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2024.

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