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Schneider buys IMS to claim integrated motor lead

11 January, 2008

Schneider Electric is buying the US integrated motor specialist Intelligent Motion Systems (IMS) for an undisclosed sum. Schneider says that the acquisition will make it the leader in the fast-growing integrated motor and drive market, while strengthening its presence in the general motion market.

The deal will also boost Schneiderís customer support in the US and allow it to respond quickly and efficiently to US market requirements. "With this acquisition we will expand our product offering for OEM customers in the US, while providing increased technical support in motion applications," explains Michel Crochon, executive vice-president of Schneiderís automation business.

IMS Mdrive plus

The previously privately owned IMS, which was founded in 1986, generated revenues worth around $20m last year. It develops and manufactures integrated brushless motors and drive electronics, targeting applications such as assembly, packaging, robotics, pick-and-place and medical equipment. By combining advanced custom chips, surface-mounting and hybrid technologies, it has been able to develop compact, high-performance motors and drives. A recent example is the MDrive 34 Plus (shown above) which incorporates an encoder, controller and digital oscillator to provide all-in-one speed control. 

In addition to the US, IMS has operations in Singapore and France and a UK subsidiary, based in Fareham, Hampshire, which it set up in 2006 with Mark Checkley, formerly of Portescap and Oriental Motor, as sales manager.

"Teaming up with Schneider Electric will give us faster access to the global market and allow us to expand and secure our growth internationally," says David Coutu, IMSí founder and chief executive, who will stay with IMS and will lead the future expansion of the business together with Schneiderís motion team.

IMS will join Schneiderís motion control business, which includes Berger Lahr. In the US, it will form part of Schneiderís Motion Competency Center, created in 2005 to support customers during all phases of motion application development.

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