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Rockwell buys safety business from Swiss firm Cedes

29 February, 2008

Rockwell Automation has boosted its presence in the machine safety market by buying the Safety and Automation business of the Swiss manufacturer, Cedes, for an undisclosed sum. Cedes makes safety light curtains, other safety and non-safety optoelectronic products, controllers and accessories.

The acquired business has its headquarters in Landquart, Switzerland, with sales offices across Europe. The deal includes its products, technology, development engineering, marketing, and sales and distribution activities, serving the industrial safety and automation markets.

"As the global leader in the process and machine safety market, Rockwell Automationís acquisition of Cedesí Safety and Automation business will enhance a strategic segment within our product portfolio," says Rockwell senior vice-president, Steve Eisenbrown. "Optoelectronic safety sensors, which include light curtains, are one of the largest product segments of the machine safety market."

Cedes was founded as a one-man operation in 1986 and has grown by an average of 30% a year since then. It now has almost 400 employees and produces 120,000 light curtains and 365,000 sensors a year. Around 85% of its production is exported from Switzerland.

Cedes light curtain

Cedesí Safety and Automation operation represents about 23% of the companyís business. The bulk of its income (68%) comes from sensors for lift applications, with the final 9% coming from its Doors and Gates division. Cedes is keeping these two operations and will continue to produce its safety and automation products for Rockwell. The acquired business will join Rockwellís Architecture and Software division.

"Cedes has grown so successfully because we have always been innovative, looked to the future, and were able to deliver what the customer wanted," says the companyís founder and chairman, Beat De Coi. "We realised that the best way to expand sales of our excellent safety and automation products was to combine our capabilities with Rockwell Automationís global strength.

"For 20 years, we have specialised in developing innovative optical sensor technologies for a wide range of applications, including the industrial safety and automation markets," De Coi adds. "Combining these capabilities with Rockwell Automationís global leadership in industrial automation control and information systems will enable more manufacturers around the world to help protect their workers from machinery and equipment accidents."

Rockwell expects the transaction to be completed early in the second quarter of this year. After the acquisition is complete, customers will still be able to buy Cedes products through its current distribution network. As the products become available under the Allen-Bradley brand, customers will also be able to buy them through Rockwellís network.

Cedes recently announced plans to extend its headquarters and increase its workforce. These plans will proceed because the company says its needs the extra space and manpower to expand its two remaining businesses.

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