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Omron and Yaskawa end their drives joint venture

05 October, 2009

UPDATED: After months of speculation and rumour, Omron and Yaskawa Electric have announced that they are ending their European drives joint venture, Omron Yaskawa Motion Control, which they established in 2003. In a terse statement issued earlier this month, the companies reveal that they are replacing the JV with a "mid-term European partnership agreement", which came into effect on 5 October.

The two companies say that the move is intended to increase their market shares, with Yaskawa strengthening its direct sales activities with key accounts, while Omron will focus on the industrial automation sector.

Both companies plan to extend their co-operation with other parties to improve their market coverage and to focus better on their respective target markets in Europe.

The main reason for establishing the joint venture, according to the statement, was “to develop and gain a relevant position in the European motion and drives market, offering the best service in terms of field application support, product development, new technology introduction and logistics”.

Omron and Yaskakwa say that after six years of “successful business co-operation” through the JV, both companies have built strong positions in the motion and drives market. Their goal therefore has been “fully achieved”. In 2007, sales through the joint venture were worth €164m.

The two companies are guaranteeing the continued availability of products, service and support for their customers.

The Netherlands-based JV, in which Omron had a 60% stake, brought together Yaskawa`s expertise in motion engineering with Omron`s sales network. It covered inverters, servo drives and motion controllers made by Yaskawa, and Omron`s motion-related products, such as motion modules for PLCs. Some products carried dual branding, while others used to Omron name. Yaskawa continued to deal directly with its key OEM accounts.

The venture grew out of an earlier relationship under which Omron sold badged Yaskawa inverters and servo products for about a decade.

In 2007, when the two companies announced their V1000 general-purpose compact drive (above), Yaskawa claimed to have 11% of the European market for general-purpose drives from 0.1–300kW, and a market-leading 13.4% share of the global market.

It is believed that, in future, Omron will sell badged inverters made by Hitachi and and servo drives from Panasonic in Europe. Full details are expected to be released in November at the SPS/IPC/Drives show in Germany.

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