Industry news

ABB acquires Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik



ABB has further stamped its authority and leadership in the automation industry with the acquisition of Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik, an organisation that excels in factory automation solutions. Bernecker & Rainer has had an incredibly proud history since being founded in 1979 with the employment of over 3,000 people in its time and of those, approximately 1,000 are research and development (R&D) and application engineers  – all based in Eggelsberg, Austria.

ABB is taking over an industry juggernaut as Bernecker & Rainer acquired over $600 million in sales spanning across 70 countries over the past two years; an extraordinary amount considering the market segment as a whole reaches $20 billion in production sales. Not only this, but the expansion will allow for even more elaborate products and software solutions for consumers in the industry coupled with ABB’s unparalleled process automation. ABB chief executive Ulrich Spiesshofer described the acquisition as an “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” making the possibility of future market expansion inevitable.

“Bernecker & Rainer is a gem in the world of machine and factory automation and this combination is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This transaction marks a true milestone for ABB, as Bernecker & Rainer will close the historic gap within ABB’s automation offering. This is the perfect fit and will make us the only industrial automation provider offering customers the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalisation and electrification,” Ulrich exclaimed.

The ABB CEO further spoke about how the combination is perfectly in-line with the company’s Next Level strategy to take advantage of the opportunities the Fourth Industrial Revolution has to offer the automation market. ABB’s digital offering boasts 70 million connected devices and 3 million automated machines which puts it in the perfect position to increase its level of product innovation.

Bernecker & Rainer co-founder Josef Rainer also heaped praised on the fact that its customers and employees will reap extensive benefits from the deal.

“This combination offers fantastic opportunities for Bernecker & Rainer, its customers and employees. We are convinced that ABB offers the best platform for the next chapter of our growth story. ABB’s global presence, digital offering and complementary portfolio will be key for us to further accelerate our pace of innovation and growth,” Josef stated.

The acquisition includes a plethora of complementary strengths that include the implementation of Bernecker & Rainer’s PLC and Industrial PC products while ABB provide an automation offering that will give its customers a personal assortment of software solutions. Each organisation has an impressive portfolio with Bernecker & Rainer excelling in providing solutions for the plastics, packaging and food and beverage industry, while ABB devises solutions for customer utilities and transport and infrastructure.

As innovation is vital in the automation market, it’s no surprise that each company invests not only a substantial amount of money into their progress and ideas, but also time and brainpower. Bernecker & Rainer’s expenditure towards R&D reaches an extraordinary $1.5 billion on average per year and employs upwards of 30,000 specialists and this trend doesn’t look to be changing moving forward.

A “best-of-both worlds” mentality by both parties is adhered to as the repertoire that Bernecker & Rainer implemented over time will now be integrated into ABB’s Industrial Automation division as an entirely new business unit – Machine & Factory Automation – which will be lead and directed by ABB’s managing director, Hans Wimmer, to ensure a seamless process.

Austria will now be host to the biggest industrial automation company and considering ABB has operated for more than 100 years within Austria, more efforts to build on R&D production will allow the industrial platform to prosper and catapult the country into a position of power within the growing market.

About Simeon Barut

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