ABB buys B&R to boost industrial automation and the IoT

April 04, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
ABB buys B&R to boost industrial automation and the IoT
Swedish engineering firm ABB has bought a major Austrian supplier of industrial automation and robotics equipment in a bid to catch up with rival Siemens.

Bernecker + Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R) is the leading supplier of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC), Industrial PCs (IPC) and servo motion-based machine and factory automation, and the B&R headquarters in Eggelsberg, Austria, will become the ABB global centre of excellence for machine and factory automation and the indistrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This will be added to ABB’s digital offering, ABB Ability. 

The size of the cash deal was not disclosed, but B&R has annual sales of  over $600 million in the $20 billion machine and factory automation market segment, and ABB aims to grow the business to over $1bn 'in the medium term'.

"B&R is a gem in the world of machine and factory automation and this combination is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. "This transaction marks a true milestone for ABB, as B&R will close the historic gap within ABB’s automation offering. This is a 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, digitalization and electrification. With our unique digital offering and our installed base of more than 70 million connected devices, 70,000 control systems and now more than 3 million automated machines and 27,000 factory installations around the world, we enable our combined global customer base to seize the huge opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

This will help ABB take on Siemens, the market leader in industrial automation, he said.  

B&R was founded in 1979 by Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer and employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 R&D and application engineers. “This combination offers fantastic opportunities for B&R, 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,” said Rainer.


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