CUI sells off electromechanical components business

October 04, 2019 //By Nick Flaherty
Jeff Schnabel of CUI Devices.
CUI has sold off its Electromechanical Component business to a group of senior managers and founders for $15m. Nick Flaherty talks to Jeff Schnabel of CUI Devices.

CUI Devices includes all the connector, sensor and thermal management products outside of power supplies.

“A group of the original founders had the opportunity to buy a portion of the business,” said Jeff Schnabel, president of CUI Devices. “As a public company there are distractions but now we are able to invest back in our own company,” he said. The product areas a turnover of around $30m, 36 percent of the overall business, with a staff of 40, mostly in Oregon. Funding for the deal comes from Harvest Capital. 

“Our strategy is to support our customers with as many solutions on the same board,” said Schnabel. “The thermal management business grew out of the power business as we found that over time what we were doing wasn’t even being paired with the power,” he said. “Peltier devices are quickly growing technology as the power supplies get more compact, combined with the heatsink and forced air."

R&D will stay focussed on the US site. “A lot of what we do is via partners where we design and they manufacture or we specify and then they design and build on our behalf,“ he added. Data centre connectors and cooling are "on the radar" but not an immediate target, he says. 

“We are expanding into the sensor space as well,” said Schnabel. “We have some differentiated IP in motion control and encoder with patents using capacitive sensing to measure the rotation – this allows us to take an analogue product to a digital product and rather than optical. It’s more robust so you don’t have to worry about particulates or oil in autonomous vehicles, robotics and medical. It also provides lower current consumption for battery powered devices in Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things.”

A key element of the deal is that all the manufacturing sites, business processes, bills of materials, model numbers and back-end software systems will remain intact.

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