Mergers, acquisitions, expansions and partnerships

Endress+Hauser expands with new building in Belgium

After expanding production and building a new plant in the U.S., along with opening new sales offices in Malaysia, France and Chile, the Endress+Hauser Group dedicated a new facility in Brussels, Belgium. Endress+Hauser invested approximately 6.6 million euros in the new building in Belgium’s capital. The four-story, 3,600-square-meter building features an exhibition zone and the 10,000-square-meter site offers room for future expansion.

ISA publishes fourth edition of “The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control”

The International Society of Automation (ISA) published the fourth edition release of “The Condensed Handbook of Measurement and Control” by Nabil (Bill) E. Battikha, P.E. The revised edition is designed to ease selection and implement measurement and control devices for process automation applications. The handbook has long been one of ISA’s most successful publications. Battikha has twice received ISA’s Raymond D. Molloy Award — once for the initial edition of the book and once for the third edition. The award is presented annually to the author whose book outsold all others in a given year.

Rockwell Automation invests in AI for industrial automation

Rockwell Automation invested in The Hive, a Silicon Valley innovation fund and cocreation studio, to gain access to an ecosystem of innovators and technology startups with a focus on applications of artificial intelligence (AI) to industrial automation. Rockwell Automation’s goals include cocreating to solve customer problems, accelerating innovation and identifying new emerging technologies that can help its manufacturing customers improve business performance by bridging the gaps between plant-floor and higher-level information systems. The Hive, based in Palo Alto, California, identifies new AI-based opportunities with great growth potential. The studio also cocreates, funds and launches startups with substantial operational and technology support, based on those opportunities with growth potential.

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Image courtesy of Versa Fittings Inc.

Brennan acquires Versa Fittings

Brennan Industries Inc., supplier of standard and special hydraulic fittings, acquired Versa Fittings Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of fittings and tubing in Canada. This acquisition resulted in a combined footprint of 11 distribution centers and two manufacturing centers across the U.S. and Canada. Product lines have been enlarged to 50,000 fittings and adapters and accessories from aerospace certified hydraulic connectors have been enlarged to brass pipe fittings.

AkzoNobel completes €4.8M expansion of surface chemistry plant in China

AkzoNobel completed the 4.8 million-euro expansion project at its surface chemistry facility in Boxing, China, significantly increasing the company’s regional product portfolio and reconfirming its commitment to the Asian market. Being able to supply higher value products means AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals is now in a stronger position to serve customers in numerous market sectors, including cleaning, agrochemical, personal care (such as cosmetics), mining, fuel and lubes, asphalt and the oil industry. Prior to the expansion, the site was mainly dedicated to producing fatty acids, nitriles, amines and quaternary ammonium compounds for chemical intermediaries and manufacturers in the fabric softeners market.

Rockwell Automation partners with UWM on $1.7M CSI

Rockwell Automation partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) by giving $1.7 million toward a new connected systems institute (CSI). The multidisciplinary CSI will focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), which uses sensors to gather data from equipment, machines, and manufactured products through secure data networks. The CSI will build on existing collaborations between UWM’s College of Engineering & Applied Science and its Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business, along with other academic units at UWM and other UW system universities. By providing undergraduate, graduate, professional, and executive education, research and programs, the institute will develop talent, expertise and solutions to lead companies to greater productivity through IIoT technologies and applications.

The CSI will house IoT simulation, emulation, test bed and test plant facilities, where participating companies may test end-to-end production solutions. UWM and Rockwell Automation have a long history of collaboration and Rockwell Automation’s gift to the CSI supports UWM’s comprehensive fundraising effort, named Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM. Focused on raising support for students, research, and community engagement, the campaign has a goal of $200 million, the largest in UWM’s history.

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Image courtesy of EcoCortec

EcoCortec expands with new facility

Due to continuous increase in demand, EcoCortec built a plant facility that was cofinanced by Croatian Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts within European Funds Programme. Launched eleven years ago, EcoCortec has become one of the leading producers of VpCI films in Europe. The plant provides one of the best corrosion protection solutions globally available, as part of Cortec Europe Group.

Metso acquires WEARX for mining services in Australia

Metso closed the acquisition of Australia-based wear lining solutions provider WEARX. The company’s sales in the fiscal year 2017 ended on June 30 and were AUD $35 million. WEARX is headquartered in Newcastle, Australia, with operations in Ballina, Orange and Perth, Australia.

“The acquisition is a good strategic fit for Metso, supporting our profitable growth strategy,” said Nico Delvaux, President and CEO of Metso. “Joining forces with WEARX gives us the opportunity to strengthen our position in the wear lining business and extends our offering for our Australian customers. We are very happy to welcome the WEARX team into Metso,” he said.

Endress+Hauser acquires Blue Ocean Nova

Endress+Hauser further expanded its portfolio of products, solutions and services in the field of process analytical measurement. The Group acquired Blue Ocean Nova AG, a manufacturer of innovative inline spectrometers for monitoring quality-relevant process parameters. The company’s 15 employees located in Aalen, Germany will be retained. Blue Ocean Nova will operate under the umbrella of Endress+Hauser’s center of competence for liquid analysis headquartered in Gerlingen, Germany. The process sensors developed by Blue Ocean Nova cover the relevant optical spectroscopy regions of UV-VIS, NIR and MIR to analyze liquids, gases and solids inline.

Appointments

Motion Industries appoints 2018 PTDA president FC news roundups 1117, movers and shakers

Motion Industries Inc., a distributor of maintenance, repair and operation replacement parts and a wholly owned subsidiary of Genuine Parts Company, appointed Jim Williams as the 2018 Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) president. Williams will assume his role in January 2018. Williams has been a PTDA volunteer since 2005 when he joined the motion control task force. A past chair of the Programs & Products Committee, he has served on the board of directors since 2015. Williams was formerly vice president of corporate purchasing and supplier relations with the company.

HI progresses with growth in new program areas

As the Hydraulic Institute (HI) continues to develop a portfolio supporting pump system efficiency, the company added two new staff members in their technical and marketing departments to support these growth areas. Edgar Suarez joined HI in June as manager of technical programs to oversee the newest technical programs including the HI Pump Test Approval Program, the HI Energy Rating Label and Pump System Assessment Professional certification program. Pamela Roccabruna joined HI in early August as director of marketing, communications and events. She brings 20 years of experience in building and implementing marketing plans across multiple media channels and customer segments.

PMMI appoints director of industry services

The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) appointed Bryan Griffen as director of industry services. With more than 20 years of industry experience, he will apply his packaging and processing industry expertise to industry services such as the OpX Leadership Network, OMAC, the Packaging Management Council and technical standards. Griffen earned his doctorate degree in industrial technology from Northern Iowa University after receiving his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University.

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Image courtesy of Kreuz

Kreuz Subsea appoints new CEO & COO FC news roundups 1117, movers and shakers, Kreuz news

International subsea solutions company Kreuz Subsea appointed AJ Jain as CEO and Balaji Bhashyam as chief operating officer (COO). Jain brings more than 25 years of executive industry experience to the role, having held several leadership positions in the oil and gas industry across the globe. His previous posts include managing director at Harkand Group where he was responsible for operations in North America and Africa. Bhashyam has been with Kreuz Subsea for the last two years as vice president, business development and corporate strategy. He previously worked in senior operational roles for Technip in Asia Pacific, Global Industries Ltd. and McDermott International.

AGSL expands to keep up with demand by appointing a new technical consultant

Asset Guardian Solutions Limited (AGSL), which specializes in protecting industrial and automation control system (IACS) software assets across a range of industries, appointed Blaire McLeod as a technical consultant. In her role, McLeod will be responsible for developing Asset Guardian software, which requires designing, writing code and testing it. She is also an integral member of the AGSL customer support team, which liaises with customers to create budget proposals, install software, and fix problems should they arise. McLeod brings to the role a solid background in database systems, networking and user experience. Originally from Dundee, Scotland, McLeod holds a Bachelor of Science honor degree in Applied Computing from University of Dundee. She is also a member of the British Computing Society.

Rockwell Automation appoints new senior VP

Chris Nardecchia joined Rockwell Automation as senior vice president, information technology and chief information officer (CIO). He will provide strategic vision, operational excellence and change leadership to develop and implement information technology initiatives and architecture throughout the company in this new role. Nardecchia brings extensive life sciences industry experience to Rockwell Automation. Most recently, he was vice president and CIO global operations and supply chain at Amgen Inc. Nardecchia also has experience in portfolio management, engineering, operations, mergers and acquisitions, IT risk management and using technology to develop business insights. Earlier in his career, he held process and production engineering roles in the pharmaceutical, chemical and nuclear industries. Nardecchia holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo and an MBA from Michigan State University.

Awards, milestones and achievements

ISA honors automation visionary Dick Morley with scholarship fund

The International Society of Automation (ISA) created a named scholarship fund in honor of Dick Morley, a longtime ISA supporter, founder of Modicon (now part of Schneider Electric) and the initial designer of the first programmable logic controller (PLC). Morley, 84, passed away on Oct. 17.

Morley was an engineer, inventor, entrepreneur, consultant and author who contributed significantly to a wide range of revolutionary, high-technology advancements more than four decades. An internationally recognized visionary and expert in computer design, artificial intelligence, automation and factories of the future, Morley held more than 20 U.S. and foreign patents.

The scholarship fund, named the Richard E. “Dick” Morley Innovation Scholarship, will be funded by ISA with a $50,000 endowment. ISA has also pledged to match the next $50,000 of donations. Learn more information about the scholarship fund and donating.

“Dick Morley wasn’t just the inventor of modern-day automation-he was also a mentor and a friend to many of our members and leaders around the world,” said ISA President Steve Pflantz. “He was a one-of-a-kind person, someone you could never forget. His humor and wit, along with his incredibly creative way of looking at life, made him a force for good in our industry, our society, and the world. He will be missed.”

AGC Chemicals achieves milestone with 100th anniversary

AGC Chemicals Americas Inc. celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. Although the present company formed in 2004 through the merging of sister companies Asahi Glass Fluoropolymers USA and AGA Chemicals, Asahi Glass began in 1917 to produce soda ash, a raw material in flat glass that became difficult to import from England during World War I. AGC Chemicals expanded its research, development and production to include chlor-alkali and urethane, gas and solvents, fluorochemical and life sciences products through the years. AGC’s fluorochemicals are used to make products that can resist harsh chemicals, extreme heat and severe weather conditions.

“This is an exciting time for AGC Chemicals in terms of developing new products and applications to meet our customers’ needs, while continuing to be a steward of the environment,” said Hiroo Mori, president of AGC Chemicals Americas. “Demand continues to grow for environmentally friendly chemicals that enhance the performance of products used in applications like architecture, automotive, aerospace, electronics, paper, textiles and other consumer materials.”

MRS Bulletin names Inaugural Postdoctoral Publication Prize recipient

The Cambridge University Press and Materials Research Society, known jointly as MRS Bulletin, named Andy Tay Kah Ping as the inaugural recipient of the MRS Bulletin Postdoctoral Publication Prize. This award recognizes postdoctoral researchers for their intellectual merit, the impact of their research and scholarship, and their interest in science writing and communication.

Tay Kah Ping is a postdoctoral researcher in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University. His research focuses on nanostraw technologies — a new generation of microelectrodes for neural recording and nanoprobes for profiling of induced pluripotent stem cells. He has published more than 20 academic papers (16 as first author), and has given more than 20 talks/poster presentations at international conferences.

The award will be presented at the 2017 MRS Fall Meeting and consists of a $2000 cash award, a profile published in MRS Bulletin, a complimentary one-year membership in the Materials Research Society, and an invitation to publish in MRS Bulletin. MRS Bulletin also acknowledges the Jiang Family Foundation for its generous contribution to support this Prize.

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Image courtesy of Conval

Conval reaches 50th anniversary milestone

Conval, manufacturer of Clampseal and Camseal high-performance, severe service forged valves, celebrated its 50th anniversary on Nov. 7, a milestone accomplished by a tiny percentage of all U.S. businesses. The second-generation, family-owned business was founded by Chester “Chet” Siver in 1967. Over the years, the original 3,000 square foot facility on Field Road has been expanded several times, along with two adjacent buildings that have been constructed, for a combined 50,000 square feet. The company anticipates moving into the 72,000-square foot facility in the spring of 2018.

Through an extensive network of sales and service representatives around the world, Conval serves end customers in the power generation, energy production, chemical, fertilizer, pulp and paper industries as well as architectural and engineering firms, OEM boiler and turbine manufacturers, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. To consolidate its operations under one roof and meet future demand, Conval purchased the former Quad Graphics building at 96 Phoenix Avenue in Enfield and is in the process of renovating the facility to meet its needs. The company anticipates moving into the 72,000-square foot facility in the spring of 2018.

SUEZ holds groundbreaking to enhance innovation for oil & gas industry

SUEZ broke ground on a new laboratory in Tomball, Texas, north of Houston, that is expected to open mid-2018. In addition to continuing the research and development of specialty chemicals for the industrial segment, the new facility will expand to include further process innovation in the oil and gas industry, focusing on global upstream and downstream applications.

The laboratory facilities increase SUEZ’s digital capabilities to allow for greater support for diverse industrial customer base. The new laboratory also will provide industrial water, oil, microbiological, deposit and metallurgical failure testing to support SUEZ’s customers. In addition, the site will have an advanced technical training center for engineers and scientists — internal and customer-oriented. For the oil and gas industry, customized experimental simulation capabilities that closely mimic the field environment are being added and upgraded. New research and application development efforts will continue in process and water chemistry for oil and gas production, transport, refining and petrochemicals, emphasizing all unit operation support, failure and root-cause analyses. SUEZ is an environmental company that provides water and waste recycling services to the U.S. and Canada

MRS awards highest honor to Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research professor

The Materials Research Society (MRS) will present the Von Hippel Award, the highest honor, to C.N.R. Rao, of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research. Rao is being recognized “for his immense interdisciplinary contributions to the development of novel functional materials, including magnetic and electronic properties of transition metal oxides, nanomaterials such as fullerenes, graphene and 2D inorganic solids, superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance in rare-earth cuprates and manganates.” Conferred annually, the Von Hippel Award recognizes the qualities most prized by materials scientists and engineers — brilliance and originality of intellect, combined with vision that transcends the boundaries of conventional scientific disciplines, as exemplified by the life of Arthur von Hippel.

Rao will accept the honor during the Awards Ceremony of the 2017 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston on Nov. 29. He is one of the world’s foremost solid-state and materials chemists, having contributed to the development of the field for over five decades. Rao was one of the earliest to synthesize 2D oxide materials such as La2CuO4. His work has led to a systematic study of compositionally controlled metal-insulator transitions. Rao is currently the Linus Pauling Research Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, which he founded in 1989.

SLM Solutions Group AG is recognized for innovation

The business magazine brand eins Wissen and the statistics portal Statista honored SLM Solutions Group AG as one of the most innovative companies in Germany. The company from Lübeck again received an award as an innovator for its technical achievements in additive manufacturing. SLM Solutions has firmly established itself as a leading provider of metal-based additive manufacturing technology. The company focuses on the development, assembly and sale of machines and integrated system solutions in the field of selective laser melting. High-quality metallic components are produced based on CAD data in the SLM process. In the production process, a very thin layer of metal powder is applied to the substrate plate and the contour is subsequently melted by one or more lasers. Then the plate is lowered by one thickness layer, and a new layer of powder is applied. Thanks to the flexibility of the modular system and the variety of materials, the machines create new potential in production in many industries such as the automotive industry, research and development, aerospace, energy technology, mechanical and plant engineering, and medical and dental technology.