Watch: ABB 4IR-Ready After Automation Acquisition

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ABB has expanded its leadership in industrial automation with the acquisition of B&R, an independent provider of machine and factory automation worldwide, and is now uniquely positioned to seize growth opportunities resulting from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).

Although the acquisition is not a direct link to ABB's automated systems for cranes and terminals, it does mean that the company is now covering the entire spectrum of the industrial automation business and has closed the historic gap within ABB’s automation offering to become “a power-house, one-stop-shop that is basically unrivalled in the industry”, as said by Peter Terwiesch, President, Industrial Automation division, ABB, in the above video on the acquisition.

ABB has taken a major step in expanding its digital offering by combining its 'industry-leading' portfolio of digital solutions, ABB Ability, with B&R's application and software platforms, its large installed base, customer access and automation solutions.

B&R, founded in 1979 by Erwin Bernecker and Josef Rainer, is headquartered in Eggelsberg, Austria, and employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 R&D and application engineers.

It operates across 70 countries, generating sales of more than US$600 million (2015/16) in the $20 billion machine and factory automation market segment.

Ulrich Spiesshofer, ABB CEO, said: “B&R 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 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.

“This acquisition perfectly delivers on our Next Level strategy. 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.”

ABB recently used its robotics and maritime technology know-how to produce an automated shore charging arm for electric vessels.

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