By acquiring Vickers Electronic Systems, Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. has strengthened its position in injection press controls, according to a Siemens official. Siemens of Alpharetta, Ga., announced Dec. 30 that it bought the business from Eaton Corp. Terms were not disclosed.
The acquired controller maker, based in South Lebanon, Ohio, originally was Milacron Inc.'s internal controls supplier for plastics machinery and machine tools. Siemens becomes the fourth company to own VES in the past five years. But the revolving door of ownership should end with Siemens, because both companies complement one another, said Manfred Graeter, manager of machine control systems at Siemens Energy & Automation.
"With this acquisition, that's a perfect fit for us," said Graeter, who is in charge of Siemens controllers for plastics machinery and packaging equipment.
Graeter said Siemens has held a strong U.S. position in blow molding machinery, extruders and thermoforming, but has been "relatively weak" placing its controllers on injection molding machines in the United States.
VES employs about 550, including 450 at a main factory in South Lebanon, 18 at a plant in Lebanon that does retrofitting and remanufacturing, and 80 at a plant in Bedford, England.
Graeter said Siemens will retain those operations and may move some of its own staff from Georgia to Ohio.
Eaton will retain a fourth VES facility, in Casella, Italy.
Thomas Malott, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Energy & Automation, said VES brings experience in the plastics processing equipment and machine-tool market, an experienced work force and a good reputation for customer service.
VES had 1998 sales of $109 million. Sales figures for 1999 were not available yet.
In 1995, Milacron officials decided to get out of the controls business and sold the Electronic Systems Division to Aeroquip-Vickers Inc. of Maumee, Ohio. Eaton bought Aeroquip-Vickers in April 1999, then a month later announced it would sell the Vickers machine-controller unit.
Cleveland-based Eaton said the machine-controls operation does not fit with its existing business, including hydraulic products, fluid connectors, power-distribution and control equipment and engine components.
Milacron still buys most of its controls from the VES operation, according to Graeter and Ron Sparer, manager of controls and automation at Milacron, based in Cincinnati.
Siemens Energy and Automation is a unit of Germany's Siemens AG.
Graeter said Siemens stands to benefit from the trend toward all-electric injection molding machines, thanks to its strength as a manufacturer of motion controls and electric servo motors.