French robot maker Sepro Robotique has acquired Conair Group Inc.'s 50 percent stake in Sepro America LLC, a 15-month-old joint venture the two companies created to market robots in the United States and Canada.
Sepro Robotique and auxiliary equipment maker Conair each owned 50 percent of the joint venture, formed in August 2007. Conair is exercising its right to sell its equity interest to the French company. At the end of October, Sepro America will be 100 percent owned and operated by Sepro Robotique, based in La Roche-sur-Yon, France.
The venture came after a longtime business relationship between Sepro and Conair, which had been North American distributor for Sepro robots since 1989.
Today, there are more than 3,000 Sepro robots in operation in North America, at more than 350 customers, officials said.
Sepro America employs 22 and is based at Conair's old building in Emsworth, Pa. Last December, Conair decided to move out of the Emsworth site when its 10-year-lease expired. It moved to a building in another Pittsburgh suburb, in Cranberry Township.
The robot company is leasing part of the Emsworth facility, said Jim Healy, Sepro America's vice president of sales and marketing.
The robots come from France, but Sepro America also is doing some robot assembly in Pennsylvania, where it makes end-of-arm tooling, Healy said. It also is sourcing some components from U.S. suppliers, including guarding, conveyors, feeder bowls and downstream automation, he said. The U.S. location handles sales, service, parts and engineering.
Sepro makes beam robots and sprue-picker robots. Sepro America also offers six-axis articulating robots through a partnership with Fanuc Robotics in the U.S.
Conair's option to sell its share was included in the venture's setup agreement, Healy said.
Sepro Robotique has sales of $67 million, about 80 percent from exports. A news release said the long cooperative relationship between Conair and Sepro will continue based on common customers and shared distribution channels.