La Roche sur Yon, France-based Sepro Group acquired a majority stake in Izernore, France-based Garbe Automatisme to bolster its position as an automation supplier for plastics injection molders.
The deal was completed in July but was announced Sept. 28 by the privately held companies. Terms weren't disclosed.
Sepro is one of the largest suppliers of automation to the world's plastics processors with "automation hubs" in France, Germany, the United States and China.
The acquisition of Garbe and its 900-square-meter operation will double automation capacity in France and increase Sepro's global capacity by 20 percent to support molders trying to increase productivity and profitability while facing the shortage of skilled workers.
"This acquisition energizes our group," Sepro President Eric Radat said in a news release. "It confirms our commitment to supporting our customers with intelligent, highly efficient automation solutions."
Located in the so-called "Plastics Valley" near Oyonnax in eastern France, Garbe engineers build complex, multistep automation systems for injection molders that serve the automotive, medical, packaging, household appliance and other industries.
Garbe has successfully integrated three-, five- and six-axis robots into manufacturing cells that require not only part removal but also pre-mold and post-mold operations like insert loading, component assembly, marking, inspection, conveying, palletizing and more.
"Our customers need more than ever to accelerate their transformation and automate their production lines to increase productivity, and we are seeing a steady increase in demand for increasingly sophisticated automation applications," Sepro CEO Charles de Forges said.
Dominique Garbe, who founded Garbe in 1997, will continue to lead the company, which the release said will retain a high degree of autonomy within Sepro Group.
Garbe started as an electrical and industrial development engineer in the equipment manufacturing industry before focusing on custom, safe and sustainable automation alternatives.
"Dominique Garbe and the Garbe Automatisme teams share our ambition to make automation ever more accessible to customers around the world. Our association was an easy decision and we are happy that they trusted us," de Forges said.
Garbe Automatisme is experiencing continued growth and needed to expand production capacity, making the acquisition an opportunity, Garbe said.
"In the context of increasing demand for automated lines equipped with more and more robots, it seemed obvious to us that Sepro Group could be the ideal partner to offer global reach and enhance our 25 years of experience in automation," Garbe said. "Pooling our experience and skills, we should be able to offer efficient and innovative solutions for our customers who are always looking for the best."
Sepro Group has equipped more than 40,000 plastic injection machines worldwide with three- and five-axis Cartesian robots and six-axis polyarticulated robots, ranging from simple unloading applications to complex automation cells.