Eckhart Reinforces Its Commitment to Industry 4.0 with Strategic Acquisition
Lane Long posted on February 06, 2019 |
A FANUC Robotic System from PRI. (Image courtesy of PRI.)
A FANUC Robotic System from PRI. (Image courtesy of PRI.)

Eckhart, Inc. is in the business of bringing turnkey, Industry 4.0 solutions to manufacturing companies in need of an overhaul. Last month, it added a new dimension to its portfolio with the acquisition of Minneapolis-based PRI Robotics & Automation. The hope is that PRI’s robotic systems can help Eckhart meets its mission to deliver manufacturing system improvements that will increase safety and efficiency in the world’s largest companies. The move is also regarded by company executives as geographically synergistic, with PRI’s proximity to strategic targets a key consideration.

PRI Fills a Crucial Industry 4.0 Niche

PRI’s expertise in the area of automation fits neatly into Eckhart’s value proposition. As an Industry 4.0 leader that offers signed, sealed and delivered manufacturing upgrades to large industrial clients, Eckhart considers automation key to its long-term vision. PRI, which boasts a suite of robotics solutions over 500 strong, has designed systems specializing in everything from arc welding to materials removal. That focus, according to PRI CEO John Quinn, is essential to the widespread adoption of Industry 4.0: “As companies accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 technology, our team helps them build flexible manufacturing systems that improve safety, quality and productivity by automating repetitive tasks.”

Automation is already a significant part of Eckhart’s Industry 4.0 solutions. (Video courtesy of Eckhart.)

Geographical Advantages

Along with the obvious product synergies presented by the acquisition, leaders from both companies were clear that PRI’s location played a role in the decision as well. Headquartered in the Twin Cities, PRI will provide Eckhart with increased access to a number of high-value prospects. Nineteen Fortune 500 companies call the area home, in addition to one of the world’s biggest closely held companies and a massive medical device manufacturing hub. Andy Storm, Eckhart’s chief executive, played up those advantages in a statement: “PRI Robotics & Automation will help us expand and grow our footprint in the Twin Cities region, enable unmatched local service and support for our growing list of customers across America’s heartland, and provide direct access to some of Eckhart’s most valued technology partners who are also located in the Twin Cities.”

Check out another acquisition from last summer that looks poised to accelerate the adoption of certain aspects of Industry 4.0 here.

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