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Rockwell buys ‘biggest’ lockout-tagout supplier

27 October, 2014

Rockwell Automation has bought US-based ESC Services, which claims to be the world’s largest provider of lockout-tagout systems for hazardous energy control. Its graphical-based technology uses QR (quick response) codes that users scan to obtain asset information and to streamline compliance with external regulations and with their companies’ internal safety policies.

ESC, founded in 2003 and located in Wisconsin, has been growing by more than 50% a year. It will be integrated into Rockwell’s Control Products & Solutions division as part of its customer support and maintenance business. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

According to Matt Fordenwalt, Rockwell’s consulting business manager, the acquisition will help Rockwell’s customers to increase their asset utilisation and strengthen their enterprise risk management, while adding safety to Rockwell’s portfolio of data-driven, cloud-enabled services.

Lockout-tagout is a safety procedure that is used to ensure that dangerous machines are shut down properly and not restarted before maintenance and service work has been completed. It requires hazardous power sources to be isolated and made inoperative before any repair work starts. In the US, federal regulations require companies to create custom lockout-tagout procedures to protect their employees when servicing machines and equipment powered by hazardous energy sources.

ESC Services' lockout-tagout portfolio includes iPad-based products

ESC focuses on creating graphical lockout-tagout procedures and components. It helps companies to achieve a high level of employee safety, while optimising their production efficiency and guaranteeing compliance with regulations.

“The global use of lockout-tagout is expanding among multi-national corporations, and represents a great growth opportunity,” explains ESC Services’ president, Kelly Michalscheck. “This acquisition enables us to extend ESC Services lockout-tagout procedures and ScanESC solutions to tens of thousands of additional OEM machines, delivering more value and unique offerings to Rockwell Automation’s extensive global channels.”

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