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Emerson buys Swiss firm to expand into electric linear motion

08 September, 2023

Emerson has bought Afag Holding, the Swiss specialist in electric linear motion, feeding and handling automation, for an undisclosed sum. Emerson says the acquisition will enhance its factory automation capabilities and create a motion portfolio that combines Afag’s linear motion systems with its own pneumatic motion technologies. Afag will report to Emerson’s Discrete Automation business.

The electric linear motion sector expands the markets that Emerson serves by more than $9bn, and is expected to grow at mid-single digit rates, supporting Emerson’s long-term organic growth.

Afag, headquartered in Zell, has been developing and producing components for assembly automation for more than 65 years. It employs more than 300 people in Switzerland, Germany, China and the US. Afag serves customers in markets including consumer goods, food, battery manufacturing, automotive, packaging, medical, pharmaceuticals, life sciences and electronics. It has also supplied handling equipment to the watchmaking industry.

Earlier this year, Afag sold its Transport Systems business, including linear transfer and linear transport products, to the German company ID (Industrial Dynamics).

“Afag brings exciting technology that will enable Emerson to accelerate growth in our existing $900m factory automation business,” says Emerson’s chief operating officer, Ram Krishnan. “As discrete and hybrid customers continue to accelerate electrification across their manufacturing processes, Afag’s technology is ideally suited to provide improved energy efficiency and performance gains.

“We look forward to combining Afag’s motion capabilities with our existing pneumatic leadership, creating a unique and differentiated solution for our customers,” he adds. “Afag and its employees will play an important role in enhancing Emerson’s strength and innovation in factory automation.”

An injection moulding application showing an Afag linear feeder used to supply threaded bolts and bushes.
Image: Afag

“We are excited to join Emerson and build on its existing factory automation leadership, while further expanding our global reach,” says Afag CEO, Adrian Fuchser. “Our customers rely on Afag for essential, customised systems and we are energised by this opportunity to create a more comprehensive and holistic solution for their motion needs.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of Emerson’s 2023 fiscal year, subject to approvals.

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