This is an interesting announcement from ABB–a small, but strategic acquisition, much as executives said to expect last year. It will acquire 100 percent of the shares in Jokab Safety International AB for an undisclosed amount. The transaction is expected to be completed in March subject to customary regulatory approvals. Founded in Sweden in 1988, Jokab Safety develops products and solutions for machine safety. The company has around 120 employees worldwide, with a presence in Sweden, USA, Canada, Italy, China, France and UK.

“This investment is fully in line with our strategy to broaden our offering through value-creating acquisitions,” said Tom Sjökvist, head of ABB’s Low Voltage Products division, under which Jokab Safety will reside. “Through this acquisition both ABB and Jokab will strengthen their total offering. Together we can meet customers’ increasing requirements for low-voltage products and machine safety in a better way.”

What makes this intriguing is the stance of its rival–Rockwell Automation. That company, having decided to go “all in” on developing process automation procucts to diversify from its discrete heritage and having acquired ICS Triplex, has been annointed by analyst firm ARC Advisory Group the market leader in safety automation when you look at the complete discrete/process package. A fact it likes to headline in news releases. ABB assembled the market leading process control position through a number of acquisitions. I don’t know where it is in process safety. It does have considerable discrete automation presence, though, so this acquisition should make market share calculations trickier for ARC.

Now, if Rockwell has an electrical distribution presence…

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