Just spent two exhausting days in meetings in Chicago in the office. Interesting that in the editorial team meeting, we had Grant who has been with us something over three years and Jim, Renee and Dave who combine for about a year with Automation World.

My primary role as editor in chief of Automation World is to set editorial direction and coverage. After many stable years, now I need to make sure that many new people are on board with the direction. The good news is that with new people come new ideas. You won’t see any radical changes but the variety of stories may broaden.

I’ve been reading that the merger and acquisition market was still hot. And sure enough, this week two announcements in our space. Each makes sense to me but in different ways.

First, Spectris plc has purchased Omega Engineering. Then GE has acquired Commtest, a provider and designer of machinery health information systems. If Omega is not the most famous supplier in the control and automation space, it is not for lack of trying. Advertising is its sales force, and it does that well and prolifically. Omega ads run everywhere touting a myriad of products–many of which it designs. I have met the owners and I am not surprised that they saw a great opportunity to cash out and remove themselves from active management. It’s a goal many of us have. GE Energy will be able to incorporate Commtest products into its Bently Nevada line and enhance its offering.

Here are the details.

Omega Acquired

Spectris plc announced that it had signed an agreement to acquire the Omega Engineering business. Omega is a leading supplier of process measurement and control instrumentation across a broad range of categories, including automation, wireless, test and measurement, process control, power monitoring, environmental and lab equipment.

Founded in 1962, Omega offers over 100,000 solutions for measurement of temperature, pressure, flow, level, strain, humidity, pH and conductivity, as well as a comprehensive line of data acquisition, electric heating and custom engineered products.

“We are delighted to have reached agreement to acquire the Omega Engineering business, which will bring a significant strategic growth platform to Spectris,” said John O’Higgins, Chief Executive of Spectris. “Omega will continue to serve its customers with innovative products and outstanding service. With its focus on control of temperature, pressure, flow and other common industrial process measurements, Omega is a natural fit for our industrial controls segment and enables us to expand our product offering to customers globally.”

Spectris owns, among others, Red Lion, Microscan and Bruel and Kjaer–a high technology vibration analysis company. It seems to be more of a portfolio manager at this point.

GE Acquisition

GE announced the acquisition of Commtest, a provider and designer of machinery health information systems. GE Energy’s Bently Nevada product line, a global leader in condition monitoring, will incorporate Commtest products into its portfolio and enhance an already robust lineup. Bently Nevada provides machinery protection and condition monitoring for refineries, petrochemical plants, power plants and wind farms.

As a major component of predictive maintenance, condition monitoring is essential to increasing asset longevity. Through condition monitoring, plant managers constantly receive data that provides input about the health of their machinery. For example, by knowing the vibration behavior and temperature of certain assets, managers can make strategic decisions about preventative maintenance to avoid asset fatigue, breakdown and failure. This is especially critical in the oil and gas and power industries where failed assets potentially cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a day in lost production revenue and increased operating and maintenance costs.

Commtest is based in Christchurch, New Zealand, and primarily focuses on producing vibration analysis and monitoring equipment. Vibration analysis detects early signs of impending machine failure so managers can proactively direct repairs and make replacements before they encounter expensive failures.

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