Lots of news coming in recently. One definite trend we’re seeing concerns consolidation of the industrial software market. This is a drip, drip, drip of announcements. When will it reach a tipping point and a big player comes in with a major scoop? The other news coming in yesterday to note is this acquisition by NI. This exactly fits the profile NI has established for itself over the past five or so years. It’s a good move.

NI to Acquire NH Research, Enters into Definitive Agreement with Heinzinger

NI announced the acquisition of NH Research, LLC (NHR), a leader in high power test and measurement applications such as electric vehicles (EV) and batteries. The transaction closed on October 19, 2021. NI is also announcing that it recently entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the EV Systems business of Rosenheim, Germany-based Heinzinger GmbH, a European leader in high-current and high-voltage power systems and this deal is expected to close in Q1 2022.

These acquisitions will expand NI’s portfolio of electrification (EV), battery, and sustainable energy capabilities to provide customers with critical power level signal sensing, capture and analysis. NI, NHR, and Heinzinger serve highly complementary positions in testing components used in the automotive industry to rapidly innovate to electrify vehicles. We believe combining the strength of NI’s flexible EV test platform with these companies’ power conversion and power supply test systems expertise will optimize testing workflows and enable rapid responses to changing test needs, accelerating time to market for a broader range of customers.

The focus of the acquisitions is to accelerate NI’s opportunity in high growth EV applications. Due to the complementary nature of these companies to NI’s priorities of innovation and meeting customer needs, NI expects that there will be minimal cost synergies from these transactions. NI is funding both these transactions through a combination of its existing revolving credit facility and cash on hand. These two transactions will represent 3 percent to 4 percent of NI’s total revenue in 2022 and be accretive to earnings per share. Approximately 150 employees will be joining the company.

“We continue to be intentional with investments where we see high potential to accelerate our growth. The addition of expertise and complementary capability from these two leading technology companies will help strengthen and expand our systems offerings to shared customers in the fast-growing area of electrification,” said Eric Starkloff, NI President and CEO. “These companies demonstrate our continued commitment to delivering systems to our customers who are facing a once in a career technology inflection in electrification. We welcome the employees of NHR and Heinzinger as we collectively accelerate our long-term growth ambitions.”

Software Market Consolidation

Infor (recently acquired by Koch Industries) announced the acquisition of Lighthouse Systems, a leading provider of manufacturing execution system (MES) software for smart manufacturing. The company’s flagship product, Shopfloor-Online, helps manufacturing companies manage and improve manufacturing operations across production, quality, inventory, and maintenance. 

Lighthouse Systems’ MES solution, which can be fully integrated into Infor CloudSuite ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, will help Infor address a critical customer requirement of 24×7 manufacturing operations. For those manufacturing companies that are looking to implement ERP and MES together, Infor anticipates that its ability to offer a fully integrated solution “out of the box” will significantly shorten time to value for customers. 

“MES solutions are critical for manufacturing organizations that want to ensure data consistency and real-time visibility across all plant operations,” said Infor CEO Kevin Samuelson. “Integrating these capabilities with our industry-specific ERP systems will help us deliver even more powerful solutions to manufacturing organizations, as they look to digitize their operations and grow their businesses.”

Based in Crawley, UK, about 30 miles south of London, Lighthouse Systems has major offices in the UK, the United States and Singapore. Its approximately 100 employees serve customers worldwide in focus industries such as automotive, building & construction, food & beverage, life science, machinery & equipment, packaging, and sustainable energy. 

Lighthouse Systems customers include Ball Corporation, Formica, Lucite International, Nissan, Benteler, and the Timken Company.

Tim Barber, company director at Lighthouse Systems, said, “We are delighted to join forces with Infor to further the operational excellence initiatives of our manufacturing customers. We have 30 years of experience delivering MES solutions to discrete and process manufacturers worldwide. These solutions are not only key to executing production efficiently, they also are essential building blocks for smart manufacturing and digital transformation.” 

Lighthouse Systems’ Shopfloor-Online product enables smart manufacturing by bringing all manufacturing operations into one central software system, which is accessible 24×7. The system, which can be deployed in the cloud or on-premises, connects the factory with a single thread of critical data that is accessible at the shop-floor level and throughout the enterprise.

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