Fluid power continues to evolve
Fluid power has somewhat of a reputation for being mature and un-changing, but at least from a corporate perspective, changes do happen and sometimes they can happen fast. After covering this industry for more than two decades, it’s amazing to think of the brand names that have come and gone.
As part of a new podcast series for our sister publication, Design World, I recently had the chance to speak with Ryan Schroeder, President, Americas, for IMI Precision Engineering—many of you are probably familiar with his company’s Norgren Division. IMI has been in the news a lot lately, after the big announcement that the company is buying Illinois-based Bimba Manufacturing. I was curious as to what that meant for the brands.
On the surface, it seems like a smart fit. Norgren made much of its reputation off of FRLs and the air preparation side of the business, while Bimba is more synonymous with pneumatic actuators. But while Schroeder admitted that the cylinder business was what they were after, he also noted that there will be efficiencies in other areas.
“When you look at their footprint and you look at their market capitalization, they really, genuinely welcome their distributors as a core part of their business. We felt that’s a great fit, with Norgren having a very distributor-centric model as well,” he said. “Their relatively recent acquisition of Vaccon fits perfectly with us. It’ll help us continue to enter that part of the automation marketplace with the Vaccon brand and the products that come along with it.”
Schroeder also mentioned that Bimba’s recent acquisition of ACRO, a manufacturer of pinch valves and integrated fluid control assemblies, made sense, giving IMI another branch into the life sciences sector, a fast-growing field that’s been a key market for them.
He also told me that 2018 is looking good for the company, with all of its verticals expecting growth. Any time I hear that from a fluid power manufacturer, it’s hard not to get excited about the industry in general. Hopefully I’ll see some of you at this month’s National Fluid Power Association annual meeting in Orlando, where I’m sure the speakers will be telling us even more about what to expect over the coming year.
To check out the new Design World’s Executive Edition podcast, visit designworldonline.com and click on Engineering Resources >> Podcasts