KUKA Systems becomes Number 1 automotive systems supplier in North America: Acquisition of Utica Companies' plant engineering business
STERLING HEIGHTS, MI and AUGSBURGGermany--April 19, 2013: KUKA Systems Group, one of the world's largest systems integrators, has acquired the plant engineering business of privately owned Utica Companies of Shelby Township, MI, a welding equipment specialist and supplier to the automobile industry. With this transaction, KUKA Systems becomes the Number 1 manufacturing systems supplier to the North American automotive sector. The purchase price was not disclosed but is in the low double digit million euro range.
"This acquisition follows our strategy of being Number 1 or 2 in our respective markets. It not only adds new customers, but will enable us to continue our profitable growth in North America and in Asia", says Dr. Till Reuter, CEO of KUKA AG, the holding company that owns KUKA Systems Group.
KUKA Systems is an innovator in production line automation, flexible manufacturing concepts, robotic cells for specific assembly processes, including new welding technologies for joining steel to steel or metals with different thermal coefficients like steel and alloys of aluminum.
"With this acquisition KUKA Systems is leveraging its technologies," says Lawrence A. Drake, President and CEO of KUKA Systems Group. "Moreover, our customers will benefit from an expanded manufacturing footprint, talent pool and knowledge base with greater economies of scale. It also stresses our leadership in welding and other joining technologies. We are excited to welcome Utica employees joining KUKA."
Both companies' core market is automotive assembly although KUKA Systems has diversified successfully into building production lines and platforms for aerospace, energy and other industries.
The Utica acquisition primarily covers automobile assembly-related assets in southeastern Michigan. KUKA Systems will absorb Utica's body structure business that builds car body assembly lines and subsystems - as well as products like laser welding heads, net form and pierce systems for high accuracy in joining body sections, standard press room automation for metal stamping and hang-on technologies for installing doors, hoods and other parts on assembly lines.
About 300 Utica employees have joined the over 1300-member KUKA Systems team in southeastern Michigan. No jobs will be eliminated since KUKA Systems has a considerable order backlog, said Drake, adding: "A major benefit of the transaction is that it secures a highly skilled and experienced workforce for us in Michigan at a time when those skills are becoming harder to find because of shrinkage in the local industrial base."