Friday, July 28, 2017

Schneider Electric buys Asco, raises 2017 guidance

July 27 (Reuters) - French electrical component and energy management group Schneider Electric said on Thursday it was buying automatic transfer switch maker Asco Power Technologies (Asco) for $1.25 billion and raising its full year revenue and margin guidance.
The all-cash deal aims to boost Schneider Electric's position in North America, and enhance its offer for buildings that use autonomous or multi-source power management.
Asco brings to Schneider Electric a well-recognized brand in North America, a strong level of know-how, prescription skills and network and a diversified customer base," Chief Executive Jean-Pascal Tricoire said in a statement.
The company raised its objectives for 2017 on Thursday, following solid growth in its building, industry and IT segments in the first half.
The company is now targeting organic revenue growth between three and four percent for the group, outside infrastructure.
In April, the group confirmed a target of organic revenue growth of between one and three percent outside infrastructure.
The group also said it was now aiming for the upper end of its initial target to increase its organic adjusted core profit (EBITA) margin by between 20 and 50 basis points.
Adjusted organic core profit (EBITA) for the first half of 2017 rose 7 percent to 1.72 billion euros ($2.02 billion), with the margin rising by 60 basis points to 14.1 percent.
The company said it was launching a strategic review of part of its infrastructure business, with "all options being explored".
"The part of the portfolio of c.2 billion euros, that consists mainly of projects and equipment and with a mid-single digit adjusted EBITA level, will undergo additional steps to generate increased efficiency for the business." it said. ($1 = 0.8522 euros)
Asco has been operating as an autonomous part of data center infrastructure provider Veritiv; it posted $468M in revenue during 2016 with an adjusted EBITDA margin of nearly 23%.
Schneider also reports H1 results, with revenues up 3.7% Y/Y to €12.17B and net Income up 18% Y/Y to €958M, and raises its full-year revenue and margin guidance.
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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

ABB buys B&R to help it challenge Siemens in industrial automation

Tue Apr 4, 2017
Swiss engineering group ABB has bought Austrian industrial automation company Bernecker & Rainer, a move that fits in with its strategy of expanding its products to better challenge German rival Siemens on the factory floor.
ABB gave no purchase price for Bernecker & Rainer Industrie-Elektronik (B&R) when it announced the deal on Tuesday, but a person familiar with the matter said it was nearly $2 billion, the biggest deal under Chief Executive Ulrich Spiesshofer's four-year leadership.
ABB had considered other targets in industrial automation, including U.S. firm Rockwell Automation, before deciding on B&R, according to a person familiar with the matter. ABB spokesman Saswato Das declined to comment.
The Swiss company said acquiring B&R would increase its sales in industrial automation to around $15 billion by adding B&R's annual sales of more than $600 million.
It would also consolidate ABB's position as the No. 2 in the $130 billion global processing and industrial sector behind Siemens  but ahead of rivals like Emerson, Rockwell Automation and General Electric .
B&R makes programmable controls for machines used by companies like Nestle , Procter & Gamble  and Roche .
The private company, founded by two electrical engineers in 1979, also makes components for machines used by automakers BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen. Its products include industrial PCs and factory automation devices designed to increase productivity.
ABB's shares were up 0.9 percent after the deal was announced.
"This is a sensible acquisition, increasing ABB's footprint on the factory floor where we expect higher growth in the future than in process industries like oil and gas," said Takis Spiliopoulos, an analyst at Bank Vontobel.
He said spending on industrial automation was expected to grow by around 5 to 6 percent annually in the years ahead as Western companies bring back production from emerging markets, while oil and gas spending would remain subdued.
Spiesshofer said the purchase of B&R would make ABB the only industrial automation provider offering customers the entire spectrum of technology and software solutions around measurement, control, actuation, robotics, digitalization and electrification, Spiesshofer said.
"There will be more acquisitions ... as one of the drivers of growth going forward, but there is no 'must haves' we are desperate about," Spiesshofer told reporters. "We are closing today perfectly the big gap we had in machine and factory automation, that was one gap we were always concerned about and wanted to close."
ABB aims to increase B&R's annual sales to above $1 billion from around $600 million now and said the business would add to operating earnings per share from the first year.
The purchase is being funded from ABB's own cash and is expected to close by mid-year.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

ABB launches world’s first digital distribution transformer

ABB today announced the launch of the world’s first digital distribution transformer at its ABB Customer World event in Houston, Texas. Integrated sensing and monitoring technology in ABB’s new TXpert™ transformer will provide intelligence to maximize reliability, optimize operating and maintenance costs and manage the asset more efficiently. This latest innovation builds on the ABB Ability™ digital offering that uses cloud computing and connected devices to generate actionable data for a broad range of customers.
The performance data collected from the sensors is stored and analyzed within the transformer, offering insights on how it is operating. This will provide utilities, industries and installations like data centers with vital information to make key decisions on the operation and maintenance of their transformers and support the management of the asset throughout its lifecycle. This includes activities like scheduling of maintenance, optimizing system performance and planned asset replacement.
Power grids are undergoing an unprecedented transformation both on the supply and demand side. Many new and distributed sources of energy including the influx of renewables and new demand loads like datacenters and electric vehicles, call for a more flexible grid, driving the need for greater digitalization and automation. Intelligent products that can communicate are an essential component in the convergence of information and operational technologies.
“Distribution transformers are vital components in the electrical value chain. This latest innovation extends our digital portfolio and ABB Ability based offering, and reinforces our positon as the world’s leading transformer manufacturer” said Claudio Facchin, President of ABB’s Power Grids Division. ”It also reiterates our Next Level strategic focus on enabling a stronger, smarter and greener grid.”
TXpert™ is part of ABB’s Transformer Intelligence™ portfolio that includes state-of-the-art sensors, monitoring platforms and software tools built upon ABB’s deep domain knowledge and expertise. It will be a catalyst for enhancing distribution transformer performance, improving predictability and increasing reliability.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fixed Vacuum Breakers: An Alternative to Withdrawable Breakers

by Sherry Rollins
Fixed vacuum breakers were first introduced between the 1970’s and 1980’s. They were designed because of the safety, reliability and the overall total cost of ownership was better than its withdrawable counterpart. If a customer has the need for a variety of applications, then fixed breakers may be ideal. This blog will share some insight on why fixed vacuum circuit breakers can be suitable alternative choice over withdrawable breakers.
Withdrawable breakers are traditionally housed in larger 2-high structures. These larger structures can have “moving” or “complex” components associated with the design. MOCs, TOCs, shutters and energy dumping type interlocks increase the complexity of withdrawable breakers. This increase in complexity can add to the level of maintenance that is required. Fixed breakers can allow for a more streamline simple design with less parts to maintain. For example, as a result of not having finger clusters, fixed breakers do not require the annual application of lubricants. This allows the fingers to easily separate the breaker from the main bus. As a result of the breaker being fixed, integration into the switchgear structure is simpler and smaller.
Withdrawable breakers typically have higher ratings up to 4000A with a kA of 63. While this may be ideal for certain applications, most do not require the higher ratings. If the desired application only requires 1200A and a lower kA rating, then a fixed vacuum circuit breaker will be a viable option. This does not affect how the switchgear will function. Even though the breaker could potentially have a lower kA rating, the number of operations will be at 10,000 operations as defined by ANSI/ IEEE. In addition to this, using a fixed type vacuum circuit breaker can alleviate space constraints. This can be viewed as important if space is an issue because the footprint of a fixed type breaker is available in compact sizes.
The images below show the structural differences in fixed breaker versus a withdrawable one. They are very similar is style, however the withdrawable breaker is larger in size and has the additional finger clusters. The comparison of a cell structure these breakers would fit into are also shown below. The Metal-clad switchgear that would house the withdrawable breaker has more parts/ components that are easily identifiable.
Fixed vacuum breaker – front                    Withdrawable vacuum breaker – front
right-angle-shot-of-breaker                                           
Fixed vacuum breaker – rear                     Withdrawable vacuum breaker – rear
back-of-breaker                                            
HVL/cb fixed breaker comp.                    Metalclad withdrawable breaker comp.
stb_0536                                  
Choosing a fixed vacuum circuit breaker with a smaller footprint and the ideal required ratings could potential reduce associated total cost of ownership. Cost associated with fixed vacuum breakers have two aspects. The first is the cost associated with initially purchasing a fixed type breaker and the second is the cost of maintaining the breaker. This is commonly referred to as the capital expenditures or capex and operational expenditures or opex. First we will talk about the initial capex to invest in a fixed vacuum circuit breaker. A fixed breaker can be more cost effective than a withdrawable type, however this varies by manufacturer. As mention earlier, there are more components to include in the design of withdrawable breakers that are not factored into fixed breakers. This increases the cost to procure the equipment.
Opex can potentially decrease with fixed style breakers. The total cost of ownership for maintaining the breaker decreases as the maintenance cycle time increases or is able to be extended beyond the 3-5 years. This is done because you have few parts associated with fixed breakers as mentioned before. With a reduce maintenance schedule the downtime of plant facilities may reduce. The added benefit is could also reduces your overhead cost associated with having additional employees to perform maintenance task.
In conclusion, fixed vacuum circuit breakers should be considered when making your next choice for breakers. They can provide the same benefit as withdrawable breakers in regards to application and operation.  Although footprint, maintenance, functionality and cost are not the only factors, they are seen as key indicators on why they are important in selecting a fixed breaker as an alternative option. For more information on Schneider-Electric’s product offering visit the suggested www.schneider-electric.com.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Taking the first steps toward condition based maintenance

  December 21, 2016
This article comes from ABB
Utility maintenance managers are increasingly coming to realize that it is wasteful to perform maintenance on a fixed schedule. Many of them are making the transition to a condition based maintenance strategy. This white paper summarizes a four-step process for successfully making that transition.
In a meeting with a maintenance services supplier, a utility’s maintenance manager described the scenario of his wife and her new car. He explained how the car displays messages on the dashboard regarding potential maintenance issues and suggests the appropriate response or action. It simultaneously sends a message to the dealer alerting them to the issue.
“Why,” the utility manager asked, “couldn’t the same scenario play out with my transformers, breakers, and other assets?” Why indeed. That utility is, in fact, now far along in the process of deploying a condition-based maintenance (CBM) solution that is accomplishing just that. Managers and engineers in a growing number of utilities are realizing that successful CBM deployments result in lower maintenance costs with increased reliability.
Several years ago, the Aberdeen Group found that nearly half of survey respondents planned to implement this type of solution. The transition by utilities from time or interval-based maintenance to CBM is accelerating. Resistance to the transition is eroding as the financial, performance, and reliability benefits become clearer, and as the next generation of maintenance personnel, not steeped in the culture of interval-based maintenance, enters the field.
In this white paper, ABB authors describes how utilities are capitalizing on the increasing availability of digital asset data and improved communication infrastructure as they adopt CBM to optimize their maintenance efforts. We will describe a four-step process to transitioning to CBM, and identify common barriers to successful implementations and how those barriers can be overcome. Resistance to change
The appeal of CBM is highly intuitive. No facility owner would automatically repair or replace their roof after some fixed time interval. While the warranty may indicate the owner could expect 15 years of life, weather conditions and other factors will greatly shorten or extend actual life. Based on the condition or performance of the roof, the owner will devote money, time and attention to it only when it begins to show trouble. Similarly, with power equipment, actual duty levels and asset condition should drive specific maintenance schedules.
For the rest: https://goo.gl/sTMNh1

Friday, December 16, 2016

GE looks to raise $4 billion by selling two units

By Ted Mann
Published: Dec 14, 2016 5:55 p.m. ET

 General Electric Co. plans to raise $4 billion by selling two of its smallest industrial units and promised to cut another $1 billion in expenses, as the conglomerate tries to boost its profit margins by shrinking its operations.

In a presentation Wednesday for financial analysts, GE said it plans to sell its Industrial Solutions business, which supplies equipment to the electrical distribution and grid industries, as well as its GE Water business. The two units combined account for $5 billion in annual revenue.

Chief Executive Jeff lmmelt said the company is still on track to hit a key investor target: earnings of $2 per share in 2018. To get there, the company will add new sources of revenue, including through a proposed tie-up of its oil and gas business with Baker Hughes Inc., and cut back on costs.

 For next year, Mr. Immel!predicted the company will generate operating profits of about $19 billion and around $135 billion in revenue, with organic revenue growth of between 3% and 5%.

 The announcement continues a trend of the past three years, as Mr. Immel!has pared back businesses in the sprawling conglomerate, betting that GE can grow faster by focusing more narrowly on heavy industrial equipment and building a service business rooted in software and the digital world. Mr. Immelt has sold off the bulk of the company's GE Capital financial services arm, signing deals to sell $195 billion worth of businesses.

 "We've made the company simpler," he said Wednesday in New York. "We've made the company deeper."
 
Mr. Immelt also said he is overhauling the way GE makes its industrial products, expanding use of 3-D printing to manufacture parts in its jet engine business, and snapping up software startups as it tries to build its GE Digital business.
 
Looking back at previous GE efforts like adopting Six Sigma, a management improvement system made famous by former GE CEO Jack Welch, Mr. lmmelt said: "If you put yourself in my shoes additive manufacturing makes a s---load more sense than Six Sigma did. I was there the first day we did Six Sigma; it made no sense to me."
 
Mr. lmmelt offered a defense of globalization -- a subject he has addressed regularly over the past year, as politicians like President-elect Donald Trump have lashed out at GE's corporate and industrial peers for shifting U.S. jobs across borders in search of labor savings.

 GE has grown its foreign businesses twice as much as its domestic business over the last 15 years, Mr. Immel! told investors, while selling 85% of its jet engines and gas-fired power turbines overseas.

 "We've done all that with an antiquated tax plan, no Ex-Im Bank, and more or less on our own over the last 15 years," Mr. lmmelt said, referring to the U.S. Export-Import Bank. "lf we got tax reform, if we got an Ex-Im Bank, those things are good for you and me."

 In the short run, Mr. lmmelt said, GE will be seeking ways to cut costs by shrinking its footprint and closing some facilities

-- the very corporate actions that have triggered political backlash from Mr. Trump and others.
 
GE is seeking $100 million a year in new cost-cuts from "rationalizing" its facilities, he said. After a spate of acquisitions. including that of Alstom SA's power business as well as Baker Hughes Inc., GE now has 150 million square feet of factory space world-wide, which Mr. lmmelt suggested was ample room to seek new cuts.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Siemens US (Reports Leadership Changes

Siemens AG  reported that Eric Spiegel, the CEO of Siemens U.S., will leave the firm at the year’s end. Lisa Davis has been appointed CEO and Chair of Siemens and Judith Marks has been appointed CEO of Siemens U.S., effective January 2017.
 
On the new changes, Davis said that Spiegel has grown company’s business and furthered its reputation in the United States as a major contributor to the nation’s manufacturing, innovation and economic engines, and they thank him for their leadership. Marks has extensive knowledge of company’s entire portfolio that will help them well during transition period and also into the future.
Spiegel said that in announcing his retirement, he is extremely proud of what his team and he was able to achieve in the last 7 years for one of the globe’s leading industrial firms in Siemens’ largest market. As the new administration starts to outline their priorities, it is the right time for Davis and Marks to guide the firm’s engagement and outreach from day one.
 
Marks started her career at company in 2011 as CEO and President of Siemens Government Technologies, Inc. There she led the firm’s approach to the federal industry. Before Joining Siemens, she was with Lockheed Martin and its precursor firms. She will assume the role of CEO Siemens U.S. in addition to her present role as Executive VP at Dresser-Rand, a company’s business.
 
Marks stated that the company’s objective is to achieve what matters. It will continue setting the yardstick for automation and electrification for their clients while pushing into newest chapter where they follow the same process with digitalization. It is a firm that is uniquely efficient of offering immense value to communities and customers across the United States.
 
Siemens has been in the country for over 160 years and has put in capital of $35 billion in America in past 15 years. With 50,000 employees in the U.S. and nearly 75 manufacturing sites, the company in the U.S. is utilizing its international leadership in technology and engineering innovation to fulfill America’s challenges, offering solutions for utilities, cities, manufacturers, industry and hospitals.