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Rockwell Acquires Power Systems Maker SoftSwitching

Research shows voltage sags lasting less than two seconds can cause unscheduled downtime. Rockwell Automation now offers a new solution for that problem.

Softswitching’s MegaDySC battery-free is designed to span the whole plant and protect the entire process from voltage sags.
Softswitching’s MegaDySC battery-free is designed to span the whole plant and protect the entire process from voltage sags.

Milwaukee-based automation supplier Rockwell Automation (www.rockwellautomation.com) has purchased the assets of SoftSwitching Technologies (www.softswitch.com), a provider of industrial power quality detection and protection systems, located in Middleton, Wis.

SoftSwitching Technologies’ solutions improve uptime in manufacturing production by identifying and correcting brief power disruptions called voltage sags, which can cause computerized machinery to go off-line, precision instruments to fail, and control systems to shut down. The products will be aligned within the Rockwell Automation Control Products & Solutions operating segment. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Brief power disruptions account for up to 70 percent of all unscheduled downtime in manufacturing today,” said Bob Lennon, Rockwell Automation vice president of industrial components. “Studies show that most of these events are caused by voltage sags lasting less than two seconds. SoftSwitching Technologies’ products strengthen our capabilities in plant-wide optimization, complement our current power quality solutions and protect our customers’ manufacturing assets.”

Professor Deepak Divan established the company when he was associate director of the WEMPEC consortium at the University of Wisconsin, and the company has released a number of power management products based on its patented technology. Key customers include both middle market firms and blue chip companies including General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, BMW, Honda, Applied Materials, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Hynix, Kraft, General Mills, Campbell’s, ConAgra and Anheuser-Busch.

SoftSwitching Technologies’ battery-free, environmentally friendly products are said to provide cost and performance advantages over battery-based, three-phase uninterruptible power supplies or constant voltage transformers. The global, centralized intelligent network system also provides power grid alerts so manufacturers can monitor activity and correlate power quality events with unscheduled downtime, saving hours of guesswork and mechanical diagnostics.

“This acquisition provides the necessary resources to extend all SoftSwitching Technologies’ unique technologies into many more applications through the Rockwell Automation global channels network,” said Jason Doescher, SoftSwitching Technologies’ chief financial officer.

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