GE Acquisitions Improve Automation Offerings

May 5, 2011
GE Energy division acquires French maker of electrification and automation equipment, while GE Industrial Platforms acquires the technology assets of Csense to improve asset analysis and performance.

U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co. (GE) said in April it was acquiring French power conversion company Converteam. GE said in a statement that its Energy division would acquire 90 percent of Converteam , a $1.5 billion company that specializes in electrification and automation equipment for $3.2 billion (2.27 billion euros). The deal is expected to be completed this year, with the remainder of the shares to be bought from management over the next two to five years for not more than $480 million.

GE said the market for Converteam’s products was worth some $30 billion in 2010 and its solutions are built around three core components that are either manufactured or assembled in-house: rotating machines (motors and generators), drives to control the speed of rotating machines (drives and converters), and automation and process controls. Its roots in power conversion go back more than 100 years and have been built up by acquisition. Current business units have come from General Electric Co. (GEC) in the UK, Westinghouse Drive Systems in the United States, and Alstom in France, among others.

GE said the acquisition will allow it to improve its offerings for clients in the gas, oil and electric energy sectors, as well as in the solar, mines and metals sectors. GE Energy  provides advanced power systems and energy services to an installed base of more than 10,000 steam and heavy-duty gas turbine unit in more than 120 countries. In addition, with over 13,500 wind and 3,600 hydro turbines, the installed capacity of GE Energy’s renewable energy generation reportedly exceeds 160,000 MW.

CSense technology acquired
Separately, GE Intelligent Platforms, the Charlottesville, Va. division specializing in software, hardware and services for industrial automation and embedded computing, has acquired the technology assets of CSense Systems (Pty) Ltd. of Pretoria, South Africa. According to the release, this April acquisition expands GE’s Proficy Software Platform analytic capabilities, increasing asset performance for customers as they gain critical insight into their operations. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition includes CSense’s analytic software products and engineering solutions, which provide advanced capabilities to proactively identify and solve potential process problems before they impact operations. The CSense asset acquisition complements the remote monitoring & diagnostics solutions added to GE’s Proficy portfolio with the acquisition of SmartSignal Corp. in January.

“This acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to invest in our business,” said Jody Markopoulos, president and chief executive officer of GE Intelligent Platforms.

According to Erik Udstuen, vice president of Software & Services for GE Intelligent Platforms, “The capabilities of this technology coupled with our recent acquisition of SmartSignal, provides us with a world-class software platform for asset monitoring and process diagnostics. With CSense, we can offer a wide range of analytic technologies in a single platform ranging from first principle models to advanced statistics to neural networks that can positively change asset and process performance.”

The CSense technology establishes an open programming workbench for advanced analytic technologies used to build solutions for prediction, root cause analysis and advanced process control. The two companies have been working together for years embedding CSense technology into the core Proficy Software Platform. Proficy Troubleshooter and Cause+ are two good examples of how CSense technology can deliver powerful analytic tools to transform real-time data into actionable information for engineers and operators according to GE Intelligent Platforms.


CSense Systems

GE Energy

GE Intelligent Platforms

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