The Winding History of Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation is one of the biggest industrial automation companies in the world. But a little over a century ago it began as a small company devoted to one product started on a $1,000 investment.

The infographic below will give you many of the highlights, but the company has continually grown through other beneficial acquisitions,mergers, and divestitures as well. This includes

  • Allen-Bradley’s acquisition of Robotronics S.A. from Matra S.A. in 1985. Robotronics S.A. was active in robot vision. (1)
  • Allen-Bradley’s acquisition of the Electronics Corporation of America in 1986 for $99 million. The Electronics Corporation of America was based in Waltham, Mass. and manufactured electronic combustion sensors and photoelectric controls. (2)
  • Allen-Bradley’s acquisition of Creonics in 1990. Creonics created motion control products (3)
  • Allen-Bradley’s acquisition and partnership with Metal Leve Controles Eletronicos in 1992 The company specialized in electromechanical industrial control products. (4)
  • Rockwell’s acquisition of Reliance Electric for 1.6 billion dollars in 1994. The company focused on motors, drives, and mechanical drive components. Rockwell also buys ICOM and Controlware around this time. (5,6,7)
  • Rockwell International acquisition of California’s Intecolor Corp in 1997. The privately held company, which built high-performance computer monitors and industrial workstations, was purchased for an undisclosed amount. (8)
  • Rockwell’s acquisitions of Dynapro and EJA Engineering in 1999. Dynapro designed HMI interface software, while EJA specialized in industrial Automation safety components. (9,10)
  • Rockwell’s acquisition of several software companies, including Datasweep in 2005, GEPA in 2006, Incuity in 2008, and ACP in 2016. (11,12,13,14)
  • Rockwell merges Allen-Bradley with Electro-Craft, moving all motion control products under the Allen-Bradley name. (15)
  • Rockwell divested itself of Reliance Electric, selling the power systems business to Baldor Electric in 2006 for $1.75 billion in cash and $50 million in stock. (5)
  • Rockwell’s expansion of its MES (manufacturing execution systems) offerings with the acquisition of Interwave in 2003 and MESTECH Services in 2019. (16,17)
  • Rockwell’s move into advanced technologies with the acquisition of vMonitor in 2013, Jacobs Automation in 2014, Odos Imaging Limited in 2017, Emulate3D in 2019, and AvNet in 2020. (18)

Download a high-quality PDF version of this Infographic below.

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(1)https://archive.org/stream/roboticsage198512/Robotics%20Age%201985-12_djvu.tex

(2) nytimes.com/1986/09/09/business/company-news-rockwell-to-buy-electronics-corp.html

(3)https://www.rockwellautomation.com/en_NA/detail.page?pagetitle=Acquisition-History&content_type=article&docid=5d454a2eec6562a62079d8491eecd8d9

(4) https://www.linkedin.com/in/luis-mitsuo-shimabukuro-b8b92214/?originalSubdomain=br  

(5)https://www.electricalmarketing.com/mag/article/20907515/rockwell-automation-to-sell-reliance-electric-to-baldor-electric

(6)https://mafiadoc.com/history-of-control-history-of-plc-and-dcs-automatic-control_5a0c834c1723ddca90becc74.html

(7)https://www.rockwellautomation.com/en_NA/detail.page?pagetitle=Acquisition-History&content_type=article&docid=5d454a2eec6562a62079d8491eecd8d9

(8) https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1996-04-09-fi-56608-story.html 

(9)https://www.controleng.com/articles/rockwell-purchasing-parts-of-dynapro-software/#:~:text=a%20potential%20competitor.-,Rockwell%20Automation%20agreed%20to%20buy%20portions%20of%20Dynapro%20(Vancouver%2C%20British,%2C%20Canada)%20on%20March%204.

(10) https://drivesncontrols.com/news/archivestory.php/aid/517/.html

(11)https://mafiadoc.com/history-of-control-history-of-plc-and-dcs-automatic-control_5a0c834c1723ddca90becc74.html, figure 21

(12)https://www.reliableplant.com/Read/1473/rockwell-automation-to-acquire-german-software-company

(13)https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080422005859/en/Rockwell-Automation-Acquire-Incuity-Software

(14)https://www.electricalmarketing.com/mergers-acquisitions/article/20911906/rockwell-automation-acquires-automation-control-products ACP 

(15)https://drivesncontrols.com/news/archivestory.php/aid/1471/Rockwell_merges_Electro-Craft_with_Allen-Bradley.html

(16)https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2003/02/03/daily2.html

(17)https://www.bloomberg.com/press-releases/2019-10-01/rockwell-automation-acquires-mestech-services

(18)https://www.rockwellautomation.com/en_NA/detail.page?pagetitle=Acquisition-History&content_type=article&docid=5d454a2eec6562a62079d8491eecd8d9