Drives & Controls Magazine May 2023

SPRINT ELECTRIC, the Sussex-based manufacturer of DC drives, has secured investments totalling £2.5m to help it enter the AC VSD (variable-speed drives) market with a new range with regenerative capabilities, developed in conjunction with the University of Nottingham. £2m of the new investment is coming from venture capital trusts managed by the Foresight Group private equity business, with the remaining £500,000 coming from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), which is supported by the European Union via the European Regional Development Fund. Sprint has qualified for this regional funding because it has an r&d office in Nottingham. Sprint, based in Ford in West Sussex, will use the funding for the final development and commercialisation of the new VSDs, details of which are likely to be announced later this year. The DC drives market that Sprint currently addresses is worth an estimated £370m. The AC drives market is worth around £16bn, with regenerative drives constituting a small slice of this – but considerably larger than the DC drives market. Sprint will continue to serve the DC drives market and expects to be able to share some aspects of the new platform with its DC drives portfolio, which will benefit as a result. Sprint, founded in 1987, currently employs 18 people and had sales worth £3m in 2022. More than 80% of its production is exported to more than 75 countries. Working with Foresight, the company plans to use the new investment to expand its operations and drive growth. It is already looking to recruit extra staff. Sprint Electric has worked with the University of Nottingham on the new drives for several years as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership – the part grant-funded scheme that helps UK businesses to innovate using expertise from UK universities. As part of the investment arrangement, Tim Routsis, chairman and CEO of Cox Powertrain and former CEO of the Cosworth Group, is joining the Sprint Electric board as non-executive chair. His experience will help Sprint to expand with the hope of increasing its market share “significantly”. n NEWS May 2023 6 £2.5m investment will help Sprint to expand into AC drives p Emerson is buying National Instruments in a transaction that values NI at $8.2bn. The aim is to expand its activities to include test and measurement automation and to target high-growth markets. “With this expansion into test and measurement, Emerson will enhance its automation capabilities and gain a broader set of customers that relies on NI's solutions at critical points along the product development cycle,” says Emerson’s president and CEO, Lal Karsanbhai. In 2022, NI generated revenues worth $1.66bn. p Rubix UK has bought Bedfordbased Gapp Automation, which distributes automation and related systems in the UK and Ireland. The acquisition will extend Rubix’s activities into the electrical sector, alongside its existing mechanical businesses. Gapp will become part of the Rubix UK’s Motion, Control & Automation business. The Gapp team, including managing director Peter Walker and sales director Graham Goodge, will stay on, except for co-founder Jattinder Panesar, who will retire. Gapp has 10 employees, and generated sales worth around £4m during 2022. p Rockwell Automation, has formed a partnership with the Korean robot manufacturer Doosan Robotics and its parent Doosan Corporation, under which they will integrate their robot and controller technologies and develop new technologies for smart factories. Doosan will become a longterm robot supplier to Rockwell, while Rockwell will supply automation systems to Doosan. p Radwell International, the USheadquartered specialist in surplus and remanufactured industrial control systems, has bought the Blackburn automation repairs firm, Northern Industrial, for an undisclosed sum. Radwell says the move will improve efficiency and offer better value. Northern Industrial, which supplies new, reconditioned and obsolete parts and repair services to 146 countries, will operate as a division of Radwell. At the time of its acquisition, the 40-yearold company was employing more than 30 electronics engineers, and holding more than £10m of stock. p The automtion and controls distributor, the the Routeco Group, has acquired the Swiss firm Swibox Automation for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition will strengthern Routeco’s presence in EMEA, and complements its existing locations in the UK, Austria, Belgium and The Netherlands. Swibox was previously part of Swibox AG which manufactures enclosures and produces stainless-steel equipment for pharmaceutical and food applications. NEWS BRIEFS Sprint Electric directors Gary Keen and Mark Gardiner: expanding into AC drives The inaugural Talking Industry Live event held last month at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry attracted an enthusiastic crowd who were treated to more than 16 hours of content in the form of keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and seminars delivered by more than 20 experts. There were also more than 20 companies and organisations on hand to discuss their products and services with the delegates. Podcast recordings of the panel discussions will be available on demand from Talking Industry Live will return in Spring 2024 and will build on the foundations laid by the inaugural event.