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Regal Rexnord acquires Altra Industrial Motion

Regal Rexnord has acquired Altra Industrial Motion. ABHR learns what the move will mean for the Australian bulk handling industry.

In 1980, James L. Packard and Henry W. Knueppel joined an American tool manufacturing business and kicked off an aggressive acquisition strategy to expand the business.

The move turned out to be a major success, as sales grew from about $40 million to around $756 million by the end of 2004.

This company, which would eventually become known as Regal Rexnord, has grown into a global powertrain and motion control solutions provider with more than 36,000 associated staff. 

In March, the company acquired Altra Industrial Motion, an international industrial automation and power transmission business. The combined company aims to provide improved service capability, technology content and domain expertise.

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Altra Motion Australia managing director Junior Eltagonde told ABHR that while the acquisition opens Altra up to new possibilities, with an exciting future ahead for the combined power transmission capabilities of the expanded company, for now “it is business as usual”.

“We still need to be focused on what we do well, and what we do well in Australia right now is brakes and clutches,” he said. “It’s important as an organisation that we don’t lose that focus. As you get bigger, if you get too distracted by other things, you lose your focus. 

“From a strategy point of view, Regal Rexnord has really left us to continue on our growth initiatives and ensuring that we keep supporting and looking after our customers.

“Down the line, there’s obviously some synergies that we can work on with our sister companies; however, particularly for us, we’re very much business as usual and Regal Rexnord has really given us the autonomy to continue doing what we do best.”

Altra Motion designs and manufactures a wide range of highly engineered motion control, automation and power transmission solutions across its 26 brands, including Svendborg Brakes, Twiflex, Marland Clutch, Wichita Clutch, Industrial Clutch, and Stieber.

It also brings with it a strong Australian client base, with customers throughout the bulk handling sector.

Eltagonde said the culture of both Regal Rexnord and Altra Motion has a strong focus on respecting and supporting its people to ensure employees get the best out of themselves and their colleagues.

“Regal Rexnord’s focus right now is about promoting within, utilising our talents within the organisation and putting strategies in place where we can capture all our peoples’ credentials and backgrounds in the one system,” he said. 

“As roles continue to open up within the organisation, the focus will be to develop within our own business and recognise those who are excelling in their field.”

Altra Motion Australia has facilities across the country, in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Mackay and Newcastle. From these branches, the company can quickly respond to the needs of the local industry with key bulk handling componentry. 

Mackay and Newcastle in particular are key locations, as they are located near the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley regions – key hubs of mining activity.

Eltagonde said one of Altra Motion’s key business streams in the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley is providing brakes and clutches to the dragline industry.

“In Mackay and Newcastle, we’re a key partner for companies operating draglines and shovels,” he said. “This is through our brands Wichita Clutch, Industrial Clutch and Twiflex, where we offer the products and local service, engineering and sales capabilities to support this equipment.”

New technologies

Altra Motion is always looking to improve upon its existing technologies through its research and development team.

Altra Motion Australia national sales manager Rex Sinclair said the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a company focus for a few years.

“IoT has enabled us to assist our customers in monitoring their equipment out in the field,” Sinclair said. “The data is stored in a cloud, can be readily accessed by the customer, and helps them with predictive maintenance.

“We also have the Svendborg UC Case, which is a portable IoT device that assists with commissioning, servicing or troubleshooting braking systems.

“Let’s say a customer needs to troubleshoot from a remote mine site, we can send the case to site or have an Altra Motion technician take it to site. The customer can connect up to the system and we can troubleshoot from there.”

Both companies will be operating business as usual following the acquisition. Altra Motion plans to continue offering the power transmission solutions to the Australian market as further opportunities to grow emerge. 

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