Canadian Packaging

Adept eyes a bigger slice of the global food business

Adept Technology tables US$4.3-million offer for Danish manufacturer of automation systems for organic foods processing and handling


January 7, 2011
George Guidoni

PLEASANTON, Ca. – Adept Technology, Inc., manufacturer and developer  of machine vision-controlled robotic systems for packaging, material handling and other industrial applications, has reached an agreement to acquire InMoTx—a leading supplier of automated inspecting, sorting, grading and packaging systems and technologies for the organic foods processing market based in Denmark—in a cash-and-stock transaction estimated at about US$4.3 million.

Adept Technology president John Dulchinos says the acquisition—expected to be formalized this month pending customary closing conditions—will extend the company’s presence in the fast-growing, global marketplace for natural and organic foods with a vastly expanded portfolio of technologies designed to reduce or eliminate the risks of product contamination related to manual handling, complemented by a well-established industry network and applications experience.

“With this acquisition Adept continues to execute on its mission to deliver exceptional value to clients requiring superior levels of flexibility, cleanliness and robustness from primary packaging automation,” says Dulchinos.

“This transaction furthers Adept’s strategy to more efficiently transport goods, particularly those in regulated industries, throughout a facility by strengthening the company’s ability to automate the handling of products safely and reliably, while also offering traceability.”

Dulchinos says the acquisition will compliments the company’s recent introductions of both the Adept PAC and USDA-approved Adept Quattro robotic systems in expanding Adept’s automation presence in meat processing (poultry, fish and red meats) industry—estimated to represent installation  opportunities of over 75,000 processing lines—with new “unmatched expertise in rapid development of flexible tooling and inspection solutions for the handling of natural products.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the North American food manufacturing industry was estimated to have shipped over US$538 billion worth of product in 2006, while employing nearly 1.5 million people. And while the industry’s output is expected to increase by 27 per cent by 2006, the Bureau does not expect any significant growth in the industry’s staffing levels during the period, as more processor turn to automation to control costs, as well as to ensure better food safety compliance.

Under the terms of the deal, InMoTx founder and chief technology officer Preben Hjornet will be granted up to 100,000 shares of Adept (www.adept.com) common stock contingent on his continued employment with Adept for three years following the acquisition, while his company’s U.S.-based operations will be integrated into Adept’s Fullerton headquarters and its engineering and service staff will be offered employment at Adept facilities in Fullerton, Singapore and Dortmund, Germany.

Says Hjornet: “Becoming a part of Adept’s exacting pursuit of the high-speed packaging market and leveraging their resources and international support infrastructure along with tighter integration of our engineering teams, will accelerate the adoption of InMoTx’ technology and deep portfolio of products dedicated to the handling of natural products. In evaluating numerous vehicles to accelerate the expansion of our business, it was immediately apparent that Adept and InMoTx exhibit synergies across the businesses and cultures of strong customer focus.”