Logistics-automation equipment supplier Swisslog said today it has created a North American regional technology hub that will forge a single technology platform out of the material handling software that Swisslog gained in two recent acquisitions.
Under the realignment, Swisslog's Warehouse and Distribution Solutions division will create a regional "Software and Controls Hub" for the Americas, the company announced today. The hub will be based in Newport News, Va., the home of Swisslog's North American headquarters. Switzerland-based Swisslog is a unit of the German robotics firm Kuka Systems GmbH.
The new hub will coordinate a team of software developers and controls engineers currently working in Swisslog offices in Newport News; Mason, Ohio; Lathrop, Calif.; and Tlalnepantla, Mexico. The group will collaborate to integrate the software platforms acquired of Mason-based Forte Industries, which Swisslog acquired in April 2015, and Lathrop, Calif.,-based Power Automation Systems (PAS), acquired last April.
Swisslog's stated goal in acquiring the companies was to complement its expertise in high-end warehouse automation equipment by adding Forte's strength in midrange material handling and PAS' business in automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS). Swisslog now hopes to combine those different skill sets and create one common software platform that's specialized for North American users by adding region-specific functionality and market insight, the company said.
The new division will be lead by Michael Howes, a ten-year veteran of Swisslog's Forte Industries business unit and a specialist in warehouse execution software (WES), according to a statement from Markus Schmidt, senior vice president, Swisslog Warehouse and Distribution Solutions (WDS) Americas.
Howes will continue to work out of the company's Virginia office and take on the title of vice president, software and controls, of Swisslog WDS Americas, Swisslog said.