Published in Breaking News

Burke Porter makes capital investment in California automation systems provider

BY MiBiz Staff Tuesday, June 19, 2018 09:02am

GRAND RAPIDS — A West Michigan industrial equipment manufacturer has made a capital investment in Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Grabit Inc., a provider of automation systems for soft goods manufacturers and warehouse logistics sectors.

According to a statement, the exclusive license agreement for Grabit’s intelligent electroadhesion robotics systems helps expand the advanced manufacturing capabilities in soft goods — including carbon fiber materials — for Grand Rapids-based Burke Porter Group. The agreement also includes an exclusive manufacturing licensing agreement for Grabit’s Stackit line of automated material stacking systems.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

“As consumer demand continues to drive changes to production, Grabit technology leverages the need for customization in intelligent automation and testing,” Burke Porter CEO David DeBoer said in a statement. “ This continues diversifying our solutions available on a global scale.”

Grabit President and CEO Greg Miller said the company will use the capital to fund the ongoing development of automation systems and machine learning software.

Other investors in Grabit include global firms like Samsung, Nike and electronics firm Brother.

For Burke Porter Group, the investment comes after two acquisitions of automation equipment companies. In April, Burke Porter acquired Belgium-based Van Hoecke Automation, a supplier of production automation for the food and automotive industries, as MiBiz previously reported. Earlier in the year, Burke Porter in January purchased testing stand manufacturer Titan Inc. of Sturtevant, Wis.-based.

Burke Porter Group formed after Grand Rapids-based Burke E. Porter Machinery Co., a supplier of dynamometers for the automotive industry, was sold in 2015 to Hong Kong-based China Everbright Ltd. for $90 million, as MiBiz exclusively reported at the time.

After the sale, the company has been actively acquiring other manufacturers to expand into new product lines in the automotive market and to diversify.

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