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July 29, 2017

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Delta buys Unicom to advance smart factories

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Delta Electronics (台達電), a provider of power management solutions, will acquire a 100 percent stake in industrial software provider Unicom (羽冠) for NT$351 million (US$10.9 million).

In a bid to speed up its smart manufacturing operations, Delta Electronics' board of directors agreed on Friday to acquire Unicom — merging the leading Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) software provider into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta.

Unicom, which specializes in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), has been providing solutions to streamline factory management and equipment monitoring for almost 20 years.

Delta Electronics chief executive officer Cheng Ping (鄭平) said with the arrival of the internet of things, manufacturers must move towards smart production to adapt to changing market demands.

The development of core technologies and systems for smart manufacturing requires cross-disciplinary cooperation to speed up the transition and seize market opportunities, Cheng said.

Cheng said that by combining Delta's strengths in automation, hardware and software design with Unicom's client base and technological capabilities, they could cut down Delta's research costs and help provide a more comprehensive set of industrial automation services.

Unicom could also strengthen its position in the local market through Delta Electronics' brand and distribution channels, Cheng said.

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Delta is aiming to establish a greater presence in the higher tiers of the automation market, such as machine-to-machine communications systems that minimize the need for human intervention.

"We are aiming to establish the company as a leader of industrial automation as we have done with power-supply units," Cheng previously said.

The global market for industrial automation was estimated at about US$200 billion per year, Cheng said.

Delta recently showcased its newest developments in robotic workstation solutions and advanced smart factory solutions, which transmit data to the cloud via industrial 3G routers that allow for monitoring and visualization, smart scheduling and remote management.

"Delta is poised to realize a future of green and intelligent manufacturing," Cheng said.

In October, Delta chairman Yency Hai (海英俊) said the firm predicted three areas as the largest drivers of growth in 2017 — automotive applications for artificial intelligence, industrial automation and the data center market.

Hai said automotive electronics is a major strategic area of focus for the Delta, saying that U.S. electric vehicle maker Tesla's latest quarterly revenue report was an "encouraging" indicator of the promising growth potential for electric cars.

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