Honeywell completes Matrikon acquisition

07/07/2010


Norm Gilsdorf addresses the Honeywell User Group.Honeywell has completed its acquisition of Matrikon, the Edmonton, Canada-based manufacturing technology company. Most of Matrikon’s capabilities will be placed under HPS’s (Honeywell Process Solutions) Advanced Solutions area, but the Matrikon OPC business will continue to operate as a stand-alone unit serving its traditional industries and retaining its name. The final acquisition price announced was US$139 million.

Matrikon specializes in technology to manage production, optimize operations, and monitor assets at industrial plants, including oil and gas, refining, energy, power, and mining operations. “With the breadth and reach of Honeywell, we expect the Matrikon technology will continue to evolve more broadly to support our goal of creating technology that drives industrial performance,” says Nizar J. Somji, president and CEO of Matrikon. “Honeywell adds stability, a broader technology and solution base, global reach, and new applications.”

At first look, it would seem that the two companies sell to very similar markets and offer similar products, so where does HPS hope to gain new advantages? “Matrikon has a lot we don’t have, and in the areas where they do have something similar [to HPS] they approach it differently than we do,” says Norm Gilsdorf, HPS president. “For example, say the area of alarm management. We have alarm management that is linked to our control system and it goes in as part of projects on a unit by unit basis. Matrikon has alarm management which looks at the entire enterprise and is agnostic to vendors, systems, suppliers, package vendors, and whatever. They can pull it all together across the entire system. Matrikon should enable us to do it more efficiently and effectively.”

Gilsdorf sees the need for improving products and services that fill a growing demand for fully-integrated enterprise-wide systems. “There are a lot of sites today that have multiple vendors and the customers don’t want to rip out everybody and make it all common, but they want all the parts to be speaking to each other, be integrated, and working together,” he says. “We feel it’s important that we can provide a service to bring all that together without having to tell the customer, ‘You’ve got to get rid of these other four systems because they can’t talk at the next layer up.’ When you look at some of the emerging markets in the world, the Middle East in particular, customers want a more integrated approach right from the get-go. They’re skipping the conservative ‘let’s do this in stages,’ steps that exist in some parts of the world, and want to integrate it early on. We’re finding that if you start with an integrated solution, you’ll stick with it and it’s much better than point solutions.”

Honeywell has also been developing its services for system integrators and its own capabilities as an integrator. Gilsdorf says this purchase fits into that larger endeavor: “Matrikon started out as a system integrator, so they’ve got the culture of understanding how they work. In some parts of the world, they still act today to some extent as an integrator. That will help us better understand that approach and mentality—what it takes to work with and support integrators.”

--Peter Welander, Control Engineering

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