Schneider Electric Purchases Hyde Park Electronics

PALATINE, Ill. –– Schneider Electric has announced the acquisition of Hyde Park Electronics, North American leader in ultrasonic sensor technology. Hyde Park Electronics, Inc., is a family business located in Dayton, Ohio. The company, which was founded in 1963, generates sales of around EUR 6 million and employs 46 people.

In the late 1980s, Hyde Park developed ultrasonic sensor technology. These components are designed to capture and transmit electrical data concerning motion or the positioning of products on a machine. They incorporate a microprocessor and push-button to allow a customer to select a “window in space” in which objects may be detected through ultrasound.

Small and economical, ultrasonic sensors were rapidly successful and have moved into the industry market in food and beverage, automotive, microelectronics and paper manufacturing applications.

Strengthening our leadership in sensors

According to Mike Harley, leader of the Industry market in the North American Operating Division, “The acquisition of Hyde Park Electronics is a means for Schneider Electric to complete its wide range of sensors (photoelectric sensors, inductive and capacitive sensors) to offer a greater response to the needs of its customers and significantly strengthen its presence in the US industry market. Parallel to this, we are stepping up the launch of new automation products in order to speed up our organic growth.”

Via its worldwide network, Schneider Electric will distribute the technology developed by Hyde Park Electronics by selling these sensors under its Telemecanique brand name for automation and control products.

This acquisition underscores Schneider Electric’s intention to expand its product offering in the industrial sector and is in line with its external growth strategy.

The purchase terms were not disclosed.

Versatility in sensing

"Hyde Park essentially fathered the ultrasonic sensor technology beginning in the late 1980s, and has been at the forefront of developing smaller, more economical sensors for a rapidly increasing range of industrial applications," said David Sapp, vice president of business development for Schneider Electric's North American Operating Division.

Ultrasonic sensing technology applications are near universal, unlike inductive sensors that work only with ferrous and nonferrous metals. Although photoelectric and ultrasonic technologies have similar capabilities, photoelectric sensors have more difficulty sensing glass and other transparent objects.

Most traditional sensing technologies require that sensors be positioned very close to the objects being sensed, posing design difficulties in some production settings. Hyde Park was the first enterprise to develop an ultrasonic sensor that incorporates a microprocessor and push-button to allow a customer to select a "window in space" in which objects may be detected.

Ultrasonic sensors also keep operating in dusty environments and other surroundings where photoelectric sensors become obscured. Ultrasonics are also not affected by changing colors, clear objects or changing light conditions.

Hyde Park sensors today operate with piezoelectric technology to generate high frequency sound waves from 75 to 500 kilohertz, far above the range of hearing for humans and animals and unaffected by other ambient noise within manufacturing locations. Piezoelectric sensors offer greater accuracy and ruggedness versus ultrasonic sensors that generate sound waves with electrostatic transducers.

The company also leads in miniaturization. In 2000, the company introduced the world's first commercially available ultrasonic proximity sensor within a 12mm-diameter housing - less than the size of a dime. In 2002, Hyde Park introduced a flat profile design - aimed at improving on and replacing many current inductive sensor applications. The size of a large postage stamp and only 3/8" thick, it is the world's smallest commercially available ultrasonic proximity sensor.

Schneider Electric, with such leading international brands as MERLIN GERIN®, SQUARE D®, and TELEMECANIQUE®, provides electrical, industrial control and automation solutions for customers in the energy, buildings, industrial and infrastructure markets. Schneider Electric's 65,000 employees worldwide generated sales of approximately $8.3 billion in 2002 through 9,000 sales outlets in 130 countries. Visit Schneider at www.SquareD.com, www.schneiderautomation.com or www.schneider-electric.com.

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