Innovating the Future

Written by Robert Hoshowsky

From industrial automation product distribution to engineering design and integration support, the team at iAutomation strives to bring customers innovative technologies and services that are second to none. Working with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and end users, iAutomation keeps growing to best serve clients from Maine to Florida.

iAutomation is expanding both organically and through strategic acquisitions. In 2017, private equity Saw Mill Capital acquired iAutomation – which includes Action Automation, Automation Solutions, Integrated Motion, Piedmont Automation and other brands – taking the company to the next level.

Continuing to expand its portfolio of automation businesses, in December 2020 Saw Mill acquired Florida-based RND Automation, a company which engineers, designs, and manufactures equipment used in robotic packaging, assembly and automation.

“We are excited to now have a formal partnership in place in the Saw Mill family that will allow us to leverage our combined capabilities and build expertise in all three of the critical industrial automation disciplines: motion control, vision, and robotics,” said iAutomation’s Chief Executive Officer Gregg Holst in a media release. “Together we will be able to deliver best in class capabilities and services to our respective customer bases and beyond.”

Best in class
The President of RND Automation, Sean Dotson, was equally enthusiastic about the new business relationship and its potential. “We have been partnering with Saw Mill’s portfolio company, iAutomation, for the last couple of years and are impressed by the expansive enterprise Gregg Holst, CEO of iAutomation, and his team have built with Saw Mill.”

For Michael Rainville, iAutomation’s Director of Strategic Projects and Marketing, the recent acquisition represents the company’s tremendous relationship with ownership group Saw Mill Capital as it welcomes another company to the iAutomation group.

“In addition to giving us geographic expansion in the southeast, they are outstanding in the packaging, robotics and vision space,” he says. “We are very excited to have this talented employee base as part of the family. We are always evaluating companies and searching for organizations that will help round us out.

“The emphasis will continue to focus on portfolio expansion, geographic expansion, and capabilities expansion.”

With eight years at the company, Rainville has been a part of the company’s growth, which is planned to continue over the next three years and beyond.

This will see the company expand organically and through acquisition, increasing its revenue and number of employees, while remaining true to its roots and providing customers with a competitive advantage.

As a distributor, the company must observe territory restrictions; as an integrator, iAutomation can operate without boundaries, and has worked with companies across the United States and worldwide.

“We’re always going to be that high-tech, value-add distributor,” says Rainville, “and are really expanding our engineering and integration capabilities right now.”

Expanding capabilities
This need for increased robotics and vision-type capabilities led to the acquisition of Florida’s RND Automation. “In addition, the iAutomation side of the business with distribution and electrical control-panel building is also growing, so we are always looking for acquisitions in that area. It’s an exciting time.”

Since 1985, the pros at iAutomation have worked with clients across America, transforming their visions into reality. Designing and delivering unique products and services to the marketplace, iAutomation’s proven solutions helps clients to focus on improving core competencies and operational efficiencies.

And with two offices in the northeast located in North Attleboro, MA and Franklin, MA along with two in the southeast located in High Point, NC and Lakewood Ranch, FL, the company’s skilled staff help clients – many of them in packaging, semi-conductor, warehouse automation, pharma, food and beverage, and robotics – make the perfect automation choice for their project.

Together with the distribution, integration and engineering services it provides, iAutomation also carries products from leading industry manufacturers, including ABB, B&R, Festo, Banner, Balluff, Weidmuller, Rittal, Kollmorgen and Apex, to name a few.

From actuators and stages to enclosures, feedback devices to motion control, pneumatics to robotics, the company supplies everything customers need to take charge of their automation destiny.

And through its monthly MVP Program, iAutomation showcases dynamic new products and innovations from some of the world’s most respected suppliers in industrial automation markets.

Creating opportunities
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to every business, it has provided opportunities for growth for both iAutomation and its customers.

While lockdowns forced in-person businesses to shutter, they spurred a dramatic spike in online purchasing, and increasing emphasis on same day or next day delivery. This resulted in a spike in greater demand for warehousing, automation, logistics, and related services.

“That full warehouse-automation space is expanding very quickly,” says Rainville, “and we are heavily involved in that, whether it be the engineering or the assembly side. We are 100 percent engaged with companies operating in this space… we see this growth continuing for five-plus years, and we will continue to offer our assembly, manufacturing, and engineering/integration services. It’s an exciting time. Everyone needs automation right now, and it’s right in our wheelhouse.”

As for many companies, finding workers has presented challenges. Despite this, over 100 new hires came on-board at iAutomation and RND Automation in 2021.

Now at over 200 employees up and down the east coast, the company has staff covering many disciplines including electrical, mechanical and software engineers who are experts in the motion, vision and robotics sectors, along with industry veterans leading the electronic-tech and assembly-tech teams. Over the past few years, the company has strengthened its engineering services offerings both organically and through acquisition, especially in the areas of robotics and vision.

A team of automation experts with over 500 years of combined automation know-how is dedicated to ensuring clients get the latest technology, solutions, and service – just some reasons customers keep coming back to iAutomation.

Whenever possible, the company gets involved in the design stage when planning fit and function. This can entail recommending a particular component, brainstorming the machine or panel layout, or assembling the full machine.

“The earlier the better, but we want to assist our customers in any capacity they require,” says Rainville. “If we happen to miss the window of designing the customer’s machine, we also work tirelessly helping them revamp for speed, efficiency, and more.”

With the goal of acquiring additional companies in strategic locations across the U.S., iAutomation strives to become the best high-tech value-add distributor with engineering and integration capabilities in America. “We are looking to evolve ourselves into the hybrid distributor that OEMs and EUs need if they are to effectively increase their success in this ever-changing marketplace.”



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