Siemens is set to acquire KACO new energy to enhance its manufacturing capabilities
Siemens has announced its plans to acquire the string inverter business of KACO new energy GmbH, one of the leading manufacturers of energy-related power electronics.
Headquartered in Neckarsulm, Germany, KACO new energy is situated in more than nine countries with local sales and service companies. Its product line covers the full power range, from inverter units designed for a family home, commercial buildings and infrastructures to complete systems for solar parks producing megawatts of electricity.
The company places an emphasis on the fastest growing segments of string inverters for solar and storage applications, up to 1500V and using the latest semi-conductors. Developing next generation inverter technology based on silicon carbide (SiC), it leads the way in gaining best-in-class power density and superior thermal behaviour for installation in demanding environments.
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"With this acquisition, Siemens gains access to the latest technology, while KACO new energy will benefit from the resources required to scale up. Together, we will be able to apply the technology in exciting growth segments", explained Cedrik Neike, Managing Board Member of Siemens AG in a recent press release. With the complementary power electronics portfolio of KACO new energy, Siemens is strengthening its technological leadership in the high-growth fields of decentralised energy systems and is providing corresponding benefits to customers.
"Siemens is in a strong position to succeed in technology that supports the energy and mobility transition,” stated Jean-Christoph Heyne, Head of Siemens' new Future Grids business. “The acquisition of KACO new energy enhances our portfolio in attractive growth segments at the grid edge. Our new Smart Infrastructure Operating Company comes into operation on April 1, 2019 where our strengths in electrification and buildings will enable us to thrive in the market and continue to expand in the areas of decentral energy, renewables, storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure."
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.