Monday, March 2, 2009
Shedding noncore business units is a fairly common, though not overwhelmingly popular (see the latest CFO study by Prime Advantage) method of cutting costs and improving the bottom line. With the international markets fluctuating wildly and manufacturers bunkering down for the economic turmoil, Agilent and Orbotech have divested their automatic optical inspection (AOI) businesses.
This week, Orbotech announced a buyer for their legacy and current-generation AOI systems, choosing Orpro Services s.r.l. Agilent, having announced their divesture just in February 2009, has yet to name a partner, buyer, or other outlet for the AOI and automatic X-ray inspection (AXI) intellectual property (IP) they hold.
Companies outside of the inspection sector have made the change as well. Siemens reorganized its massive business structure, moving electronics assembly machines in with its Drive Technologies division, and moving machine vision to Microscan.
For assemblers and OEMs purchasing capital equipment, the key information is who will service my new, expensive system; where will spare parts, add-ons, and software updates come from; and what useable life can I now expect for the product? With Orbotech’s Orpro Services acquisition, the newly formed company, Orpro Vision, will handle all of these services and follow-ons. For Agilent, decisions are still in the future about where the inspection systems will end up and in what form. The company has provided a dedicated Website, www.agilent.com/find/inspection, for all questions from manufacturers.
Meredith Courtemanche, managing editor