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Kaman Expands Electrical

Kaman Industrial Technologies (KIT), Bloomfield, Conn., continued its quest to build a more complete package of products and services for the industrial market with the acquisition of Zeller Corp., a distributor based in Rochester, N.Y.

Zeller began life as a broad-line electrical distributor, but developed a specialty in industrial services over the years. In addition to Zeller Electric it has four other business units — Zynergy Solutions (machine vision and automated inspection systems), VSG Enviromation (process control, industrial water and wastewater), WAJA Associates (power distribution and monitoring) and RC Controls (motion control consulting).

Zeller is a premier Schneider Electric distribution partner, and other lines include Kollmorgen, Phoenix Contact, Rittal and Sick. Zeller employs 240 people and has operations in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo, N.Y.; Foxboro, Mass.; and Winston-Salem, N.C. Zeller expects to do roughly $80 million in sales this year.

KIT is a unit of Kaman Corp., a diversified company with $1.5 billion in 2011 sales and a separate unit doing manufacturing and subcontracting in the aerospace market. Kaman entered the industrial distribution business in 1971 and developed primarily in the bearings and transmission products space, but made large waves in the electrical automation market two years ago when it acquired motion control giant Minarik, Glendale, Calif.

The addition of Zeller brings substantial technical expertise in areas Kaman was seeking to expand, Steve Smidler, president of KIT, told Electrical Wholesaling. With about 60 engineers on staff, Zeller's services unit, which Smidler said accounts for about 60% of its business, offers technical services such as PLC and automation programming.

“We like what Zeller brings us from a services perspective,” Smidler said. “It's very complementary to our base KIT MRO strategy. A lot of our customers are looking for productivity and cost savings from a manufacturing-plant perspective, and to a large degree we were limited in and around the mechanical side, a little on the motors, DC and AC drives, but we were not in any kind of power distribution and advanced control and even somewhat limited in what we offered for automation.”

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