Just after the July acquisition of GE Industrial Systems, B&D Technologies has been inundated with dozens of calls per week inquiring about where products can be obtained. While we strive to always have ample products and answers, there is no straight or simple answer here.  This is what we know:

  • There are a lot of smart people at GE and GE’s existing channel.
  • B&D Technologies has partnerships with several parts of the GE channel but is not an official distributor. We’ve retrofit new and vintage GE MCCs with ABB drives and soft-starters.
  • In our Design and Build Laboratory, we’ve modified switch gears and other GE hardware for specific customer requirements.
  • Moving forward, everyone is excited about the opportunities with ABB and GE.

We can assume that since ABB is the largest VFD manufacturer in the world, at some point the GE drive, that looks very similar to the Danfoss drive, will be going away. And we can assume that much of the similar (duplicated) products will be melded into the ABB’s offering like contactors, starters, etc. But who knows, there may be a need for both. After working with ABB for over two decades, we have seen a migration towards a homogenous offering more often than not. I think I have been through eighteen acquisitions over the years that have affected me in one way or another.

Additional Considerations

From a cultural standpoint, I believe the new GE folks will realize that ABB is serious about safety and responsibility. In the early 90’s,  I became more familiar with ABB and Percy Barnevik after I hooked up my first ABB drive, the Micro-star, and wondered how ABB became a company with sustainability at its inception with the merger of Asea and BBC in ‘89. It was also interesting to read in 1992, that Barnevik and Schmidheiny went to the Earth Summit in Rio, and immediately created ISO 14001. ABB was the first organization to voluntarily certify and publish their sustainability data annually.

It wasn’t until 2001, when Jorgen Centerman introduced the Triple Bottom Line (TBL), that ABB had 98% of all ABB manufacturing plants compliant with ISO 14001.  The TBL refers to John Elkington’s (2004) definition of corporations following the balance of economic, social and environmental values for greater business success.

Last Words

From B&D’s perspective, we are working on not just a corporate responsibility program but ethical guidelines with respect to automation and artificial intelligence (AI). We hope that ABB and GE will continue on the same trajectory— establishing ABB as not just a technical giant, but also a sustainable one.  Because of our similar cultures, this is is another reason why B&D Technologies has such a strong relationship with ABB. We look forward to similarly working with GE in all capacities.

C.Tolbert  — VP Engineering