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Acquisition broadens product line for TA Instruments

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NEW CASTLE, Del.—TA Instruments is expanding its optical dilatometer line with the acquisition of Expert System Solutions S.r.L.

ESS offers products that operate over a wide temperature range and can characterize metals, ceramics, glasses and other organic and inorganic materials. The firm is based in Modena, Italy.

Financial terms of the deal were not released, but TA Instruments will keep the Modena manufacturing facility open. All employees are remaining with the new organization, according to Dave Bohnsack, marketing manager at TA Instruments. He said nearly 20 employees work out of that facility.

TA Instruments employs more than 500 worldwide with operations in Utah, Massachusetts, Germany and Italy, and is headquartered in New Castle. Its facility in Linden, Utah, houses research and development and manufacturing operations for the Life Sciences industry.

ESS' products will fold into the TA Instruments product line immediately, and the brand will evolve over time as ESS still has strong equity in the market, Bohnsack said. Target markets for the company's full product line include the materials science, chemical, pharmaceutical and personal consumer care industries.

The ESS acquisition was the culmination of several months of discussions between the organizations, Bohnsack said. He added that TA Instruments is not in a “concerted mode” of acquisitions despite the recent activity.

“Where there is a good fit we will pursue it, but it's not an ongoing strategy,” he said.

TA Instruments President Terry Kelly said in a statement that the addition of the ESS product line positions his company as the only one in the world capable of such a wide range of dilatometer systems for measuring dimensional changes in materials. “The patented systems from ESS and their deep applications expertise complement our existing line ... and will bring exciting new capabilities to our customer's laboratories.”

ESS is TA Instrument's third acquisition in the last seven months. In January, the firm acquired LaserComp Inc., a privately held company that manufactures thermal conductivity test instruments in Massachusetts. LaserComp's heat flow meters and guarded hot plate systems are capable of measuring thermal conductivity on a wide range of samples over a broad temperature range. Its products are used routinely to perform tests that meet many ASTM, ISO and EN standards in laboratory and production environments.

In September, the company acquired Scarabaeus Mess-und Produktionstechnik GmbH, a privately held German manufacturer of instrumentation and software for physical property measurements of rubber and rubber processing.

“As a company, we're always aware of complementary technologies that are in our space and the acquisition of ESS as a manufacturing and development facility was a good fit,” Bohnsack said. “Optical dilatometry is a new and emerging field that is seeing tremendous growth. This acquisition helps to keep us at the forefront of this industry.”

TA Instruments is a subsidiary of Waters Corp., a global manufacturer of analytical instruments with offices and facilities in more than 25 countries. The firm said all of its hardware and software products are designed, tested and manufactured to ISO 9002 standards.