Electromechanical / Motion Software

Keeping industry in motion

At Motion Industries, long and continuing history of acquisitions, growth and distributing automation solutions are closely tied to the best technology has to offer

By Dave Perkon, technical editor

Around 1998, "Keeping Industry in Motion" became the official slogan of Motion Industries. Many acquisitions were made in the 1980s and 1990s when Motion Industries expanded to 325 locations with more than $1 billion in sales. And its expansion continued.

Today, Motion Industries has more than 600 locations, including 15 distribution centers throughout North America, and serves more than 200,000 customers from a variety of industries. With more than $6.3 billion in annual sales, it's certainly a leading industrial-parts distributor of bearings, mechanical power transmission, electrical and industrial automation, hydraulic and industrial hose, hydraulic and pneumatic components, industrial products, safety products and material handling.

I asked Randy Breaux, president of Motion Industries, about the company and where he sees it going in the future. I sounds like Motion Industries will continue to expand where customer solutions and technology leads them.

It takes more than just a million parts to search to keep the customer happy. "Motion Industries is continually looking for ways to increase the value provided to our customers," says Breaux. "For years, customers have asked us for assistance with factory-floor automation problems. Through several recent acquisitions including Braas Company and Axis New England & New York, Motion Industries now has a solid foundation to offer automation solutions for a wide variety of plant-floor or machine-builder applications, which will operate as Mi Automation Solutions Group."

There are many technologies driving the product development of the manufacturers Motion Industries works with. "We work with the best of the best manufacturers in a variety of industries," says Breaux. Every Tier 1 manufacturer, always a key member of the supply chain, is developing some type of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) product to create additional value for the end customer. Motion Industries is focused on delivering the best IIoT solutions from its manufacturing partners and is developing a single-point-of-contact platform to do so. “We call our solution P2MRO, which stands for Predictive & Preventive Maintenance, Repair and Operations,” says Breaux. “Stay tuned for more on our P2MRO offerings in the very near future."

It sounds like the P2MRO platform is reaching out and touching devices on the plant floor now and will soon be providing the information needed to maintain and repair the machines and equipment. "The IIoT is a big part of our future business strategy as we partner with the best manufacturers in the bearings, power transmission, hydraulics, pneumatics and automation product categories," says Breaux. "There will be quite a bit of information out soon on this. Testing of the P2MRO platform is already underway, and we are extremely excited about the results thus far."

State of Technology Report: Motors, Drives and Motion

The development of software solutions have been moving along well. "We have not seen issues at this time related to the development of software," says Breaux. "The software solutions are available, but we are waiting for more of the hardware to be developed. This is particularly true with IIoT solutions."

There is a growing need for this new IIoT platform. "We believe that our customers will be hiring more industrial automation engineers in the future than they are today," says Breaux. "We will be, as well. These engineers will need to have knowledge of automation, hydraulics and pneumatics to appropriately apply the new products and understand the technologies that will be brought to market. For customers that do not have this expertise, Motion Industries will be able to provide services in these areas to assure their plants operate at the highest possible productivity."

Software will be making products better, faster and easier to use. "Many new products today and products of the future will have a software component to the product," says Breaux. "Application engineers will have to have knowledge and expertise in both mechanical, electrical and software to be as proficient as possible with the products being applied. That said, software is becoming much more intuitive, as is programming of the products being developed today."

We continually look for ways to improve the productivity of our customers or to help them reduce costs, continues Breaux. "Technology is the answer," he says. "Be it new products, automation or other services, this will be a big part of Motion’s growth strategy over the next five years. Our investments in IIoT will continue to ramp up as our manufacturing partners develop new IIoT products that provide additional value to our customer base. Quite simply, technology and innovation is the lifeblood of future growth."

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