System integrator Optimation acquires Kodak engineering personnel

Feb. 16, 2007
The deal includes 160 Kodak employees, including 30 design engineers and 46 instrumentation technicians.

Optimation Industrial Services, a subsidiary of Optimation Technology, has signed an agreement to purchase the capital engineering, capitalized maintenance and construction units of Kodak’s Global Manufacturing Technology Organization.

“All of Kodak’s central engineering, maintenance and construction groups were transitioned,” says Bill Pollock, president of Optimation. “This includes the process and machine design groups, as well as the automation group. Automation engineers who worked directly for a manufacturing department were not included, nor were corporate engineers in product design functions.” Optimation will also acquire equipment and facilities in the deal.

Optimation plans to hire approximately 160 Kodak employees, including 30 engineers from the central engineering design group and 46 electrical and instrumentation technicians. All transitioned employees will receive credit from Optimation for years of service with Kodak.

The engineering group will be relocated to the Optimation engineering offices. The maintenance and construction groups will remain at client sites. Three shops providing panel fabrication, heavy equipment fabrication such as assembly and skid building, and a sheet metal shop were also relocated off of the Kodak site.

“We’re very pleased that this agreement offers the prospect for enhanced employment stability for our employees,” said Terry Taber, general manager of the Global Manufacturing Technology Organization for Kodak. “This agreement provides operating flexibility for Kodak, an essential characteristic for our future success.” 

The deal also includes provision of services to Kodak. “We have an exclusive contract to provide Kodak with the services previously provided by these acquired groups and, therefore, an obligation to keep adequate resources to meet the needs of Kodak’s capital and maintenance programs,” according to Pollock.

Optimation gives its take on Kodak’s rationale for the deal. “Kodak is attempting to reduce fixed costs and is divesting many parts of its organization to suppliers. Because of termination benefits that must be paid to employees, it is more practical for them to divest themselves of a division than it is to simply terminate the employees,” reports Pollock.

Optimation designs automated processes and machines systems for the manufacturing industries.  Optimation has headquarters in Rush, N.Y., and has served Kodak for 22 years.

Kodak may lose some of its competitive edge because there are no restrictions attached to the deal. “Optimation views the acquired group as a world leader with important knowledge of design and construction for chemical plants and coating machines. These acquired capabilities will be marketed aggressively to gain full value for the cost incurred in the purchase of the group,” concludes Pollock.