Columbus McKinnon Forms New Automation Division

Columbus McKinnon Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCO), a leading designer and manufacturer of motion control products, technologies, systems and services for material handling, today announced the formation of Columbus McKinnon Automation, a new division dedicated to expanding the Company’s automation product and service portfolio for its global customer base.

“The requirement for increased operational efficiency through streamlined production processes is paramount for our customers. Our technology-enabled automated material handling systems address this critical need,” said Mark Morelli, Chief Executive Officer. “We created a dedicated automation division to accelerate innovation in Intelligent Motion solutions that combine our skills as lifting specialists with the technology of our Magnetek brand to solve high-value lifting challenges in mission-critical applications.”

To lead the Company’s automation efforts, Peter Stipan has been appointed Global Director of Automation. Mr. Stipan served as the Director of Development for the Company’s Magnetek® brand power and motion control products and, prior to joining Magnetek, held previous positions in product development, technical marketing and sales at several major organizations, including Rockwell Automation and ABB. Mr. Stipan holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University and is a Six Sigma Black Belt.

Columbus McKinnon Automation will include project and product management; product and business development; and software, automation and applications engineering teams. The division will be based in the Company’s “Controls and Automation Center of Excellence” in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, located in the greater Milwaukee area.

“With the formation of our new Automation Division, we have a unique opportunity to work side by side with Channel Partners to improve the safety, productivity and uptime of our end customers’ facilities,” said Mr. Stipan. “I’m excited to drive this new dedicated focus on innovation through automation.”

As previously reported at Wire Rope Exchange, the Company’s most recent automation innovation is its Unified Industries brand ProPath™ Automated Workstation Crane. The ProPath system is unique to the material handling industry, combining lightweight Enclosed Track Aluminum (ETA) Rail and semi- or fully automated “smart” material handling solutions, including wireless communication, variable frequency drives, powered chain and wire rope hoists, positioning components, and diagnostics and analytics. The result is a revolutionary automated material handling solution that helps efficiently and precisely manage the flow of materials throughout a facility.

With the fully automated system, built-in intelligence via PLC controlled Magnetek variable frequency drives allows the ProPath to complete tasks with limited human interaction beyond initial setup. Customers benefit from accurate and repeatable processes, as well as reduced idle time and improved cycle times. Continuous analytics and diagnostics keep operators informed of system status at all times, allowing for planned maintenance to increase uptime.

The Company also recently introduced automated Fixed Location and Configurable No-Fly Zone Systems to improve the safety of operators and equipment by limiting the risk of collisions. No-fly zones refer to protected areas where normal crane operation is limited or entirely restricted. Depending on application needs, No-Fly Zone Systems may incorporate a variety of motion control products, including variable frequency drives, radio remote controls, limit switches, and sensors that designate locations where a crane is programmed to stop. Systems can enforce an initial no-fly zone where crane movement is prohibited, in addition to extending a warning zone where a slow speed limit is enforced.

To learn more about all of Columbus McKinnon’s automation and crane solutions products, call Columbus McKinnon Channel Services at 800-888-0985 or visit

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