Originally published by EME Outlook Magazine
Burke Porter Group's intriguing approach to industry progression is not to become inventors, but to closely follow trends and disruptions to the market to ready themselves for forthcoming advancements.
In order to achieve this, the group has accomplished strategic acquisitions before integrating these companies to become active leaders in new high-growth niches. This creates extensive and sustainable growth opportunities for the future of the Company, while maintaining a strong market-leading position in the automotive industry.
As part of the Burke Porter Group, BEP Europe (BEPE) works together with other companies within the group to build intelligent machines for automotive, life science and advanced manufacturing markets. Until 2009, BEPE focused exclusively on end-of-line test installations for automotive assembly plants, with some of its biggest customers including PSA and the VW Group.
“Today our position in the market is a far more diverse one, although end-of-line tests still remain our main revenue generator,” begins Ward Van de Walle, Chief Technology Officer at Burke Porter Group. “Alongside BEP Europe’s original customers, the larger group now works with the likes of BMW, Mercedes, Fiat and JLR, offering full vehicle end-of-line testing, axle testing and component testing.”
In addition to its automotive test installations, BEP Europe is skilled in the development of new machine technology. The majority of its R&D work in recent years was based on the Organic Rankine Cycle - converting waste heat into electricity - with these machines commercialised under the brand name, E-Rational as part of its constantly developing portfolio.
As previously mentioned, Burke Porter Group (BPG) focuses its energy on both organic growth and growth through company acquisitions. The past two years has seen the acquisition of six companies, including Universal Balancing, CIMAT, Epic Equipiment, Kleinknecht, Korvis and Lismar, all of which have brought new product lines and technologies to the company.
“For our automotive business line, we have invested in new product development with a main focus on autonomous driving, the electrification of powertrain in cars and NVH testing,” explains Van de Walle. “There are vast amounts of disruptions today that are driven solely by technology and that is a factor that we are attempting to tackle in our work.”
Recently this work has included real-time sensor feedback, specifically the inspection and calibration of Driver Aid Systems, which is fueling the autonomous revolution with innovations including driverless cars, trucks, drones and auto-piloted planes. There is a huge margin for growth in intelligent sensors and driver assistance systems, providing BEP with more opportunities for end-of-line testing.
“The demand for autonomous innovation is also supported by the ever-thinning line between robots and humans,” continues Van de Walle. “Robots are becoming more intelligent, sensitive and collaborative. With such rapid development, humans are increasingly better equipped to live alongside them.”