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By Beth Bacheldor

Pepperl+Fuchs Buys ecom instruments, a Provider of RFID Devices for Hazardous Areas

Pepperl+Fuchs, a German manufacturer specializing in process automation and applications, has purchased ecom instruments, a Germany-based maker of handheld RFID readers and other handheld devices designed specifically for hazardous areas. The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed.

According to Pepperl+Fuchs, the purchase expands its product offerings, enabling the company to accelerate the rate of new developments in technology and products well into the future. Among ecom instruments' product line are intrinsically safe bar-code scanners and RFID readers designed for highly explosive areas, such as oil wells and chemical refineries, where a very small spark inside electronics could ignite an explosion from fumes or dust. Pepperl+Fuchs also specializes in equipment that is safe to use in these environments, and ecom instruments' RFID readers will be added to that mix. A Pepperl+Fuchs spokesperson reports that there are plans to continue to develop additional products and technologies from the merger, though he adds that the specific RFID products involved have not yet been determined.

Many of the products from ecom are rated for Zone 1/21, Division 1 hazardous areas or Zone 2/22, Division 2 areas. Additional products include PDAs, cameras and beacons. These are suitable solutions for chemical and petrochemical process automation, the firm reports, as well as the pharmaceutical industry, oil and gas exploration, mining and energy, and environmental technologies.

Ecom instruments has maintained a presence in Germany, the United States, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Pepperl+Fuchs' global headquarters is located in Mannheim, with a North American base in Twinsburg, Ohio. Any potential changes to ecom's global footprint have yet to be determined.

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