Changes Occur Among German Instrumentation Companies

Late last year, instrumentation companies around the world began consolidating at the speed of light, or so it seemed if you happened to be following the announcements.  Most of the action occurred in Germany.  In December 2012, Konica Minolta Optics (KMOP) in Japan announced that it had bought Instrument Systems, a lighting, LED, and display metrology company with facilities in Munich and Berlin, for an undisclosed sum.  In January 2013, Instrument Systems disclosed that it had purchased all development and production rights from autronic–Melchers in the previous year.  autronic–Melchers is a display measurement systems company formerly based in Karlsruhe, Germany.  And in March, photometric test equipment maker Optronik Berlin announced that it had merged with parent company Instrument Systems.

In making the above moves, Instrument Systems, already an instrumentation leader, was seeking to expand its range of products into the measurement of lighting devices (that’s why Optronik, with its product range of goniometers, was acquired) and to expand its expertise and range of products in the area of measuring displays, which it did by acquiring the IP of autronic–Melchers’ DMS and ConoScope series of instruments).

KMOP, in turn, had begun reorganizing its optical businesses with the aim of evolving from a supplier of parts and components to limited industrial sectors into a group of business units focusing on growth markets.  The company’s recent acquisition of Instrument Systems should make KMOP a “power house” in the instrumentation industry, according to an e-mail interview with an industry source based in Germany.

Germany is still a power house on its own when it comes to instrumentation.  The light and color measurement industry in this country has a rich history.  Existing key companies include LMT Lichtmesstechnik Berlin GmbH, X-Rite (which had already acquired Optronik GmbH, retaining the color measurement IP and selling the light measurement part to Instrument Systems), BYK-Gardner, and, of course, Instrument Systems/KMOP.

In terms of ongoing operations, Instrument Systems, which employs 131 people and has R&D, production, and sales facilities in Munich and Berlin, will retain its own brand following the merger.  Existing president and CEO Richard Distl, who started Instrument Systems 26 years ago, will remain with the company.  autronic-Melchers GmbH has closed its operations in Karlsruhe.  The Optronik location in Berlin will be retained, with all the employees working as a team of experts specializing in goniophotometry and in equipping turnkey photometric laboratories.

–Jenny Donelan