Discrete Automation and Motion Division


The Discrete Automation and Motion division provides products, solutions and related services that increase industrial productivity and energy efficiency. Our key products such as motors, generators, drives, power electronics and robotics provide power, motion and control for a wide range of automation applications. The leading position in wind generators and a growing offering in solar complement the industrial focus, leveraging joint technology, channels and operations platforms.

Revenues are generated both from direct sales to end-users as well as from indirect sales through distributors, machine builders, system integrators, and panel builders.

The Discrete Automation and Motion division had approximately 29,100 employees as of December 31, 2016, and generated $8.7 billion of revenues in 2016.

Products and Services

The businesses of the Discrete Automation and Motion division are more fully described below.

The Robotics business offers robots, controllers, software systems, as well as complete robot automation solutions and a comprehensive range of advanced services for automotive and Tier One OEMs as well as for the general industry. These improve flexibility, quality, productivity and connectivity, as part of the factory of the future. Robots are also used in activities or environments which may be hazardous to employee health and safety, such as repetitive or strenuous lifting, dusty, hot or cold rooms, or painting booths. In the automotive industry, robot products and systems are used in such areas as press shop, body shop, paint shop, power train assembly, trim and final assembly. General industry segments in which robotics solutions are used range from metal fabrication, foundry, plastics, food and beverage, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and electronics. Typical robotic applications in general industry include welding, material handling, machine tending, painting, picking, packing, palletizing and small parts assembly automation.

The Motors and Generators business supplies a comprehensive range of electrical motors, generators, and mechanical power transmission products. The range of electrical motors includes high efficiency motors that conform to leading environmental and Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS). Efficiency is an important selection criterion for customers, because electric motors account for nearly two-thirds of the electricity consumed by industrial plants. The business unit manufactures synchronous motors for the most demanding applications and a full range of low- and high-voltage induction motors, for both IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) standards. The business unit has recently launched a new condition monitoring solution for low voltage (LV) motors that monitors and provides vital motor performance intelligence to help improve uptime, extend motor lifetimes, and increase machine performance and productivity. It connects motors with the Internet of Things (IoT).

The Drives and Controls business provides low-voltage and medium-voltage drives and systems for industrial, commercial and residential applications. Drives provide speed, torque and motion control for equipment such as fans, pumps, compressors, conveyors, centrifuges, mixers, hoists, cranes, extruders, printing and textile machines. They are used in industries such as building automation, marine, power, transportation, food and beverage, metals, mining, oil and gas.

The Power Conversion business produces excitation and synchronizing systems that provide stability for power stations and high power rectifiers that convert alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) for high-current applications such as electric arc furnaces and aluminum smelters. It also manufactures solar inverters, wind turbine converters, uninterruptible power supply systems and converters for power protection, as well as rail traction converters, DC wayside power solutions and a range of solutions for charging of electric vehicles.

The division also offers services that complement its products, including design and project management, engineering, installation, training and life-cycle care, energy efficiency appraisals and preventive maintenance.


The Discrete Automation and Motion division serves a wide range of customers. Customers include machinery manufacturers, process industries such as pulp and paper, oil and gas, and metals and mining companies, hybrid and batch manufacturers such as food and beverage companies, rail equipment manufacturers, discrete manufacturing companies such as ‘3C’ (computer, communication and consumer electronic), utilities and renewable energy suppliers, particularly in the wind and solar sectors, as well as customers in the automotive industry and electric vehicle charging networks.

Sales and Marketing

Sales are made both through direct sales forces as well as through third-party channel partners, such as distributors, wholesalers, installers, machine builders and OEMs, system integrators, and panel builders. The proportion of direct sales compared to channel partner sales varies among the different industries, product technologies and geographic markets.


The Discrete Automation and Motion division’s principal competitors vary by product line but include Fanuc Robotics, Kuka Robot Group, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, Siemens, Yaskawa, SMA and WEG Industries.

Capital Expenditures

The Discrete Automation and Motion division’s capital expenditures for property, plant and equipment totaled $128 million in 2016, compared to $145 million and $192 million in 2015 and in 2014, respectively. Principal investments in 2016 were primarily related to equipment replacement and upgrades. Geographically, in 2016, Europe represented 47 percent of the capital expenditures, followed by the Americas (30 percent) and AMEA (23 percent).