MRO Magazine

Danaher acquires Thomson Industries to expand its linear motion division

Washington, DC -- Sept. 9, 2002 -- Danaher Corporation, a multinational manufacturing conglomerate based in Washing...


September 9, 2002
By MRO Magazine

Washington, DC — Sept. 9, 2002 — Danaher Corporation, a multinational manufacturing conglomerate based in Washington, DC, has acquired Thomson Industries Inc. of Port Washington, NY. Thomson is a producer of linear bearings, ball screws, bearing balls and related products.

Privately-held Thomson had 2001 sales of $155 million (all figures in US currency). Danaher has agreed to pay $165 million, plus additional consideration based on the company’s future performance.

Danaher focuses on the process/environmental controls, and tools and components industries. The company operates over 70 different operating divisions under such brand names as Ball Screws and Actuators, Deltran, Fluke, Joslyn, K-D Tools, Kollmorgen, Matco Tools, Pacific Scientific, Seidel and Videojet Technologies.

Danaher’s second quarter 2002 sales were up 20% over 2001, to $1.15 billion; reported net income was $104 million.


Danaher’s Motion Control Division, based in Amherst, NY, will absorb Thomson Industries. Motion Control and its Linear Motion Systems business group produce linear motion products under such names as Kollmorgen, Deltran, Warner Linear, and Ball Screws and Actuators.

Thomson Industries was founded in 1945 by John B. Thomson, Sr. Mr. Thomson invented the ball bushing linear bearing and developed the necessary manufacturing processes.

Currently, Thomson operates 10 companies with facilities in the United States, United Kingdom, Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore.

Thomson literature states the company invented and manufactures a complete family of Ball Bushing bearings, Nyliner engineered polymer bearings and FluoroNyliner bushing bearings, precision bearing balls, Saginaw and IBL ball screws, linear guides, systems and controls, gearheads, shafts, stepper motors and digital linear actuators.

Through the years, Thomson made numerous acquisitions in the bearing industry. Among them were:

– 1987 — acquires Saginaw Actuator Products Group from General Motors. This division was originally set up to produce wing flap ball screw actuators for the B-29.

– 1988 — acquires ABEK and Pioneer Steel Ball Company, merging them to form Thomson Precision Ball Company LLC (Bristol, CT).

– 1994 — acquires IBL Ballscrews Ltd. (England) from FAG Kugelfischer Georg Schafer AG (Germany). Thomson IBL now serves as the company’s European headquarters.

– 1994 — acquires Precision Kinetics from Sargent Technologies, a division of Dover Diversified. Precision Kinetics manufactures ball screws for aircraft applications.

– 1995 — acquires Micron Instrument Corp., a manufacturer of precision gearheads and transducers.

Thomson’s product lines are unusually deep, comments a Danaher spokesperson. Bearing balls, for example, are available in 27 different materials from steels to nylon, brass, ruby, sapphire, titanium and ceramics. Sizes range from .006 in. to 2.250 in. and in ABMA Grade 3 through Grade 1000.

“With the acquisition of Thomson, Danaher will offer our customers the broadest range of standard and custom linear motion solutions on the market today, said Danaher president and CEO H. Lawrence Culp. “Thomson, with a highly-regarded brand and deep product range, is an excellent extension of Danaher’s broad leadership in precision motion control.”