Cattron-Theimeg enters low end

8 December 2004

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US remote control manufacturer Cattron-Theimeg has acquired US industrial remote control manufacturer Remtron.

This small California-based manufacturer makes remote controls for standard cranes. Unlike current Cattron products, Remtron has a range of controls that transmit over a spread spectrum in the 900 Mhz frequency range, which is unlicensed in the US and so desirable for less expensive and complex cranes. Remtron’s controls are also made for boom trucks, concrete pumps and other mobile hydraulic devices.
He added that Cattron-Theimeg’s German operation in Moenchengladbach is currently developing its own lower-end systems for the European market.
“The Cattron off-the-shelf product is not as competitive because the company comes from more of an engineered system orientation. The Remtron product approaches that end of the market for simpler applications that don’t require engineering better. On the other hand Remtron didn’t have the organisation to do highly engineered products,” a spokesman said.
“There has been a lot of pressure on the lower end of the product spectrum,” the spokesman said. “Quality is not as much of an issue now. There are more off-the-shelf type systems.”
Cattron-Theimeg bought Remtron as part a strategy to “aggressively look at acquiring complementary companies,” the spokesman said. In October it acquired CN’s Beltpack business of locomotive remote controls.
One or two models of remote controls are probably made redundant, and are likely to be discontinued, the spokesman said, although he would not say which were likely to go.
Remtron’s dealers-only distribution strategy will be retained, according to the spokesman, even though it differs from Cattron-Theimeg’s use of only company reps. Cattron reps will start to sell Remtron products. It is unclear if Remtron agents will be required to sell Cattron-Theimeg products.
He said that the company is not expecting any redundancies in Remtron’s 26 employees, nor changes in location. “One of the advantages of the Remtron acquisition is that it gives Cattron a good West Coast presence for product support, production and service. It didn’t have that before. It was primarily based in Pennsylvania,” he said.
5 German manufacturer Hetronic is using the Promat show to launch the Ergo, a range of radio remote controls for simple applications designed to be low cost. “There is lots of competition from Asia,” says US boss Torsten Rempe. “The only thing we can do is put the pricing at the level of the Asian competitors,” he says. For example, it is selling a three-motion two-speed Ergo overhead crane remote control for $600-$700, Rempe says.
5 HBC Radiomatic’s low-cost Cubix transmitter is now available with single-step, rather than two-step, push buttons. Start/horn and stop are still two-step push buttons.