The Middleby Corporation has acquired Proxaut, a leading manufacturer of auto guided vehicles (AGVs) for the food industry and industrial processing companies.
The company is based near Bologna, in Italy, with approximately $15m in annual sales.
Proxaut AGV technology is used by industry leading manufacturers in a variety of capacities, primarily to move materials and products safely and operate alongside people.
Proxaut automation decreases repetitive movements from traditional labor and ergonomically improves workflows.
Tim FitzGerald, CEO at Middleby, said: “We are leading the trend for Industry 4.0 in food processing. Our recent strategic investments in automation are coming to fruition, as we see order demands for this technology.
“Middleby’s investments in automation and integrated full line solutions are driving efficiencies and operating benefits for our food processing customers. These proven automation solutions reduce operator efforts and labor needs while increasing production, optimizing space, and streamlining loading between machines.”
Proxaut complements existing automation investments that Middleby has made, including Italian firm Vemac which it has owned since 2018.
“Vemac has grown quickly since joining Middleby and Proxaut further extends the Middleby portfolio of automated solutions,” FitzGerald added.
Proxaut technology utilizes laser-guided, inertial-guided, and/or wire-guided technologies for autonomous movement.
The two vehicle types provide customized solutions for moving heavy payloads from one point to another, avoiding non-value added and risky repetitive tasks in workplaces, or lifting materials traditionally handled by a forklift.