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Honeywell Teams Up With County Firm : Irvine's Triconex Corp. to Share Its Technology

January 01, 1986|CARLA LAZZARESCHI | Times Staff Writer

Moving to strengthen its grip on the market for manufacturing automation equipment, Honeywell Inc. on Tuesday announced that it has teamed up with a small Orange County company to develop and sell state-of-the-art computer back-up systems for the factory floor.

Although the initial agreement with Triconex Corp. in Irvine is quite modest, it could lead to a substantial investment by Honeywell in the young company that is funded by venture capital. Triconex and Honeywell officials said additional details of the arrangement would be disclosed within 60 days.

Two-year-old Triconex makes industrial controls that monitor automated-manufacturing equipment to ensure reliable, fault-free performance. Such systems, which typically can spot problems and then substitute another automated route while the problem is being repaired, are gaining in popularity as the number of automated factories increases.

Triconex, which introduced its first system early in 1985, specifically targeted its products to work with automation equipment made by Honeywell, an acknowledged leader in the emerging field, according to Jon Wimer, Triconex president.

'The Extra Edge'

Wimer said the new agreement initially calls for Triconex to manufacture products for Honeywell to sell under its own name and for the two companies to share factory-automation technology.

"Our products give Honeywell the extra edge in selling their factory-automation products," Wimer said. "And we get the backing of a $6-billion-a-year (1984 sales) company."

Wimer said one of Triconex's goals has been to attract a corporate partner for financial backing, as well as for sales clout.

Analysts generally applauded the Tuesday announcement as a good move by Honeywell to increase its penetration of the factory-automation market.

According to Jonathan Fram of Paine Webber Mitchell Hutchins in New York, Honeywell already has done well in the so-called automated "processing" market, which includes such manufacturing areas as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, paper and oil refining. Fram said the company's goal now is to take its technology onto the factory floor, where automobiles, computers and other machinery items are assembled.

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