Johnson Controls to Acquire Synchrony, Inc. from Siemens

November 07, 2019 by Robin Mitchell

This week, Johnson Controls announced its acquisition of Synchrony from Siemens.

This week, Johnson Controls acquired Synchrony from Siemens for access to the latest technology surrounding Active Magnetic Bearings. What are AMBs and what will Johnson Controls do with this acquisition?


Mechanical Bearings

Traditionally, things that move need to slide against something else and in almost all applications this movement should be as resistance-free as possible. For example, doors that swing on hinges are typically greased to provide a low-friction surface while another common example would be axels that use ball bearings to provide low-friction rotation. However, all of these methods rely on direct contact and as such there will always be some surface resistance. This surface resistance can be entirely removed if two surfaces that need to move relative to each other use a contactless solution and this is what Active Magnetic Bearings do. Just like how many electronic sensors are becoming contactless, Active Magnetic Bearings use magnetic levitation to separate two surfaces from each other so that they can move across each other with little to no resistance. In fact, Active Magnetic Bearings have some major advantages over traditional mechanical bearings which include no mechanical wear as well as no maximum relative operating speed. The reason why Active Magnetic Bearings are called active is that they rely on require power to provide the magnetic fields and also rely on complex active circuitry to ensure that the magnetic fields are configured correctly.



While there are many developers of Active Magnetic Bearings one in particular, Synchrony, has garnered some attention to its development of AMBs. Owned by Siemens, Synchrony are a global leader in the field of AMBs with their bearings used in multiple industries including high-speed motors and generators to reduce energy losses as well as remove the need for oil lubrication which can improve reliability. With 25 years of experience in the AMB field, Synchrony has taken its AMBs further by tracking and monitoring machine conditions around the world to further improve the magnetic bearings.


Johnson Controls Acquisition

The generation of AMB information as well as constant innovation in AMB technology has put Synchrony on the radar of Johnson Control, so much that Johnson Control have acquired Synchrony from Siemens Gas and Power. With the closure of the acquisition on the 1st November, Johnson Control will continue to develop AMB using Synchrony control with the intention to integrate the latest AMB technology into their range of centrifugal chiller products. The integration of the latest AMB technology will help to further energy efficiencies, reliability, as well as reducing maintenance cost. The acquisition of Synchrony includes the intellectual property behind AMBs as well as the range of products already produced by Synchrony which Johson Control wants to further develop.

“This acquisition will allow us to access untapped benefits in performance and efficiency that will competitively position our chiller products for years to come.” – Ian Casper, vice president, product engineering, global chiller products, Johnson Controls