Frost & Sullivan Market Insight   Published: 28 Jan 2002
Company Watch: Gems Sensors –Acquisition and Manufacturing Developments Support Rise in Market Share
Date Published: 28 Jan 2002
By Victoria Whiting
Introduction
Gems Sensors is a wholly owned subsidiary of Danaher Corporation, acquired in September 1997. Danaher (Danaher.com) designs, manufactures and markets industrial and consumer products in both the process and environmental controls industries. Gems Sensors was previously known as TransInstruments before a name change occurred in the late 1990s. The company designs and manufactures a wide range of liquid level, flow, and pressure sensors and controls, for use in a broad range of fluids across multiple industries. The company’s tradition lies in strain gauge sensing technology.
Gems is continuously introducing new products to the marketplace, and is recognised as an innovative leader, particularly within the pressure sensors industry. Its product portfolio is ever expanding, with its selection of sensing technologies now including electro-optic, float type, CVD, thin film, hall effect, ultrasonic and conductance. Gems’ key customer base can be found within the building services, HVAC, hydraulics and process industries.
Acquisition Boosts Market Share
Gems confirmed its ascension in the US pressure sensors market with the acquisition of Setra Systems in December 2000. Setra Systems, Inc., of Boxborough, Mass., design and manufactures a range of capacitance pressure transducers and related devices. The acquisition of Setra provided Gems with a wider range of pressure sensing technologies to support its current portofolio. Setra products are known throughout the world for their simplicity of design, high accuracy, and exceptional long-term stability.
Steve Breitzka, President of Gems Sensors stated that "Setra will be a great addition to the Gems family given its solid positioning and strong reputation with customers in key served markets". He added that "Setra's capacitance technology product platform and low pressure focus make it a natural complement to Gems' transducer product line. This acquisition greatly enhances our collective ability to meet both the needs of target markets as well as the general OEM and end-user markets we presently serve."
The dependability of Setra's designs has led to the development of pressure transducers and transmitters that fit the unique requirements of new and challenging custom applications. These applications have broadened Setra's presence in the market to include not only industrial, OEM, barometric, HVAC/R, environmental, test and measurement, food and pharmaceutical, but the agricultural, medical, and semi-conductor industries as well. Setra's manufacturing and complete service operations will remain as a separate entity from Gems Sensors.
Manufacturing Facelift for Gems Products

Gems recently adopted the 'Kaizen' philosophy of management, and with it dramatically improved its own manufacturing process. Kaizen translates as 'continual development' in Japanese, and has provided the basis for a major overhaul of manufacturing in the company. Gems have adapted this policy by shifting the emphasis from a traditional batch manufacturing set-up to cellular manufacture, resulting in a dramatic increase in efficiency. Previously, a greater number of operatives were required to travel longer distances between workstations but the new simplified cellular operation has significantly increased productivity by reducing inventories and increasing stock turns. Cellular manufacture ensures machines and processes are grouped in a pattern that supports flow production leading to improved and consistent lead-times.
Pressure Sensing to Benefit First
The first group of cells to be established in the section are those producing pressure sensors. With its heavy-duty diaphragm, thermally stable strain gauge and pre-programmed temperature compensation, psibar transducers offer a rugged solution to demanding hydraulic and pneumatic applications. The company is now better positioned to provide a tailor-made service to its clients. Products can be customised to meet specific requirements and flexible delivery arrangements can now be made for the company's complete range of sensing products.
Resultant Impact on Market Share
Gems Sensors is best known in the US and UK, where it enjoys a market share of 10 percent in the strain gauge pressure instruments markets. A slightly lower share of 9 percent was recorded for Gems in the European strain gauge pressure instruments market, although this still equated to a rise from previous years. The increase in share for Gems was mainly attributed to effective utilisation of modern manufacturing techniques, which enabled improvements in technology without the need to raise costs.
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