Eckhart opens Warren Technology Center – Automation and autonomous guided vehicles (AGV) supplier Eckhart has opened a 47,000ft2 Advanced Technology Center to showcase its next-generation Autocraft AGVs. The center employs 60 with plans to reach 100 people within the next two years, and it houses an additive manufacturing lab.

Eckhart President and CEO Andrew P. Storm says, “While the auto industry is focused on developing autonomous vehicles for use on the streets, Eckhart is accelerating the development of advanced technologies we believe will reshape the manufacturing ecosystem.”

In addition to the Advanced Technology Center, Eckhart operates Michigan locations in Algonac, Lansing, Marine City, and Rochester Hills. www.eckhartusa.com

Amada Miyachi America updates Wixom lab – Amada Miyachi America, a manufacturer of resistance welding, laser welding, marking, cutting, and micro-machining equipment and systems, has updated its Detroit-area Midwest Applications Lab. The updated facility features 5,500ft2 of laboratory space devoted to application development services for welding, marking, ablation, scribing, and texturing of metals and plastics. Also on site is an expanded metallurgical lab for examining laser or resistance welds to analyze weld penetration and joint quality.
Amada Miyachi application experts are available to work with customers to develop next-generation joining or marking processes for automotive and electric vehicle battery production and joining of cells. www.amadamiyachi.com

Mergers/acquisitions

Dana Inc. acquires GKN plc’s driveline business – The $6.1 billion deal includes cash payments from Dana to GKN and the creation of a new company. Dana shareholders will own 52.75% of the new Dana plc, and GKN shareholders will own 47.25%.

The merger combines Dana’s expertise in axles, suspension components, and vehicle structural components with GKN’s drivetrain business. Dana officials say the merger will give the company a leading position in electric drivetrain technologies that they believe will be critical in the future. The deal also fends off a hostile takeover bid for GKN plc from British private equity company Melrose plc. www.dana.com; www.gkn.com

Shiloh completes Brabant Alucast purchase – Lightweight blanks and structures specialist Shiloh Industries expands its European operations by purchasing Brabant Alucast plants in Italy and The Netherlands.

The purchase gives Shiloh, a company with several production lines and technologies for steel and aluminum parts, more capacity for magnesium beams for automotive structural components. Lighter than aluminum, but more difficult to cast and machine, magnesium holds the promise of further weight reductions in vehicle designs. www.brabantalucast.com; www.shiloh.com

Bosch buys Splitting Fares – Global automotive supplier Bosch is entering the ridesharing business by buying Detroit startup Splitting Fares Inc. (SPLT), a company launched from Ford’s Techstars Mobility incubator and tested by Canadian automotive supplier Magna Int’l.

SPLT’s app, marketed primarily to large employers, identifies people with similar commutes or those who are along routes to companies, universities, or large government offices. An algorithm determines who can share a vehicle and computes the fastest route to pick up passengers to get to work on time. Bosch associates in Mexico are already using the app, and company officials plan to extend its use worldwide.

Ridesharing, in which digital services and apps form carpools, vehicle sharing, or taxi sharing, is a growth market. By 2020, the number of people worldwide using ridesharing is expected to rise 60% to 685 million, according to Statista. www.bosch.com; www.splt.io