EarningsA new week, another acquisition. This time it’s Hexagon, which announced that it has acquired Devex, a Brazilian company that makes mine management and automation solutions. Hexagon says that Devex had revenue of 35 million Brazilian Real, about $16 million or €12 million.

Devex’s flagship product is SmartMine, which ties together equipment in the mine so that it can be monitored and controlled by on board computers using global positioning systems (GPS) and a modern digital communication network. SmartMine helps operators analyze operations and optimize and simulate alternatives.

In addition to helping use mining equipment most effectively, SmartMine’s Health add-on lets operators monitor machine health and make decisions regarding maintenance, using “rules previously provided to the system.” I wonder how that compares to Bentley’s Ivara acquisition, which also sells predictive maintenance solutions into mining companies. Companies of all types are realizing how important it is to proactively care for their machinery, since an inline failure can be catastrophic –dangerous to operators, hazardous to the environment and expensive if the line has to be shut down. I can’t help but wonder if SmartMine Health will find its way into other Hexagon businesses, especially the SmartPlant offering.

Back to Devex. Devex says its products are in use at “over 80 mines … for operational control and supervision in the country” (presumably, Brazil) and its customer logo page lists many of the biggies: Vale, AngloGold Ashanti, Anglo American, CSN, Kinross, Mineração Rio do Norte and more.

Hexagon didn’t really explain why it finds Devex interesting, except to say in a press release, “With a leading market share in Brazil and considerable growth in neighboring countries, the Devex acquisition not only advances Hexagon’s expansion into South America but the mining industry as a whole… Devex’s strong presence and technology leadership not only opens doors to cross-sell complementary Hexagon offerings to the same market but also exploit product integration opportunities to better serve the automation needs of additional segments, like agriculture and construction.”

Financial details were not disclosed and we don’t know whether the deal will be accretive to earnings. We should learn more on the company’s Q3 earnings call later this month.

Clearly, DS was onto something when it bought Gemcom a little more than a year ago. Automating mining, bringing it into a 3D world beyond the design and construction of conveyoring and processing systems, is clearly a new frontier.