Drives and Controls Magazine
Ideal Electric buys Louis Allis large motors and machines
Published:  05 July, 2023

[UPDATE (October 2023): Louis Allis has obtained a preliminary injunction order from a federal court in Delaware prohibiting Ideal Electric Power Company from using or displaying Louis Allis’ federally registered trademarks, and forbidsding Ideal from claiming to own, or in any way be associated with, Louis Allis. The  injunction order will continue until the court has ruled following a trial on this matter, which is expected to take place in 2025.]

Information about the injunction can be found here.

The US motor-maker Ideal Electric has acquired the Louis Allis Large Synchronous Machines and Louis Allis Large Induction Motors product lines of the former Louis Allis Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.

The acquisition also grants Ideal rights to certain IP (intellectual property) related to Beloit Power Systems Motors and Generators, Fairbanks Morse Motors and Generators, and Colt Industries Motors and Generators. It expands Ideal’s installation base and ensures the continued supply of critical machines to the US Government and industrial customers.

Ideal, which was founded in 1903, claims that it is the USA’s last 100% privately-held, family-owned and vertically integrated OEM (original equipment manufacturer) of a full range of specialised high-power electrical machines. The acquisition means that customers of Allis’ large motors and generators (and its other legacy brands) will continue to have access to new machines, factory-engineered upgrades, parts, service and support.

“Ideal is committed to being the most capable ‘Build America, Buy America Act’ OEM for motors and generators,” says the company’s president and owner, Jim Petersen. “Our company combines entrepreneurial American ownership, ultimate control over materials and origin, and full in-house production with the goal to produce 100% made-in-America products. Further, this acquisition greatly increases our installation base and know-how in support of new products and sustainment programmes for the defence industry.”

The IP acquired by Ideal includes files, drawings, engineering data, design and other information. It has been relocated to Ideal’s Mansfield, Ohio, factory and is being digitised for the first time, bringing more than 100 years of designs into the 21st century.

The IP also includes the right to engineer, design, manufacture, sell and market all Louis Allis induction motors above 950hp (708kW), including large synchronous and induction motors, and the right to use the Louis Allis name.

Excluded from the acquisition are small AC induction motors below the Nema N449 frame, and Louis Allis induction motors up to 950hp made and manufactured outside of the US, as well as used and reconditioned motors of any size.

Ideal Electric has transferred the acquired Louis Allis operations to its Ohio factory

The Milwaukee Louis Allis plant began operations in 1901, producing DC motors and generators, followed in 1908 by one of the first AC motors. In 1912, it built a direct motor drive for Henry Ford, contributing to the first automobile production line. By the end of the second World War, the company was selling $20m worth of motors a year. By 1957, its sales were $30m, but the company was suffering considerable losses. By 1967, its sales were around $60m and Allis was generating modest profits. That year, Litton Industries acquired the business for $23m, but the recessions of the 1970s caused Litton to downsize and in 1984 it sold Louis Allis to MagneTek.

The company experienced a brief resurgence following a leveraged management buyout from MagneTek in 1994, but underwent several ownership changes and restructurings in an attempt to adapt to changing market conditions. Despite these efforts, it filed for bankruptcy and closed its Milwaukee plant in 1998. Its assets were split into product lines and acquired by private investors. The synchronous product line, including Beloit Power Systems, Fairbanks Morse motors and generators, and Colt Industries motors and generators, was later combined with the large induction motor product line to form the complete portfolio of Louis Allis Synchronous and Louis Allis Large Induction Motors and Generators.

• In a separate transaction, the Japanese motor-maker Nidec has acquired the Louisiana-based motor and generator service provider, Houma Armature Works, for an undisclosed sum. Houma, which employs 94 people and had sales of $31.4m last year, remanufactures motors and generators and provides field services to oil and gas producers, and renewable energy generator manufacturers. The acquisition is part of Nidec Motor Corporation’s strategy to be competitive in both product and aftermarket markets. The acquisition will enhance NMC’s service offering, and Houma will also provide services to NMC’s customers.

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