Bell and Howell sells sorting business to Fluence Automation

Ramesh Ratan.
Dr. Ramesh Ratan.

Bell and Howell has spun off its mail-sorting business and certain parcel-labeling technologies to a new company – Fluence Automation. The newly formed company is owned by a group of investors that includes members of the Bell and Howell sorting leadership team. “This strategic move is part of our plan to accelerate Bell and Howell’s continued growth as we extend our capabilities in our traditional mail-production business, while also expanding our industry-leading innovation in areas such as e-commerce, robotics and track-and-trace technologies,” said Dr. Ramesh Ratan, President and CEO of Bell and Howell. “This move, along with the acquisition of Sensible Technologies earlier this year, and other initiatives we’re currently pursuing, means our mail-production customers can feel confident that Bell and Howell is committed to providing the products and services they rely on – now and in the future.” As part of the transaction, Bell and Howell and Fluence Automation will remain close strategic partners in several areas. For example, the two firms have entered into a service agreement that will allow Fluence Automation to leverage Bell and Howell’s extensive service-technician network when and where appropriate. Bell and Howell will also be licensing certain technology from Fluence Automation.

Mike Swift.
Mike Swift.

Fluence Automation will be led by Bell and Howell’s long-time VP and General Manager of Sorting, Mike Swift, as President and CEO. “We’re excited to build upon Bell and Howell’s success in the sorting and parcel industry,” Swift said. “Our customers will continue to receive the excellent products, software and service that they’re accustomed to. In the near-term, we’ll continue to rely upon Bell and Howell as a valued partner in many areas of our day-to-day business. Fluence Automation will focus on growth in the mail-encoding, parcel-encoding and sorting markets, leveraging our sorting expertise team while collaborating with Bell and Howell in areas such as service support. There are many exciting, new opportunities in our sights.”


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.