Norac sheds livestock scale manufacturing business

Updated Nov. 3 — Opting to focus on its crop sprayer control systems, Saskatoon’s Norac Systems International has sold its livestock scale manufacturing business to a U.S. competitor.

Wisconsin-based Rice Lake Weighing Systems on Monday announced it has bought Norac’s entire weighing division for an undisclosed sum. The business includes the rights to Norac’s patented single- and group-sized livestock scales, its “legal for trade” OnBoard vehicle scale systems, truck scale systems, wheel weighers and load bars.

“Norac’s products have a solid reputation and will be a nice complement to our current offering,” Rice Lake vice-president, Mark Johnson Jr. said in a release.

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Manufacturing previously done in Saskatoon will likely be split between several Rice Lake facilities, the buyer said in an email, noting those details “have not been finalized.”

The Norac brand name will remain on the Norac product line for the next two years, the buyer added. Since Norac plans to continue using the Norac name for its own remaining products, the deal requires Rice Lake to eventually rebrand the Norac-branded products it will now build.

The sale is a departure for Norac from the products with which it set up shop in 1974, when Bill Strelioff founded what was then called Senstek, using what was then just-emerging load cell technology.

Norac’s livestock, truck and platform scales and load bars were considered “early entrants” into electronic weighing gear, the company said, providing “faster and more accurate weights” than conventional mechanical scales.

The sale to Rice Lake “was a strategic decision that will enable Norac to dedicate more resources to managing the considerable growth of our control systems business,” Strelioff said in Rice Lake’s release.

Family-owned Rice Lake, based at the community of the same name about 160 km northeast of Minneapolis, has been in expansion mode for several years, making scales for various heavy industries and modes of transport as well as for the retail and medical sectors.

The company took on a heavy-capacity scale manufacturing plant in Alabama in 2005 and bought a plant in Nevada in August this year to make truck-scale equipment. Rice Lake also opened a European service and distribution centre in the Netherlands in June.

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