SAP buys manufacturing software maker Lighthammer

Von Marc L.

Looking to bridge the gap between back-office applications and production systems, ERP software vendor SAP AG is making a software acquisition it said will offer its 12,000 manufacturing customers a rapid productivity boost.

The company, already an SAP partner, is privately held Lighthammer Software Development Corp. Its product, the Collaborative Manufacturing Suite, will become part of SAP"s xApps family of composite applications. XApps sit on top of SAP"s NetWeaver middleware platform, enabling companies to create complete workflows using both SAP and other third-party applications.

The buyout of Exton, Pa.-based Lighthammer was announced today at ARC Advisory Group Inc."s Performance Driven Manufacturing Forum in Boston.

In a statement, SAP said the acquisition will help streamline the hand-coding of interfaces to work with shop-floor production systems. Customers will also be able to use the Lighthammer software to receive alerts about changes in manufacturing performance and respond accordingly. They can also use the integrated system for business intelligence and visualization operations, including root-cause analysis and to drill down into data to learn more about the implications of manufacturing glitches that occur.

"Breaking down the barrier between the plant floor and the business systems is key to manufacturing and supply chain productivity," Kirk Royster, manager of global enterprise architecture at Dow Corning Corp., said in a statement released by SAP. The Lighthammer software, combined with SAP"s own analytical manufacturing dashboards, provides Dow personnel with quick access to information and key performance indicators about the company"s operations.

SAP said the acquisition will close next month, and Lighthammer employees will remain in their current facilities in Exton.