The story of SBC

Company historyTradition and innovation

Saia Burgess Controls has developed, produced and sold industrial-grade electronic components and systems for control and automation technology since 1920. To this day, we have worked according to the bottom-up principle. This means basing our development and production process on users' needs.

From early mechanical switchgears to efficient control and automation solutions for integration into 21st-century IT systems.

The roots of Saia Burgess Controls (SBC) stretch back to the start of the 20th century. In 1920, the company "SAIA AG" (Société Anonyme des Interrupteurs Automatiques) was founded in Bern. Time-controlled switchgears enabled the first automatic control sequences. Motors and switches were used in a range of applications and were constantly developed further.

Meanwhile, the company "Burgess Products Ltd" was founded in Hinckley (UK) in 1935. This business became a pioneer of modern microswitch mechanisms. SAIA AG belonged to Landis+Gyr from 1936 to 1986. In 1951, the company moved from Bern to Murten, and expanded its site on Bahnhofstrasse. Just ten years later, an additional building, Plant 2, at Freiburgerstrasse was inaugurated. In the year 1978 – under the name PCA (Programmable Controller – Generation A) – followed the first generation of our Saia PCD controllers and thus the entry into the current business field.

In 1986, SAIA AG was sold to Burgess Products Ltd. The following three years saw two takeovers by finance groups. In 1989, the two companies were combined under the name Saia Burgess by Williams Holding. This time also saw the second generation of PLCs released on the market – the PCD (process control device).

New business segments were launched in the years that followed, including the production of millions of stepper motors for the automotive industry. Leadership of the company returned to Switzerland in 1996 following a management buyout. In 1998, the renamed Saia-Burgess Electronics AG went public on the stock market.

In 2001, Saia-Burgess Controls AG was founded with the aim of supporting the continuing growth of the controller division. This gave new impetus of further innovations, such as web technology for industrial controllers. In 2005, the entire Saia Burgess Group was acquired by Johnson Electric from Hong Kong, a global player in small electrical drives. Within two years, it succeeded in integrating the industry and automotive divisions into its own structures. Saia-Burgess Controls AG remained a separate unit, focussing on controllers, HMIs and electrical meters. With the ownership of Johnson Electric, the period beginning in 2005 saw high investments and countless innovations in production and logistics as well as the introduction of lean production.

SBC continued to develop is winning formula for open communicative controllers and decided to move away from proprietary technologies and protocols. Saia PCD controllers are systematically based on open, recognised standards from the worlds of industry and IT. This helps protect investments across the entire life cycle of a system. In 2012, Saia-Burgess Controls AG was acquired by the American company Honeywell Inc. This opened up new opportunities for SBC in Asia and the Middle East.

With the financial strength and new opportunities opened up by Honeywell, SBC was able to take its next step into digitalisation, branching out into more software-oriented products. Thus, in 2017, SBC launched Supervisor, its scalable software platform for monitoring and controlling both streamlined and complex HVAC controls. This was followed in 2020 by the milestone development of QronoX, a controller that utilises state-of-the-art technology, to deliver IEC 62443-3-3 SL3 cybersecurity in response to market needs. Most recently, in 2021, SBC relocated to its new headquarters in Givisiez, a modern and comfortable building, to accommodate our expert team.

SBC – over a century of guaranteed quality.