Reflecting back on the last year for Xymox, our journey through 2023 stands out as a testament to resilience, innovation, and strategic foresight. Bob Hartline, President & CEO of Xymox, reflected on the past year’s whirlwind of changes, and answered some questions to give us a glimpse of what 2024 holds for the company.


Reflecting on the Past Year

Q: Can you share your overall reflection on the past year for Xymox, especially considering the acquisition?

A: “It’s been both exciting and busy for all of us at Xymox. The acquisition by RAFI Group wasn’t just a business decision; it was a leap into a new era for Human Machine Interface (HMI) devices at Xymox. The integration process, though challenging, has been incredibly educational for our team. We’re now part of a larger family, learning and adopting new technologies that solidify our stance as a full solution provider in the HMI space.”


Regarding the Merger

Q: How did the journey towards this acquisition start, and what does it signify for Xymox?

A: “Back in 2019, we were exploring partnerships in Europe to better serve our customers. There were no discussions of acquisition and we weren’t for sale. The conversation with RAFI was the one that stuck out the most; they were culturally a fit, and their technologies were very exciting! Conversations stalled because of COVID, and we reengaged in 2022. RAFI came to us and said we like the idea of partnership, but we believe both companies would be stronger and more effective if we merged as one. The more we discussed, the more apparent it was that strategically merging with RAFI would be the next best move for both our employees and our customers.


Q: What made this acquisition the right step for Xymox?

A: “It boiled down to our shared values with RAFI, our market positioning, and our complementary technologies. This merger wasn’t just about growth; it was about becoming a one-stop-shop for HMI solutions, fitting perfectly with RAFI’s vision for expanding in North America.”


Q: How has the merger influenced Xymox’s core values and company culture?

A: “Our core values have been strengthened, reflecting the similarities we share with RAFI. It’s a fresh relationship, and we’re still discovering new facets of this integration.”


Q: Could you tell us about the advancements on the manufacturing floor post-merger?

A: “Absolutely! We’ve added roughly 5000 sq ft of Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) flooring for ESD sensitive assembly, built two new lines for complex device assemblies for the medical industry, added custom electronics testing equipment, and added 17,000 sqft of warehouse space to accommodate our new capabilities.”


Looking to the Future

Q: What exciting opportunities does the merger bring for HMI in 2024?

A: “RAFI has been highly successful in creating fully-integrated, complex HMI systems around the world and I’m really excited that we can start showing off these capabilities within the United States! We’re ready to see the benefits this merger brings to our customers as we can now supply the entire HMI system, reducing the need for multiple suppliers, this includes capabilities in plastic injection molding, E2MS, joysticks, e-stops, toggle switches, electronic control units (ECUs), advanced software, and more!”


Q: What new markets or sectors is Xymox aiming to explore following this merger?

A: “The merger opens doors to markets we previously couldn’t tap into, like agricultural equipment and off-highway vehicles. These sectors require complex interfaces, and now, with RAFI’s expertise, we’re well-equipped to meet these demands, in addition to the growing demands of the industries we currently serve.”


Q: In terms of innovation, where do you see HMI heading in the next five years?

A: “It’s an exciting horizon. We’re looking at more intuitive user experiences, with HMI adapting to 3D surfaces and offering new forms of tactile feedback through haptics. Plus, the AI boom is set to revolutionize how user interfaces are designed and enriching the end-user interactions.”


Summarizing the Journey

Q: How would you describe the first six months post-merger?

A: “Busy! It’s been a period of rapid growth and learning for everyone involved.”


Q: And your outlook for Xymox’s future, now as part of the RAFI Group?

A: “Electrifying. There’s so much potential and opportunity ahead of us. It’s truly an exciting time.”


Thank you, Bob, for your insights! It is clear that Xymox is on a path of transformative growth. The merger with RAFI Group isn’t just a fusion of companies; it’s a melding of visions, technologies, and aspirations.

As Xymox steps into 2024, we do so with a renewed vigor, ready to redefine the HMI landscape and deliver unparalleled solutions to our customers. Stay tuned for a year of innovation, collaboration, and groundbreaking advancements in the world of human-machine interfaces.