What are the recent developments & advancements witnessed in the metal cutting industry today? What are the key factors that are accounting for growth in your business segment?
The metal cutting industry is transitioning from a demand-driven world where a lot of markets were in fast growth and customers were looking to add cutting capacity aggressively, to more of a competition-driven world, where the key drivers are automation and customers are increasingly looking to reduce reliance on labour to reduce labour costs. These automation trends are closely tied to Industry 4.0. Those are the biggest developments in metal cutting industry as the world finds its footing in balancing technology with capacity and competitive demands.
Hypertherm is known for our technology in plasma arc cutting. Besides plasma, we are also advancing robotic cutting tools and applications, with software tools & process improvement across multiple technologies and across the value stream. We are increasingly supporting customers in total value stream analysis and being a partner & advisor for cutting operation improvement.
In your opinion, what are the major challenges that manufacturers are currently facing in Asia and what solution is Hypertherm offering to overcome them?
The Asian manufacturing sector is currently facing increasing adaption to digital technologies and the shift towards Industry 4.0. On top of the digitalisation, companies that succeed today in the industrial technology space really have to master the “Iron Triangle” of expertise in process technology, a command of the actual software drivers that cut across all of those cutting technology domains, and also a deep intimacy and knowledge of the customer’s application.
Our company dosen’t just focus on the cutting process. We seek to understand the challenges that our customers face, and to analyse the upstream & downstream processes as a whole, so that we are able to develop and offer total value stream solutions to the end users. Our SureCut technology is an example of an integrated system that consists of various delivery mechanisms,such as our cutting systems, CNCs, and online/offline CAM software.
What are the demand trends for your products in Asia and particularly in India? Have you witnessed any difference in demand pattern in the Indian market?
India is currently undergoing a transformation, where manufacturers are moving away from manual and labourintensive manufacturing to rely more on automation. With the new global wave of Industry 4.0, we foresee that more emerging markets will jump on this bandwagon. I personally view India as an attractive market for greater adoption of automated, robotic, CAD/CAM applications, and advanced manufacturing.
How do you define the role of IIoT technologies in the current manufacturing industry?
IIoT technologies have the potential to redraw the map of the manufacturing industry as these are the new rising technologies to enable Industry 4.0. It allows machines, robots and other equipment on a production floor to communicate with each other and gather all data in the cloud for analysis. By looking through the Big Data, the manufacturer can have greater insight into the efficiency of the production and the machines running, and catch a breakdown before it occurs.
How is the business outlook in India? What are your future
plans for the Indian market?
Growth of the Indian market remains promising. Infrastructure developments — such as new railways, roads, and energy plants — have boosted the demand for metal cutting. The government has made significant progress on important economic reforms. The introduction of new GST rules, ‘Make in India’ campaign, and other measures to improve the ease of doing business will be a game-changing reform for the Indian economy to support strong and sustainable growth ahead.
We look forward to a leadership position in the India market. To achieve that, we must recommit ourselves to understand the end customers’ demands and needs, form more strategic partnerships with key partners, and to work with end users by providing the cutting solutions to help them solve and improve. ☐