Automation involves modern machines with very high cutting capacities, which in turn require high-tech tools that can operate at high cutting speeds and with the associated parameters, says Thierry Wolter, Member of the Executive Board, CERATIZIT Group. The Luxembourg-based CERATIZIT is the global leader in manufacturing of hard material products for wear protection and cutting tools. At IMTEX, CERATIZIT will present a whole range of new products for the Indian market. This will include FreeTurn tools for High Dynamic Turning (HDT), which represent a revolution in turning technology. In this interview with Rakesh Rao, Thierry Wolter explains the impact of changes in manufacturing industries on the dynamics of metal cutting sector and how CERATIZIT is tapping these trends.
How is CERATIZIT serving the metal cutting industry?
As Group, we now have one of the most complete standard product portfolios in the industry, covering all application areas and industries with leading solutions and, in addition to simple carbide tools, also PCD and CBN tools. With this extensive tool portfolio, we can offer our customers complete solutions for every single machining step in the production of various component groups. For example, in cylinder head production.
In addition, we have extensive knowledge in the design and development of special tools and can offer our industrial customers tailor-made solutions that exactly meet their requirements. Proximity to the customer and close cooperation are of course very important. Thanks to our worldwide distribution network, we are always close to our customers - in India as well as in other parts of the world.
Innovation also plays an important role. Our customers are constantly on the lookout for new ways to increase the efficiency of their processes. Tool improvements are one way to achieve this goal. In the long run, this requires innovations in materials, geometries and technologies, for which we are ideally equipped with our profound knowledge in the carbide sector. We already have a 40 per cent share of products that are less than five years old in machining today. However, we still see scope to further increase the innovation rate in the coming years and want to achieve a share of 50 per cent.
What is driving the demand for your products in India?
The year 2018 began with very impressive GDP growth forecasts for India, followed by growth of 7 to 8 per cent, which was the main factor driving the overall economy. The automotive industry in India, which is one of the main consumers of cutting tools, has been showing excellent figures since early 2018.
The CERATIZIT Group - with its competence brands Cutting Solutions by CERATIZIT, KOMET, WNT and KLENK - offers highly productive solutions especially for automotive components and is therefore an important part of the growth story of this part of the Indian market.
How do you view the potential of Indian metal cutting & cutting tools industry?
The customers in India are making great strides towards high efficiency in machining and modern machinery. As a result, the need for improvements in productivity is increasing every day. This calls for highly productive machining solutions and the CERATIZIT Group, with its powerful local production facilities for PCD and tungsten carbide tools, has an excellent position to master this challenge in India.
Automation is increasing in metalworking industry. What is the impact of this on cutting tools industry?
Automation involves modern machines with very high cutting capacities, which in turn require high-tech tools that can operate at high cutting speeds and with the associated parameters. Tools based on materials, geometries and technologies suitable for high-speed machining therefore have a promising future ahead of them.
At the same time, automation opens up new potential in the field of machine monitoring and assistance systems. With ToolScope, we already have a genuine industry 4.0 solution on the market today. The new software version of ToolScope in conjunction with the optional cloud connection furthermore enables our customers to use the assistance system as a big data data supplier in order to further optimise their own production.
Automotive industry is increasingly aiming for light-weighting. What is the effect of this trend on metal cutting industry and, in turn, cutting tools segment?
The trend is also gaining momentum in India. Accordingly, the machining industry is preparing for the machining of the new, difficult-to-machine lightweight materials. For optimum results, the tools must be adapted to the requirements of these materials. The CERATIZIT Group has a competitive advantage in this area, as the KOMET and KLENK brands in particular have already gained important experience in the machining of lightweight materials.
How is CERATZIT planning to tap some of the emerging trends in metal cutting & cutting tools industry?
The buzzword in the machining industry is "Industry 4.0". With the modular monitoring and assistance system ToolScope, a unique and comprehensive industry 4.0 solution, the CERATIZIT Group is already leaving its footprints on the Indian market.
IMTEX will be completing 50 years this time. What are your expectations from the event?
This is the 50th year of IMTEX and the organisers are doing their best to make it a memorable one.
We expect that there will be even more visitors who are interested in cutting tools. This will help us to present our machining technology to an even larger audience.
In addition, IMTEX will also mark the first joint trade fair appearance of our newly organised cutting tools division in India. Under the umbrella brand of the CERATZIT Group, we are present on the market with the competence brands Cutting Solutions by CERATIZIT, KOMET, WNT and KLENK and are now in a position to offer our customers all tools and solutions out of one hand – including complete solutions for machining components in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Are you going to launch any new product/technology at the IMTEX/Tooltech 2019?
At IMTEX, we will be presenting a whole range of new products for the Indian market. These include some additions to the MaxiMill family of milling cutters and new products for turning. In addition, we will also be presenting our additively manufactured milling cutters and last but not least our FreeTurn tools for High Dynamic Turning (HDT), which represent a revolution in turning technology. This new turning technology combined with the dynamic FreeTurn tooling, means that in the future it will be possible to carry out all traditional turning operations such as roughing, finishing, contour turning, face turning and longitudinal turning with just one tool. HDT is therefore a completely uncompromising method of turning.
How do you intend to take CERATIZIT India’s growth to next level?
We have three production sites in India and expect to complete the expansion of our plant in Bangalore by mid-2019. The CERATIZIT Executive Board is very positive about the growth history in India and fully supports our expansion plans. In recent years, we have demonstrated how much potential there is in the Indian market and have more than quintupled our sales in the last ten years through organic and strategic growth.
With an India-wide sales network and a strong sales and technical team, we are ideally equipped for further growth. We are confident that we will achieve high double-digit annual growth over the next 3-5 years. For the financial year ending on 28 February, for example, we expect growth of over 20 per cent compared to the previous year.