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Breton: A window into automated manufacturing

Source:International Metalworking News for Asia- December 2019

Date Published:12/3/2019 03:12:56 PM

Automation is fundamental in order to continue and thrive in the 21st century industrial manufacturing industry.

Alessandro Verduci, Export Sales Manager, Breton S.p.A.

Contract manufacturers face a diversity of challenges including a quick-paced and changing market, pricing pressures, supply chain complexity and so much more.

Kathryn Gerardino-Elagio of International Metalworking News for Asia sat down with Alessandro Verduci, Export Sales Manager of Breton S.p.A., and General Manager of Breton Beijing during the recent EMO Hannover, to find out more about the products they are highlighting, and business in Asia particularly China.

Alessandro believed EMO is the most important show in the world, and therefore they are highlighting three new machines. “We are presenting three new machines here in EMO. One is the Matrix 800 machining center, designed to cope with changes in the market. This machine is intended for the mould & die market, and those who want to make medium sized machine parts. It is our bestseller because this is the very first machine we created in the middle of the nineties, and now we are presenting the new design model here in EMO,” he revealed.

Alessandro added, “Breton is also exhibiting the Matrix 1000 5-axis machining center, which is a bigger machine also for mould & die and aerospace. Then we have the Ultrix 1400 multitasking 5-axis vertical machining centre, which the biggest machining center of this kind for turning and milling precision grinding operations. Engineered to provide its best efficiency on titanium, special alloys, steel, and light alloys applications.”

China’s advancing aerospace industry

Alessandro explained that they aim to sell these machines in the aeronautics field.

China's aerospace industry has advanced at an impressive rate over the past decade, partly due to the increasing participation of its aerospace industry in the global commercial aerospace market and the supply chains of the world's leading aerospace firms.

“We sold these types of machines, which I mentioned, in China recently. I know that the present situation is not really doing so good, but the aeronautics is moving. Since we are specialising in aeronautics, for us it is also a very good year in China,” he remarked.

Alessandro said, “Customers in China are now requesting new special solutions, not only the machine itself, but they request a lot of support from us. They want to learn how to get the best of the technology we are offering them.”

Skills gap

The growth in high-tech manufacturing and the corresponding increase in factory floor jobs show that there is a demand for CNC skills.

He stated, “Our Chinese customers are buying these machines with high technology content but sometimes they don’t know how to use them efficiently. One good thing about Breton is we are able transfer our experience to customers. This is the reason that many Chinese customer are asking for more automation to have different machines connected with pallet systems or AGV that can transfer the part of one machine to another one. Although this feature is normally requested in the technological advanced markets, we see an increasing request from China for automation.

Alessandro further stated, “Through automation, you can get a skilled guy to program the machine but you don’t need to have so many highly skilled operators. Automation allows less skilled operators to be supported by technical support staff.”

Market condition

While some exhibitors seemed to be less upbeat about the present business situation, Alessandro reported success in negotiating business deals. “We expect this to be a good exhibition for us because we have received many customers mainly from Germany and China. All the high technology countries are looking for new equipment. Maybe the automotive is not good but the rest of the sectors are really doing well. I can say this is a very good EMO for us.”

Given the general uncertainty over where the market is heading, Alessandro said that the company is prepared. “We are already prepared for this period, and we have managed to put our resources to other sectors. We didn’t get surprised, we were expecting it. We changed the aim where we should focus our sales,” he commented.

Alessandro mentioned Europe is still investing a lot in high-technology. “As long as Europe is investing in high technology I don’t see that there is going to be a big problem. “

Strategy

While most companies compete by lowering prices, Breton competes by investing in technology. “For the same price we offer more technology. The good way is to increase and invest in new technology and products every year so that in return the customer can also offer something in the market and be competitive,” he explained.

The market, customers nowadays operate, can be volatile, which makes sense because every entrepreneur is in the business of creating value, first and foremost. What Alessandro said is true because no matter the price, as long as you're providing value to your customer in exchange for your offering, everyone walks away a winner.

Berton has an office in Beijing, China that do sales and customer support. They participate in four shows a year in this region. Aside from China, the company is also doing business in Singapore, Malaysia and India. 

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