Feintool technology has again come out ahead in a challenging market environment for capital goods. Feintool was able to strengthen its position on the market with fineblanking presses/systems, tools and services and lay the track for future development.
The segment's sales rose last year by 5.6 % to CHF 92.7 million. Higher third-party sales are the reason for this, especially in Asia. In the final months in particular, Feintool received a noticeable increase in numbers of inquiries from there, and China will now also be the fastest growing market. The newly installed fineblanking systems demand additional support through tools, spare parts and services. Feintool has the options and resources to fully serve this important and emerging market and to set itself apart decisively from its rivals in Asia.
However, an overall further consolidation of the market and of fineblanking customers can be seen. This is causing a reluctance to invest in Europe and the US. Mergers and acquisitions will remove individual customers from the market as they are integrated into larger companies. This development creates risks, but also opportunities, for customers that are growing internationally and that Feintool can support with products and services.
In the future, this also includes the expanded capabilities in tool making at the planned new location in Most (Czech Republic), where Feintool will focus on the manufacture of simple and medium-complexity fineblanking tools and spare parts. This will enable Feintool to tap more market segments.
Feintool remains a driver for innovation
Feintool has once again underpinned its role as global technology and market leader in fineblanking with customer-focused innovations in all business areas.
The improved and strengthened Servopress XFT 2500speed not only provides additional options in fineblanking production, this new press model also provided a significant wow factor at the world's largest exhibition for sheet metal work, EuroBLECH in Hannover.
The maintenance and service provision FEINmonitoring now makes a valuable contribution in the context of Industry 4.0. Feintool is the only press manufacturer that offers an analysis of the measured data as a finished solution. We have now fully started distribution among customers in the market.
The implementation and testing of new tooling materials and associated optimal coatings have brought a decisive advantage to the market in the processing of high-strength materials. This affects the increase in service life and the reduction in spare part costs for tools, in particular. This consistent approach with a clear timing of tasks and processes has allowed for transparency to be created and brought about great strides in the reduction of processing time.
An important building block in the activities in the research and development department is close cooperation with prominent universities. Last year, Feintool developed the 'FEINrubert' app with the help of the Jiao Tong University in Shanghai and presented it at EuroBLECH. This smartphone app is used to determine and document the straight cut ratio of fineblanking and is a one-of-a-kind.
Feintool is also a founding member of the fineblanking working group which was launched last year. A total of 32 fineblanking companies in Europe will be technologically and economically enhancing fineblanking together with the RWTH Aachen University and the affiliated tooling laboratory (WZL) as part of this committee.
New segment management
The management of the Fineblanking Technology segment has been in the hands of Markus Schaltegger since the beginning of 2017; he previously managed the press department.