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The Future at Sandvik – Smart Factories Driven by Digital Manufacturing Solutions

Metrology News recently sat down with Kim Hansen – Vice President Strategy and Mergers & Acquisitions and President for the Metrology division – at Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions for a discussion on the recently announced Sandvik acquisitions and their entry into digital manufacturing technologies.

Q: Smart factories driven by digital production solutions are the future. How is Sandvik gearing-up for this transition forecast to revolutionize manufacturing.  

A: In October 2020 Sandvik carried out a business reorganization with the aim of expanding digital technology to make our customers more productive.  We then made a strategic decision to separate the Business Area Sandvik Machining Solutions into two new business area segments. Sandvik Machining Solutions with focus on the machining execution including hardware, services and software – whilst Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions should focus on adjacent technologies which includes industrial 3D metrology, additive manufacturing and design and planning related to the manufacturing process. These areas are now three divisions within Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions.

Q; Sandvik recently announced three acquisition. How strategic were these acquisitions as Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions develops?

A: The recent acquisition announcements (all subject to closing) are very strategic to our overall digital manufacturing development plan.

In CNC machining operations, where Sandvik’s cutting-tool products are ever present, CAM is a critical digital tool in the overall digital manufacturing process and fits within the Design and Automation Planning segment of our strategy. With the Cambrio and CNC Software acquisitions we will acquire an end-to-end portfolio of CAD/CAM software’s in everyday use within our customer base and which also confirms our strategic focus on industrial software close to component manufacturing. The addition of Cambrio and CNC Software will enable a broadened customer offering covering more of the manufacturing value chain –  offering automated solutions from design to machining.

With the announced DW Fritz Automation acquisition, we will be able to expand our metrology and automation offering and provide complete inline metrology solutions to our customers. DW Fritz will allow Sandvik to take a leading position within inline, high-speed, high volume, non-contact inspection and assembly automation. DW Fritz perfectly fits within our Industry 4.0 strategy of seamlessly integrated metrology within manufacturing processes. The company’s customer base and track-record is unique in the metrology sector and the acquisition will allow Sandvik to dramatically broaden customer access to the DW Fritz’ world-class metrology platforms.

Q: Sandvik acquired metrology software company Metrologic back in 2018. How does this fit into your overall strategy.

A: Metrologic continues to be a leading metrology software within the global manufacturing sector. The unique Metrologic X4 i-Robot software will play a critical role in our robotic metrology solutions. The i-Robot technology is robot and sensor agnostic delivering a production ready and accurate metrology solution suited to all applications requiring flexibility and productivity. CAM technology embedded within the Metrologic offering provides complete end-to-end metrology process development and execution. A commercial and technical agreement between Metrologic and DW Fritz is already in place with the Metrolog X4 advanced point cloud analysis software, being utilized on the DW Fritz Zero Touch high-speed, non-contact metrology and inspection platform.

Q: Metrology is heading to the production floor with ‘closed-loop’ feedback to machining operations. There appears to be an appetite for adjacent as well as inline metrology solutions. Where does Sandvik fit?

A: Going forward it is our opinion that both measurement worlds will exist. What is important is that ‘metrology in the machining space’ will exist with every part receiving some form of qualification. In addition to the tradition part gauging techniques Smart Tooling will play an ever-increasing role whereby the machining process is constantly monitored real-time. Existing Sandvik Smart Tooling can already monitor cutting forces, tool deflection, tool temperature and a surface finish indication providing intelligent insight into machining operations. In the future seamless integration with machine-tool controllers will provide seamless tooling driven adaptive control of machining operations.

Q: Sandvik announced its entry into the metrology sector later that most other large groups. Is this to your advantage?

A: I would definitely say yes – a later arrival can be leveraged to our advantage. Importantly we are not too late as Industry 4.0 and Smart Factories are still developing from concepts to physical realities. Digital solutions remain under development and customers still are figuring out how they plan to move their operations forward and leverage these emerging technologies. Being so closely aligned to current manufacturing operations and CNC machining processes globally we have a unique perspective and access to our customer thoughts on how they want to migrate their current manufacturing processes and operations in the future. Being later to declare a strategy still involves some element of ‘crystal-ball gazing’ but being so intimate with our customer-base allows us to hone a business strategy, and target future acquisitions, based upon what we perceive will be the future needs of our customer. We would not have entered the metrology business if we did not believe that Sandvik can become a top three company in the sector.

Q: What are the Growth Opportunities for Sandvik?

A: Sandvik currently has over 100,000 existing customers in the machining space and as previously stated by our CEO Stefan Widing “it’s more about selling more to existing customers than finding completely new ones. Sandvik Manufacturing Solutions should be able to grow as fast as the market organically, and with acquisitions we should be able to grow faster than the market.” With DW Fritz we will need to make their customized metrology solutions available both globally and locally. We believe that with DW Fritz we will also be at the forefront of developing the emerging market for fully integrated automated metrology solutions within both manufacturing and assembly operations across all industrial segments.

Q: Sandvik CEO Stefan Widing has stated he is looking to grow annual revenue to €600 million by 2025 from the digital manufacturing solutions and services sector. What further acquisitions can we expect in the future to execute the strategy and achieve the revenue level.

A: As previously communicated much of this revenue will come from acquisitions. Sandvik is very active in executing on our defined strategy. All I can say at this moment is watch this space! We have just signed an agreement to acquire CNC Software, the creators of Mastercam and in conjunction with this, Sandvik also updated the 2025 revenue objective for Sandvik Manufacturing Solution from € 400 million to € 600 million alone. And there are of course additional digital growth objectives in the other business areas.

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