30 September 2019
EMO Hanover, the world’s largest machine-tool and tooling exhibition, is over in Germany. Pumori Corporation from Russia, one of the country’s leading engineering companies, did more than presenting its solutions; it also brought along a delegation of its partners, the most representative one over the years of Pumori’s participation in the fair. The Corporation’s General Director Alexander Balandin tells TASS about that global exhibition.
― Mr. Balandin, how many EMO fairs has your corporation taken part in?
― I stopped counting long ago. We haven’t missed an EMO since 1997. And we’ve always had a stand of our own.
― What did you show this last time?
― Our traditional products. Before the fair, we spotlighted our exhibits. As EMO is the global review of metalworking machines and tools, it is Pumori-made clamping tools for metalworking that we traditionally display. So, we again presented the Russian brand of Pumori in Hanover.
― How big was your delegation in Hanover?
― Somewhat bigger than in the previous EMO of 2017: then we had 40 people; now, 52.
― How do the exhibitions change from the viewpoint of a Russian engineering company?
― Nobody stands still and nobody rests on their laurels. The most violent competition is among global leaders. For example, Toshiba — we previously collaborated with them and intend to renew the relations — has presented a milling machine — I emphasize, a milling machine — with 60 thousand rpm on the spindle.
― Yes, looks sci-fi. It even seems to me that the external parts of the spindle experience relativistic effects (laughs). The appropriate tools and the superprecision of positioning enable shape the parts without subsequent polishing.
That’s just a small example of a high-tech company at the cutting edge of innovation, and there were a lot of them there. However, the high-tech’s price is high, as well…
― Talking about the previous EMO 2017, you then said you felt “calm before the breakthrough” in the machine-tool industry. Has it happened during the two years?
― Talking of technology, I haven’t noticed anything so epic that would make a real difference from the previous one. But we can talk about things that impressed and were simply interesting to see. For example, Okuma Corporation, our partner, presented a line-up of multiaxis machining centres with built-in robot manipulators, or, simply put, arms. The arms can place, remove, fix, clean, and perform various other manipulations with a part, and that with pinpoint accuracy. One machine tool becomes a kind of an automated system.
Such a solution is offered not only by our Japanese partner. Whether or not it’s a breakthrough, I don’t know yet, it’s not for me to say; but I believe such solutions are here for a number of years; they have been appearing and fading away. Still, it is an unhackneyed and expensive solution, outperforming all previous ones. If it’s becoming a generic solution, it means the market has created a demand for it during the several years. The customer, so to say, is ripe. We are willing to help our partners with purchase of such machines, introducing them to the global progress.
― What uptrends were noted at this year’s EMO? And downtrends?
― There are practically no Russian companies or Russian new products. I have a feeling that Taiwanese, South Korean and other South-East Asian manufacturers are even more numerous, they invade the fringe of the halls and bite at the heels of the superbrands, which install themselves traditionally so far centrally.
― And why?
― The machine-tool industry is developing there at such a tremendous pace because there is demand. Even hyperdemand. It is in this context that one can speak about their world-level achievements. In Russia, about 5, maximum 6, thousand machine tools are bought all in all every year; so, it’s early to talk about it, there is nothing to impress the world with. “Made in Russia” in the machine-tool industry is not a brand yet, it’s a no-name. Marketing of no-names is always by an order more difficult, more expensive, and requires years of effort.
― Participation in such exhibitions is costly. Very few Russian entities exhibited there. What drove you this time?
― Recognition of our brand in the world — that’s above all. We had spun this flywheel up for two dozen years taking part in all the exhibitions. If you miss it once, everyone will notice it. If you miss more, they won’t notice and will forget you.
This time we diversified our “task force”: besides Pumori staff, there were a considerable number of our customers, both existing and potential, from all across Russia — over twenty people altogether, from Moscow, Ekaterinburg, cities of Southern Ural, Perm, Ufa, Izhevsk, Vladivostok, and other regions. They were taken to the stands of the most important companies, where they were assigned individual time, ensured talks with the top managers, and an opportunity to learn about the products, new developments and achievements. That was pleasant and delightful. It’s a good thing that managers and owners of Russian companies visit EMO, and their guide to the world of the highest technologies was for them our corporation. Hopefully, with that, we laid down the foundation of a new tradition. If more people go to the exhibitions, our machine building will change.
― Were opening a “window to Europe”?
― All our partners thanked us and said that what they saw in the exhibition would take years to reflect upon. Imagine that some had to be literally plucked out, they’re such homebodies, sit at home and know everything. But when they came and saw, they realized that could have missed not just new experiences but the right business development keynotes. But then, it’s usual. So, talking of the “window to Europe” — yes, it happens, and it was so this time, too. Opening it should be a permanent process. It’s difficult, but pleasant, and we all cannot go anywhere without it.
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