Three years ago, Industrial Tooling Corporation (ITC) made a strategic decision to become the UK agent for the BIG KAISER brand of precision tooling. Since signing that agreement, sales of the BIG KAISER product lines have more than trebled in the UK.
The UK has rapidly become the 5th largest European market for BIG KAISER and establishing this market position in such a short period of time is credit to the dedication and professionalism of the ITC sales network and the quality of the Swiss manufactured brand.
Prior to the merging of KAISER and Big Daishowa in 2015, the KAISER brand was sold in the UK by KAISER UK, a dedicated subsidiary that closed in 2008. Simultaneously, the Big Daishowa brand was sold via machine tool manufacturers as a supplement to existing product lines and sales channels. Following the merger, BIG KAISER re-evaluated its position and recognised the need to work in synergy with an OEM with a successful high-quality brand that targeted the ‘entire’ industry as opposed to a niche aspect of the machine tool industry.
Discussing the founding of the relationship with ITC and how the partnership has flourished over the last three years, Giampaolo Roccatello, BIG KAISER Head of Sales for Southern Europe says: “When we wanted to target growth in the UK, we spoke with numerous companies at MACH 2014. It was very important that we found a partner that would compliment, rather than conflict with our brand. We spoke with ITC and found they were very focused, passionate and technically competent and this fitted our philosophy perfectly.”
“Furthermore, we wanted to work exclusively with a competent partner that would work side-by-side with us. ITC has fully embraced our brand, culture and technology and their technical expertise has really catapulted our brand in the UK. We had an ambition to reach sales of £1m in the UK by 2020; this target will be reached well before this date. We set goals every year. However, we can never make any concrete long-term prediction as the market is always changing.”
Europe And The Brexit Issue
Thus far, the issue of Brexit has made no impact upon the business relationship between BIG KAISER and Tamworth manufacturer, ITC. As Mr Roccatello continues: “As a Swiss manufacturer, BIG KAISER hasn’t had the same price fluctuation volatility that the UK has found with the Eurozone, it has been business as normal. Of course there is future uncertainty, but we hope there will be no changes to circumstances over customs clearance and other factors.”
“British products are now lower cost overseas and this is a positive thing for UK exporters. Additionally, the countries of Southern Europe are genuinely looking at the UK as a benchmark and an innovator. The perception of the EU project is at polar opposites between Northern and Southern European Countries. The Southern European Countries are asking ‘do we follow the UK?’ and do we have their courage and conviction to follow suit.” Being the Head of Sales for Southern Europe with an area that encompasses Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium and Italy, the industry overview from Mr Roccatello may be an individual perception, but also a perception that can be accepted with considerable authority.
The sales trends for BIG KAISER in Europe are also a point of interest and encouragement for the UK. As Mr Roccatello confirms: “Almost 75% of BIG KAISER’s European sales are in Germany; 30% is to the aerospace industry and a large portion of this is sold in France. It is this high-technology sector that we expect to grow in the UK.”
“Southern European Countries are more focused upon the entry level product lines such as the BBT collet chucks and associated tools. In the UK, it is clear that manufacturers are very receptive to new technology and this is apparent with the arrival of our Digital Boring Heads. The innovative boring heads with Bluetooth technology offer process stability and improved accuracy and this is extremely popular with the UK aerospace sector. It shows the industry is one-step ahead in terms of adopting the latest technological advances.”
What the Future Holds…
“For a high quality brand like BIG KAISER, our aim is to spread the right message and get industry to understand and accept the benefits of the BIG PLUS toolholder face and taper contact system. With ITC we are confident that we can successfully deliver this message to the right audience. More machine shops are becoming aware of the BIG PLUS system and in 2018, DMG MORI has committed to making all its new machine tools with the BBT face and taper spindle configuration.
Of course, users can still use whatever tool holders they wish. But why invest in a quality machine and use low cost tool holders.”
“In the UK, the BIG PLUS message is proving effective. Now, we want to push more of our indexable tooling lines that promote process stability and productivity, which is characterized by strong clamping systems – something that is the foundation of the BIG KAISER brand. With regard to the next generation of technology, BIG KAISER is already working on automated boring systems for the future. We have already applied Bluetooth technology, but we are now working on automated measuring technology. This means that parameters can be set on a computer or mobile device and the boring head will automatically conduct head movement via Bluetooth to eliminate human error, remove manual reliance on processes and support automated manufacture. We are always working on new innovations to improve process stability and whatever we develop, you will see it first in the UK with ITC,” concludes Mr Roccatello.