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More than buying a cutting tool.

More than buying a cutting tool

Our customers are demanding more of us each day, and those demands will expand dramatically in the 1990s," reports Charles Brumder, president, Waukesha Cutting Tools Inc, Waukesha, WI. In sizing up his market, he points out that "we don't simply sell cutting tools anymore; we sell solutions to our customer's problems, something that can get much more involved than just selling a product."

To meet that shifting market demand means a company must tailor its service to each customer's needs. "Building such a support and service-oriented system means more people and more resources being poured into individualizing your service," the Wisconsin toolmaker conceded. "It's no longer enough to position yourself as the low-cost provider of cutting tools. You have to provide the customer with a solution and the service that will make him the low-cost producer in his industry. We must produce the highest quality with the highest reliability while providing the leading edge of technology, engineering, and sales service, all with on-time delivery and dependability," he adds.

International expertise

Waukesha markets and sells in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Even so, it has joined in a partnership with Walter Co of Tubingen, West Germany, a leading European cutting-tool manufacturer. The Walter/Waukesha combination permits the US firm, Mr Brumder explains, to broaden its product and experience base in providing more options in solving its customer's manufacturing problems. It also has a licensing agreement with Myfhe Co, Barcelona, Spain, to sell its boring system in the US.

Even though it has international ties and a global perspective, the company continues to concentrate its marketing efforts in North America. "Each market has its own peculiarities, and you really have to know them in order to be successful," Mr Brumder claims. That's why the Walter half of its partnership continues to concentrate in Europe.

What impact will the economic melding of Europe in January, 1993, have on the cutting-tool industry? The US executive is hopeful it might help focus some of it's foreign competition away from the American market and toward Europe. "But until the new rules and regulations, duties, and tariffs are published in detail, nobody really knows what may happen. I doubt that Europe will be closed off to the rest of the world, but they probably will have some restrictions," he concludes.

New technologies

The development of new nonmetallic materials in the form of composites and plastics will continue to impact the cutting-tool industry. "There will be improved cutting-tool technology for the composites and plastic materials, which will both expand our existing markets and open up new ones," says Mr Brumder. He doesn't see any great inroads being made on the traditional metalworking markets. "Remember that such materials need dies to be laid up or formed, and many of those dies will have to be machined," he says.

Other technological improvements, he feels, will come in small increments. "The ceramics market penetration will grow. There will be improved geometries and better insert grades, along with a broader use of reinforced ceramics and improvements for machining composite-type materials," he predicts, but he doesn't see anything coming along that is going to "blow everything out of the water."

"The industry will continue to come out with new carbide grades, and there will be incremental improvements each year that will force users to keep their cutting tools up to date, but, relatively speaking, except for ceramics and indexable drills and brazed-tipped drills, nothing has really changed in the last five years.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR AT IMTS

Improvements will be incremental. Look for upgrades in reinforced ceramics and improved geometries on inserts. Make sure your supplier can not only provide reliable product on time, but can back it up with engineering and sales service.

Charles P Brumder President Waukesha Cutting Tools Inc Waukesha, WI
COPYRIGHT 1990 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Metalworking Product Guide
Publication:Tooling & Production
Article Type:Interview
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:638
Previous Article:Milling machines.
Next Article:Drilling, boring, tapping machines.
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