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Boston Digital shifts strategy, offers Fanuc.

Boston Digital shifts strategy, offers Fanuc

"The best survival strategy is a growth strategy." That's the force that has been driving management decisions at Boston Digital Corp in Milford, MA, according to Joseph F Banafato, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

"There are entire precision applications that have not yet been tackled by numerical control technology, such as in the jewelry industry," explains co-founder Thomas Linn, president. Mr Banafato, who joined the firm two years ago, claims the company's "mindset" has shifted.

He explains the company is shedding its conservatism and has shifted from an entrepreneurial to a professional management style. He says he was brought into the firm to beef up financial and general management skills.

"We are now moving aggressively to build on our reputation as producers of precision machining systems and controls that machine the most complicated contours," Mr Banafato says. "We are concentrating on doing more of the little things right," he adds.

Founded in 1965 as a firm to build devices to control motion, it subsequently enlisted a company to build machine tools to add to its controls. As such, it was one of the companies early on that could deliver both a machine tool and control system.

Later, it developed its own machine-tool manufacturing capability. It currently is noted for its BostoMatic controls and high-accuracy machine tools. Its special five-axis machining system features a pivoting head and powerful control software for hesitation-free profiling of complex shapes. Early on, it also introduced 40,000 rpm spindles for engraving and small-hole drilling.

The firm prospered and hit $22 million in sales in 1982 and then fell on hard times with sales dipping to $12 million. Last year it reported revenue back up to about $18 million.

The foreign market is one area where the firm is moving more aggressively. It named a general manager for European operations and broadened its scope of thinking from the United Kingdom--where its operation is located--to all of Europe. It even changed its name there from BostoMatic UK Ltd to Boston Digital Corp, so it'll move worldwide under one corporate banner.

It also is beefing up its distributor network in Europe and only recently introduced product catalogs and marketing brochures in four languages. It hopes to boost international business to 50% of sales over the next three years, Mr Banafato says. Mr Linn indicates some consideration is being given to initiating manufacturing in Europe.

Traditionally marketing direct, the firm has decided to build a domestic distributor network and created the position of general manager of distributor relations and support to underscore its new emphasis. It also brought in a new director of marketing to coordinate its effort.

Another staff addition: a professional purchasing director. Mr Banafato claims the goal next year is to move 40% more product than in 1991, while at the same time trimming costs.

Traditionally committed to research, it now has been concentrating on developing product. Earlier this year it introduced its BDC 3200 CNC control, which co-founder and CEO Ara Aykanian claims is twice as fast as its current control. And that, he says, is still one of the fastest available on the market. It features an easily upgraded 32-bit VME architecture with multiple 680xx series processors, a unique acceleration algorithm, a digital servo interface with multiple filtering, and dynamic modifications of servo parameters. Also featured is a high-resolution color touchscreen with a logical menu structure.

Even so, the company--ala its new aggressive marketing mode--has decided to start offering its machines with a Fanuc control, recognizing it was missing sales in some companies dominated by a specific brand.

PHOTO : Boston Digital is shedding its conservatism. It's going after international business, lining up a network of distributors, and even offering its BostoMatic with a Fanuc control.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Nelson Publishing
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Tooling & Production
Date:Jul 1, 1991
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