Foundry-Planet: What is your opinion about this year's GIFA? How was it compared to previous GIFA exhibitions?
Anders Wilhjelm: It was a more mixed audience than before. We were generally pleased with the traffic in our GIFA stand - it looked like we were getting more than our fair share of interest. We were excited about being able to present both Simpson and Monitizer in addition to our other brands, two new brands that hopefully makes Norican an even more compelling partner for the foundry / die casting industry.
"If you do not act sustainably, you will be disqualified either through regulatory requirements or through customer/consumer preferences"- Anders Wilhjelm
Foundry-Planet: This year, you featured a dedicated sustainability zone on your GIFA stand. Is this is now a fundamental part of your business?
Anders Wilhjelm: Yes, sustainability already is, or will become, business critical for our customers and for Norican. We see differences in how high this is on the agenda of our customers - there are geographical differences, and also differences depending on which markets our customers serve. Right now, sustainability is a differentiator for some of our customers, but we believe this will quickly become a ticket to play: if you do not act sustainably, you will be disqualified either through regulatory requirements or through customer consumer preferences. The same applies to Norican. For Norican, we have made clear that we want to contribute our part in leaving the planet in a better condition than when we inherited it. This is big pledge, but we believe it is the right ambition in a few different ways. It will strengthen our innovation focus, it will affect our attraction as an employer and supplier, it will affect how and what we procure, and it will drive our top and bottom line. We believe sustainability and profitability must go hand in hand - and it can!
Further details are visible on Norican's sustainability report. The main focus lies on why this is fundamental to any business, i.e. the business drivers for stainability
Foundry-Planet: What is the target for a foundry / die casters for being more sustainable? Do you see digitization as key to removing tedious or dangerous human tasks by digitizing or automating them to reduce the dependency on skilled/experienced labour, which is becoming harder to get. Where do you see the differences, and how will the markets develop?
Anders Wilhjelm: Digitization is high priority in all regions, whereas the customers' interest in and focus on sustainability varies by customer segment. In general, we don't believe that there will be much difference between the various regions of the world going forward. The main difference is probably going to be the speed with which it will happen.
"We can prioritize our emission reduction efforts according to where we get the biggest impact" - Anders Wilhjelm
Foundry-Planet: What does this mean for a global group like Norican, which covers a wide range of foundry processes in all industrial markets in the world! Are there synergy effects? How do you see the future of technological development and where are the best chances?
Anders Wilhjelm: On sustainability, it's straightforward for Norican to think global and to act local. We can prioritize our internal emission reduction efforts according to where we get the biggest impact. For example, investing in green energy (solar) in China and India has a higher priority than in Germany. On digital, we have from the very beginning been focusing on two things in our external digital efforts - today known as Monitizer 1. How digital tools cave our customers business in terms of savings profits. 2. Making a hardware-agnostic effort, which links to the first point since most of our customers do not only have Norican equipment in their plants.
As you have seen, we have created a separate brand Monitizer for our digital solutions for exactly this reason our digital solutions work very well with our own equipment, but it also works well with other suppliers’ equipment. This is also why we welcome equipment and consumables manufacturers to look at Monitizer and consider if this would be a good solution to interface with rather than making their own solution. Having digital systems that speak well with each other is at the end of the day what all our customers want
A customer obviously still needs specific digital functionality in relation to, for example, a moulding machine or to a furnace, but they don't need more than one IOT platform in their plant. Of other synergies, I think it's obvious that the more machine data is captured, the more intelligent equipment manufacturers can optimize their hardware. By capturing data, and converting it into knowledge, this will only help in making better machines and improving our service to customers.