How did OMEGA SINTO FOUNDRY MACHINERY LTD, the team and the representatives around the world get through the past year and how are you and your family?
I'm sure but like everybody else the speed of change that came with the pandemic took everybody by surprise. At Omega Sinto we followed the government guidelines and anybody that wasn't critical to the operation was sent to work from home, and of course travelling anywhere except essential travel was curtailed. Despite our best efforts we had several infections within the staff, but thanks to onsite testing were able to isolate those individuals and protect our workforce and most importantly carry on production. Myself and the family are fine, and as I’ve spent the last year and half at home and not travelling around the world has allowed me to spend more time with them.
After 6 months of BREXIT-Done, how does it feel and what are the concrete effects for a machine manufacturer like OMEGA, which is on the move worldwide?
I think it's too early yet to see the full effects of Brexit, however on a positive note perhaps it’s not the massive disaster that was originally forecast for the UK when we decided to leave the bloc. Initially and as expected the increase in paperwork has caused some issues, but from a trading perspective we don't expect to see any changes in business and relationships within the region. Of course what we're hoping for are those countries outside the EU that up until now have had prohibitive duties that make trade virtually impossible to do business with. Maybe now our government is free to seek trade deals with them will open the doors in time.
The Covid-19 pandemic is hitting the countries and people of the world differently, what impact has this on production, supply chains and the outlook for OMEGA's customers and employees?
Initially we were very surprised that some of our UK suppliers shutdown completely, when questioned about this they said it wasn't clear what the guidelines were to them and decided to send everyone home. In our minds it was absolutely clear; in as much that you carried on working if you could not work from home and did so with safeguards in place. Of course the pandemic hit some of our overseas suppliers much more significantly and this also had an effect. However what we're seeing currently at the moment with a general shortage and massive hike in transportation costs, delays etc is really starting to cause issues for everyone.
In a crisis, those who can adapt most quickly and flexibly get through the best, how was it at OMEGA, were you able to use the time and what is the current business situation?
We are very fortunate that we have an excellent and flexible workforce, and we kept everyone informed via a weekly message of the current situation (we still do so now) how the orders were looking, how is our production, current situation regarding staffing etc. I believe that although we are not out of the woods yet, this helped us to get through last year and will do so into the future.
One has the feeling that a lot is changing radically quickly, what is the perspective of sand casting in these times how will technology and requirements change in a world of changed mobility and new forms of life and communication?
As we are focused primality in the no bake sector we haven’t yet seen the impact of electrification on the industry. What we have seen however, is a renewed environmental push in terms of reuse, and especially with regards to foundry sand. Every foundry is looking to minimise their waste, which of course sand is one of the main contributors. At Omega SInto we've always prided ourselves on having innovative solutions to maximise sand preservation, whilst at the same time through our advanced mixing and resin addition technology kept binder levels to the absolute minimum. Not only saving money on consumables, but also reduction in gas evolution, VOC’s etc.
We haven't had a face-to-face event for a long time and have fortunately been able to bridge many things with digital communication. How important are face-to-face meetings at conferences and trade fairs for you?
I have attended several virtual conferences and trade fairs and unfortunately I have to say they have all been very disappointing, it's a fact that you can't beat a physical meeting, not only for understanding the product but also to develop business relationships and networking, which just isn't available through the virtual world to the same extent.
Hope to meet you soon somewhere on the planet, stay healthy and happy!
Many thanks Thomas, I miss seeing my friends within the industry and look forward to our reunion, perhaps over a cold beer………….