Switzerland: OSG invests in Vischer & Bolli
What benefits does the closer association with OSG have for your company?
Buholzer: OSG has one of the most advanced tool manufacturing facilities as well as a demonstration and technology centre at their production site in Göppingen, Germany. Their production area has only recently been doubled. OSG are very active here in Europe and pursue a clear growth strategy to be able to position themselves properly on the European market. Due to the high quality, the pricing is in the top segment. With OSG as our partners, we clearly count on technological leadership.
Technological leadership sounds expensive.
Buholzer: Selling based on quality, not price, is an enormous challenge for our employees. Our sales team are trained machining specialists and the best way to sell is through test runs and process optimisations. To do this, we must get into the production processes of our prospects. It is very difficult to convince buyers in this regard. Ideally, our contact persons are production managers and in smaller companies the owners themselves, who are still very close to production.
And how do you manage to convince them?
Zumsteg: We are able to show how we can cut production times through optimised milling strategies and higher metal removal rates. We also help to optimise process stability. These are crucial factors. However, the direct apparent tool costs (the costs of OSG milling tools in comparison to competitor milling tools) can increase. The real tool costs however, do not necessarily increase, as the service life of our tools is generally higher than that of cheaper tools. Also, our solutions can increase productivity, so that the machine hours per workpiece can be reduced. Now it is up to the experts to evaluate which strategy is the most cost-efficient.
What role does automation play in Switzerland?
Zumsteg: Switzerland would be an excellent country for series production. Swiss companies have excellent prerequisites and the skills to do series production. Clamping technology is the fundamental requirement for automation. We have recently developed our own robot cell as a joint project with HBI. HBI provides the cell and we supply the clamping technology and integrate the solution at the customer site. Our strength is that we can adapt the clamping technology to the technical requirements of production. This is an extremely demanding task.
Vischer & Bolli does not only sell OSG tools, but acts as agent for other tool manufacturers as well.
Buholzer: We have actually expanded our range after the buy-in of OSG. Currently, we also represent M.A. Ford, Kyocera and Denitool as well as Regio-Fix clamping technology besides OSG. With Denitool and Kyocera, we have become a full-service provider for turning tools. These are the most renowned brands that we represent.
However, it is also obvious that we have outstanding manufacturer expertise with OSG now.
How have the additional tool ranges affected revenues?
Zumsteg: In the last two years it has been extremely difficult to grow for companies in the MEM industry. Through the expansion of our product range, we were able to defy the general trend and grow both in terms of revenues as well as staff numbers. Also considering the very close partnership with OSG, we can look back on a very positive development for us.
Buholzer: And after 60 years, Vischer & Bolli has excellent prospects for the future, thanks to our strong partnerships.
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