Photo: Paul McKay (center) and the Rotometrics China team celebrate the official opening of the new facility in Suzhou.
While the company’s domestic market in the USA sees solid dies used in a variety of market sectors, including tag and label, medical, automotive, electronics and industrial, in Asia the preference is for flexible dies. So, Rotometrics sees the new facility in Suzhou as an ideal opportunity to grow its solid die business outside narrow web print, typically in the electronic and automotive engineering sectors, amongst others. Aware of the relentless speed of manufacturing globalisation, Rotometrics is mindful of the need to keep pace with this by offering local support, and to do it to the highest standard possible. To this end, the full sales team and technical facilities and competence levels at the new Suzhou base are a mirror image of those found elsewhere in the Rotometrics global network.
Speaking for the company, business development mgr.-Solid Dies in Asia Doug Parton, adds, “This is our first location in Asia for die repairs, and I’m pleased to say the first to be opened by any Western die maker in China. Our aim is to offer the highest quality repair service that will provide longer die life, better cutting performance, and lower total cost of ownership."
The process involved is very logical and detailed. Each die entering the facility is logged and assessed for wear and tear, and also any damage. This enables the Rotometrics team to generate a quotation for the work required and, assuming it is accepted by the customer, the die is then sent for grinding and on to be re-sharpened. This can be done on one of two CNC machines, or if necessary, by hand, after which it is quality inspected and any minor flaws corrected. Finally, it is tested on the customer’s own material to ensure it meets critical performance targets prior to shipping.
According to McKay, overall quality standards are very high in China, with more checks carried out on finished products than is generally the case in the West, so technical repair skills need to be at an equally high level, too. To ensure staff at the new Suzhou plant conform to Rotometrics’ own high standards, a period of intensive staff training is being undertaken by some of the company’s senior global technicians. “What we are offering to our Chinese and other Asian customers is a level of repair and service on Rotometrics and other solid dies that has not previously been available here, and we are confident that the market will respond to our investment in the Suzhou facility,” he says.