“India is our biggest customer, doing 40 percent of our turnover in the last 2 years. India is pushing forward much more than other countries as far as IoT is concerned. We are being forced by our Indian customers to provide them with newest technologies or state-of-the-art technology in IoT – and that’s what we are currently doing,” says Rudolf Descovich, Managing Director, Medek & Schörner GmbH, in an absorbing interview given to Wire & Cable India.
Here some excerpts from the interview.
Wire & Cable India: Can you tell us a little bit about Medek & Schörner and the developments that have recently taken place in your company?
Rudolf Descovich: Medek & Schörner is well known in the sector of cable printing machines and coating systems for optical fibers. Its products include the highest engineering skills, decades of experience, and continuous development. From the very beginning, we and our products have stood for reliability, professionalism, flexibility and high quality. For decades, we have been the market leader in the manufacturing of cable marking machines and coating systems for optical fibers. Medek is the only company in this market segment that covers almost the entire machine spectrum.
New developments have taken place in our company, most of them are under non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with our customers. A lot of developments are taking place at Medek but they are not directly visible. They are internal, mostly in equipment modifications – permanent modifications and permanent updates related to the performance and reliability of our equipment.
WCI: Can you specify the areas where these developments have taken place?
RD: Special applications in the optical fiber sector as well as developing new products besides our standard machine spectrum.
WCI: Can you tell us about your product range and the services you offer?
RD: Our Company has been founded in 1929. We produced different technical products and were deeply involved in the military industry. Since 1955, we started to enter the cable marking production, which means our machines were printing texts or signs on cables. Permanent updates, upgrades and new developments have taken place since 1955. And since 1980, we have entered the global optic fiber market producing coloring lines for optic fiber and sheathing lines for optical fibers – nowadays all on the base of UV curable inks. The very first optical fibers have even been coated by use of M&S equipment. Since then we are in business.
WCI: What trends do you see in the optical fiber sector, especially in the area of ‘printing on the cable’?
RD: There is a huge amount of inquiries now for laser marking equipment – mainly because it is a contactless printing system and has big advantages as it is programmable. Cables are becoming thinner and thinner, which means, the cross-section of the cable is getting smaller from one year to the next. The cable sheath is getting thinner and thinner too. The requirement of the customers is to have a printing system that doesn’t damage the cable. This is easier done by contactless equipment, like inkjet. But inkjet has a big disadvantage in terms of adhesion, production speed and it also causes additional use of expensive ink besides the annoying and time spending cleaning processes. The better option, if applicable, is laser marking – contactless printing by light.
WCI: What are the future trends of the wire and cable industry?
RD: One of the future trends is bigger investments in IoT – Internet of Things – in big companies; and that means controlling equipment remotely even by the supplier of the equipment itself so that we have direct access to our customers. That is more and more required and we are asked for it. Our equipment is of course ready for IoT. We are also seeing new developments, similar to the ones taking place in the fiber industry, in another area – renewable energy. This is where we investigated a lot together with the companies we are in agreement. We are a small gear in the whole engine. We are going towards competition with China. This is in fact difficult for European companies – we are unable to compete in terms of price – but in terms of quality, support and technical knowledge. We see that our knowledge is required. And this is our step forward in order to avoid direct competition with China, we have to focus on the work we can do. Medek is a small company compared to other companies. It has approximately 90 employees. We focus on niche markets, and this is where high technology is required. The first steps can be taken only by investing into technical developments, especially in sectors where bigger industrial fellow campaigners refrain from offering equipment because the amount of equipment to sell later on is not so huge.
WCI: While talking about IoT and Industry 4.0, you said that suppliers may collaborate more closely with customers and have better control over the machines. Has that already happened? Where is India placed in the smart factory scenario?
RD: India is our biggest customer, doing 40 percent of our turnover over the last 2 years. India is pushing forward much more than other countries as far as IoT is concerned. We are being forced by our Indian customers to provide them with newest technologies or state-of-the-art technology in IoT – and that’s what we are currently doing. Our optic fiber equipment is already prepared and ready to be used. It is already being used in India. That’s great to see!
WCI: Is there anything else you would like to add?
RD: We really love technical challenges – this is our job – and we are good in it. We are really happy to have customers who are ready to invest a little bit more money in quality equipment than in purchasing it from cheaper sources. The feedback from our customers is that we should go forward with this philosophy. Of course, we have internal costs which we have to cover. These costs are higher as compared to China or similar countries, but the benefit for the customers is 24/7 support, high technology and reliability. This is why customers all across the world are relying on Medek. Our customers want to have a machine or equipment that can run 24/7 without giving headache. Of course, we are far from delivering perfect equipment. But our equipment seems to work much better and is more reliable than similar equipment available on the market.