Alberto López de Biñaspre, CEO of Lantek, elaborates on the company’s partnership with TRUMPF and how the new collaborative arrangement will benefit both customers and partners.
López de Biñaspre says, “The world of manufacturing is changing and the need for data exchange, connectivity and open standards is the foundation for industry. Proprietary, closed systems no longer meet these requirements. Now we need to take advantage of data from multiple machines and sources to make processes better and more efficient for manufacturers. At Lantek, we have been developing software for 35 years, which works with almost all machine tool manufacturers, so the concept of data exchange and connectivity is one of our core pillars. We are at the forefront of working with the new data sharing and exchange standards and are committed to helping our customers develop Smart Factories.”
1) Lantek will continue to operate independently.
L de B - Most importantly, Lantek will continue to operate independently, providing the same products and services to our customers and machine manufacturers as we have always done. However, they will now also benefit from a close exchange of future key technologies such as AI, data models and holistic process control to deliver a high level of optimization for the future of sheet metal manufacturing.
2) Can you explain the agreement?
L de B - On March 18th, we announced important and exciting news for our company, our team and our customers about LANTEK entering a partnership with TRUMPF. The two technology leaders joining forces is the perfect combination of Lantek’s experience in software and TRUMPF’s expertise in sheet metal manufacturing technologies.
Together we will be able to combine our competencies and develop software for the future of sheet metal production which will be even more open and customer oriented.
This is a unique opportunity for Lantek. We are joining a larger company with a shared vision and a clear commitment to neutrality, independence and openness for all machine tool builders. We will be able to accelerate and expand our software development and it will also provide opportunities for Lantek’s team to grow their careers and gain new skills and experience.
3) What has led you to accept TRUMPF’s proposal?
L de B – The sheet metal market is a very dynamic and, fortunately, in a rapid phase of development. There is more and more demand from the sheet metal industry for digitization processes and that makes the companies in the sector seek ways to collaborate, grow together and offer a comprehensive service to customers. The proposal from TRUMPF matched two organizations with the same objectives, a shared vision for an open solution and complementary skills. The potential for rapid growth and accelerated development will ensure that together we will be able to deliver world leading digital transformation solutions for both TRUMPF and our OEM partners in an increasingly demanding, hyper-connected and global market.
4) How do you think the acquisition will affect Lantek’s independence and how will it be perceived in the market?
L de B – It is important to make absolutely clear that Lantek remains an independent company and that there will be no change to the structure of the company. Lantek will keep its current offices and workforce in the Headquarters in Vitoria, Spain, as well as in the rest of its offices worldwide, continuing the current partnerships and sales and support strategies. Moreover, Lantek will pursue its growth ambitions with even more insistence.
All its staff and Lantek´s Management Board remains the same. Our continued neutral stance on machine manufacturers will confirm this position.
5) How much is Lantek’s innovation strategy driven by its collaborative partners and machine tool partners? Will the new arrangement affect this?
L de B - From our first innovations with punching to the latest developments in fiber lasers to combination machines which use more than one cutting technology on the same machine, our collaborative strategy with partners has been key. Resulting innovations come from a close working relationship with manufacturers, incorporating and adapting Lantek’s open solutions to suit their machines. Because Lantek will continue to operate independently our commitment to these relationships is unaltered.
6) Being more specific, how does the new arrangement affect your relationship with individual machine tool manufacturing companies?
L de B - We have partnership agreements with more than 120 machine tools builders worldwide. Our collaboration agreements allow us to provide a comprehensive service to the sheet metal industry which would otherwise be very difficult for the machine manufacturer to offer. Our partners understand that the relationship with them is mutually beneficial and that it is very positive, fundamentally benefiting customers and their competitiveness. Overall, there is an important strategic guideline: Lantek will maintain its independent and neutral position, even competing in some cases with TRUMPF as we have done in the past. Our multivendor strategy is a core value, and we will assure OEMs of our neutrality and demonstrate it with contractual commitments with the ultimate goal of offering the customer the best possible solution.
7) How will Lantek be operating with its OEM partners?
L de B - On a practical level, our sales, support and R&D and specific OEM development programs will continue as before and will in fact be accelerated. Individual technology development programs will continue as normal and will either be on a one-to-one basis or as part of our overall open development program. We are also committed not only to maintain neutrality throughout the sales channel not blocking any vendor from competing on a level playing field but to strengthen it. At Lantek we have established the necessary procedures to isolate and non-disclose third-party data and technologies, and not to spread them into other workflows. Lantek will not only continue serving its agreements and contracts but, reinforce its strategy to enhance the cooperation with all our partner channels as the leading Sheet Metal Solutions Software company in the market.
8) How will Lantek and TRUMPF work together?
L de B - Both companies have similar cultures with the aim of satisfying customers, employees, and society in equal measure - live by these common values and aspire to shared objectives for excellence and open technology. TRUMPF and Lantek will operate independently with coordination through working groups to maintain that independence.
Let me quote Tom Schneider, Managing Director of Machine Tool Development at TRUMPF. "Our customers’ process is our focus - with Lantek, we comprehensively cover the sheet metal process chain, even with machines from different manufacturers. In this way, we are taking another big step toward efficient and connected sheet metal production and enriching the Smart Factory solution portfolio."
Our partnership with TRUMPF will enable it to offer our technology to its customers, helping them to work towards Industry 4.0 and a Smart Factory in an open environment.
9) Do you think the neutral way in which Lantek operates will lead to a more open marketplace?
L de B – Yes most definitely. Customers will be able to choose the most appropriate machinery for their application and business. There will be no restrictions on the cutting technology – laser, waterjet, punching, oxy-cut, plasma etc. and the make and model of machine. Additionally, our software can cover every aspect of the customer’s business so it will improve every process including managing sales, quotations, subcontracting and manufacturing – even manual and non-CNC activities. Offering open software which improves the efficiency of the customer’s company as a whole while, including the specialist technology of sheet metal manufacture is the solution that the industry wants. Delivering this is a key objective for Lantek, Trumpf and our OEMs and the partnership will accelerate its deployment significantly.
10) How do you think the sector will evolve in the future?
L de B - We are immersed in a market transformation where machine builders and software developers understand that customers are looking for global and above all open solutions. This supports Lantek’s stance on open technology and reinforces its important position in the sector. Lantek’s current collaboration formula with partners is delivering impressive results and within our expansion plan we do not rule out the possibility of expanding the collaborative framework, with both current partners and new ones.
Furthermore, the sector is in clear disruption: new technologies are arriving, which may generate great challenges. We are seeing a market consolidation of companies, while new start-ups and new players are emerging. In these times we believe that our experience and our leadership role can be a reference for the industry.