Based in the province of Álava, Spain and operating in more than 100 countries around the world, the multinational specializes in driving the digitalization process which is happening right now in the sheet metal industry. SPRI, The Basque business development agency, talks to Lantek CEO, Alberto López de Biñaspre about the future for the company and the industry.
How does Lantek help its customers?
Lantek specializes in designing and executing projects and solutions for companies dedicated to bending, forming and sheet metal, tube, and profile cutting. We have added new cloud-based solutions to our portfolio, providing end-to-end solutions for our customers. This supports their transition to Industry 4.0 and digitalization, while making them more competitive, profitable, efficient, and sustainable in a hyperconnected global market. Our multinational structure allows us to work with our customers locally to understand their needs, challenges and desired growth, allowing us to provide customized solutions.
What is Lantek’s view on Industry 4.0?
When Lantek began as a company over 30 years ago, most work was done on large workstations with early forms of CAD/CAM software. Now work is evolving to be done in smart factories and through the industrial internet of things. The time leading up to Industry 4.0 was all about gathering data to make informed decisions. The challenge was that this data was disparate. Industry 4.0 and our new cloud platform allow us to connect all of this information and truly harness the data. Steps aren’t taking in isolation. Customers are able to digitize and run end-to-end solutions. They can run smart factories. They can run more efficiently, enabling processes to be automated and coordinated. Industry 4.0 is providing the opportunity to make informed, real-time decision making and we are helping guide the sheet metal industry in making these shifts.
Our aim is to provide better control and visibility of the production processes through accurate and reliable extraction and analysis of the data. This can then be used to add value to the business, allowing users to interpret information in real time, helping them make knowledge-based decisions. We are also exploring new vertical and horizontal collaboration possibilities with different industrial partners to integrate and communicate between platforms. We no longer simply offer a product but seek to understand the digital maturity of each organization providing the appropriate help to achieve the goal of a smart factory.
Could you give a few examples of your Industry 4.0 and digital transformation-related activities?
We have helped a start-up company create a completely online laser cutting service. With the company committed to innovation and new technology, Lantek provided it with a customer website and online store that is fully automated both for sheet metal and tube/profile cutting. The online store allows the company’s customers to receive a quote for fully automated laser cutting in a few minutes, from their desktop. The whole process is fully automated, without the need for the company’s engineers to intervene, from the loading of CAD files and the specifications of the parts (material, thickness, quantities), to the calculation of the quote and the generation of an order.
Lantek Expert Inside, is a technical collaboration with a Spanish manufacturer and global leader in numerical control systems. The technology, in numerical controls for cutting machines, enables users to increase agility, efficiency, and productivity, thanks to greater control in the management of machining in both the production office and in the workshop, quickly and simply.
Touch & Play is a Lantek Inside module that encapsulates the entire sheet metal process experiences within new augmented reality technology. This solution offers advantages of editing cutting paths and generating new cutting tasks at the machine or adding and removing parts without having to go back to the technical office. This gives the operator more autonomy and versatility when maximizing material utilization and reducing execution and response times.
Given your international experience, how do you think the Basque Country is taking on the challenges of digital transformation?
As a region, the Basque Country is well aware of the competitive imperative of adding capacity and implementing Industry 4.0 solutions. We are seeing high levels of commitment in other Lantek offices in countries like Italy and South Korea, where the industrial sector has been supported by strong aid programs that are accelerating our customers’ digital transformation processes. We are also seeing that there are regions that are switched on to Industry 4.0, like the Basque Country. It has been key for us, since the founding of our company, to be in a region with a high density of machine tool manufacturers. This has given us a competitive advantage. We have benefited from the dynamism of Basque industry and combined this with Lantek’s innovative vision and flair for investment in digital transformation.
What will Lantek’s future challenges be?
The growth objective we set for 2019 is the continued support of our industry, aimed at improving the competitiveness of our customers in a global market, reducing costs and times, making them more productive and profitable. To achieve this goal, we are accelerating our innovation processes with high levels of investment, incorporating even more improvements into our solutions and services.
Our strategy revolves around the development of complete solutions for advanced manufacturing that connect plants and processes, and which are designed to facilitate the digital transformation for our customers, turning their operations into Smart Factories. We are clearly committed to scaling this area of the business.
Finally, like other similar technology companies, people and talent are key to our success and our true value, so we are committed to our own cultural transformation.
Lantek, a company specializing in the development, sale, and integration of plant control and management software solutions (CAD/CAM/MES/ERP), especially designed for the transformation and deformation of fabrications, sheet metal, tubes, and profiles, achieving worldwide leadership in its industry from its offices in Miñano, Álava, Spain. Formed 33 years ago, it now has 20 offices in 14 countries, and 244 employees (in 2018 its staff grew by 30 people), it has become an international technological benchmark.