Sandvik acquires 30% stake in 3D printing firm BeamIT
BeamIT specialises in metal compo...
Swedish engineering tools group Sandvik has announced the acquisition of a 30% stake in additive manufacturer BeamIT.
BeamIT specialises in metal components for industries such as automotive, energy and aerospace. With over 20 Powder Bed Fusion printers, the company produces parts through DMLS, EBM and SLS techniques.
Kristian Egeberg, President of the Additive Manufacturing division in Sandvik said: “The AM sector is developing fast and there is a need for AM-specialist-partners with the advanced skills and resources required to help industrial customers develop and launch their AM programs. With this investment we provide our customers with the opportunity to access the complementary and combined power of Sandvik and Beam IT.”
In its 12 July press release, Sandvik said that Beam IT had revenues of around $7.5mn with 38 employees. The purchase price was not disclosed, though Sandvik can increase its stake over time.
“The investment in Beam IT will complement our existing offer in Additive Manufacturing,” said Lars Bergström, President of Sandvik Machining Solutions. “It is also in line with Sandvik’s strategic ambition to become a leading solution provider for the wider component manufacturing industry.”
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.