Interview with General Manager of Fuji Europe

The complete smart factory of the future

As a full line supplier, Fuji Europe Corporation has not only in recent years expanded their product portfolio, but they have also broadened into different markets. With their extensive experience with adhesive dispensers, board handling, and paste printers, the company ensures the needs of all customers are met. At this year’s SMTconnect trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, the General Manager, Klaus Gross, was interviewed by Charlene Hesse, Online Editor for EPP Europe. He discussed the tradeshow’s new look and approach as well as his expectations for the market. He also talked about how to implement a complete smart factory as well as challenges that he sees the industry will soon face, regarding automation trends. He then explained what the company will be focusing on for the remainder of the year as well as year 2020.

What do you think of the new concept of SMTconnect this year?

Well first, I have to call attention to its new title, SMTconnect. We are quite happy with the new name because it is very fresh and modern. The sense of networking is within the name, which means working with everyone, including machine suppliers and even our competitors. With this new wording, we should stay together, work alongside one another, and learn from each other. So, from this point of view, it’s a great title.

What I also found intriguing were the new events that they implemented this year. For instance, the EMS corner was a great and innovative idea. Of course, since it was brand new, there is some room for improvement but that is like all things that are starting from zero. I also found the joint stand “Newcomer Pavilion” a great idea. This platform not only helps companies present their products and solutions for the first time as exhibitors at the show, but it also brings new ideas for the future. Which going back to the name, this connects all of us, and brings us into the future. I am pleased that we once again participated in this high value, and modern show.

How has this year been for the company?

Our market result from the last year was pretty good. We achieved 15 % more turnovers than the year before. For this, I can only thank the staff of the Fuji team for all their strong efforts. They are the reason that we were able to achieve this excellent result.

For 2020, we are not expecting such a dramatic increase as this year. If we are lucky, we will reach close to what we have accomplished this year. Either way, if we achieve next year, what we have achieved this year, I will be very happy.

How do you think the market for the industry will develop?

For Fuji, we have one target for the future. This is regardless of how the actual market will develop, our target will be the same. We will focus on total customer satisfaction. As of now, we are already continuously working on it. However, every day I keep thinking what can be even more improved to reach total satisfaction. Connected to this, we not only want to increase our number of clients, but we also want to expand the company. Hiring more people, including quality engineers, is one of our priorities in order to fulfill this high goal of ours. Everything is connected and it will affect the future, in order to create more turnover, more modules, and send more machines in the field.

In your opinion, what will be the biggest challenges in the industry for this year?

The biggest challenges are performing and changing the production to Industry 4.0. Although, everybody has been talking about it, since a couple of years now, I think acquiring Industry 4.0 or complete Smart Factory is a big, complex project. And I would recommend to our customers, not to fulfill this big project all at once. I would separate it in several parts, in small steps, and spread it over the next couple of years. Doing it this way, it will be more successful and within these small steps, the return of investment will be easier to have. If you make it all at once, and hope to acquire a complete smart factory, that is according to Industry 4.0, within a year? You will not succeed.

But we will help our customers and provide them with the tools to implement these single steps, and I think going in this direction, our success rate will be better.

What does a complete smart factory mean?

What I mean by this is the complete fulfillment of Industry 4.0, which includes autonomous production lines, zero operator, zero defect, zero downtime. And within this context, we will provide the first starting solution by the end of this year. We will be introducing a completely brand-new evolution at the productronica show, taking place at the end of this year. And I can definitely tell you, it is something that will be worth seeing.

Thank your Mr. Gross for this interview.


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