Growth in servo drive use is also leading to sharply increasing demand for customization
Braunschweig, Germany, January 24, 2013 --- One of Europe's leading
customization capability it offers, and launched a new fast-track service.
Metronix is one of the largest designers and manufacturers of custom servo
drives. Around 35,000 servo drives a year - over half of Metronix's annual
output - are sold under other companies' labels or produced for specific OEM
applications. Today, Metronix is typically working on about 30 adaptation or
customization projects at any one time.
The opportunity for custom drives continues to grow strongly, and Metronix
has just expanded the size of its R&D department by a third to meet demand.
The company has also streamlined the way it handles custom design or
private-label branding projects, to offer what it believes is the
fastest-turnaround service in the European market.
A team of just two staff are responsible for reviewing new projects with
clients and initiating development and manufacturing orders. This efficient
arrangement makes Metronix exceptionally agile, allowing it to react very
rapidly to customer requests and to 'green-light' new projects within days
if required. Using lean manufacturing, the company is able to get new
projects into trial production within months of initial customer enquiries,
and ramp to volume production quantities in less than a year.
Growth in demand for custom servo drives is increasing strongly. This stems
from numerous factors, including the continuing growth in demand for
precision servo control, demands for lower power consumption, the increasing
desire to reduce physical size or for drives to fit into specific spaces,
and from the sheer added value that strong brand identity delivers.
"Many industrial companies are currently realising that they can increase
their market share and improve their margins with the aid of better drives
and controls," says Jan Koch, CEO of Metronix. "Metronix has the resources
and structure to partner with them and accelerate their time to market in
"Our new investment is targeted at satisfying the strong growth in demand
for branding in our segment of the industrial automation marketplace, while
also capitalizing on the core strengths of Metronix," adds Jan Koch. "These
strengths are a drives business that is large enough to allow us to offer
best-in-class manufacturing quality at a very competitive price point; but
with a company size that is also small enough to react very quickly."
Metronix is headquartered in northern Germany. The company has a flexible
structure, with a headquarters facility that handles core activities such as
engineering and final assembly of drives and controls products, and a number
of high quality subcontract partners who manufacture most of the electronic
and electro-mechanical component parts and sub-assemblies.
The company's agility and responsiveness is illustrated by a recent survey
of its custom product clients which showed that Metronix achieved an on-time
delivery score of more than 95%, rated against the deadlines that the
customers themselves had asked for - which included many urgent requests for
service that fell outside of agreed normal schedules.
Most of the custom requests that Metronix deals with fall into two
categories. One is full-custom design, producing application-specific drives
to help OEMs optimize performance and/or reduce the bill-of-materials costs
of their industrial equipment.
The second main form of request is for 'private label' products - coming
from automation suppliers and motion control system builders who typically
need a drive to fill a gap in their range. Often, the private label drives
that Metronix supplies will also have a number of minor adaptations, such as
custom firmware and connectivity, to suit the client's particular target
applications and marketplaces. For many of these companies a key target is
to get their application solution firmly designed in by OEM customers. By
partnering with Metronix, they are able to broaden their product range
quickly and competitively, to help differentiate their service from other
In both cases, by selling third-party drive products under their own name,
clients typically increase the value of their own brand in terms of
enhancing customer recognition, and extending their market reach. Metronix
is a complementary partner for such companies, because as a pure drives
specialist it does not compete in the higher-level motion control and
systems automation engineering parts of the market.
One unusual aspect of Metronix's services in this custom engineering area is
its willingness to transfer intellectual property rights to clients. Users
can be assigned full rights to manufacture the drives themselves if they
wish, typically after a certain initial production figure has been achieved.
Metronix also has no minimum batch size for orders, it will even produce
quantities of just one item if that is what's needed.
Metronix has been producing motion control technology for industrial
machines and automotive applications for over 30 years. Its product range
includes smart servo drives with integrated positioning capability, plus
motion controllers and accessories that provide cost-effective solutions for
multi-axis motion control and automation, and decentralized machine control
requirements. A key feature of Metronix's motion products is their rich
networking and encoder interfacing capability, which ensures that drives can
be integrated easily into virtually any industrial system or machine - even
if an OEM has custom PLC or control hardware. This feature is highly valued
by many OEMs as it allows them to create and continue developing innovative
brands of machine offering unique features. Metronix complements this
capability with what is probably the most sophisticated and capable custom
drive engineering service on the market today. Motion control products
designed by Metronix are marketed under its own brand, and in custom forms
by a number of well known industrial OEMs.
The company additionally makes geophysical instruments and customer-specific
digital controls for measurement and control applications. Metronix is part
of the Apex Tool Group, headquartered in Sparks, Maryland, USA. The Apex
Tool Group has more than 7,600 employees in over 30 countries. Metronix's
design and manufacturing facility is located in Braunschweig, Germany.