Michael Wombacher, who is an automation specialist, has become the new Managing Director at machinery manufacturer Polar-Mohr. "Simply putting a robot everywhere" will not be the ultimate solution nor are the cost and benefits well related. Nevertheless, the former Kuka manager still sees considerable automation potential, especially in the postpress sector.
DD: You probably imagined that taking over would be somewhat different to what it actually is now, with crisis management being the order of the day. What is the current situation at Polar-Mohr?
Michael Wombacher: At the moment, we are in an ambivalent situation. The order books look very good. We have had our first cancellations, but they were not of a significant extent. You could say that this is just normal background noise. With respect to the Chinese market however, the first three months were distinctly different to what we had expected. We are preparing to see considerable slumps - but to what extent I cannot tell you right now. We are well positioned with solid financing. So we will have to wait and see how the market develops. For now we have an order backlog and we are also discussing various future projects.
Are parts still being delivered to you?
Yes, we are well positioned at the moment with plenty of capacity. We also have containers on their way from China, which were shipped despite the coronavirus. But we will also have to wait and see how the situation will develop. Right now we are still able to work, but we might well be hit by a bottleneck after a time delay, as this type of delivery has a lead time of six weeks and that is just for sea shipments.
What effect will the postponed Drupa have on Polar-Mohr?
Of course, we profit quite a bit from the effect of the trade fair by presenting new products and new incentives. It will now be held one year later. However, the trade fair will probably come at just the right time after the 'coronavirus restart'. So I see the postponed fair as an opportunity on the one hand, and with a weeping eye on the other because we had prepared a lot of things. But unfortunately we will have to keep this surprise to ourselves for now.
Does this mean that you will only be presenting your innovations at Drupa?
Well, partly. We will be presenting a few innovations at the trade fair as we want to make you curious. Some features will be presented in advance because they represent a clear improvement in safety and quality and thus a significant added value for the customer. It would not be appropriate to postpone this for a year.
What do you consider to be the main postpress technological need?
There is enormous potential for automation in the postpress sector. After all, automation means that the paper is processed without manual interference. If we can reach that stage, we are well positioned. And there are still many fields for which a solution has to be found that do not yet exist today, e.g. in non-standardized production: individualized products, finishing ... The high-volume standard production is all about high automation, and possibly also about robotics.
Well, for this you would have the appropriate background ...
Yes, I really feel quite comfortable in this sector. However, it will certainly not be the solution to simply put a robot everywhere. It's too complicated, and the cost-benefit ratio would be disproportionate. I need to look at the solution as a whole before moving on to the hardware.
Source: Deutscher Drucker | No. 5/6 | 17.04.2020 | print.de
Questions: Martina Reinhardt