At the recent EMO 2019 manufacturing technology exhibition in Hannover, Germany, Jeff Boyd, Key Markets Manager at Sutton Tools, sat down with Stephen Las Marias to talk about trends and opportunities in the cutting tools market, and some of the product innovations at the company.

Established in 1917, Sutton Tools is a family-owned company manufacturing cutting tools for the metal cutting industry. The company supplies tools to end-user markets including automotive, medical, mining, power generation, aerospace, defence and the oil & gas industries. Founded by William Henry Sutton, the company is currently managed by the fourth generation of the Sutton family.

Stephen Las Marias: Tell us about yourself and your role in the company.

Jeff Boyd: I have a background in product engineering and technical R&D. That kind of matured into a more of a technical role in the field. In 2011, I headed up to Singapore, where I ran the company’s operation and distribution centre. I was there for nearly five years, running the Asian markets. Currently my role is to support our teams globally, and bring the necessary market information back to our head office to support our production facility.

We offer a wide range of solutions for the metal cutting industry. We have a division in Europe, based in the Netherlands, which supplies the European region; and then from our Melbourne headquarters, we are very focused on the Asian market, where we supply various engineered cutting tools, to increase the end-user’s productivity. We have salespeople located in all the major markets in Europe and Asia. And for a company our size, that’s probably where we mainly focus on. In these markets, we have a particular focus on aerospace machining of difficult high-strength materials and automotive tapping.


SLM: What challenges are you seeing in the industry?

JB: Every market has a different challenge. If I bring it down to one thing, it is finding the right people in those markets. People are engaged in the market, and have very good relationships, because we know we have a very good, very stable product at a competitive price and the right quality. But at the end of the day, you really need the right people that you can trust to be able to really find the right solution to offer the customer, to bring the benefit to the customer; to bring these products to them.

SLM: What opportunities are you seeing in South-East Asia?

JB: I would say South-East Asia has a very strong aerospace/aviation market, and from our experiences and successes in the machining of titaniums and inconels – particularly in the French aerospace markets over the past few years – that has allowed us to leverage this knowledge and open up a number of new opportunities for Sutton Tools in South-East Asia. That said, automotive tapping applications in Thailand and Indonesia are also of particular interest when it comes to thread forming of forged steel components.


SLM: You mentioned you were in Philippines recently. What are the opportunities you are seeing in that market?

JB: I was in the Philippines for the PDMEX 2019 event, to support our distributor there. We have a couple of aerospace customers and a few automotive customers in the Philippines. It is kind of similar, the aerospace companies based there are very much machining exotic materials including titanium, and we have a very good relationship with them for many years. There are also quite a few automotive customers, again for tapping. And they are our two strengths, really. We are not going to take on everything, they are our main areas for our products. We like to do things really well, and we put a lot of our resources into supporting the brand.


SLM: What can you say about e-mobility?

JB: We have a number of customers, particularly in China, for electric vehicles (EVs), and, you know, a lot of materials there are silicon-based aluminium. We have very good solutions for producing threads when it comes to forming taps for those materials. As the internal combustion engine is seeing a demise, we are focusing on EVs, and diversifying our offer; focusing from an engineering point of view on those materials necessary to produce the electric vehicles.


SLM: What products have you been highlighting at EMO 2019?

JB: We are highlighting industry-based solutions here, so we have a program for super alloy materials for the aerospace industry. In terms of machining, we have a very good carbide grade and geometry ideal for high metal removal rates with dynamic-type machining strategies. We have done a lot of independent testing with our tools, and we have about three sales guys in the south of France supporting the market there for the subcontractors to Airbus, which is really seeing a lot of growth in the market, particularly this year. That’s a very important area for this exhibition for us.

But we are also showcasing some new products ready for 2020. We’ve recently purchased some new equipment to produce extra-long series carbides drills. We’re releasing a range of 15xD, 20xD and 30xD carbide drills in 2020, which we are showcasing here, as well as a lot of our taps for automotive tapping applications.


SLM: The cutting tools market is very competitive. What makes your products unique in the market?

JB: Sutton Tools is flexible in the way we go about our business. We really like to work with the customers, and the end-users. We are very focused on talking to the end-user, understanding what their challenges are, and we try to be flexible enough to offer a solution in that way.

Republished  courtesy Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News.