How to break through the homogenization competition of laser cutting?

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With the gradual acceptance of domestic fiber lasers by the domestic market, China’s sheet metal laser cutting machine market has entered a stage of rapid development, and large and small manufacturers have sprung up. With the wider application of laser cutting in the industry, the sheet metal laser cutting machine with high-end image in the past has also flown into the homes of ordinary people! However, since 2020, the sales market competition of domestic laser cut machines has become white hot, the sales of a single machine has decreased significantly, the downward situation of the industry is obvious, and the overall profit of the equipment is much lower than before, and is decreasing day by day, even sold at a loss. At the same time, the pattern of the laser industry has been generally formed, and the prominent brand factors have led to the change of the mentality of end users, which has directly increased the elimination of the industry.

Development Status of Laser Equipment Manufacturing Enterprises

In previous years, the development idea of laser equipment manufacturing enterprises was to put on the cloak of so-called “high-end manufacturing”, implement the low-cost strategy, get orders at any costs, then lower the purchase price of suppliers by quantity and obtain the policy support of local government by scale. The development strategies of enterprises are trying to be bigger first and then stronger! Such a development strategy, if a few years ago, did succeed in some brand manufacturers, but they are rare. In fact, this is also a kind of “puffiness” phenomenon. Once encountering big storms, the ship may capsize at any time. Due to the popularization of domestic fiber lasers and the serious homogenization of domestic laser cutting control systems, and even some cutting systems force the use of laser cutting heads of some brands, which leads to the kidnapping of the core “three major parts” by the suppliers, and the lifeblood of the core parts is in the hands of the suppliers, so it is impossible to talk about the technical accumulation of laser equipment manufacturers and the excavation of moat. This “extensive” development model has been difficult to obtain policy and resource support under the environment of the national new economic policy. Development ideas determine the way out for development. To achieve high-quality development, we must follow the correct development direction. At this year’s national two sessions, the government work report pointed out: “we should coordinate steady growth, adjust structure, promote reform, accelerate the transformation of development mode, and do not engage in extensive development.” This is an important content related to the policy orientation of economic and social development in 2022, and also sets the track for development from both positive and negative aspects to a certain extent.

End the original accumulation development mode of “horse racing enclosure” and open the talent endowment development mode of “specialization and innovation”! In November 2021, the office of the leading group for promoting the development of small and medium-sized enterprises of the State Council issued the list of practical things to be done for “specialized and special new” small and medium-sized enterprises and several measures to enhance the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises, so as to solve problems and solve problems for the development of “specialized and special new” small and medium-sized enterprises. The so-called “specialization and innovation” refers to specialization, refinement, characteristics and novelty, so as to focus on casting expertise, strengthen industries with supporting facilities and win the market with innovation. A series of cultivation support policies in China have been intensively released and implemented one after another. Although “specialization and innovation” is not synonymous with high technology, it should be the leader in the vertical segmentation product market of manufacturing industry.

In this context, how should sheet metal laser cutting equipment manufacturers survive and break through?

1.Increase the diversification of product models

Develop different laser cutting models according to different industry customers; Provide cutting models with different operation habits and experiences according to different enterprise customers; Even provide customized specific laser cutting models according to different project cutting process requirements. Adhere to the development idea of “specialization and innovation”! Once the product models are diversified, we must deeply understand the needs of customers, and have the corresponding technical reserves and technical iteration ability. At present, most laser equipment manufacturers do not have enough accumulation in technology, especially in the control system software, which is very dependent on the domestic mainstream control system. If the brand of the control system used is single, it will not form a real diversification of models. At the same time, due to the homogenization of the control system software adopted by various equipment manufacturers, the user’s operation experience is also completely homogenized, and there is no difference in function, performance and habits, which intensifies the homogenization competition in the industry, and finally compares the configuration and price. Laser equipment manufacturers based on single control system software will fall into price competition, resulting in little profit. The diversification of control system, operation experience and product models is imperative.

2.Increase the diversification of end-user groups

Many laser equipment manufacturers want to develop group end users and large enterprise customers, but they are often rejected because of insufficient brand awareness and unqualified equipment performance, and even have no chance to bid. The target customers can only be placed on small and medium-sized enterprises, or even many individual industrial and commercial groups, which will inevitably be involved in price competition and homogenization competition. At present, this situation makes many laser equipment manufacturers fall into a “dilemma”: the high-end market can not get in, and the low-end market “makes a cry”. To get out of this dilemma, we must take the route of differentiated competition and explore the diversification of customers in the target market! In the face of users in the nature of large group enterprises, the requirements for the technical performance, configuration and function of the equipment will be more strict, and the requirements for the control system and software will be more specific and clear. For example, they should be consistent with the operating systems of other sheet metal processing equipment within the group, such as adopting the numerical control system and nesting software unified with imported machine tools. High-end numerical control systems such as Beckhoff and Siemens are easier to be accepted by large group enterprises.

3.Provide product customization services

Because the cutting products of large group enterprises are relatively fixed, and the processing characteristics of “single and large batch” are clear, users hope to develop customized control systems and software in line with the internal operation habits of the group around their actual needs, and even require the development of MES systems connected with the production management system of the group company. If someone want to develop customized control system and software, the majority of laser equipment manufacturers do not have such technical accumulation and technical strength, and there are too few control system manufacturers who can provide customized services, which makes the majority of laser equipment manufacturers unable to realize customized services, finally, they feel powerless, and forced to give up the development of high-end routes. If you want to break through the current competition in the Red Sea market and provide customized and appropriate solutions for high-end users, you must have corresponding technical strength and technical accumulation.

4.Keep up with the industry trend, try new technologies and contact new forces

At present, the laser industry has entered the era of digital cutting. Major manufacturers at domestic and abroad have increased R & D investment in full digital intelligent cutting machines, but now many small and medium-sized enterprises have not entered the ranks of intelligent cutting and have fallen behind the forefront  of the industry. How to ensure not to be eliminated in such fierce competition? no mention to development. Therefore, only by contacting new technologies and actively following the changes in the forefront of the industry can we ensure that we do not fall behind and have the opportunity to break through in the future development. Digital intelligent laser cutting is the general trend. Only machines equipped with bus system intelligent cutting can be more competitive in the market!

Of course, the elimination and reshuffle of the laser industry is the inevitable result of the development of the industry. Getting out of the industrial dilemma is the only way out for the development of laser enterprises. In the same period, the “leader” enterprises in the laser industry are taking the road of differentiation, customization and characteristics. For example, Germany TRUMPF and Switzerland Bystronic in the field of global sheet metal laser cutting, as well as domestic leading brands of high-power laser cutting machines – Hans, HGTECH, PENTA, QUICK and other head enterprises, all adopt international open CNC systems. Based on this system platform, they have customized and developed their own control systems and software with years of technical investment and accumulation. In this way, they have formed their own enterprise style system and software, protected various cutting functions and cutting processes developed by their own enterprise, gradually excavated the “moat” of their own enterprise, and obtained the protection of intellectual property rights!

In the process of mainstream enterprises taking the road of system autonomy, the open CNC system based on PC and EtherCAT bus has become the first choice for the top players in the industry. The remarkable characteristics of German Beckhoff bus CNC system, such as openness, maturity, stability, strong compatibility and good expansibility, are the necessary conditions for the secondary development of laser cutting control system! However, it takes a lot of effort to master the Beckhoff system and have the ability of in-depth secondary development. In particular, the technology accumulation of laser equipment manufacturing enterprises is not strong enough, there is a lack of technical R & D personnel, there is no complete multidisciplinary R & D personnel team, or the R & D team has no way to invest in the long term. These factors will affect the decision-making of enterprises, or make some investment in software secondary development, but they can not obtain corresponding results and benefits in the short term.

Based on the pain points of industry development and the needs of market development, the core technical team of Changzhou MEN Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd. is in-depth research, combined with the core technical team’s more than 20 years of laser cutting technology and technology accumulation experience. Specially introduced precision laser equipment, precision laser cutting plane, precision laser tube cutting, precision medical equipment laser cutting machine, endoscopic snake bone laser cutting machine, precision 3C structural parts laser cutting machine, interventional medical equipment laser cutting machine, semiconductor laser cutting machine machine, auto parts laser cutting machine, to meet customers who have micro-processing needs in medical, semiconductor, auto parts, electronic 3C and other fields!

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