After 2014 Press Brake Tooling Launch, What Have We Learned?
It’s been several months since we announced the launch of our press brake tooling product family. This has given our customers and prospects a chance to become more familiar with our product offering and give us solid feedback on their initial impressions. With that in mind, we conducted a Q&A session with three of our regional sales managers to discuss the market’s initial reaction to our products, common questions they have received, and what trends they are seeing in the press brake market.
But first, a quick introduction. Steve Pfleghaar is our Regional Sales Manager, North and has 33 years of industry experience. Tiffany Tripp is our Latin America Sales Manager and has been with Mate for 14 years. Finally, Josh Caplinger is our Regional Sales Manager, East and has 16 years of industry experience.
1. How would you characterize the initial reaction to Mate’s press brake tooling?
SP: The reaction has been fairly strong. When we first launched I was surprised at how many unsolicited requests we received at Mate. Our name is solid in the field and I think people understand we have something substantial to offer.
JC: Customers are excited to have a vendor with the reputation of Mate Precision Technologies enter the market. Many long-time customers have been waiting for us to come out with a product that would match the quality of our punch press tooling and they now see that we have delivered.
TT: I would summarize the main feedback as the market is interested and excited to have another press brake tooling option.
2. What are some of the most common questions you’ve received regarding the press brake tooling? How do you respond?
SP: Specials…they want specials. We will be offering specials in the future as part of our overall launch.
JC: The main questions I’ve received are: Will your product dimensionally match our current product? What is your lead time compared to our current lead time? What is the hardness of your tool compared to our current product?
The answer is that we will need to compare the products and that there may be some slight differences, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the product will not function. The best service we can offer is to review the process and determine what is best for the customer to meet his or her expectations.
Our lead time is aligned with the rest of the market. There are products that we have in stock and we are constantly improving that. Our specials have about the same lead time as our competitors.
It is very important to explain the benefit of induction hardening to laser hardening. Mate is hardened on the wear surfaces to 58-59 HRC to a depth of 3-4 millimeters, which is 9-10 times deeper than a nitride process. A tool with deeper hardening is better, because it supports the working surface better.
3. What are some of the key trends you’re seeing in the press brake market?
SP: I think the transition to hardened and ground is inevitable, but is slow to be accepted in the market. There is plenty of American planer style out there.
JC: I think the biggest trend we see is that a lot of the newer machines are sold with a package of tooling through the machine dealer. We’re working with machine dealers to help new press brake owners have access to Mate packages.
TT: Frank Baeumler did a great job of recapping some of the overall trends we’re seeing in his recent article.
4. What sets the Mate Sales Engineer team apart from competitors?
SP: Overall our strength is in our ability to apply what we know. Many of our staff programmed and operated equipment so they are professional application engineers first, and sales staff second.
JC: Our Sales Engineers have run press brakes in the past and have bought tooling themselves, so they understand how to best serve the customer’s needs and have a unique ability to help our customers with projects from the ground up. We can recommend tooling that will not only allow the customer to complete a job, but also complete it in the most efficient way possible.
TT: Our technical support and strong relationships with customers.