Eng. Nishan Bazdigyan, RAIS: There is a serious competition and it is not easy to be one of the most successful machine builders

MachinesInterviewSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 4/2014

Eng. Nishan Bazdigyan,
manager of RAIS Ltd.

Dear Mr. Bazdigyan, RAIS company is well known to Bulgarian and European market. What innovations you present recently in terms of products, equipment, marketing, projects, partnerships?
I’ll start with our new partners, related to a new market. Recently we have established partner relations with ”ARGONAG” from Switzerland - one of the renowned names in our industry. They now offer RAIS machines on Swiss market. We have been working with them for seven months, we have several sales and together we will participate in an engineering fair in Basel from 16th to 20th of November 2014. We will demonstrate our 5-axis machining center and vertical machining center M400 RAIS.

The latest in our production range is that all 3-axis machine models of the series M400 and M500 have updated kinematics, which gives much greater stability of the machine. New in our production are milling and grinding CNC machines for the manufacture of optical lenses.

Recently all major machine building companies focus on achieving high energy efficiency indicators when operating with their equipment. In what sense are the efforts of your team pointed in this direction while developing new machine models?
It is essential matter because during this process the cost of production is reduced, and the use of machinery leads to lower power consumption, which is very important for us people living on this planet. I can not say, however, that we are now focusing on this issue as for years we’ve had it in mind when developing our machine models.

We use the appropriate electrical drives and thus, in a moment of recuperative stop, electrical power returns to the mains, instead of converting it into heat, which is unnecessary. Recently we started to use elements reducing the friction, like ceramic bearings for the bearing of the spindle itself. We use bearing axes with reduced friction and also linear guides and ball-screw pairs with reduced friction.

An emerging trend in servicing of the machines is to offer monitoring and remote maintenance. Do you intend to introduce this new practice as an option for your customers?
This is nothing new to us - we have an established practice in servicing. The software of our equipment is designed in a way that the machine provides a preventive message and there is an opportunity for reaction before a problem has even occurred. Nevertheless we meet a hitch - that is when our customers in Bulgaria, and even abroad, have not built an Internet network in their production facilities.

Remote maintenance with them is not possible. For customers who have established an Internet network the machine is connected and we can diagnose it from a distance. Dealing with problems from a distance is another issue. It requires specific skills. Sometimes when a problem is diagnosed from a distance the customer may not have an available well trained service technician.

In this case we provide training for him or send our service team, either from Bulgaria or from our distributors. For example, our business partner in Austria provides service in neighbouring countries - Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia.

Is there a difference between requirements of your European customers and the Bulgarian ones?
I would not say that there are any differences. The Bulgarian customer who manufactures production is extremely competitive and in comparison to the European customer works as accurately and precisely. Many of our Bulgarian customers are suppliers to our European ones, which means that they meet their quality and their requirements in terms of delivery. So the requirements of the Bulgarian and European clients are the same - they are high.

Do you recognize any progress in the preparation of personnel for the engineering sector or the industry still experiences shortages?
The dual education system started this year and I am yet unable to estimate whether there is a progress or not. Our company supports financially some of the students in the classes of the Professional Highschool for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering in Pazardzhik. We sincerely hope that over time some of them will start a career as our specialists. Steps are made in this direction and I can not say whether they are going to be successful or not.

What was 2014 for you and what are your plans for development over the next year?
We have set a borderline - before and after the financial crisis. As a young company struggling to market our own brand we feel that is has been equally difficult before and after 2009. However, in the last few years it got easier because RAIS brand gained popularity.

This is due to our participation in international exhibitions and the cheapest means of marketing strategy - publicity spread from the mouth of content customers. It is also due to the fact that many of our European partners believe in us because we did nothing to mislead them - they can freely put at stake their name behind our product and advertise it.

So in that aspect I can say that it has been a little easier. Although competition in the industry is serious and it is not easy to be one of the most successful. In order to be competitive we need good funding and facilities, as well as highly trained staff. There is still a lot of work and some of the responsibilities are not entirely our task - the State should assume its role and be more accountable to the Bulgarian producer.

As a Bulgarian producer you became a winner of prestigious prize a few days ago. What were you awarded for?
The prize is ”Man of the 21st Century” and is awarded by the ”Made in Bulgaria” Union. I was awarded in the field of mechanical engineering and without modesty I can say that RAIS brand deserves it. This prize represents the high evaluation of our achievements, the responsibility to continue our development and defend the quality of Bulgarian production.

In this sense, what to expect from RAIS in the next year, what specific tasks have you set?
We have constantly expanding sales thanks to the increased amount of our dealers in other countries. During the next year we want to create network of dealers in countries where we have none. These are some countries in Asia, including China, European Community countries, such as Britain and Ireland, where we do not have sales representatives yet.

Next month we will participate in ”Chinese High-tech Fair” in Shenzhen to demonstrate our production. China shows great interest in European production machinery though it is a serious and very competitive manufacturer of machine tools. We hope that during this fair we will find a new partner for the East Asian markets.