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Ivan Li, general manager at Shenzhen Axxon Automation Co. Ltd (China), discusses their recent acquisition by Mycronic, as well as the latest developments in the dispensing market. Also discussed is the China market, and how the company is staying ahead of the increasing competition in the dispensing industry.
Stephen Las Marias: Please tell us a little bit about Shenzhen Axxon.
Ivan Li: Established in 2007, Axxon is dedicated to supplying professional dispensing solutions. Our products are focused mainly on three big fields: consumer electronics, automotive, and customized solutions. We provide total solutions to our customers.
Las Marias: What are some of the products you are showcasing here at the Expo?
Li: The products we brought to the show include a standalone benchtop dispensing robot and an in-line conformal coating system. The benchtop dispensing robot series includes a basic benchtop robot without a vision system, for easy and low-end dispensing demands, and a more-precise model with a vision system controlled by a PC. This is suitable for some high-mix and low-volume demands from customers.
Las Marias: What are the latest updates in your dispensing systems?
Li: There are new features in this industry, which lie in two aspects: one is people require more and more from the aspects of intelligence and smart technology. The other side is they want more flexible machines or solutions, to satisfy those high-mix, low volume, and quick changeovers demands during production. On these two aspects, Axxon is in a leading position in the China market.
Las Marias: Shenzhen Axxon was recently acquired by Mycronic. Can you tell us about any updates or changes so far within the company since the acquisition?
Li: Over the past decade, Axxon has been primarily focused on the China market. We wanted to bring our brand to the overseas market. On the other hand, we wanted to have some complementary technology collaboration with Mycronic. If we can merge very well, we will be able to come up with very new, innovative and cost-effective solutions for new applications. The current product lineup of Mycronic and Axxon are pretty much complementary.
Las Marias: Speaking of the China market, how would you describe the landscape for Axxon? What are the challenges that you're facing there?
Li: Competition in the China market is very fierce, because the market is huge. Not only are a lot of overseas brands gradually building up their Asia offices and seeking to do more business in China, but within China, there are a lot of local companies rising up and doing the same thing as we are. Some local suppliers who are doing other kinds of machines have gradually shifted to the dispensing field within last two or three years. There are a lot of newcomers.
But from our point of view, when it comes to dispensing, we are a very focused company and we have accumulated a lot of experience in this segment. We understand the market, the process, and the trends. That is our advantage. We will continue to focus on our area. We’re not expanding to different segments; we are confident we can deal with the competition in this market. More focus means a higher possibility for success.
Las Marias: From your experience, what are the major technical challenges that your customers face when it comes to dispensing?
Li: In the electronics manufacturing field, our customers are challenged with more and more requirements for integration. They're not only required to provide professional solutions in the dispensing process, but also post-dispensing—the inspection—and if there is something wrong, some automatic repair.
These are relevant requirements around the dispensing industry, and in this kind of situation we try to provide our customers a total solution; not only on dispensing, but also on the relevant processes. That's what we are now dealing with, those kinds of challenges. Actually, in the past two or three years, we found this direction to be correct and we’ve brought a lot of benefits to our customers, and the market recognizes it.
Las Marias: What are the market trends that you're seeing right now?
Li: In our point of view, the home market will be targeted more on dispensing application requirements. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many newcomers here, so the demand is increasing. On the other hand, the market has higher demand on quality and reliability. Also, Industry 4.0 is really popular and we need to embrace the concept when we're providing solutions or designing machines. Another point is that we think the dispensing field is at a stage where it’s reaching a lot of newcomers and everybody suddenly wants to do business; but the market also has different feedback and responses to those companies.
So, they have to pass the test of the market, and gradually somebody who has the core technology will survive, and somebody who just has very superficial ambitions to get more business in the long term will lose. It needs accumulation. That's our understanding of the local market right now.
Las Marias: You mentioned that one of the requirements from your customers is integrated solutions. What other solutions are you adding to your dispensing equipment so that you provide your customers with what they need?
Li: We're providing the total solution through other functions beyond dispensing; for example, before dispensing we have a precise locating or magazine load function. Post dispensing, there is a function that will check and inspect the effectiveness of the dispensing and the results. After that, maybe queuing, and of course, conveyers that load. Those functions can be provided simultaneously with our dispensing machine and can connect with post processes like AOI/ SPI seamlessly.
Las Marias: Do you work with other suppliers?
Li: Yes, we have partners to help us to provide the total solution. But we design the whole solution and provide it to our customer.
Las Marias: Ivan, do you have any final comments?
Li: This APEX show is the first time Axxon has brought machines to the U.S. market, so we are still learning and listening to the feedback. During the three days, we’ve had communication with customers and we have learned that the market here is really different from the Asia market. In Asia, the market is high volume, but here, it is low volume and high mix—so our machines need to have a different focus and function. Upon our return to China, we will bring the feedback and discuss internally, and we will try to provide the most suitable equipment for the specific market.
Las Marias: Ivan, thank you very much for your time.
Li: Thank you.
This article was originally published in the June 2017 issue of SMT Magazine.