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Buffalo Machinery Blog

A Smart Machining Technology & Industry 4.0 Device Provider

AXILE's Distributor: BINKERT in Switzerland

June 2020
Author: linchiang
Company: Buffalo Machinery Co., Ltd.
AXILE's Distributor: BINKERT in Switzerland

The living story of machine tools in Switzerland

AXILE successfully introduced in the pinnacle of a quality environment.

Alexander Fross (Binkert’s Managing Director since 2012) has been able to re-shape one of the older machine tool dealers in all European history, with a clear focus on high-efficient marketing and selling tools, and professional technical competence.


The history of machine tool distribution in Switzerland

The company BINKERT was founded in 1954 by Mr Josef Binkert, and it is today still owned by Paulette Binkert (his wife) who took over the management of the company after Mr Binkert death in 2009 at age of 92. The company was originally domiciled at the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich - today one of the most expensive shopping miles in the world, and was later moved to their own premises in Wallisellen, 10 min from Zurich airport. Since it was founded the company has always been able to grow and expand, and as early as 1955 they already took over the distribution of the historical Colchester Lathe Co. in Switzerland.


A milestone in the history of the BINKERT company was the takeover of the sole distribution of Mori Seiki machine tools in 1977. BINKERT was Mori Seiki in Switzerland for 39 years and Mori Seiki was BINKERT, and both companies grew together in one of the longer distribution relations in European machine tools history. Equally, the merging of Mori-Seiki and DMG and later control of DMG sales network in Europe, made BINKERT became obsolete as a dealer of Mori Seiki in Switzerland and their product portfolio had to be rebuilt from 2016 and they had to reposition themselves in the Swiss market with new products. Luckily enough, the company started to re-shape itself with the introduction of the new and young management team that could help to add new technologies and new suppliers.


Furthermore, the BINKERT company, which had been active in the machine tool trade for decades, was able to establish a new business unit for the sale of cutting tools, tool holders as well as clamping and measuring equipment. The acquisition of a complete tool division in 2019 gave this new business unit an additional growth spurt.


Binkert 2.0: the new re-start

The transformation to a new competitive product portfolio has only been completed at the beginning of 2020. Covering the technologies of turning, milling, grinding, EDM, additive manufacturing (3D printers) and automation solutions, Binkert now has a very broad product portfolio. The milling side is composed of Ibarmia, Nicolás Correa, Yasda and AXILE, while as the turning focuses exclusively on CMZ and Colchester. The portfolio is completed with some worldwide leaders such as Mitsubishi (EDM), HP (3D printers) and Okamoto (grinders), completing one of the most extensive product portfolios in the Swiss market.

In addition, Binkert provides their customers with professional advice on clamping solutions, tool holders, measuring equipment and cutting tools in a procurement project, right up to the delivery of turnkey production systems, all from one source.


In the Tools business unit, they work together with well-known manufacturers with high-quality products such as Schunk Intec, Gressel, WTE, WTO, Zürn, Fahrion, Ortlieb, BIG Kaiser, ARNO, Stock, Hansong, Hufschmid and Yamawa.


Swiss market: high quality struggling in a price competitive world

Switzerland is known to be the most expensive (or one of the most) labour markets in the world. But paradoxically they also have the highest investment per capita in machine tools elsewhere. Switzerland’s success mix is productivity, quality and specialization.


Although its small size (8,5 M), Switzerland still dominates the watch industry and is one of the key players for precision, optical and medical equipment. Their high-skilled workers and processes are key to competitiveness. But their high labour cost (sometimes 50% higher than their not so cheap neighbour Germany!), and the strength of their currency (especially during crisis periods when the Swiss franc is seen as a safe currency), pushes the Swiss industry towards automation more than any other country. This is why they are mostly always pioneering the search for practical unmanned operation of machine tools.


The challenge to remain competitive with so high labour costs pushes them to focus on high-quality products and highly innovative processes. As labour in the machine tool business is scarce mostly everywhere in Europe, their focus is exactly what gives Switzerland its more precious advantage.


Binkert: the right mix of marketing tools and technical competence

The company is divided in three business units: one for cutting tool sales, one for machines tool sales and the last for service. The machine BU for machine tool sales extensively uses a Webshop Interface to promote the products and get many of the leads. This channel is also reinforced by an intense mailing and e-news newsletter activity with a very good segmentation of their huge database built in the nearly 70 years of activity.


The sales team then visits end-users leads to better understand end-user needs and be able to offer the best solution, very often including automation and tooling. This commercial activity is back supported by professional project managers and application engineers, which are continuously in contact with AXILE and other suppliers to compose the best technical solution.


AXILE: the missing link in Binkert’s portfolio

Binkert and Buffalo started their cooperation for the distribution of AXILE product less than a year ago with clear benefits for both parties. Binkert was able to successfully compliment their product portfolio with 3- and 5-axis milling machines with automation systems so much requested in the Swiss market, and Buffalo found the support and reputation to push their products in such a demanding market.


And the results are already here! In just a few months more than 10 machines were already sold, and many already successfully delivered and install. But most importantly, the number of leads for 5X VMC with automation is now growing with the expectation to close some in the next few weeks/months.