Changing the Way Things are Done
Though Magswitch Technology is a relatively small company, with just over one hundred employees, it has developed a highly-innovative proprietary switchable magnetics technology. The application of its magnetic lifting technology is having a significant impact in automation, changing the way things are done in a number of industries.
Magswitch Technology is an Australian company that has celebrated ten years of growth and success. It opened its first sales office in the U.S. in 2005, in Littleton, Colorado. That year, the company manufactured its very first line of welding ground clamps, and, in the following year, the company developed a line of woodworking safety tools.
Last year, the company established a second U.S. office in Detroit, Michigan, to better serve automation industries in the Midwest. As well as the offices in Colorado and Michigan, the company now has global facilities located in Ingolstadt, Germany; Mumbai, India; Busan City, South Korea; Hangzhou, China and Gordon, Australia.
In 2008, Magswitch produced an expanded line of welding and lifting tools. The company expanded greatly between 2009 and 2013 and added automation tools in 2011 while simultaneously expanding global distribution and further establishing the brand.
The Magswitch name is synonymous with quality and innovation. It finds new ways to provide value to its distribution partners by offering marketing, training, sales support and, of course, technology that stands alone in the industry.
Magswitch is not just the company’s name; it is the core technology that drives the company’s success. Its patented ‘magswitch’ allows for the power of rare earth magnets to be turned on and off. Unlike an electromagnet, the technology does not require electricity to power and sustain a strong magnetic field. Instead, it uses two diametrically magnetized disks that move 180 degrees in relation to each other, forming collapsible magnetic fields that serve as a switch.
Magswitch features an ‘active shunting’ technology that enables the user to effectively turn off the magnetic field using one moving part. When compared with traditional ‘passive shunting’ systems, it provides a lighter, yet stronger technology that performs better and delivers faster, more accurate results with lower production costs.
The company’s patented permanent magnet technology offers faster, safer and more efficient and effective tools and processes for a wide range of applications. The core technology has been incorporated into manual applications for woodworking, welding and lifting, as well as more complex uses in highly automated manufacturing. The Magswitch is swiftly replacing vacuum cups in material handling situations such as de-stacking sheet metal from a pallet.
The safety of Magswitch’s industrial automation tools is a major differentiator in the market. “Electromagnet units will turn off and drop parts in the event of a power failure. Suction cups will lose vacuum without continuous compressed air and drop parts. Magswitch products are actuated on and off and will stay in that state until the process dictates a change,” explained President of Magswitch Integrated Solutions Joe Cyrek.
Flux compression in an optimized, low-carbon-steel housing enhances the power of the magnets by up to thirty percent. Magswitch Technology boasts magnets that are able to maintain a stronger hold on thinner steel and various shapes and sizes due to the compression of the magnetic field and the use of different magnet configurations.
When activated, the rare earth magnets have the power to hold 250 times their own weight. Magswitch offers lighter and stronger lifting magnets with the capacity to work on thin materials that range between less than 1/16” and 1” thick.
“At Magswitch, ‘Changing the way things are done’ is not just a tagline; it’s what we do,” said Vice President of Product Management Derek DalPiaz. The company has effectively carved out a niche for itself by defining industry best practices and improving tools and processes through the application of its unique technology.
“The shift from an old technology manufacturing base across the US to an aggressive adopter of new technology is driving the use of the technology across global OEMs, Tier Ones and major players in both the welding and automation business,” David Morton, CEO, Magswitch Technology Worldwide said.
Magswitch tools are used to lower down times, increased productivity and safer, more accurate results. Magswitch technology has greatly enhanced a number of applications for downstream products such as magnetic field tools with sub-marine, aerospace and high-heat capacities.
The switch enables increased efficiency and ease of use in welding and fabrication. The Magswitch MagPress, a specialized fabrication tool, offers a simpler way to align steel sheets with precision and acts as a beam press tool in ship yard fabrication. The MagPress can reduce traditional work practices from twenty minutes to twelve seconds – a welder’s dream!
“In industrial automation, our innovative single-sided holding tools allow advanced manufacturing processes – like laser welding and automated gas metal arc welding – to be performed at faster speeds, with higher quality. This results in process throughput that has previously been unachievable,” Cyrek noted.
“In the automation industry, we are significantly faster in operation, considerably lighter and offer guaranteed life cycles of eighty to one hundred times longer,” said Morton. “Magswitch automation tools use up to ninety percent less energy.”
Magswitch shipbuilding tools reduce labor time by up to sixty percent while its robotics tools take only one-third of a second to actuate versus the three seconds that traditional vacuum processes take. Vacuum is the largest energy consumable in automation and Magswitch has reduced that by upwards of ninety percent.
Morton continued, “By 2018, we will have the tools to eliminate the need for vacuum from the production line completely. The longevity of our tools and their need for minimum maintenance cuts the need for redundant tools and the manufacturing of replacements. As a corporation, we aim to be carbon neutral by 2020, through energy offset.”
Magswitch has been ISO 9001 certified since 2009 and is engaged in a two-year strategy to become ISO 9001:2015. For Magswitch, quality is about more than manufacturing; it is about design, function and durability. Morton noted, “Safety in our lifting, fabrication, power tool, welding and woodworking is our first design criteria in our new product development process.”
Magswitch Technology’s products and solutions are disrupting the established processes in automation and, as such, require a different sales strategy and marketing approach. Though the products and technology sell themselves, this does require a change in thinking, work practices and even skill sets.
The company has taken a top-down approach to communicate the advantages of its tools and technology. “The culture of innovation has to be top down,” said Morton. “It’s about risk, vision and determination.” Magswitch has had an innovation manager for two years who has been crucial to the company’s success. “A culture of innovation requires special skills in customer relations. New technology has to be sold top down, and the constant move towards the next big thing engages our team.”
“With our brand, innovation comes from many avenues – employees, customers, and partners,” DalPiaz contributed. “As our customers and partners learn and understand our technology, they bring ideas to us on a regular basis. Some of the best innovations are a result of the relationships we have built and continue to cultivate.”
Magswitch’s distribution is achieved through an integrated delivery model and a preferred dealer network that has experienced significant results over the past several years. Its general dealer sales were replaced in mid-2014. By the 2014 year end, preferred dealer sales grew by 220 percent.
“Dynamic culture, quality people and great products are key to building a global footprint,” explained Morton, and these are areas in which Magswitch has excelled. “A combination of distribution, dealers, co-branding and some major customer private label products have established Magswitch with footholds across three continents.”
Preferred dealer sales are on track to grow annually, with revenues expected to grow by eighty-five to one hundred percent each year. This is due in large part to Magswitch’s focus on field training and sales support for its preferred dealers.
“Training is a key part of the Magswitch value proposition. We have developed a comprehensive training curriculum comprised of demonstration videos, interactive webinars and live training. Our training program is designed to train our partners and customers on the proper application of our tools, which results in productivity and maintains a safer work environment,” explained DalPiaz.
Magswitch Technology will play an important role for many vital industry players that are looking to achieve ISO 50001over the next decade. “There’s a lot of pressure as we complete pre-production testing with OEM partners focusing on new ‘smart tool’ technology, end of arm tool degauss functionality and a real cool new sheet fanning tool unlike another.”
The company continues to identify new opportunities to expand its automation platform capabilities. It is also positioning itself for the workplace transition to robots and dreams of the day when a plant is equipped solely with Magswitch grippers. “Our tools are ready for the challenge,” noted Cyrek.
“We know if we can deliver tools for every station in an automotive automation plant, we can reduce capital costs by twenty-five percent. That’s huge and we are very close to that now,” explained Morton. “Our traditional tools will become more sophisticated with electronics for communication and added safety, electric actuations, cordless remote control, efficiency and focus.”
“Many of our innovations have come about because our customers have problems that others could not or chose not to solve,” Cyrek added. “We take the challenge as an opportunity to solve their issue, cement our relationships and offer game-changing solutions to others that have the same or similar issues. It’s a key part of our ‘Trusted Global Brand’ strategy.”
In 2016, look forward to Magswitch’s ‘smart tool’ technology, including the MagDrill: the next evolution in magnetic drilling. The drill’s magnetic activation and rotating base are just a part of this innovative application of the company’s technology to make a lighter, stronger and safer tool.
Though Magswitch already has a number of patents for innovative technology and tools in fifteen industrial markets around the world, there is no stopping there. Magswitch continues to take the world by storm with its technology that is changing the way things are done.