Guy Dann, Country Manager of RS Components Australia and New Zealand shares his views on how 3D printing for rapid prototyping and connected devices are set to be the key drivers of Australia’s engineering industry, as well as the company’s strategic focus in 2015.
The Proliferation of 3D Printing for Rapid Prototyping
According to Gartner’s 2015 Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends, 3D printing unit shipments should nearly double next year, and then double again in 2016.
Such growth is expected, as 3D printing is fast becoming an essential part of the design process for both electronics and mechanics, with the ability to create quick turn-around prototypes, saving months in the design cycle.
Based on your observations, is Australia experiencing similar growth in demand for 3D printers?
Definitely, especially as the demand in Australia is one of the most evident in the world, with almost every industry sector exploring the possibilities that 3D printing provides.
There is strong growth for 3D printers and consumables as customers within the industrial sector are now beginning to see 3D printing as not only a prototype solution, but one that can handle small batch production runs.
What has RS done to promote 3D printing in Australia?
3D printing is dramatically impacting our customers’ ability to rapid prototype and is fast becoming an essential part of the electronic and mechanical design process, saving months in the design cycle.
However the cost of hardware and lack of easy-to-use design software for non-CAD specialists could be barriers to adoption. To address the challenge, RS provides complete end to end and accessible 3D technology package.
Our range of 3D printers covers everything that our customers need; from cost-efficient RS branded 3D printers, to well-known brands such as RepRapPro and 3D Systems.
We offer a suite of free design tools to easily create new product concepts with direct interfaces to 3D printing and fast turnaround PCB manufacturing.
We have a library of manufacturer approved reference designs, 3D models, PCB symbols, etc., that are time-saving resources to help engineers design faster.
In December we released DesignSpark PCB Version 7.0, updated with three of the most popular requested new features, thereby further enhancing ease-of-use for designers.When used in tandem with our intuitive DesignSpark Mechanical 3D software, customers can create sophisticated 3D models quickly and inexpensively.
The Internet of Things
It has been predicted that there could be as many as 26 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020. Together these connected devices create the Internet of Things (IoT), allowing us to control and monitor remote devices via the Internet.
Surely, the development of IoT will create a multitude of challenges and opportunities for engineers. How does RS intend to meet the growing demand for components?
Our customers have already begun to utilise connected devices to enhance productivity, from wireless connectivity for a food process line to remote monitoring of a water treatment site.
The smart phone is evolving into a personal control centre for all the other devices that we live and work with. At RS, we have seen very strong demand for hardware platforms, such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi and mBed that support prototype IOT related innovations.
Our business has always responded rapidly to changes in technology, the internet itself is one such example and has completely changed the speed at which we publish new products and how our customers interact with us. We currently have over 500,000 components that we dispatch on the same day as the order.
RS’ Strategic Focus in 2015
What are growth expectations and focus areas in the next 12 months for RS?
Our plan in 2015 is to continue to outperform the market. The Australian Performance Indices have highlighted that it is tough out there.
We are investing in our local warehouse in Sydney as we know that the ability to deliver 60,000 parts to anywhere in Australia by the next working day is still valued by our customers.
Where do you see the most potential and growth opportunities?
We are very focused on serving the needs of electronics research and development engineers, along with all manufacturing sectors in our market.
We see strong growth opportunities in population-driven sectors; specifically food & beverage manufacturing and utilities.
We are also seeing strength within our customers in the resourcing sector as they concentrate on delivering value from investments and look to RS to support their maintenance, repair and operation’s needs.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry? What will RS do to address these challenges?
A constant bugbear for our exporters is the strong Australian currency. Hence, productivity improvement is critical to maintain a competitive advantage.
RS helps engineer partners address this concern by always offering the latest products for new designs, and we are able to add value within the procurement process by driving costs down with our e-procurement solutions.
Please share the plans you have for the Australian market?
Our global strategy is now firmly established and our Australia operation is well placed to deliver this strategy.
Globally, we have added 33,000 new products to our range in the first half of our financial year. Our customers in the manufacturing sector, especially in the food & beverage manufacturing sector can expect to see more products and initiatives from RS as we continue to invest in our range to provide for growing engineering needs.
[Guy James Dann has been Country Manager for RS Components in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) since January 2014. In his role, Guy will implement RS’ global strategy in ANZ to increase customer base and drive business growth.
Guy leads a team of 68 in ANZ across five sites, who are integral in maintaining the human touch of the business for customers.
Guy joined RS in April 2006 in the United Kingdom, where he established an Electronic Sales Team, and was instrumental in achieving 32% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over five years. He was also responsible for setting up RS Components in Switzerland which now has over 3000 customers.
Prior to joining RS, Guy was involved in varied roles from sales, to business development, and corporate account management in the fields of Electronics and Test and Measurement. His previous roles include being a Corporate Account Manager at Microplease, and a Technical Account Manager at Arrow Electronics.
Guy holds a BND in Electronics and IT and is married with two daughters.]