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ANCA's predictions for 2023: US and Europe

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Russell Riddiford, ANCA Inc President and Martin Winterstein, ANCA Europe General Manager look at the upcoming industry trends for the US and European markets.

Entering 2023, there’s some uncertainty and speculation surrounding the market. With interest rates continuing to rise, the grumblings about an impending recession are still bubbling. Although I do predict that the overall market for 2023 won’t compete with some of the knock-out years of the past (I’m lookin’ at you 2018), at ANCA we do see a lot of opportunity in the year. At ANCA, we’re focused on continued diversification and expanding our reach into growing markets such as aerospace, medical, and automation.
Some predictions span across all markets – including the need for agility within an organization, achieving supply assurance, and making steps towards the smart factories of the future. If the pandemic has shown us nothing, it’s that businesses need to be agile to minimize risk in the ever-changing markets.
We predict that in 2023, companies spanning all industries will continue to look for solutions that allow them to be more agile and resistant to issues that may arise. Companies will look for machines and systems that will allow them to work in a variety of spaces, that give them ability to make different parts quickly, efficiently, and cost-effective.
A big focus of ANCA’s for 2023 is bringing the ability to regrind to our customers. This is in line with another trend we’re predicting for this year: achieving supply assurance. Throughout 2022, the manufacturing industry as a hole struggled with supply chain issues leading to uncertainty and lost sales opportunities. To mitigate this risk, we project that people will start to bring some of this production capacity in-house – in our case, exploring and ultimately investing in regrinding opportunities.
“Smart Factories” has been a buzz word around the industry for years, and I’m predicting that it stays that way. To remain competitive, companies are focusing on initiatives to increase tool production, quality, and efficiency, while decreasing costs. Although we may not see robots running shop floors any time soon, many companies will continue to take steps to lay the foundation for their smart factories in 2023.
Although the industry has had a “turbulent” past few years, I predict that the Aerospace industry will continue to increase, as we see the results from the rebound post pandemic. Travel rates are projected to increase, and the industry needs to meet the demand. The two leading aircraft manufacturers continue to receive orders for new planes, and we should see more with increased government and defense spending. The benefits of a strong aerospace trickle to Tier 1 and 2 suppliers and creates a demand within our industry.
Medical is moving quickly as the demand for orthopedic implants and special tooling increases, citing customers already active in this industry.  More complex components made with exotic materials is leading the way.
Labor issues have been a major topic of conversation for most of 2022. Globally, across all industries, manufacturing facilities have run into the problem of finding and retaining talent. This has left many organizations to work short-handed, and to find creative ways to make up for the lack of personnel. With this trend expected to continue, automation has been a critical investment for many ANCA customers and will continue to be in 2023. As more demand is put on the machines to produce more with fewer workers, we’ll see an increased focus on “lights out operations.”

Fortunately, and despite the various current market obstacles, we have stable enquiry levels and incoming orders. This may be related to our latest product launches, with which we have addressed current market developments and challenges. However, there are big differences in the individual European countries.
The available forecast data has been lightening up recently, thanks to a relief in supply chains and regionally easing energy prizes. We see ourselves well-positioned to avoid any dips and also to grow. Our latest innovations have addressed the core issues of our customers, as we can see from the current orders. Our GCX for skiving tools is being met with great demand, as this segment is growing, with several completed and upcoming installations in Europe. Our AIMS manufacturing cell will also be commissioned by various customers in Europe in the coming year. The newly launched MX7 ULTRA with nanometer control was a big hit at the autumn trade fairs in 2022 and we have more innovations in the quiver that strengthen our prospects for stable development.
At ANCA, we can fortunately benefit from our extraordinary vertical integration when it comes to supply chains. We develop and produce all mechanical components as well as controls, drives and software ourselves. This does not relieve us completely, but prevents major delays in delivery times. We are expanding this further by investing in our manufacturing capacities. We are also countering the energy crisis with investments and are expanding our own wind power capacities in Australia and our photovoltaics in Europe.
All these topics are also innovation drivers for us in development. One example is our AIMS solution for the automated production of precision tools, obviously addressing the topic of skilled work shortage among others. AIMS has received great interest in the market, especially since we presented it live at GrindingHub in Stuttgart last May.
The Automotive industry shows a rather good order backlog, but is not yet running smoothly due to supply chain issues and realignment in the powertrain. On the other hand, the wood processing industry and the corresponding tool manufacturers are dealing with their own issues – here, the extremely increased wood price and the post-Covid saturation effects are hampering business.
Generally speaking, we see some signs of uncertainty, where investment decisions are being postponed and people tend to take the long view instead of tackling sustainable developments.

2 February 2023