Paul Horn Cutting to the quick of industry shifts foreign and domestic
Well respected in the manufacturing community, Lothar Horn runs his family’s cutting tool business and serves as chairman of the German Precision Tools Association. He talks about Germany’s trade fair landscape and serving the industry at home and abroad.
ETMM: What role does mould and die manufacturing play in your sales?
Lothar Horn: Mould making and die making are growing areas in our sales. Our activities were originally concentrated on tooling for grooving/machining between two flanks. Since then we have diversified into a much wider range of high-technology applications. Having started with grooving and parting off, we’ve expanded our portfolio to cover groove milling, broaching, profile milling, drilling, reaming and many more. Over the last few years, we’ve launched several very successful milling products for milling: our high-feed DAH milling system and the DS system for hard milling have proved highly effective.
ETMM: What countries are your main markets, and how has demand shifted?
Horn: Our main market is still Germany. But if you look globally there are many countries where we can expand sales. For example, the US and China are markets where we have obvious high potential for growth – but so has Europe. There were shifts in demand last year – especially in China, but even if the Chinese economic growth slowed down, it remained at the upper end of the global average.
We founded a sales office in Shanghai last year to be in that market with our own people. All of them are Chinese with good technical skills and valuable local knowledge. And this year in the US we hired our one hundredth employee, and we expanded manufacturing capacity on the shop floor.
ETMM: How important is AMB (16-20 Sept. in Stuttgart, Germany) for your company?
Horn: AMB is the most important exhibition for metalworking in Europe in odd-numbered years, not only for us. And because of the venue, it makes it even more attractive for us as Stuttgart is in the south of Germany and in the heart of the automotive industry. By the way, Tübingen, where we are based, is only 30 miles (48 km) away. AMB has developed itself and has been developed by the exhibitors and the visitors. Most of our new products for 2014 will be presented at AMB in Stuttgart.