KUBE: the digitalization of coating processes becomes reality
Is it possible to digitalise coating processes? The answer to this question is KUBE, the new software package developed by the experts of Franchi&Kim, which enables users to search for the best coating system for their needs within a digital library of over 600 entries. Although it is going to be officially launched over the next year, Davide Terzoli, the Export Sales Director of Franchi&Kim’s Industrial Coatings division, presents it in this exclusive interview for ipcm®.
Click here to read the full interview https://www.ipcm.it/en/riviste-ipcm/2020/66/open/132-134/
THE KUBE SOFTWARE
KUBE is the perfect combination between optimization and innovation.
It is a folder of incomparable know-how that allows stakeholders in the painting world to find all the information they need.
It is a software that enable the users to search, within a digital library of over 600 coating systems, which is the most suitable system for their needs.
Can you outline the history of Franchi&Kim, especially following the recent creation of a new Group?
In the last few years, Franchi&Kim has increasingly consolidated its position in the industrial sector, with both corporate customers and retail stores that market industrial tinting systems. In the pre- COVID period, we also witnessed a significant increase in terms of turnover and production of painting products and colouring pastes intended for some related sectors, such as aerosol coating, colour palettes, and fibre cement sheets. With the acquisition of Damiani Industrial Paints, our ownership wanted to further strengthen our offer without however overlapping the two brands, due to both geographical reasons and motives relating to their market positioning and product range. The establishment of a new company that did not break with our past was a natural consequence. The aim was creating a solid, totally Italian Group that is always ready to seize the new opportunities that may arise in the local and foreign markets.
In which markets is Franchi&Kim the most active, in terms of both geographical areas and individual sectors?
In terms of geography, Franchi&Kim is present throughout Italy thanks also and above all to the countless resellers located all over the country. We are also permanently active in many European countries, including for example France, Spain, Poland, Romania, Portugal, Great Britain, and Russia, as well as non-European areas such as North Africa, the Arab Emirates, and some areas of Asia. Our brand is clearly known for the reliability and quality of its tinting systems for the industry and industrial bodywork sectors and for any other field related to colours.
In terms of end users, we serve all sectors of the generic and manufacturing industry, especially ACE (Agriculture, Construction and Earthmoving machinery and equipment), machine tools, robotics and industrial automation, handling and lifting machinery, and light and heavy metalwork fabrication.
On the pages of ipcm®, we have presented numerous articles about your monolayer DTM systems. What are the coating products you have developed that are enjoying the most success?
With time, we have decided to give increasing visibility to this type of products, which are becoming more and more popular in the industrial sector. They enable users to save time in the application phase without sacrificing essential factors such as corrosion resistance, thanks to the presence of special passivating inhibitors in the formulation, applicability on different substrates, excellent spreading rate, verticality, and high colour retention, just to name a few. Among other reasons, that is why they are enjoying great success without overlapping with high- performance two-component cycles.
Moreover, thanks to over twenty years of proven technology, one and two-component water-based industrial coatings are now performance levels have nothing to envy to their solvent-based counterparts and they guarantee the exceptional advantage of significantly reducing the pollutants released into the atmosphere and in the workplace. That is why this transition is happening also thanks to greater regulatory and ethical awareness on the subject by governments and companies.
What does it mean to “digitalise coating” from the point of view of a paint manufacturer? Do you also have ambitious projects in this field?
In order to answer this question, we should take into consideration both our traditional and standard ranges. Currently, through our numerous tinting and management software programs, we can guarantee the automation of the formulation and colouring phases. A piece of the puzzle was missing: the automated identification of the most suitable coating cycle for each customer need. And this is precisely what we will offer to the market with KUBE, in the coming months.
Tell us about the KUBE coating software package, which will be presented next year.
KUBE is the result of a long period of joint studies between our IT & ERP department, Marketing department, and R&D laboratory. This software package allows searching for the most appropriate product within a digital library of over 600 painting and coating systems. It is a know-how portfolio at the service of our customers.
The search is structured on several levels, from the sector up to the individual components of the products to be treated. There are also numerous tools and additional functions available, but we would prefer not to reveal anything else. We recommend scanning the QR Code in this article in order to view further details and book a free demo. KUBE will be presented in the first part of 2021. The period has not been defined yet, of course, for the reasons we all know.
What needs does this software meet and how do you think it will be received by the market?
KUBE enables users to identify the right coating system for their needs by searching based on customised parameters. Systems can be selected according to the plant, substrate, surface, workpiece type, metal thickness, preparation operation, corrosion category and durability according to ISO 12944, maintenance and repainting process type, expected performance, and other parameters. All of this cannot but ensure that an ad hoc, tailor-made solution is found.
We believe that KUBE will be received by the market in a very positive way. It meets the needs of all target users and it can help all of them to speed up their coating selection process, from retailers, including their whole internal and external sales networks, to final users, including all positions (coating managers, quality managers, purchasing managers, etc.). It also preempts the selection of systems and the technical advice services that our company provides. Therefore, our workflow in partnership with our customers does not change: it is just quicker and sees all players speaking the same language, so that any customisation need can be immediately grasped.
What market situation do you wxpect to find when this health emergency and its related production discontinuities end?
There are no doubts that the pandemic has more or less decisively plagued any sector, including ours and those of our customers. However, I am quite optimistic: the Italian industrial sector has been able to face and overcome the difficult moments of the last decades in an excellent way, including the financial crisis of 2008.
We do not have a crystal ball to know for how long the emergency will continue or what will be left afterwards, but I reiterate my confidence and positivity. Usually, the best energies are gathered after crises, and our company can certainly exploit its unique characteristics in terms of technical and quality services to stand out. Italians have many flaws, but they are rather resilient in times of difficulty.
What are the real conditions of the market, at the moment?
As was inevitable, the current situation has slowed down all markets including ours. A slight decline was easily predictable. After the first lockdown, the spring and summer months had made it possible to regain many percentage points and align with past figures, albeit with some predictable downturns. The months of November and December, on the other hand, do not seem to confirm this trend. It is all pretty unpredictable. Claiming the opposite would simply be unrealistic.
What are the development projects of the Franchi&Kim and Damiani brands?
Now that both brands are clearly positioned, all that remains is to proceed on the path of digitalising our offer. As KUBE demonstrates, we want to provide our customers with digital tools that are increasingly aimed at meeting their needs quickly, easily, and in an accessible way. Without falling into self-referentiality, we would like to align our “audience” with the digital initiatives that have already been present in the company for years, with the objective not so much to convert but to make our technical material usable and educational. As regards our products, moreover, we are preparing many novelties for the coming year. We will target new market niches and further improve some of our high performance (class C5) products that are already giving us great satisfaction.