With Pumas and Other Animals: Adaptable Like Nature

Interview with Olivier Carnal, General Manager of Essemtec AG

Olivier Carnal, General Manager of Essemtec AG
Olivier Carnal, General Manager of Essemtec AG

The Swiss machinery manufacturer Essemtec AG, based in Aesch, has long since arrived in the age of Industry 4.0. The company from the canton of Lucerne produces production equipment for electronics manufacturing, among other things. Together with the parent company Nano Dimension, the future of manufacturing is now to be built. General Manager Olivier Carnal spoke with Wirtschaftsforum about big plans, networking, and adaptability.

Economic Forum: Mr. Carnal, which milestones would you particularly emphasize in the history of Essemtec?

Olivier Carnal: The company was founded in 1991. That year, we entered the market with the first manual placer. A few years later, a table-top reflow oven followed. In 2004, our first fully automatic placer came onto the market. Then we continued with dosing automation. In 2016 and 2017, our current platforms were created, the placer Fox and Puma, and the dosing systems Spider and Tarantula. These have been continuously developed since and are today proven solutions for numerous applications. An important milestone was the acquisition by the Israeli conglomerate Nano Dimension in 2021.

Essemtec Headquarters in Aesch, Canton of Lucerne
The headquarters of Essemtec in Aesch, Canton of Lucerne
Essemtec - Puma, the All-in-One Solution
High-speed placement and dispensing: Puma, the All-in-One Solution

Economic Forum: What does your product portfolio look like?

Olivier Carnal: Our main products are the small and flexible Fox and Spider machines, as well as Puma and Tarantula with a larger process space. We give our products animal names to consciously set ourselves apart from competitors, highlighting the strengths and characteristics of our products – such as the high adaptability to various conditions and requirements. Whether small or large, each machine can be adapted to the increasing demands of the customer with additional options. We don't just sell individual machines, but complete lines. A special feature is our material management system that is used in preparation for production. This is a system that establishes connections, controls processes, and thus optimizes the utilization of the machines. In addition, statistics can be created and problems solved remotely. Customers desire a continuous flow of material. The machines 'talk' to each other already, but now it's also about vertical networking, all with the goal of optimizing throughput and managing the material as efficiently as possible.

Economic Forum: How is Essemtec positioned?

Olivier Carnal: Essemtec employs 115 people. In addition to our Swiss headquarters, we operate subsidiaries in Germany, Poland, France, and the USA. We have grown especially strong in the USA. Our annual sales amount to around 30 million EUR. The goal is double-digit growth. Geographically, we want to grow especially in Asia and America and penetrate new markets and applications. Implementing this is one of my main tasks. I see myself here as an energy and momentum provider, conveying to the team the belief in global growth.

Essemtec - Jetting of solder paste in various dot sizes
Jetting of solder paste in various dot sizes

Economic Forum: How do the growth plans affect your corporate culture?

Olivier Carnal: There is a big task ahead of us. We need to break out of old patterns of thinking and learn to think bigger and more internationally, presenting our strengths in the spotlight. English is already very well established as a language in our company.

Economic Forum: What makes your company so successful?

Olivier Carnal: We are very far ahead in technical development and offer good technical solutions. In the final acceptance, we look at every small detail and thus guarantee outstanding product quality.

Economic Forum: What do your future plans look like?

Olivier Carnal: We are planning a relatively aggressive growth. We want to build on our strengths. These include the Essemtec brand, our flexibility, innovation, and customer proximity, which we will promote even more strongly. We are still a niche player, but want to break out – with new modules and faster, more precise machines. The goal of our parent company is to build the manufacturing of the future. In this context, Essemtec was integrated. We are thus part of this big project.

Essemtec - SMT line with three Fox placers
SMT line with three Fox placers
Essemtec - Puma machines in production in Aesch
Puma machines in production in Aesch

Economic Forum: Tell us one more thing: What is your very personal motivation for your work?

Olivier Carnal: For me, the most exciting thing is to accompany our clients on their path and to provide them with tools for success. A motivation for me is to motivate the team and to be successful together in the long term. My great motivation is the vision to be a successful and internationally known company in ten years.