Gravotech is celebrating its 85th anniversary. As the global leader in permanent marking solutions, the company designs, manufactures, and distributes market-leading engraving, marking, and cutting products. With more than eight decades of growth and success behind it, the company maintains an active presence in 18 countries and serves customers in over 70 countries around the world. Its global headquarters is located in Lyon, France.
After profiling Gravotech in October 2022, we sat back down with key members of the Gravotech USA team to hear the latest developments. The company has just released two exciting innovations, the LW3 and Mini Inline. Armed with leading-edge features and real-world applications, these products have the ability to redefine the standards of product identification and traceability in the industrial marking sector.
The LW3 takes laser marking to the next level with unprecedented clarity, accuracy, and adaptability. The technology brings precision to anything from intricate serial numbers on small parts to bold markings on big industrial components. As versatile as it is precise, the LW3 can mark an extensive range of materials including both plastics and metals, no matter the size or shape. This adaptability is ideal for manufacturers that work with parts in multiple sizes and materials—but that is not all. Time is money, as the saying goes, so the LW3 is also designed for speed. The product’s rapid marking time boosts productivity while maintaining precision.
The Mini Inline, meanwhile, puts the best of the company’s innovative technology into a compact form without compromising on powerful marking capabilities. The space-saving footprint is designed for industries with limited room on the production floor. The Mini Inline obtains its small size by eliminating the need for a bulky class 1 laser housing while adhering to the highest safety standards.
“The Mini Inline has a small conical enclosure that goes on the end of a laser head to replace the need for a large enclosure,” explains North America Sales Manager, Evan Persing. The machine’s space-saving features allow it to integrate seamlessly into production lines so the workflow is not disrupted.
Not surprisingly, both the LW3 and the Mini Inline have been “very well received,” with orders already pouring in while the products were still in development. “The first ones off the line are already sold,” Persing says, ahead of the official release date.
How does Gravotech manage to stay ahead of the game to deliver market-leading products such as the LW3 and Mini Inline? “I think it’s the longevity of being the leader in the market,” Persing says. “Just being in business so long and with such a trusted name. Being able to put resources behind developing and refining our already exceptional products.”
General Manager Don Kirch reiterates the importance of having years of experience in the industry, particularly when developing new products. “We know what works and we build off of that, which allows us to stay cutting-edge and ahead of the market.”
The company knows how to make products that are adaptable enough to fit within a manufacturer’s specific—and often unique—setup. “Most of our machines are sold for inline marking, so it would be integrated into an assembly line or an assembly cell,” says Persing. “The differentiator for Gravotech products is our compact size. The marking heads are extremely small and robust, so they are able to be integrated into a lot of different situations. Every plant—every assembly line—is built differently for different reasons, and it is extremely easy to work ours into many different workflows.”
The speed and reliability of Gravotech machines are two other key product advantages. “Our mechanical side is the fastest on the market,” Persing says. “We’ve got a dot peen [marking system] that is the smallest and also the fastest. We can mark ten characters in one second! That is key for manufacturing. It’s all about speed, reliability, and uptime because, if a machine goes down, it stops the plant from being able to make parts because they all have to be marked. It is a key reason for our success.”
In addition, customers can count on the company’s knowledgeable and dependable sales force. “They’re experts in their field,” Persing adds, with some employees having been on board for decades. “There’s a lot of longevity, and that makes it very easy for the customer to partner with Gravotech because the team knows what they’re talking about and can truly help solve any traceability questions or issues that a customer is having.”
Most customers do not have the time to deal with all the details of traceability; they simply want the issue to be taken care of as simply as possible. “It’s out of necessity. It is for safety, for tracking parts through the manufacturing process—tracking parts through the lifetime of the part. It’s not necessarily something that people want to get too bogged down with. They just want it to work, and that is where Gravotech comes in, being able to provide the right solution and give them the best product.”
“Over the past two years, Gravotech has strengthened its distribution network to get closer to and more in-depth with each customer while having products more readily available to suit their needs,” says Kirch.
“On the production side of things, not being able to source components for building our machines led to some longer lead times,” Persing adds. “We were able to pivot from that and moved to the hybrid model—direct and indirect—bringing on a lot of new channel partners to stock and distribute throughout the country and fulfill orders.” The results have proven effective despite the challenges of the past few years.
Diversification has been another advantage of this pivot. “We’ve got an extremely strong sales force that was able to move to different industries,” Persing says. This has allowed the company to expand to other sectors while maintaining customer relationships within the sectors in which it has traditionally been active, such as automotive. The result is a future path with multiple possibilities.
With such a positive track record, the future is looking very promising. “We’re going to continue in the same path with channel partners and making product more available while constantly improving product and service for our customers,” Kirch says.
Accompanying this improved availability is an emphasis on reaching customers where they are. The team’s approach will be “more local than in the past,” he says. “We’re distributing as close as possible to the end users.”
As it marks its 85th anniversary with two new, cutting-edge products, and has the network in place to efficiently take care of customers, Gravotech has positioned itself to enjoy many more years of permanent marking success.