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HotSeat – Martin Frost, UK Sales Manager at Telsonic UK

Telsonic UK is the wholly owned subsidiary of Telsonic AG Switzerland and has been present in the UK market since 1977. Telsonic UK offers Ultrasonic plastic welding solutions – machinery and tooling – serving the Plastics and Plastic Automation industry across all market sectors. Telsonic UK are the latest PlastikCity Partner to face the HotSeat…

Martin Frost joined Telsonic UK in 1996 and in his role as UK Sales Manager, Martin is responsible for both UK sales of the Telsonic Ultrasonic portfolio in the North of the UK and the company’s UK marketing activity. Martin also sits on the Plastic welding BSI standards committee WE/003 – and is involved in the continuing development of plastic welding standards with two new Plastic welding standards BS89100 and BS89250 now released.

What trends do you think will shape the future of UK plastics? How will Telsonic respond?

The use of Thermo plastics, our material process field, will continue to expand as a result of ongoing material development and innovative plastic processing techniques that will together enhance the range of applications. As an ancillary supplier, we foresee market expansion for our Ultrasonic weld process portfolio, and in preparation, we are investing in R&D and product development to serve our end user and machine automation customer base.

As typical examples, the market is particularly dynamic in automotive and packaging for reasons ranging from performance, cost, lightweight, safety and recyclability. Telsonic UK are seeing the Ultrasonic weld process replacing mechanical, heat and glue joining technologies, with a key change being the reduction in substrate thickness. Our challenge is engaging with our customers at the earliest opportunity to explain how our process and its benefits can be integrated at the product design stage as well as at the point of machine integration.

The development of new British standards BS89100 and BS89250 set out to define standards in plastic machinery joining process control across all joining processes, and assist with risk analysis at the product design level. The requirement for new standards is a sign of the increasing control needed by manufacturers and industries producing global products which involve critical weld /seal operations. We look forward to supporting the market place with the interpretation of these standards both in product design and the ultrasonic process.

We now read about real-time capability with Industry 4.0 connectivity, and all its benefits plus the need to greater utilise robotics and automation in the UK. The use of robots generally within UK manufacturing still lags behind the installed base of many other European and Asian countries due to a number of factors. However, the increasingly competitive nature of manufacturing means that this is likely to change, and as a result, we now begin to see trends such as AVG’s feeding robotic cells for Ultrasonic plastic welding assembly of suites of automotive panel parts.

The very nature of our highly measurable and on-demand ultrasonic process is a good fit for the ever-increasing digital manufacturing environment. In addition, our power and control systems are a key part of this with hardware and software capable of streaming information to industry bus systems.

How has Telsonic developed during your tenure?

When I joined the company in 1996, our product range, which, although comprehensive, had overlaps and application gaps, plus our competitive strategy and market positioning was also unclear at the field sales level. We had a very good reputation and market presence in the UK, but the company had a lot more to offer. Since then and particularly in the last decade we have invested greatly in our R&D activities with new generation software, tooling design, and process technique innovation, with industry firsts such as our ultrasonic Torsional welding technique and fully integrated ultrasonic heads.

Our global marketing strategy and activity is closely coordinated with feedback from all Telsonic subsidiary markets and exhibitions. Here in the UK we have increased turnover, expanded our operation, and have moved premises twice in the last eight years to accommodate our growth. The product range is now also leaner, more intelligent and configurable across many plastic machine applications. On the plastics side of the business, we now have excellent product fit, and we are extremely competitive in the important market segments where the ultrasonic joining process adds significant value. We have also continued to invest in tooling design and production, important aspects in our process, with improved capability and capacity as a result.

What do you credit as the key to your success?

As a company, Telsonic has great experience both in Switzerland, our other subsidiaries and of course within Telsonic UK. At our Poole facility, we have a great balance of skills and experience amongst the staff in engineering, automation, service, in house IT and material technology. This, together with a detailed understanding of industry applications beyond just the Ultrasonic process, makes for good empathy with our face-to-face customer meetings.

Personally – Throughout my career, I’ve tried to be conscious at least of the idea of self- development, combining a profound understanding of the business and the product. A sales formula I picked up on early on was Effort x Ability – This to me means focus, persistence and intensity in the sales process combined with field experience. Learn something from everybody around you and enjoy meeting customers, it’s about understanding peoples business, and every company notice board or reception can offer indications of the culture and industry that our customer operates within.

What has been the greatest challenge in your career?

Leaving my first company as a time served mechanical engineer and a design drawing board existence, just about getting the hang of 2D CAD at the time! I looked around and decided I had to get away from that, although it was also a wrench. I broke free into a new role operating across the company border with a baptism of fire as a contracts engineer in the Hotel and Leisure build Industries and then into my first Sales job with Volvo Hydraulics. They invested in me with professional sales training and sponsored me throughout my business degree, something for which I will always be appreciative. That career path, although not in plastics, was instrumental in helping me succeed in my role with Telsonic UK.

What advice do you wish you’d had on entering the industry and does that differ from the advice you would give to an Apprentice joining now?

I started in the field as a sales engineer at Telsonic UK, and I had little experience in Plastics. Plastic material technology and product design was something I found quite fascinating in the way it has historically replaced traditional materials with its many benefits and the recyclable possibilities. I would say that anybody entering our industry in my role with the right aptitude and technical ability can bridge the gap in providing solutions in ultrasonic assembly equipment and indeed this is probably the preferred intake for Telsonic.

What hidden talents do you have?

Jack of all leisure time sports over the years from football to windsurfing, Skiing, tennis, running, mini triathlons, where my hidden talent it seems, is just being master of the taking part!!. I’m also pretty good at negotiating my Wifes “Jobs To Do” list around the house. If you keep prioritising and make enough changes, in the end, jobs such as “Paint roof Soffits” can drop off the radar!

 

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