Hypertherm designs and manufactures the world's most advanced plasma cutting systems for use in a variety of industries such as agriculture, automotive, construction, shipbuilding, manufacturing, metal fabrication, pre-engineered building, and railways. The company has been in India for over ten years, and plans to grow its presence in the country. The patented integrated plasma cutting solution offered by Hypertherm enables users to easily and consistently produce significantly better hole quality without operator intervention, something that was previously impossible with plasma. It virtually eliminates tapers and dings so a bolt can pass through easily. As part of its commitment to customers in the country, Hypertherm was at Weld India this July, for the second time and announced that the company was setting up a full-fledged operations office in Delhi that will feature a demo and training centre. In an exclusive chat with Equipment India, Abhinav Sood, Sales Leader, Hypertherm India, explains the core strengths and competencies of Hypertherm, product offerings and its India-specific strategies. Excerpts from the interview.Tell us about Hypertherm, its core strength and competencies? At Hypertherm, our 40-year-old history gives us a strong advantage in terms of expertise and brand recognition. Yet, we continue to invest significant time, resources and labour in research and development, to produce patented technologies that enhance productivity and improve cut quality. Hypertherm is committed to being a leader in thermal cutting solutions in order to provide end-users with the best. We regularly conduct voice-of-the-customer surveys to find out what consumers want, and then manufacture systems that can meet their needs in the most effective way. One example is our integrated plasma cutting solution, which produces bolt-ready holes by eliminating tapers and dings. In addition to better hole quality, True HoleTM technology increases consumable life and productivity. These results are achievable with a Hypertherm CNC, torch height control, HyPerformance® HPRXD® plasma auto gas system, and ProNest® 2010 CAM software. Also, with our technology edge and dedication to providing the market with the best products, new innovations are produced every year. Within the first seven months of this year alone, we released several new products - Centricut consumables, MicroEDGE Pro CNC and HyIntensityTM Fibre Laser HFL015. Hypertherm is also devoted to providing our customers with the best support. We are planning to develop more facilities for training and technical services in Asia. In India, we will be growing our team of service personnel by hiring more sales, marketing and technical service staff so that help is easily available to end-users. How do you view the potential for Hypertherm products in India, and which are the verticals you expect business growth in?There is a huge potential for growth in the Indian market. At present, many end-users still perform metal cutting using traditional methods such as with oxyfuel systems. We are encouraging end-users to adopt plasma technology in order to enjoy increased productivity, among other benefits. We expect to see increased use of Hypertherm plasma systems mainly in the following areas: construction equipment manufacturing, pre-engineered buildings, railways, shipbuilding, steel fabricators, and vessel manufacturing.What is the performance in the last quarter, as compared to 2010, and how do you look at ending this fiscal?Hypertherm has experienced good growth year to date, over the last year. Two driving factors are increased customer investment in our plasma technology, and greater adoption of Hypertherm systems over other traditional cutting methods, such as oxyfuel. With these, we foresee the upward trend continuing, and our company will end the year on a positive note.How strong is your market presence, especially in the OEM segment? We have a capable network of more than 15 OEM channel partners located all over India. This network allows end-users to have easy access to Hypertherm systems, and service issues faced by operators can be quickly resolved by our partners' technical service personnel. This strong market presence has gained us a large market share in the country, which corresponds with our leadership position on a global level.How do you look at the competition? India is a growing economy, and one of the markets international manufacturers are focusing on. Therefore, competition within the plasma-cutting arena is increasing, as with all industrial products. Hypertherm's investment in plasma technology surpasses any other manufacturer globally, and this is evident in the increasing number of patents our company has. Also, members of our sales and technical service team are based in different parts of India to provide end-users with timely assistance. Our technology edge and staff strength put us at the forefront of the plasma cutting industry, and Hypertherm will strive to keep our market leadership position as part of the company's long-term commitment to the Indian market.Brief us about your India-specific strategies.Currently, we are setting up a full-fledged office in Delhi that will include a demo and training centre, where our customers can receive training. Also, we are expanding our staff strength by hiring more sales, marketing and technical service staff in order to provide end-users and channel partners with better support.Tell us about your product range and its advantages over the existing systems. What area services are provided by the company? Our product line includes handheld and mechanised plasma and laser systems, consumables, as well as CNC motion and height controls and cutting software. Throughout our 40-year-old history, we have prided ourselves in continuous research and listening to our customers to find out what our users want. As part of our ongoing commitment to product development, Hypertherm often conducts voice-of-the-customer surveys in order to develop products that meet the needs of end-user customers. One of our newest technologies, True HoleTM, is the result of one such survey. It was developed because we understood that the number one complaint that plasma users had was the poor quality of cut holes. This patent-pending technology produces significantly better hole quality than what was previously possible with plasma. With True Hole Technology, bolts are able to easily pass through holes because tapers and dings are virtually eliminated. Secondary operations are no longer needed to improve hole quality. All these are delivered automatically without operator intervention. Another cutting-edge product that we recently rolled out was the HPR800XD. This high-powered plasma system is one of its kinds, and can production pierce 3" (75 mm) and sever 6Œ" (160 mm) thick metal, and just as easily cuts thin metal, including gauge, without the need to switch torches.In terms of service, we have three technical service engineers stationed at different parts of the country. They provide help to end-users, and train and support our channel partners. Also, with the training centre in Delhi, we will be able to further equip customers and channel partners with the necessary technical and sales skills. Powermax85® A Powermax plasma system is a versatile tool. Whether in a shop, factory, at home or in the field, Powermax systems cut and gouge a wide variety of metal types, thicknesses and forms. In particular, Hypertherm demonstrated the use of Powermax85® in handheld and mechanised applications at Weld India. This was received with much interest from visitors, who were also given the chance to try their hands at the Powermax85. Four DuramaxTM torch options - an ergonomic 75-degree hand torch, a 15-degree hand torch for gouging and cutting in tight locations, a 15-inch full-length machine torch, and a 6-inch short-barrelled machine torch for robotic and pipe-cutting applications - provide versatility for virtually any type of use. With this system, operators can easily cut metal that may have been hard to access in the past.