Leading provider of precision instruments for measurement and analysis, Horiba of Japan, claims to have 80 % of the global market for instruments, with applications ranging from automotive R&D, process and environmental monitoring, in-vitro medical diagnostics, semiconductor manufacturing and metrology, to a broad range of scientific R&D and QC measurements. We caught up with Atsushi Horiba, Chairman, President & CEO of Horiba Ltd. Excerpts:
Mr Horiba, what are your expectations regarding the market development of automotive test systems worldwide?
Due to further development of the OEM’s product portfolios, introduction of more and more technology and the different emission regulations globally, combined with the development of zero emission vehicles and hybrid vehicles, gasoline engines, my expectations are positive. The tasks for OEM testing engineers are complex and, for saving cost and development time, it is highly necessary to minimise testing and down time for customers especially.
Could you specify your general expectations regarding the different global markets – Europe, Asia, and the Americas?
Europe, as the second largest market, is a key place for us because many global OEMs and a number of major competitors of Horiba are based here. Our latest product Mexa-One, launched in June, is very important for the European market due to its capabilities regarding improving testing efficiency. Compared to conventional systems, the new analyser achieves a 50 % reduction in analyser response times, and a 30 % reduction in calibration waiting times.The Asian region, especially China and India, is a strong growing market. I am very optimistic for China in the mid-term. Chinese OEMs will start to develop and market their own high-tech engines for export purposes. And for those engines, the OEMs need further testing capabilities. Our home country Japan has recently recovered from the earthquake disaster of 2011. Even if our marketshare in Japan is already very large, I am expecting further good business opportunities there too. A significant number of emission test systems have to be replaced – partly due to stringent regulations, which is another big chance for our new analyser.As it is investing a lot in the automotive industry, India plays a significant role and is a large and important market for Horiba. Some weeks ago, I travelled there and visited some key customers in India. In order to meet the demands of our local customers, we founded Horiba India Ltd in 2007. From one engineer originally, the company has around 100 employees only five years later. In this rapidly growing market, the number of engineers is limited. That means the organisations are competing for the best. For us, it is important that we can support our Indian team with the best service and technology.Regarding the Americas, we are confident to defend our very strong market position there. Nevertheless, we will give our competitors some chances, as competition is our motivation for further development. Horiba is following its clients. That is why we have strong R&D centres in America, Europe, and Japan. In the near future, we will establish one in Shanghai for China.
What is your vision for Horiba’s future?
The automotive business is shifting to energy efficient vehicles. The question is how can we support our clients with the best testing solutions for this purpose. In the future, I am expecting a marketshare for EVs of 20 % at maximum. The other engines will be diesel, gasoline or hybrid engines. And, as especially hybrids require large testing efforts, it is obvious that both engines; gasoline and electric, need to cooperate smoothly and comfortably. Horiba will face a strong growth rate in the future. Our well proven emission testing solutions will especially help to bring us a big advantage on the market. Our mechatronics systems business is showing strong growth rates too. We are continuing to invest in future testing technologies as, for us, continuity is the key.
Text: Roland Schedel