SMC's technical support and R&D recognised by Forbes

03 April 2013

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Business magazine Forbes has crowned SMC as one of the world’s most innovative companies for the second year running, recognising SMC’s on-going investment in customer technical support and R&D.

SMC understands the value of staying close to its customers, and is able to listen and respond to customers’ needs, no matter how big or small the brief, thanks to its comprehensive network of tactical and strategic technical support that spans Europe and beyond. From local on-site sales engineers, to dedicated European Technical Centres in the UK and Germany and global support from the Japanese Technical Centre, the company provides customer support and innovative technical approaches regardless of the scale or complexity of application.

Chris Johnson, who manages SMC’s European Technical Centre in Milton Keynes, says: “Working closely with our customers to listen and understand their needs is at the heart of SMC’s success. We know how important it is to be flexible, so that our level of technical support matches our customers’ needs. That’s why SMC, unlike its competitors, has the ability to provide on the ground sales engineer support for smaller briefs to the bespoke capabilities of the European Technical Centres for larger-scale projects.

“We employ around 160 engineers in the European Technical Centres, continuously working on developing innovative solutions that respond to our customers’ requirements. And, it’s not just about solutions that solve a problem, we believe that we can add real value by developing new ideas that enable our customers to achieve enhanced performance, productivity or energy savings. If a customer comes to us with an idea, we have the in-house skills and knowledge to provide a tailor made solution.”

Such a solution was offered to the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) assembly industry, when SMC was asked to provide a bespoke clamp cylinder that could operate efficiently within a small space. The clamp was needed to hold the basic PCB in place during the solder paste printing process, so that electronic components could be attached. The ETC engineers studied the application and worked closely with the customer to deliver a product that enhanced performance.

Another example of SMC engineers innovating to develop a one-off product for a specific customer application was in the shape of a purge controller for the semi-conductor processing industry. The challenge for the ETC team was to find a way of controlling the flow of nitrogen used to purge process gasses from the pumps in a semi-conductor process machine. The original system was wasting high levels of nitrogen, but the ETC engineers developed a flow controller that could manage the gas flow using an electrical current signal from the controlling PLC.

Bespoke technical facilities

Despite SMC offering more than 11,000 basic products with over 620,000 variations, the company is able to provide a rapid response to meet its customers’ demands which operate across diverse automation industries. Thanks to its extensive customer-focused infrastructure, SMC has the hands-on expertise and bespoke technical facilities to provide products no matter how big or small an idea, issue or need that its customers face.

For more information about SMC and its technical support please visit

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