State of the Industry 2011: An Interview with Matt Mulder, Vice President North and Central America, FASTER Inc.

Mulder discusses FASTER's technology, company successes and expansion possibilities

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What is your primary industry of focus for 2012, and why?

FASTER’s primary focus is the mobile hydraulic industry. Our primary off-road targets for 2012 will continue to be construction, agriculture and utility equipment OEMs. As proven throughout the cycle of an ever changing economy, these core industry segments continue to yield the most attractive and consistent opportunities for FASTER.

Which would you consider to be your strongest market?

FASTER Inc.'s strongest market position is the compact Loader sector of the construction equipment market. Although this segment has historically been a high concentration of sales revenue for FASTER, it is not our largest by sales volume. As reported by the primary construction equipment manufacturers, the compact loader market is anticipated to grow in size and scope as the global economy continues to evolve with investments and development in traditionally low cost countries.

Have you diversified into any new markets?

Although FASTER’s core value stems from loyalty to our primary markets of construction, agriculture and utility equipment OEMs, we are constantly seeking new opportunities to diversify our strategic position in the hydraulic coupling market. Classified as ‘non-traditional segments’, these markets fall outside of the off-highway definition. The clear benefit is critical market expansion with high sales margins.

Where have you expanded internationally? Future plans?

FASTER have recently deployed a direct presence into Russia, the Middle East and Africa. Our future plans include continued penetration into Vietnam, Indonesia and South Korea. This complements our existing position in the core areas of North and South America, Central and Western Europe, China and Japan. Regarding future growth, as the North American and Western European markets have been negatively affected by the global financial crisis, the Asia / Pacific market has persevered and shown solid and continuous growth. Future growth in high return is expected accordingly.

Are you prepared for an upswing?

FASTER are enjoying a record year with over budget performance in all strategic areas and market sectors of the world. As such, FASTER have invested in the required resources (people and machines) to accommodate this growth and is prepared for further investment in anticipation of continued double, and in some markets, triple digit growth.

In what ways have the Tier emissions regulations affected your company and its products?

As FASTER’s core products are not directly related to the emissions initiative, the impact to the design and manufacturing of our components has been zero. FASTER as a company, however, have capitalized on the chance to further penetrate core equipment markets due to application opportunities. Recent advancements stemming from FASTER’s Italy based R&D team have allowed for strategic positioning to compliment key customers and their next generation platform designs to include connect under pressure hydraulic couplers and manifolds.

Have you had any dramatic changes in design or technology demands from the customer?

As the global leader in the hydraulic coupler industry, FASTER is constantly requested to collaborate with the fluid conveyance technical teams of premier off-highway equipment manufacturers around the world. This co-engineering agenda has resulted in the evolution of FASTER’s connect under pressure products that are acknowledged as ‘best in class’ and as an industry benchmark.

What product features and enhancements have you focused on, and will you focus on, in the coming years to stay competitive in both domestic and global markets?

The FFH series is FASTER’s flagship product offering. The FFH series has notably superior performance characteristics when compared to other traditional flat face products in the hydraulic coupling market. The FFH series couplings exceed all international performance specifications as defined by ISO 16028 regulations. Working pressure has been raised to 35MPa and the flow rates have been highly improved. A further plus is the standard Zinc-Nickel surface treatment which improves overall corrosion resistance to 500 hours (min 500h to red corrosion).

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