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X-Ray Systems

2015 was a challenging year for X-Ray Systems. The strong Swiss franc and the collapse in the Chinese tire market pushed sales lower to CHF 101.4 million. This represented a decrease of 18.7% from the prior year, or 13.6% in local currencies. Despite this, IXS improved its gross margin and, aided by currency effects, held the EBITDA margin steady year-over-year at 12.9%. EBITDA operating earnings in absolute terms were CHF 13.1 million (2014: CHF 16.1 million).

 

X-Ray Systems saw very divergent trends in its markets in 2015. On the one hand, demand fell sharply in Asia. On the other hand, IXS was able to increase its sales in the electronics market year-over-year and doubled the number of new orders for its computed tomography (CT) systems. This shows that customers' confidence in YXLON products grew and the concentration of the CT competencies in Hamburg is proving its worth. IXS also expanded its service business: The segment today offers comprehensive “lifecycle packs” that include coverage of repairs, maintenance and parts and thus give customers predictability of costs – an advantage which continued to enjoy growing demand in 2015. Furthermore, in Hexagon and Mirtec, IXS won important partners for entering new markets.

Volatile markets – Metrology a new application

The strength in IXS's markets varied greatly in 2015 according to industry and region. Thus, IXS achieved growth with its features for enhanced rendering of detail in the inspection of electronic components, and defended its market share in castings inspection with its attractive CT offering. While IXS experienced a very strong rise in orders from the electronics industry in Japan, China remained well below expectations. In other market segments too, China showed a subdued trend. The tire market was particularly hard hit: A focus of hype as recently as 2014, the market collapsed in 2015 as a result of regulatory changes in China and new US tariffs on Chinese tires. The order situation in aerospace was stable, even if not all orders could be delivered in fiscal 2015. Also, as anticipated, there was a lack of revenue from large computed tomography systems, a consequence of the low order backlog following last year's reorganization of this business.

In view of many industries' growing need for inspection and high-precision measurement of complex components, IXS in 2015 set the stage for developing metrology as a new market segment. For this purpose, IXS entered into a strategic partnership with Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, a leading vendor in the measurement industry. The resulting combination of YXLON CT technology and Hexagon measurement software creates the basis for the development of unique solutions for new and existing customers in the years ahead.

Readying for Industry 4.0 through software interfaces

In product news in 2015, IXS logged the first sales of the two new computed tomography systems FF20 and FF35. Both systems stand out for their high-resolution imaging and striking ease-of-use.

Another major theme was the drive to accommodate the increasing, software-based networking of processes between production on the one hand and testing / inspection on the other: In many areas, such as the electronics market, the complexity of process chains is continually growing. To facilitate data integration, IXS forged a strategic partnership with Mirtec, a leading supplier of optical inspection systems. Last year the two partners brought their first joint solution to market in the form of the SmartLoop yield improvement system, which has since won the Global Technology Award.

Metrology, aerospace and wheel inspection are drivers for 2016

In 2016 the segment aims to reap the first commercial rewards of the new metrology partnership with Hexagon. IXS sees high potential in this market segment for the coming years and is already working on adapting the FF20 and FF35 systems to the needs of metrology. To start with, this should be of interest for laboratory applications and the aerospace sector. In the electronics, castings and wheel inspection segments as well, many signs point to a strong 2016. With the new WI26 wheel inspection system, first presented to selected key customers in 2015, YXLON is superbly positioned to meet the industry demand for faster inspection times.

X-Ray Systems

Core business

The core compentency of the X-Ray Systems segment lies in integrated solutions for non-destructive testing, marketed under the YXLON brand. YXLON's customers are mainly manufacturers in the automotive, electronics and aerospace sectors, as well as research institutions.

Products

X-Ray Systems offers customized and standard stationary systems in the product areas of x-ray, microfocus and computed tomography. All products come with comprehensive global service and support over the entire life cycle of the systems.