January 2023 interview with MCADCafe.com

In January 2023, Andrei Kharatsidi sat down for an interview with Sanjay Gangal, MCADCafe.com. The transcript is below. The video version is here.

Sanjay Gangal and Andrei Kharatsidi

Sanjay Gangal: Hi! This is Sanjay from MCADCafe.com. I’m here with Andrei Kharatsidi, co-founder of SprutCAM Tech. Hello Andrei!

Andrei Kharatsidi: Hello, hello!

S.G.: Well, thank you very much for joining us. Tell us about SprutCAM X.
A.K.: Okay, basically SprutCAM X is a CAD/CAM software. It is used for programming CNC machines and industrial robots. We have a platform that provides an all-in-one solution for both of these types of equipment. So the company was originally founded by my father 30 years ago when I was a kid and I remember that when I was going to school, my father would sit in the evening and write some code for the first versions of SprutCAM X. So that’s it.

Strategy and plans

S.G.: So tell us about your company’s strategic goals and plans.

A.K.: As we see now, the industrial robot programming market is a great prospect for us right now. So we are pushing very hard. We have great solutions for many applications concerning industrial robot programming, despite the fact that for many years SprutCAM X was only CAM software for CNC machines. Right now we are developing some… I don’t want to reveal too much about the next version (laughs), but any way we are developing some new cool features for robot programming, especially for hybrid machining, like additive plus subtractive process, which seems to be the hottest topic right now. As for CNC machines, we are now making a kind of high-end… We have already made a kind of high-end solution for programming Swiss type machines, which is a very big market and we are pushing it.

So that is our current tactic. If we talk about the big picture, SprutCAM X is sold worldwide. We counted recently, it is about 54 countries where we are present now. So we have about 80-85 distributors in these countries. That is our main business model. I think a lot of other CAD/CAM vendors do the same, we are not unique in this way, but we try to do our job as good as we can to compete with big software companies.

About the software

S.G.: So what makes your products unique and differentiated? Why should someone buy your products over, like, 10 other CAM products out there?

A.K.: Okay, I will tell you what people are telling us so as not to, you know, make something up. So the main thing that people tell us is that when we talk about programming CNC machines, they tell us that it is extremely easy to use and SprutCAM X has a really short learning curve. A lot of our customers managed to start using SprutCAM X by themselves without any training, without any help from our resellers. And that’s our really strong selling point because people like it when they don’t have to waste a lot of time to start making parts. Another important thing, which is critical, which has been from the very beginning of SprutCAM X, is that SprutCAM X is a kind of CAM software that uses machine-aware programming, which means that we calculate tool paths in the native kinematics of the equipment, whether it is a robot or a CNC machine. It doesn’t matter to us. So what that means is that we offer our users a really streamlined workflow for their programming equipment, CNC machines and for industrial robots, which also makes SprutCAM X easier to use and it allows you to get a control program faster and with less iterations. So those are the critical things. And of course we have a lot of different applications, like when we talk about CNC machines, we have almost any type of application, starting from simple 2D milling, to contouring, to 5-axis machining, Swiss type, mill-turn, multi-channel and so on and so forth…

So we have a really wide range of solutions and many people, when they make a deal and invest in some software, they want one solution for all their machinery. So that is where we come in and say, okay, if you have a robot, you can program robots, if you have aCNC machine, you can program a CNC machine in one application, having only one seat and learning only one software. So those are the main things I think.

CAD/CAM system for industrial robots SprutCAM X Robot

CAD/CAM system for CNC machines SprutCAM X

S.G.: Okay, and do you have the ability to drive the additive manufacturing machines? Or is that in the future?

A.K.: Actually, we already do. Recently our dealer in Germany made a project with BMW for 3D printing. We have it on our website, and we also have implementations for additive manufacturing in many countries: in Greece, in the Netherlands and some other countries. So we already have an additive manufacturing solution, by the way, a few days ago, I think yesterday the metal 3D printing solutions manufacturing company Meltio made an announcement and we are also in their list of official CAD/CAM software partners. So not just words but actions, you know.

Why partners choose SprutCAM X

S.G.: That’s great. So tell us about your partners and why is it profitable for your partners to build, to do business with you?A.K.: Very good question. Okay, so first of all, for our partners, for our resellers, we offer really, really nice pricing. Why is that? Because SprutCAM X is entirely developed by our own talented team of developers. We do not buy any third party code, you know, third party models like many other CAM software vendors do. We have our own 3D visualization kernel for simulation. All the toolpaths are calculated with our own algorithms. So that’s why we can be flexible in pricing because the prices in different markets are not equal, so in some countries the prices should be lower, in some countries, some markets the prices should be higher. So we can vary that from country to country, from application to application, from, industry to industry. That’s why we offer to our resellers a solution which lets them close the deal without price becoming an obstacle. Okay, number two, the thing that our resellers tell us is that, of course, it’s technical support. It’s very important not to leave the customer with the reseller alone with a problem, which, to be honest, occurs from time to time with all software. So for this we have an automated ticketing system. We have a very professional technical support team and our developers are also involved in technical support. So we have all these, you know, IT frameworks for direct communication that work really fast. So it is really appreciated by our resellers because we help them to feel confident with the tasks that their customers have.

Products made by SprutCAM X users

About SprutCAM X World conference 2023

S.G.: And you also have a global partner and user conference coming up next June. Tell us about that.

A.K.: Yes, we are having a conference here in Limassol in the middle of June. So we are inviting our resellers and our customers to the conference. It will be two days: a conference and one day of entertainment. Of course, in the middle of summer in Cyprus, the weather is really nice, the sea is very warm, so you can also have some entertainment here. But, of course, the main part is that we are going to make some presentations about the new version of SprutCAM X that is coming next year, and also some announcements about upcoming changes in our business. And maybe the most important thing is to have face to face communication after all these Covid years. It’s very nice to have face-to-face communication, to shake hands, to get to know each other better and, you know, to have some small conversations with some interesting people from the CAD/CAM family. Okay, our big CAD/CAM family

More about the SprutCAM X World conference

About Andrei

S.G.: Okay. And, uh, Andrei, is it okay if I ask you a few personal questions?

A.K.: Of course!

S.G.: So what do you do for fun outside work? What is your personal passion?

A.K.: Outside work?

S.G.: Yes.

A.K.: Okay, I’ll show you! My main hobby is playing the guitar. I do this for, you know, for pleasure, not for making stuff, not for making money, of course. Okay, this is one of those things. Next is, since I live by the sea, I like the sea very much, I like water, wind surfing, some other water sports, which is very nice for health, very nice for the mood, okay, for daily life. It’s like energizing me for work and so on.

S.G.: That’s great. And what type of music do you play?

A.K.: Actually, when I was in university, I was playing in a rock band. Okay, we played some classic rock covers, but now I’m more sort of exploring jazz, some fancy chords, some fancy scales, very complex music. I like this very much. And also I’ve read that learning to play the musical instrument is very good for keeping the brain, you know, working fast, which is required for my job. So this is a sort of a win-win situation.

S.G.: That’s wonderful. And, Andrei, can you also share something about yourself that most people at SprutCAM Tech, who work with you, don’t know about you.

A.K.: Actually, I have already shared that I was playing in a rock band, I think, no one knew about it. So it will be a surprise for them. Mm, maybe I will remember something else, but not right now. I think that was fine already.

S.G.: And what was the name of your rock band?

A.K.: It was ‘Blank page’.

S.G.: Oh, ‘Blank page’, I see, okay. And, Andrei, the final question: cats or dogs?

A.K.: Oh, cats of course (laughs). You know, I had a cat. He passed away a year ago, unfortunately, but we believe that they’re up there. He’s doing fine. So, of course, cats.

S.G.: Okay. Thank you so much, Andrei, for taking time to record this interview. Have a great day and stay safe!

A.K.: Thank you. Thank you very much, Sanjay. Have a nice day!

S.G.: That was Sanjay Gangal from MCADCafe.