Interview with Peter Hügen – Looking back at SIKORA’s beginnings, milestones and successes in the hose, pipe and tube market

Back in 2004, Peter Hügen became part of the SIKORA sales team. Around the same time, SIKORA received the first inquiry from a hose manufacturer regarding the possible quality assurance of its products with SIKORA technologies. It quickly became clear that this market needed its own parameters, and therefore, expert advice. Peter Hügen became our first hose and tube consultant and remembers the last 20 years, the milestones in quality assurance and the successes.

You were the first SIKORA employee to specialize in consulting for tube and hose manufacturers. What was the biggest challenge at the beginning of this 20-year journey?
In 2004, we were already a well-known name in the wire and cable market. In the hose, pipe and tube market, however, we first had to prove ourselves and make a name for ourselves. Fortunately, our devices and technologies were way ahead of the competition in some respects. By using our X-ray technology in the X-RAY 2000 (the predecessor of today’s X-RAY 6000 series), we were even able to measure rubber hoses – a feature that is not possible with other common technologies, such as ultrasound.

The requirements for quality assurance technologies for tube, pipe and hose production differ significantly from those of the wire and cable industry. How can SIKORA nevertheless serve both markets?
We have an excellent research and development team that has always been able to respond to new requirements on short notice. Our approach has always been to work in close partnership with our customers and to listen to the market so that we know what is actually in demand and needed. This combination of extensive market knowledge and flexible development results in individual solutions for our customers. This means that every customer gets exactly what their production line needs.

In the last 20 years, SIKORA has introduced many new devices and technologies. What have been your personal highlights?
My personal favorite is and remains the X-RAY 6000, which is the device that started it all and supports most production lines. Whether single-layer or multi-layer products, plastic or rubber, outer diameter or concentricity – all of these can be measured and controlled with the X-RAY 6000. With the introduction of the CENTERWAVE 6000, which is based on millimeter wave technology, we were then able to offer manufacturers of large pipes a suitable solution.

And what were the biggest successes of the SIKORA devices on the hose and tube market for you?
Entering the market and gaining customer acceptance was certainly the greatest success. At the beginning, we mainly focused on producers of rubber hoses for the automotive industry. The expansion of our technologies and thus the entry into the plastic tube sector is the second major milestone for me. Only SIKORA was able to offer 3-layer measurement and that was something the market had been waiting for. In 2016, we were also able to offer solutions for the quality control of large tubes and sheets – even with multiple layers. We have just celebrated the next innovation with the launch of the X-RAY 6000 C-PIPEAI. The device works with artificial intelligence and is able to precisely measure corrugated pipes.

20 years is a long time. How do you still manage to inspire the market and SIKORA’s customers?
Our customers’ trust in our technologies is what motivates me the most. We are a well-known player in the market and can offer customers all over the world suitable solutions. I am proud that SIKORA is one of the pioneers of the market and that our technologies are still far ahead of many others today. I also have many highly qualified colleagues around the world who do their best every day to provide our customers with more sustainability, quality and cost efficiency. Today, 20 sales colleagues work worldwide at our headquarters in Bremen and in our 13 subsidiaries in the hose and tube sector. So much technical expertise is impressive and makes it clear that SIKORA devices are now an important component in the production of tubes, pipes hoses and sheets.

Mr. Hügen, thank you very much for the interview!