Two Haas UMC-750 five-axis universal machining centres recently acquired by a San Marino-based manufacturer of industrial profiles have provided a welcome boost in capacity. Within two months of arrival, the machines, which are configured in a two-machine cell with one operator attending to both, are already working 21 hours a day across three, 7-hour shifts.
Alluminio Sammarinese is a company that specialises in the production and design of custom-made industrial profiles, in particular, for the automotive, electronic, furniture, and construction sectors. The business was founded in 1981, and has grown steadily, thanks in part to a planned programme of investment in the latest manufacturing technologies, which includes two Haas UMC-750 five-axis universal machining centres.
The company is located in San Marino, which is entirely surrounded by Italy and claims to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world. Starting out as an extrusion company, predominantly serving the window manufacturing industry, Alluminio Sammarinese has subsequently diversified into a number of other sectors and activities. Today, the company views itself more as an engineering business than an extrusion business. In fact, the window industry now only represents 1 percent of current output.
Despite its success, however, the company’s business owners and managers are aware of the need to keep moving forward. The CEO at Alluminio Sammarinese, Stefano Ceccato, whose father started the company, says increased competition from low-wage economies is the biggest threat to the future of the firm.
“Around 10 or 20 years ago, our main competitors were from Italy,” he says, “whereas now, they are from Eastern Europe, Turkey, and sometimes China. To overcome this, we have to raise our level of technology, and take on more complex machining and more complex extrusions. Also, the products need to offer greater precision and surface finish, particularly in sectors such as automotive.”
Mr. Ceccato says the Haas UMC-750 five-axis machines are part of the company’s plan to produce more complex parts.
“We bought the Haas UMC- 750s because of the very attractive quality-to-price ratio. We make a lot of complex automotive parts, and needed five-axis machines that weren’t too expensive. The components tend to be big, so we purchased two Haas UMCs – one is running while the other is loading and unloading. They are arranged in a small cell, with one operator to run both.”
Although only installed a few months ago, the Haas machines already work 21 hours a day across three 7-hour shifts (not the more traditional 8 hours, due to an agreement with the unions). Alluminio Sammarinese reports that the machines have worked perfectly since the outset, aside from one technical issue relating to the use of bespoke fixtures that was easily solved by the local Haas Factory Outlet, a Division of Celada, in Italy. Celada, which is part of the very highly regarded machine tool supplier, R.F. Celada Macchine Utensili SpA, provides expert sales, service, and support across Italy, including San Marino.
“The service we receive is excellent,” says Mr. Ceccato, “and the Haas UMC-750s work well. We are currently testing more precision parts to put on the machines, and we are very happy with the results. In fact, we would ideally like a bigger version of the UMC-750. We are always investing, and a machine such as that would be very attractive for us.”
Unsurprisingly, 100 percent of the output from Alluminio Sammarinese’s 10,000-square-meter facility is exported, 60 percent to Italy, with the remaining 40 percent to the rest of Europe. The automotive sector, for which the Haas machines were predominantly acquired, accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the company’s customers.
“In all cases, we like to help our customers create a better product, whether that’s taking out cost or enhancing quality – adding value in some way,” concludes Mr. Ceccato. The Haas universal machining centres will no doubt have an important role to play in ensuring this ethos continues for a long time to come.
Alluminio Sammarinese has since ordered two more Haas UMC-750s. Both new machines will be Super Speed (SS) models, each with 15,000-rpm spindles, and are due for installation in October 2015.