Salvagnini's Gianfranco Gotter with Canadian delegatesClick image to enlarge

Salvagnini opens its Sarego, Italy doors to Canadian manufacturers

Several Canadian manufacturers recently had an opportunity to tour the facility of Italian metal fabricating equipment manufacturer Salvagnini during their visit to BI-MU, the country's largest trade show for machine tools.

Press brake automation at Salvagnini's facility in Sarego, ItalyClick image to enlarge

Salvagnini is based in Sarego, Italy, a town near Venice. Accompanied by Steve Spilak, sales manager for Salvagnini Canada, the delegates toured the company's manufacturing facility and witnessed demos of an automated punching and fiber laser cutting system, a panel bender and an automated fiber laser cutting system equipped with one of the company's modular automation systems, MCL for unloading, separating and stacking parts. Their tour guide was Gianfranco Gotter, regional program manager for Salvagnini.

Canadian delegation at Salvagnini's facility. From left: Allan Hughes, AGS Automotive; Gianfranco Gotter, Salvagnini; Steve Spilak, Salvagnini Canada; Rob Villapiana, Hammond Manufacturing; Pierre Vezina, Teknion; Ken Fitzpatrick, WGI; Nash Kassam, Wesgar; and Darren Fontaine; Imperial Manufacturing GroupClick image to enlarge

The 33,000 sq m (355,000 sq ft) facility employs 650 people. The manufacturing operation manufactures press brake, fiber laser cutting machines and panel benders (a specialized machine with a 254 mm or 10 in. high bend of which it produces 12 annually) and tooling for bending and punching. The more standard panel benders with 203 mm (8 in.) high bends are produced in the company's Austrian facility, where they manufacture and assemble approximately 120 machines annually. The Sarego facility also produces approximately 100 fiber lasers annually.

Canadian delegates at Salvagnini's facility in Sarego, ItalyClick image to enlarge

While Salvagnini offers stand alone metal fabricating technology, Gotter is quick to point out that it's not where the company's strength lies. Instead, Salvagnini's strength and reason for success is about customization and flexible automation.

Indeed, approximately 40 per cent of the machines it produces in Italy are customized products and all are designed with automation in mind.

"We build machines based on extensive feasibility studies we conduct with customer," explains Gotter. "We analyze their production needs to ensure we can offer the best system. Everyone can sell a laser, a press brake, a panel bender or a punch but what creates the complexity is when you put different machines together and this is where Salvagnini is strong with our Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)."

An example is the company's MCL, modular automation for its fiber laser cutting systems. The L5 model for example, can be set up in different ways to match different production needs. The automated, integrated system unloads, separates and stacks parts produced on the laser. Gotter says because Salvgnini designs its machines with "modular automation" it means that even if a customer purchases a fiber or a panel bender as a stand-alone, the machine can be integrated easily into an automated line downstream, making a machine like the L3 fiber laser a "flexible batch-one processing" capable one.

Salvagnini L5 fiber laser with the MCL modular automation systemClick image to enlarge

Another key is fabricating data management that allows for the introduction of an Industry 4.0 approach to metal fabricating. Salvgnini's software has the ability to exchange information with a company's ERP or communicate with other systems. For example, machine programs can be created from production orders and information on production can be returned automatically.

Salvagnini has built a reputation on high quality automated systems, says Gotter and to maintain its reputation it has a comprehensive testing protocol. "Every single machine that we produce for our customers is tested and if there is a anything that doesn't work correctly we fix it before it gets to the customer. We create reports that we keep inhouse and if the customer asks for the report we will provide them with the information."

Salvagnini's facility in Sarego, ItalyClick image to enlarge

Salvagnini's fiber laser production area at the Sarego, Italy plantClick image to enlarge

The plant will soon undergo a change to accommodate the growing demand for panel benders. In Italy alone, there is an eight month wait. "We will increase the number of panel benders because we supply them for customers all over the world," explains Gotter. "We will move our press brake production on January 1 2017 to another building 10 km from this plant. The philosophy of building a press brake is different from panel benders and fiber lasers because these [panel benders and fiber lasers] are designed with flexible automation so they have many options that you don't typically find in a stand alone press brake."

Sample part fabricated on fiber laser and punch combo machine in Salvagnini's demonstration centre at the Sarego, Italy plantClick image to enlarge

The Canadian manufacturers, who represented companies from BC, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, were part of a delegation the Italian Trade Agency invited to Milan as part of its mission to help promote Italian machine tool exports.

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