Silvano Bressan, owner of Brematech, believes in investing in technology to grow his business. This year alone, he's purchased four machine tools and upgraded the quality department.Click image to enlargeby Noelle Stapinsky

Growing with its customers is Brematech’s main focus

As soon as Silvano Bressan finished his machining world schooling, he immediately joined his father in the family business—Brematech, a Montreal precision machine shop that opened in 1985. “I like to work with my hands and get them dirty,” says Bressan. “I like making and building stuff. But it’s not just a question of making parts, it’s also satisfying to give a service to a customer and develop that relationship.”

About 15 years ago, Bressan bought the family business with his sights set on growth to continue nurturing those relationships. The original facility was about 465 sq m (5,000 sq ft). “When I purchased the company, I grew the business and quadrupled the capacity. We stayed in the old location for about five years, but we had to expand. We purchased a 12,000 sq ft building eight years ago on the same island of Montreal. The new location may be five or ten minutes closer to my house,” he laughs.

The transition to the new facility took a little over a month. “We have epoxy flooring, and white walls and ceiling with high efficiency lighting making it extremely bright … you can’t tell what time of day it is when you’re in the shop,” says Bressan. 

Brematech specializes in machining components for the energy, medical, optical and defence sectors. Bressan says these parts can vary from general components to medical or intricate device components. But the secret to delivering such precision products is in the technology, or rather, a constant investment in technology to keep pace with customer needs.

Brematech shop floor.Click image to enlarge“The way I look at it is that it’s about being competitive in terms of costing and pricing, and trying to get products out quickly with the newest technology possible,” he says. “We invest in new equipment because we have a certain quality standard and provide a certain service to our customers. And we grow with our customers.”

This year has been a record year for investment. “We purchased four brand new machines and upgraded our quality room,” says Bressan. On the shop floor there’s a slew of different types of equipment. There are five CNC lathes that are all bar fed, automated and can run unattended. “Everything has live tooling involved and the smallest bar capacity is two inches up to three inch bar fed capacity. And there are four axes per lathe. We also have two Swiss lathes that are six axis, bar fed and vary from a 12 mm to a 20 mm capacity.”

On the machining centre side, Brematech has five, including an OKK horizontal machine and a Matsuura 520 five axis machine. “We also have Fanuc Robodrills, which are for smaller intricate, delicate components,” he adds. 

To remain competitive, Brematech continually invests in new machine tools and automation.Click image to enlargeWith such investment in technology, Bressan says that it’s a drastic change to what the company used to be. “I think the five axis is a new way of making more complex components all in one shot and it makes it easier to make sure it’s well manufactured. In the past we were using multiple setups and a lot of time was spent setting up components. The latest technology makes life easier. You can get a nice finished part faster while producing less scrap.”

And just this past year, Brematech fully integrated all of its equipment, software and MRP system. “We can upload and download via WiFi. We can communicate, validate what’s running, what’s not, why it’s not, and identify if there’s troubleshooting that might need to be done,” says Bressan.

Brematech upgraded its quality department this year, in addition to investing in new equipment to remain competitive.Click image to enlargeWhile most of this machine shop’s clients are local, some have moved to the US or to Europe, giving Brematech a global reach. With contracts extending into 2023, Bressan says that to remain competitive, it’s all about giving customers what they want in terms of quality and delivery time. “If you say you’ll deliver tomorrow, you need to back that up. Every shop has its problems, and ups and downs. But at the end of the day, honesty is the best policy. It’s just a question of communication and letting customers know what you can and can’t do.”

Of course, those working on the shop floor are also incredibly important. Bressan says that you can have all the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t have the people to run it, it’s useless. “I open my heart to a lot of my employees and spend time trying to educate and train them to push them to the next level.”

A self-proclaimed workaholic, Bressan is focused on what’s next. They’re currently looking at gradually modifying certain tooling to run the machines longer with automation, rather than needing to add a second shift. While nothing will ever take him off the shop floor, at some point he would like to take a step back and enjoy life. “I’ll perhaps even make it home for dinner,” he says with a laugh. SMT

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