All the value of the core

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Initial link of a chain that cannot have any defect, the core is of essential importance. As highlighted by a core maker that represents a wide-ranging partner of the foundry industry, following the whole product course completely.

“MetalWorking World” interviewed Maurizio Zambelli, owner of Animpres (Reggio Emilia).

What is the operational strategy characterizing your company’s activity on the market?
Established more than forty years ago, Animpres has always been a family-owned company, developed and grown in time. Our family has always believed in the activity that we manage, thinking that profits should be used exclusively for the company itself. We have therefore constantly focused on its development, where we have lavished our investments, both in human resources and in technologies. In that context, our operational strategy is strictly connected with the service that we offer to a priority customer, actually the only one, with which we have established a long-lasting relationship. We strongly believe, in fact, that subcontracting core makers, like us, should have their own specialization and be, like a son, in strict contact with the foundry, actually becoming part of its family, knowing and sharing its dynamics and, naturally, also its problems. Only acting in conformity with such a vision it is possible to give birth to a sort of symbiosis enabling both, Animpres and the foundry, to operate at best.

What are the main requirements that customers and market most underline today?
The main requirements that are currently most stressed can be summarized in three words: quality, service and flexibility. Concerning the latter, in particular, it is worth underling to what extent job orders often change day by day and therefore impose to follow that rate, implying the flexibility of interrupting what you are doing in whatever moment and of starting immediately something else. Actually, the term immediately is constantly on the agenda for our company. In any case, the main factor undoubtedly remains quality.
We make cores for components intended for the motorcycle industry and final customers, that’s to say the main field brands that absolutely need to launch on the market highly performing motors and therefore ask the best to the foundry, in order to pursue that policy. A core making firm like ours is therefore strictly involved in all this process and therefore entrusted with great responsibility.

What do you instead offer to your customers in terms of technical support?
We really take care of the whole product course starting from the quotation, following the project development step by step and reaching its accomplishment, that’s to say the implementation in the foundry, adjusting the shot sampling by sampling, in order to attain finally the finalization of the optimal process. We are partner of the foundry in all respects, from the first line of the initial design to the finished product: we really provide our customer with wide-ranging support. The core, actually, is the starting link of a chain that is not allowed having any defect and then we can easily guess its value. A core failure strongly affects, in fact, the final casting, also in economic terms.

What typologies and what sizes of cores can you make?
Animpres makes its cores exclusively through the shell-moulding process. It was a choice pondered in time and dictated by the personal belief, deriving from the experience that I have gained in the sector, that core makers stand out in their production when they focus on a single process type. Those that, on the contrary, use and mix different processes often do not succeed in doing well either one. Specialized then in shell-moulding, we can rely on machines of all types and all sizes: the variety of machines installed in our company allows us to mount core boxes with sizes reaching 1000 x 950 millimetres. All this, clearly, conforms to the question of the strong specialization, really permitting to offer the best to customers.

In 2006 you set up also a twin structure. Can you explain us what it represents precisely?
In 2006 we established another core making firm. It is Euroshell, which is managed by one of my sons and is part of the same property. This branch was born as support to the activity of Animpres, which alone could not satisfy all the requirements of our customer anymore, also because location and structures did not permit further enlargements. Headquartered at just 1.5 kilometres from our site, and then in its turn very close to the reference foundry, it allows us a practical management of both structures and it grants our usual reliability to the customer. Euroshell exclusively produces cores, working both for us and directly for our customer, while heart and brain of the activity still remain at Animpres, which develops projects, samples and perfects them and, obviously, manufactures cores of all types and sizes according to its original specialization.

Finally, what do you think of the creation of consortia or business networks? Have you ever considered this idea or opportunity?
Even if they are theoretically and in principle very good initiatives, my personal experience has led me to notice their most immediate practical problems and, most of all, the troubles in making the valid issues that they imply correctly perceived. I explain better. In 1975 in Reggio Emilia there were four core makers: my father and I joined the other three owners to analyse the possibility of sharing our expertise, our machines and whatever else, thus uniting our forces in optimal way, without competing and establishing a single company, with the organizational and economic advantages that might derive. Well, the first question was: And who is in charge?. My father and I immediately realized that this was not certainly the right spirit to start and that the goals we were pursuing had not been absolutely understood. Certainly, in those years our mentality was at the forefront compared with the way of thinking of various other colleagues but it is a fact that still today craft realities are particularly jealous of their work, even if for a common cause that, in many cases, can constitute the only concrete way to overcome the crisis.