A sub-contractor of Bologna decided to invest on quality and technology to remain competitive. The choice was made thanks to a well-known supplier of grinding systems who knew how to always guarantee the right solutions.
If there is a unique characteristics of the Italian manufacturing industry, it can be found in the so-called “industrial districts”, i.e. the concentration and growth, in a well-defined area, of a large number of firms specialized at excellent levels in making a certain product. F.P. Fantuzzi of Zola Predosa (BO) is just an example of what the Bologna district offers. It is a small subcontractor company which has always chosen grinding as its operative sector. During the last forty years, F.P. Fantuzzi has matured a very deep knowledge and experience in the field of high performance finishing of mechanical precision components, guaranteeing quality and rapidity in the grinding processing of internal and external diameters, on surface and threads. At the moment, the company has a group of about fifteen employees and partners, all engaged in the company’s fleet of machines in use, to supply precision grinded components to very famous and esteemed companies, as well as some pumps constructors.
A client portfolio which, how the owner Paolo Fantuzzi wishes to emphasize, «was formed only through word of mouth, with the firm’s reputation built up by looking for quality without compromises and always aiming for the customer’s satisfaction regardless of the lot sizes, timings and work-loads».
Passing on to the company’s fleet of machines in use, made up of 14 grinding machines of various types, it is impossible not to note that it is all of the same brands: the old-established Morara and Tacchella (now IMT) and the more modern IMT branded.
The F.P. Fantuzzi fleet of machines in use, sees at work a Morara Quick 1000 at CNC, a Morara Quick 400 at CNC, a Morara Micro E 400, a Morara Intermatic 1000, a Morara Intermatic 700, two Morara Micro I, as well as the very recent IMT MTL 1000.
The most modern machine
F.P. Fantuzzi’s flagship is the Morara MTL 1000. The sample installed at Zola Predosa is an automated version equipped with an anthropomorphic robot which loads and unloads pieces and verifies the dimensions in process, for the production of two different types of pieces. The machine has a grinding wheel with 760 mm of diameter, ensures efficiency for big lots processing, thanks to time reductions in placing and processing. Even if the MTL 1000 working at F.P. Fantuzzi is equipped with a single grinding machine, there are several different setups with combinations of grinding wheels in combination, for indoors, outdoors on tilting head and so on, in order to guarantee the widest possible versatility.
The strengths of MTL 1000, as in the Morara tradition, are the solid mono-block bases in Meehanite cast iron stabilized in a hollow shape, designed with the aim to limit deformations due to thermal dilatation and vibrations.
The MTL 1000’s structure was thought out for the maximum modularity: for example it is possible to have more heights that can be worked with the same base, thanks to the inter-changeable grooves. Also the lengths to be grinded are variable thanks to the 200 mm long standard tiles which placed in series can adequately extend the linear motors. The machines of the MTL series, available in four sizes with grinding lengths of 500, 1.000, 1.500 and 2.000 mm, are set for various types of enslavements, for the automatic loading/unloading of pieces: robot with side or front access, or Cartesian systems with loading from above. The CNC, like all the motion control set, is made by Siemens, with the possibility, of course to install CNCs of other companies. The MTL present in F.P. Fantuzzi is also equipped with a Marposs in process measurement system which transmits measurement data directly to the CNC via ProfiBus.
Diversifying production towards the future
Like the majority of modern sub-contractors, today F.P. Fantuzzi has to manage not only big series of pieces, but also smaller lots for which it is necessary to have machines that are versatile and quick to configure. These sort of requirements are managed by the Morara Quick Grinder, which we have already seen working, in the company in Zola Predosa, for the implementation of the grinded housings of the bearing supports of pinions for the reducer industry. Today the Morara Quick Grinder is available in a renewed and updated guise and its name is Easy Quick, available for outdoor or indoor rectification.
But F.P. Fantuzzi does not deal just with reducers components; recently the firm has had numerous work orders to make pump shafts and gears. Another IMT machine is used for this work: a Tacchella grinding center with a loading-unloading-measure cell and palletizing onto a tray of the finished piece through an anthropomorphic robot. With such a rich fleet of machines in use and all coming from the same constructor, one can only ask Paolo Fantuzzi what the reasons are for such a convinced and long-lasting choice: «The first very important thing that a grinding machine must have – he explained – is quality». But quality alone is not enough; and Paolo Fantuzzi continued to explain to us what else was necessary to have from a machine and, in full, from a supplier of grinding machines: «reliability is very important. It is necessary to have reliable machines which guarantee continuous working and reduced machine downtime».
What will the future be like? This was the last question we put to Paolo Fantuzzi before leaving him: «the future will be always more under the sign of strong technology and quality. It is the only way to justify and maintain the cost difference in respect to the emerging countries. Certainly – continued Fantuzzi – if there is one thing which worries us is the lack of young people able to replace those who must stop working due to age limits. Qualified workers are essential. For this reason here in F.P. Fantuzzi we have decided to make some of its employees partners, in order to motivate them and keep them in the firm with us». And so, once again F.P. Fantuzzi has demonstrated to be innovative, not only at a technological level, but also in the management of human resources.