Pantostamp: staking on innovation and internationalization

Alessandro Scalici, sales manager of Pantostamp company.

Investing in innovation – of product and process – pursuing a corporate expansion strategy that aims at consolidating and widening more and more its business on international markets.

This is the business philosophy of Pantostamp, with headquarters at Opera (MI), Italy, company set up in 1976, which in the last twenty years has focused on the implementation of multi-cavity thermoplastic material injection moulds intended for the packaging market and more specifically for the beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and spray ambits.

More in general, anyway, for each industrial field where there is the need of using technical moulds for big manufacturing volumes and the production of consumer products. As explains us Alessandro Scalici, sales manager of Pantostamp.

Pantostamp implements thermoplastic material injection multi-cavity moulds for the packaging market and more specifically for the beverage, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and spray sectors.

What markets do you address with your production?
Our customers are especially multinational companies with premises in Italy and abroad. In Italy, the sector of multi-cavity plastic material injection moulds is quite dynamic because there is always the need of new and different consumer products.

Both because the demand frequently changes according to the research of new formats and to match new aesthetical trends and because the production and operational requirements of customers themselves vary. The Italian market remains important for our company and we tend to consolidate in it our historical presence constantly, since a part of our best customers still operate there.

In spite of that, one of our main targets concerns the rise of the turnover coming from European and non-European Countries. Currently we supply foreign enterprises in France, Germany and Spain but also Asian clients, especially in China and in Central America, in Mexico.

In the international arena, there is a strong competition that focuses especially on the qualitative level of the manufactured mould instead of playing the card of a lower price of the manufactured item.

The additive manufacturing use proved to be useful for Pantostamp for the manufacturing of pieces with complex “outlines” providing, for instance, for the implementation of shaped cooling channels.

How do you approach these Countries and with what modalities?
On our hand, we promote the knowledge of our products and machining processes taking part, whenever possible, in the main international sector exhibitions, on the other hand we try to start partnerships and collaborations with press manufacturers, to offer together complete plant-engineering solutions.

A strategy that aims at creating a teamwork, networking with industrial realities operating in the same activity segment.

The company operates in the Beverage field, also with the implementation of moulds connected with the supply of complete production plants.

What are the industrial reference sectors for Pantostamp?
We operate for instance in the beverage field, dedicated to spirits, with the manufacture of moulds connected with the supply of complete manufacturing plants. Thanks to the collaboration with producers of presses and assembling machines, we can support customers along their entire production line.

This is an industrial field that requires moulds granting long durability, owing to the high machining rates, to fast cycles and a production that generally reaches millions of units, too. Pantostamp, in particular for this sector, manufactures moulds that are always provided with cutting-edge technological safety systems, designed to protect the mould from incorrect manoeuvres or process defects.

Another important activity field for us is the pharmaceutical and spray one, for which we produce moulds for components constituting pumps and dispensers of various kind. This industrial sector needs high operational precisions, due to the complexity and the small sizes of some products.

Mould for spray dispenser

Moreover, the demanded moulds are expected to work in highly aseptic environments, like for instance white chambers. Finally, another sector always in constant growth and development is cosmetics. In this ambit, Pantostamp grants the use of specific and certified materials, dedicated heat and surface treatments and the use of technologies permitting to obtain complex closure lines of excellent quality and great care in the surface finishing of moulding parts, to reach excellent aesthetical results.

For each application sector, Pantostamp always provides the mould supply with a set of spare parts for the most delicate components, stocking up parts ready for shipment, too.

Mould for syringe piston for production in white chamber.

What are the characteristics of the moulds you offer to the Italian and foreign market?
Pantostamp designs and manufactures multi-cavity moulds generally for volume industrial manufacturing, i.e. intended for markets that need high productive volumes. We produce also pilot moulds, supporting the customer in the prototype implementation phase up to the first sampling and then we proceed to the manufacture of the production mould with approximate sizes of 700 x 1000 mm.

Today customers do not search only for the production of a mould according to their technical specifications or suitable for meeting particular production needs. Companies mainly tend to purchase a service, solutions to improve their projects and work processes, assistance during the commissioning of the implemented mould and, finally, a prompt after-sale collaboration in case of need.

Plunge EDM.

With what services in particular do you address companies?
Pantostamp can execute all necessary machining phases so that a mould is ready to enter the production under all respects. More in detail, we start from the design of a mould and we collaborate with the customer in the design of the piece they intend to manufacture, thanks to our internal technical office.

Moreover, Pantostamp offers a service of spare parts upon design and of mould maintenance, together with the necessary support to redesign, design and implement whatever element to be replaced in moulds with precision and efficiency, thus granting customers a fast production restart and an adequate competitiveness recovery.

Finally, we carry out mould trials and tests thanks to our small department equipped with 2 injection presses of 80 and 280 tons. After the assembly, in fact, we execute in-house a mould sampling to test and verify at best its perfect operation. If demanded by customers, Pantostamp provides moulding sheets and parameters for the mould starting up in production, as well as customized tests to be carried out directly with the operators of the purchasing company.

CNC horizontal-spindle grinding in Pantostamp factory.

What can a mould maker of your sector do to remain competitive on the market?
Even if it is a small company, Pantostamp invests huge resources in research and development activities, both for the product innovation and in machining processes.

In our opinion, innovation is a fundamental aspect for a company that intends to be dynamic and competitive on the Italian and foreign market. In the last years, for instance, we have paid great attention to the development of automated processes, with the target of optimizing our internal productivity.

This is completed by the attempt of experimenting new technological solutions able to grant customers a final product that can help them to produce in safer manner and with lower costs. Furthermore, we have approached the use of different typologies of injection moulding, like the in-mold assembling, which offers the possibility of integrating into the moulding cycle precisely the assembling of the produced parts, eliminating, where possible, the need of successive machining, through dedicated machinery.

Important for the medical and pharmaceutical field also the reduction of the piece contamination risk provided by this operational typology, due to the product displacement from the moulding to the assembling area.

5-axis machining centre with automation.

Talking about innovation, what is your opinion about the additive manufacturing?
We have experimented additive manufacturing processes with some of our customers for years. In particular, this technology has proved useful for the production of parts with complex “outlines”, providing, for instance, for the implementation of shaped cooling channels.

These are all cases in which the conventional technology would have involved too high machining costs to reach the required result or would not have granted a sufficiently efficient product. When we have turned to sintering, we have always succeeded in satisfying our customers, with the advantage of having eliminated the decomposition of some parts (thus simplifying the mould maintenance process) and having speeded up the moulding cycle or of having obtained better surface finishes on the piece than those achievable with a standard cooling.

At present, however, we use this technology in a still low percentage, for about 5% of our total production, because it still has quite high costs and, even if it grants good results, not all customers want or can recognize the higher economic spending.

Internal testing phase executed by Pantostamp on all produced moulds.

A last question: what does work excellence mean for your company?
Reaching excellence means for us succeeding in fulfilling the customer’s job order with the highest possible timeliness and quality, remaining competitive on the market in terms of proposed prices.

This means producing while trying to understand customers’ requirements at best, to propose them the best product, with the best quality-price ratio, so that they can manufacture according to their expectations and without problems. All that is anyway possible if the mould manufacturer invests in the training and in the updating of its employees and in the use of advanced technology.

Besides, it is worth reminding the increasingly topical and mandatory need, for a company like ours, of acquiring the most suitable and upgraded production management and planning systems, to programme each in-house work phase maintaining the right degree of flexibility.

(Interview by Marina Zussino)

 

 Identity card of the company and machining cycle
Company: Pantostamp, Via Staffora, 14 A1-A2 / 16 Opera (MI) 20090 Italy
Reference person: Alessandro Scalici
Typology of manufactured moulds: plastic injection multi-cavity moulds
Reference sectors: packaging, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, spray
Used materials: steels generally supplied by Uddeholm
Used software: CAD-CAM Cimatron and Delcam design programmes, Vero Solutions management software
Mould making technologies: Hermle 3-axis milling line, Mikron 5-axis machining centre with automation, Haas lathes, CNC Jones and Shipman cylindrical grinding, wire and plunge EDM Sodik and Mitsubishi, metrological room with optical and contact Mitutoyo machines. 80-and 280-ton. injection presses for mould testing
Average delivery times: from 90 to 120 days depending on the mould typology and the production cycle
Turnover export share: 23% (2014) – 34% (2015) – 38% (in July 2016)
Logistic organization: internal
Website: http://www.pantostamp.it/

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