Crisis times? We invest more than before

We are describing how a company operating in the sector of automotive moulds exploits the stagnation period “to programme” the restart

By Vittorio Pesce

It is headquartered in the industrious Rivoli, not far from Turin, in Piedmont, Tekmar S.r.l., company operating for over 20 years in the design and manufacturing of thermoplastic material injection moulds, mainly intended for the Automotive industry. The Manager Director, Dario Monici, welcomes us with these words: «Our company was founded in 1996 as mechanical precision workshop and then, along the years, in has specialized in the production of plastic moulds, driven by the “automotive propensity” that historically characterizes Turin and Piedmont».

The various investments made in this context have allowed Tekmar to grow in sizes, know-how and technological force. «Today we are a reality specialized in the development and implementation of moulds for components of dashboard, door panels, spoilers and bumpers, but especially in grilles, that is to say those plastic components that, positioned in the front car part, allow the aeration and the cooling of the radiator and that feature high aesthetical and technical value. We have implemented moulds for grilles for several years now and, among our customers, we can boast makers such as Ford, Mercedes, PSA; FCA Group with Jeep, Iveco, Fiat, Lancia, besides Porsche, Lamborghini, Opel and so on».

All ready to restart

Knowing a reality like Tekmar allows us to understand how the companies that mainly operate in automotive try overcoming the current stagnation phase determined by both the uncertainty connected with the “technological shift” regarding the adoption of new power supply systems and especially to the world crisis – still in course – caused by coronavirus. Dario Monici clearly replies: «In 2009 –Monici tells –, when the global financial crisis burst out, we succeeded in interpreting correctly some ominous signs and we did not let ourselves be caught unprepared: we gritted our teeth and we managed to overcome “the bad period” unscathed».

1. Some of automotive components made with Tekmar S.r.l. moulds

Once overcome the negative trend, Tekmar not only started growing again on the market but it also exploited the boost to consolidate its ranking on foreign markets: therefore, it invested in the new manufacturing site at Rivoli, larger and more up-to-date than the previous one, and in state-of-the-art machines able to perform machining with higher added-value. Concerning the current crisis, due to Covid19, Monici specifies: «Unlike what happened in 2009, the present stagnation phase suddenly struck us. On the other hand, nobody could foresee the outbreak of a pandemic that would have brought the global economy to its knees. Until last Winter, our sector, that as above said is mainly the one of grilles for radiators, constantly grew. Starting from March 2020, on the contrary, almost everything stopped owing to Covid, and just today we start glimpsing shy improvement signs, with the restart of some projects and some job orders. We remain then confident in the future». The Piedmont company, on the other hand, has always tried treasuring crisis times, considering them ideal to plan changes and investments.

2. The moulding department

Mould design and manufacturing

Today, Tekmar toolshop can rely on 7 high-speed milling machines, three of which with 5 axes, a gantry model, a horizontal machine and two 3-axis models, by brands such as Parpas, Rambaudi, Sachman, Correa, etc. Dario Monici: «Parpas Linear 30 5-axis milling machine, which is a machining centre that enables cutting-edge machining on big-size components, represents our last investment and it was introduced in the company few weeks before the pandemic outbreak». The toolshop is equipped with grinding and boring machines and with a laser welding plant, besides one IMSA drilling machine and three plunge EDM machines by brands like Ona and CDM. Upstream the toolshop, the technical division works at the phases of mould design and machine tool programming. Concerning this, Dario Monici highlights: «We are equipped with the best software on the market, such as for instance CatiaV5 and Work NC CAD/CAM. Recently, as demonstration of our will of investing also and especially in crisis times, our enterprise has acquired the licenses of Moldex3D, software for the simulation of the filling phase of mould cavities».

3. The Manager Director, Dario Monici, inside the new Parpas Linear 30 machining centre

The moulding phase

Rivoli manufacturing site hosts also five areas dedicated to mould adjustment operations, as well as a moulding department that is currently provided with three BM Biraghi and Demag injection presses, with closing force included between 350 and 1,300 tons and equipped with 3-axis robots. «The idea of fitting out an autonomous moulding department – Dario Monici adds – is actually very recent and stems from the lockdown in March 2020. During those days of total inactivity, upon some customers’ suggestion, we thought of intensifying moulding and of using our available presses not only for activities of mould testing and adjustment but also to carry out real mass-productions». The idea proved to be winning and, finally, it has allowed and allows Tekmar to diversify its offer and to overcome this difficult phase almost without damages.

4. Overview of the manufacturing workshop

Dario Monici: «Before Summer, we will enrich the machine fleet intended for moulding with other three presses, two by BM Biraghi and one by Sandretto, with closing force ranging from 150 to 300 tons, and with one “cube” injection press by Krauss Maffei, that is two say two injections worth 1,600 tons, which will allow us to reach new outlet ambits». A press with these characteristics allows injecting the plastic material on both the fixed and the mobile side of the mould, so permitting the implementation of parts with two different plastic components, for instance with different colours or weights. «This further investment will allow us to further differentiate the offer and to acquire new customers in potentially very interesting application sectors, not necessarily connected with the automotive world», Dario Monici points out and ends: «We have exploited these stagnation months to sow and, honestly, we think we have succeeded in it. We have all papers in order to restart with enthusiasm, offering increasingly wide and advanced services. We are ready to restart!».

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