in Vol. 12 - May Issue - Year 2011
Ideal Partner for Surface Treatment Machines
Rosaldo Pezzoni, President of Turbotecnica
TC - shotblasting machine
At the headquarters of Turbotecnica MFN conducted an interview with its President, Mr. Rosaldo Pezzoni.
(?) MFN: Mr. Pezzoni, what does Turbotecnica S.r.l. do?
(!) R. P.: Turbotecnica is an Italian company with a production site based in Legnano, in Milan’s backcountry, and has gained 30 years of experience in manufacturing systems and machines to conduct both standard and customised superficial finishes in terms of shot-blasting, sandblasting and shot-peening in the world of foundries, metal workshops, shipyards, joineries, extrusion and priming factories, as well as the marble and glass processing sectors.
(?) MFN: Which systems do you use to meet the market’s needs?
(!) R. P.: Turbotecnica’s catalogue includes some 40 different types of standard systems: turbine shot-blasting units occasionally combined with free-jet shot-blasting with compressed air. Starting with these standard machines, upon the final user’s request, we often make substantial changes and some 60% become special machines designed and manufactured to the customer’s specifications.
(?) MFN: Which of the machinery part of your wide range is Turbotecnica particularly proud of?
(!) R. P.: The "TC" tunnel-type machines, even very large ones, are certainly the most complex and prestigious machines for our company. They are supplied to process medium and large-sized manufactured products handled by means of a single-rail or double-rail or hoist overhead conveyor, in some cases with the support of trolleys on the ground. The turbines are applied in an adequate number in order to evenly cover the component’s various complex features and some can be fitted on oscillating supports. These are then mounted on both sides of the shot-blasting room in order to optimise the total coverage of transiting materials. Some of these systems are mounted in line with priming or galvanic-treatment systems and require special experience both at the design and manufacturing stage. Our tunnels are placed in line with other machines already at the design stage, and then at the manufacturing stage, we work in close contact with co-suppliers to provide our customers with complete lines. In some cases, our tunnel shot-blasting units need to be adapted to large pre-existing systems that demand a broad range of experience from both our engineers and assemblers, something which is not easy to find in the market.
(?) MFN: You have already told us about the more complex machines, but which are your more versatile machines among your standard ones?
(!) R. P.: As far as the standard shot-blasting units go, the best optimised one among the many built by Turbotecnica is certainly the NTOR model, a tunnel shot-blasting unit with a large wire mesh made with a material that is highly resilient to shot-blasting and that can be applied in a variety of sectors for a variety of materials in such as aluminium die-castings typical of the automotive and residential sector, flame-cut steel parts, welded structures, radiators, brass and steel castings, and even granite, marbles and stones to achieve an antiqued effect. Our NTORs can have 4 or 8 turbines and thanks to the features of the shot-blasting unit, parts are processed in just one stage, which reduces handling costs for the user. An automatic blowing system fitted at the exit of the shot-blasting room allows complete removal of the abrasive applied on the parts during shot-blasting. All the movements of this shot-blasting unit and of the other ones in part of our range can be managed by PLCs with the possibility of entering processing recipes for parts.
As for the sandblasting machines, I can say that Turbotecnica supplies sandblasting rooms reaching up to 40 meters in length and 18 meters in width. Even in this field, we have very special solutions, such as sandblasting machines mounted inside containers that are easy to handle.
(?) MFN: How is Turbotecnica’s manufacturing structured?
(!) R. P.: Turbotecnica divides its activities between the engineering, design and manufacturing of its shot-blasting and sandblasting machines.
Once the machine has been designed based on the customer’s product specifications (which need to be taken into account) together with the kind of final superficial finishing requested, the time needed to create it and the type of grit the customer will use with our machine are then calculated. Our design department carries out the project, and some of the various manufacturing stages are assigned to external suppliers and some are assigned to the joinery company part of the group, T-Tecnica, whose manufacturing areas are right next to those of Turbotecnica.
Upon arrival of all the components, we proceed to a thorough quality check, followed by assembly and internal pre-commissioning. None of the machines exits our plants without a pre-commissioning and often our final customers are invited to come and attend this event. The machines are then dispatched, assembled and tested at the customer’s premises by our specialised assemblers.
(?) MFN: And what about after-sales support?
(!) R. P.: We have a qualified after-sales support service for both scheduled and urgent work and we are able to promptly deliver all machine components typically subject to wear, thanks to our excellent spare parts programme.
We often also receive requests to bring our old machines in line with CE and ATEX standards and this is only done after a careful evaluation of the costs - benefits ratio.
(?) MFN: What about the company’s performance?
(!) R. P.: Companies operating in the field of superficial finishing treatments are still showing a positive trend, which, compared to other sectors, is still unaffected by competition from the Far East in Western Europe (the main market for us manufacturers) for the time being, mainly because it involves complex machines (as mentioned earlier) that need to be introduced in production lines next to other highly technological machines.
Competition from Asia and Eastern Europe in sectors using small semi-automatic machines which can be replaced with the extensive local low-cost workforce have been countered in the same countries by our offer of technological support or specific knowledge resulting from investment in research and with the supply of high tech systems.
Turbotecnica is strongly focused on export and this has increased over time, as today it accounts for about 90% of the overall turnover. The markets we operate most in are Western Europe (France, Belgium and Holland, Switzerland and Finland) and countries further eastwards (mostly Russia and then Romania, Poland and the Czech Republic) where Italian-made manufacturing is highly appreciated for its price/quality ratio compared to German companies.
(?) MFN: What are your products’ distinguishing features compared to those offered by competitors in the market?
(!) R. P.: Turbotecnica’s shot-blasting and sandblasting units stand out in the market for their productivity, reliability and the service offered by our company. Turbotecnica has customers who request spare parts for shot-blasting units that have been operating for over 30 years, so our customers can "trust" the products they purchase, safe in the knowledge that machine downtime for maintenance and failures is reduced to a minimum and that we manufacture durable machines, as they are reliable and productive over the years. Turbotecnica customers consider us an alley for supplying both functional and economical machines without compromising the safety and quality that an ISO 9000–2008 certified company has already been providing to the market for a number of years.
(?) MFN: In which areas is the shot-blasting sector expanding?
(!) R. P.: The superficial treatment sector is also specialising in niche sectors and there is an ever-growing demand for machines capable of processing large structures. Turbotecnica has a range of references for special shot-blasting units sold in Europe and further East, which are our pride and joy. For us a happy customer is a reason for great satisfaction and these kinds of references are the best advertisement.
(?) MFN: Where does Turbotecnica position itself in a world with growing environmental concerns?
(!) R. P.: Our superficial finishing systems generate waste that varies based on the material processed and the abrasives used, which need to be disposed of. To provide for this, our machines are fitted with filters with self-cleaning cartridges that reduce dust by capturing the particles in the air generated by the separator and the shot-blasting room. Manufacturing waste is collected in the containers of the filtration unit and can be disposed of as scrap metal or inert material. A dedicated treatment is required for stripping residues. Where necessary, filtered air may be released in the atmosphere or in the working environment, as the dust content is lower than the amount set by current regulations in Italy and abroad.
Filters can be fitted with fire and explosion alarm systems and EPA H13 –H14 fine particulate matter control systems.
(?) MFN: What do you imagine the future of your Company will be like?
(!) R. P.: Turbotecnica is a constantly expanding company, as shown by investments made over recent years to expand our production site. Moreover, as head of the company, I can confirm that our personnel is growing mostly thanks to the recruitment of young members of staff that we are training to provide adequate generational turnover and which we can expect to offer new innovative ideas to launch on the market.
We would like to thank Rosaldo Pezzoni for this interview!