Simplex Rapid: Committed to export

Operating since 1948 and always with the export bent, a company that stakes on quality and customer service, with an offer of machines 100% in-house conceived, produced and assembled. We talked about that with Umberto Boschiero, foreign market manager of Simplex Rapid

Umberto Boschiero, foreign market manager of Simplex Rapid.

Umberto Boschiero, foreign market manager of Simplex Rapid.














What is in your opinion the right key to understand today’s market, permitting to face and to overcome its challenges adequately?

First of all, it is important to define what is the reference market of each productive reality. Our company, operating on the market since 1948, has always had a strong propensity for export (85% of the production) and this allows us to have a different vision of the present and of the future, in comparison with other realities that depend more on the local Italian market. To be able to export, however, it is necessary to embrace a well-defined business philosophy: either to be very competitive in price or to try to offer products with unique characteristics. Simplex Rapid – family-owned company of which my brother, my cousins and I represent the third generation – has always worked with the target of producing higher-quality machines or with peculiarities that significantly distinguish them from their competitors. This approach has constantly awarded our commitment and we think that it is all the more valid today, considering the difficult global competitive context. In a market like the current one, it is no longer sufficient to offer a good quality/price ratio: hence our clear choice of staking on quality and customer service.

Internationalization, a crucial issue for our Country’s companies, and not only. What is your opinion about that?

Internationalization has been and still is a topical theme. Belonging to a strongly specialized niche sector, with high added value, we are proud of being able to go on offering machines that are fully conceived, produced and assembled in Italy, even better, in our company. Concerning our reality, internationalization means being present in the biggest possible number of Countries in the world, in order to reach and to serve our customers at best. Today this is possible thanks to a structure that includes more than 30 companies, representatives, agents and resellers in all, each of them responsible for a single Country or wider geographical areas.

How do you judge the current health state of the wire and tube working industry and what evolutions do you expect?

The sector is healthy and dynamic. The producers of wire and tube working machines are always in the forefront, as witnessed by the success obtained by the “Made in Italy” at the recent Wire and Tube exhibition in Düsseldorf. Italian spring manufacturers, and in general all the producers of bent/shaped components, often represent real excellences for expertise and know how. Each company lives its own life cycle in virtue of the competences and energies brought by its managers or proprietary families. In Italy, where business sizes are on average smaller in comparison with German ones, it will be possible to see a concentration process that favours growth: takeovers, sales of companies for generational turnover and so on. Besides, the sector is constantly evolving. Crisis periods put companies to hard test but overcoming such trials makes organizations even sounder, it is exactly true that “what does not kill you makes you stronger”. To face the new challenges it is essential to couple the entrepreneurial spirit that has made our companies grow with more and more rigorous organizational and managerial processes. As already said, today a successful company must have bent for export and internationalization. This multiculturalism and opening towards new markets must be mirrored inside the company organization, coupling the Italian genius, the North-European pragmatism, the Anglo-Saxon liberalism and meritocracy. That evolution can occur if everyone, in person, is pleased to do his own work and is proud of showing his own products. The entrepreneur, then, must not lose his dynamic and creative boost (neither when facing a crisis) and all collaborators must do their best for the common good. If it is true that “there are no depressed lands, but depressed peoples”, it means that, at industrial level, there are no companies getting through a crisis but instead not sufficiently motivated managers/owners/collaborators.

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Concerning this, what role do motivation, competence and updating of the personnel play in your course of development and continuity on the market?

The human factor is essential. A family, a company or a nation operate successfully only if the human capital is motivated and adequately composed. Even if the scholastic/university system is often too far from the productive reality, over the last few years we have engaged young school leavers and university graduates with great satisfaction. In production, thanks to the very low turnover, we can have new employees assisted by skilled professionals of great experience, entrusted with the task of transferring their knowledge. Providing economic motivations becomes more and more difficult (owing to costs, rigidity and bureaucracy): this year, however, we could give a significant award to all of our collaborators. The regret is seeing the economic effort disproportionally taxed.

What problems prevailingly arise today in your operational ambit?

Luckily, our biggest problem is to succeed in fulfilling the numerous job orders achieved in the last few months. We actually estimate a 2-digit growth in 2014. Living a very positive period, we want then to exploit this opportunity to organize our structure in view of incoming challenges: new employments, new investments and new projects for the future. As always, we adopt a policy based on small steps, but aware and consistent one another.

What are your daily targets and your long-term projects?

Remaining coherent is our first goal. Being – at the end of the day – satisfied with the work done, certain of having done the possible to execute it at best is the daily target. Besides, if the everyday work is carried out conscientiously, also the results will certainly come true in the medium and long term. In that time horizon, the target is to accomplish what has always been our mission: producing our machines in the way that we deem the best, with perhaps expensive technological solutions, but certainly without ever coming to a compromise. This philosophy, in some ways still craft, allows us to stand out in the opinion of our customers.

In what ways do your machines contribute in enhancing the productivity, and then the competitiveness, of user companies?

If we consider, for instance, the new spring coiling machines of the FX series, the productivity increment in comparison with a previous generation machine is estimated between 30 and 80%, depending on the spring to be produced. Moreover, it is important to highlight that the design effort aimed at the reduction of overall dimensions, weights and inertias has allowed us to rationalize the way of producing and assembling those machines. The result is a decrease of their final price (–10/15%). The cost/productivity ratio is then significantly improved, without anyway giving up any qualifying aspect: refined mechanics with anti-wear/anti-seizure treatments, automatic lubrication (oil and grease), state-of-art electronics, HMI through big-size touch screen, electric panel conditioning, vision system through digital camera for the length and diameter control, patented system for the preload control and so on.

3 - Intervista U.Boschiero - Simplex Rapid OKEfficiency and energy saving: what initiatives has your company undertaken towards that direction?

All new machines are equipped with state-of-art components, with motors and drives characterized by low absorption and with innovative energy recovery systems (we avoid heat dissipations, by recovering the unused energy). Lots of machines can be equipped, both in standard and optional version, with auto shut-off systems, which the operator can programme after a definite lapse of time, when the production is accomplished. In production, moreover, in 2010 we invested 3.5 millions for the installation of 2 photovoltaic plants (about 4,000 panels in all): the smallest one, of about 200 kW, for the coverage of 70% of our needs; the second, featuring around 800 kW, for the production and networking of clean energy. We are very satisfied with this investment. Besides, in 2012, we replaced the entire lighting system of the productive department, halving the installed power and using high efficiency lighting systems.

In the name of high quality

Machines for the production of compression springs, machines for the production of torsion springs, wire and tube straightening machines and decoilers: this is the current offer by Simplex Rapid, whose high quality allows their use also in critical applications. Spring machines cover today a working range from Ø 0.1 to 8.0 mm, which in the next years will be widened by inferior and superior wire diameters. These machines are mainly appreciated for the production of springs used in the automotive sector (valve springs, injector springs etc.) and in electrical and medical applications. Wire straighteners are characterized by patents and technical solutions able to grant the extreme quality of cut and straightened crop ends. This makes them suitable, especially in the models that work very small diameter (0.1 mm or inferior) wire, for producing parts for the medical, surgical, dental, electrical, electronic (micro contacts), fine mechanics and watchmaking/gold industry. In the ambit of the diversified production by Simplex Rapid, currently stands out the new line of machines series FX: four models of coiling machines for compression springs for wire from Ø 0.1 to 3.0 mm. Fruit of a new project that needed 3 years of work both in mechanical and electronic ambit, they are very innovative machines that use the best of the components today available on the market and software/hardware solutions making them very fast and precise. 50% of those machines are exported to Germany and 20% to the USA.

Research & Development, essential activity

Simplex Rapid invests from 5 to 10% of its turnover in the Research & Development activity, both for the mechanical design and the software development, with a staff of very high level engineers. «Since the Sixties – explains Umberto Boschiero – we have registered patents and introduced innovations that have revolutionized the sector: we should just consider the rotary cut patent and, more recently, the patent of the powered preload control, both applications for the sector of compression spring coiling machines ». Succeeding in differentiating its offer thanks to innovative algorithms of motor management, to be faster and at the same time more precise, or thanks to the new artificial vision systems, (digital cameras to correct the produced springs in few milliseconds) allows Simplex Rapid to represent a qualified supplier in all the ambits where precision and quality are irremissible. Several projects are currently under construction: improvement of remote diagnostics, innovative measuring systems with cameras and laser, software to simplify the programming and so on.

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