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2/16/2010
High pressure casting by made by Sacmi: a practical response to the economic crisis

Sacmi illustrates some crisis exit strategies at Civita Castellana

The Italian sanitaryware sector has always enjoyed the world’s acknowledgement of outstanding “Made in Italy” design and quality, but the current economic situation has hit the industry as a whole pretty hard, and the Civita Castellana district, the “jewel in the crown” of Italian sanitaryware sector, is no exception. This is a recession, a complex one that has thrown up an array of difficulties and has forced industry experts to do some deep thinking about how to get out of it.
Sacmi, the leading international producer of machines and complete plants also in the sanitaryware industry, recently focussed its attention on the key Civita Castellana district; this took the form of a talk by Daniele Coralli, Sales Manager of the Sacmi Sanitaryware and Tableware Business Unit, which focussed on investment, innovation, optimisation of production processes via more efficient, less costly systems and on how a more customer-oriented approach by businesses could help Italian companies regain competitiveness on world markets.

Casting – high pressure casting, to be precise – is a key factor in this logic and inevitably leads to a comparison of the cost-benefit ratios of the two technologies, even though, of course, there is no perfect or universal machine suitable for every possible scenario.

Some of the advantages of high pressure casting technology with respect to traditional casting methods are rather evident. They cover, for instance, issues now of vital importance that the market is extremely attentive to: flexibility, cost reduction, optimisation and improvement of resources while maintaining or, rather, improving product quality.

A few lines from Mr. Coralli’s talk at Civita Castellana stated “...big spaces and plenty of labour as opposed to smaller spaces and less personnel. A high number of workers around the traditional casting bench – handling the pieces and preparing the mould changeovers – against a limited number of people managing high pressure systems and robotised de-moulding. That’s all it takes”, explained Coralli, “to understand the difference in production costs, especially in light of the vastly changed market conditions, of a WC bowl made with a plaster bench and one made with a single-mould high pressure casting machine”. Of course, it depends on the circumstances in the individual factory, the type of model, plant efficiency and a series of other factors, “so it is not a difference that can be established in absolute terms”. Yet the fact that even in emerging countries high pressure technology and robotised systems are employed almost more than in traditional markets evidently means that, figures to hand, “the cost per piece falls significantly”.

It is, then, clear just how much Sacmi invests in terms of R&D and how much it strives to ensure that its solutions offer practical support to customer companies, especially in a prolonged period of economic slowdown that is hard to overcome.
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