30 March 2009

A lasertube to sound out and educate the market

The business originates from the previous working experience of the partners, who, as told by Mr. Guido Bonaldo, Managing Director of Tubilaser “by marketing and distributing mechanical and structural tubes nationwide, we saw new opportunities for expansion. Some of our important customers started asking us for more than just the supply of tube. Therefore, the foundations were already there to build up on and provide and guarantee a modern service of pre-machined and semi-finished products in the tube and solid profile sector, either as a complete supply or just machining. This led us to purchase our first ADIGE Lasertube LT652 system, which helped us to soundout and educate the market by supplying a product with added value compared to the usual standard”.

“To soundout, because the laser tube permitted us to deal with a wider range of customers and to understand that besides a few applications in the field of agricultural and earth handling machines, the main opening for our type of service was the furnishing sector, which was used to a higher quality level, even from an aesthetic point of view” explains Mr. Guido Bonaldo. “We immediately understood that it was necessary to expand further, introducing our processes to different and better performing fields in terms of component dimensions to be processed, such as that of heavy structural steel work, machine and frame constructions and structural buildings”.

The needs and requirements of Tubilaser found an unmatchable partner when they came across the laser tube skills of ADIGE, who stimulated them to develop the laser cutting system for round tubes from 10 up to 508 mm in diameter, square from 10x10 mm up to 400x400 mm, rectangular from 20x10 mm up to 500x300 mm with wall thickness up to 20 mm and lenghts up to 14 m, known as the Jumbo system, which was then installed in the Ponzano facility.

On-time supplies and guaranteed results
“The aim was to use the Lasertube as we were already doing, but for much lager dimensions – says Guido Bonaldo – to satisfy the sectors that were not used to such high quality standards and precision, therefore, “thinking of a tube” as a fundamental element of any structure was an absolutely new way of thinking. It was for this reason that I previously mentioned education.
For example, in the construction field, even though the validity and benefits could be sensed, engineers and designers were not used to designing structures based on the use of large tubes and profiles. The lack of suitable means and reliable technology made those who should have worked tubes reluctant to such a point that any inclination towards innovative design was dampened. Our choice to invest resources and energy in such an important technology and although it was a “pilot project”, it turned out to be a winner and this is all merit of the reliability of the Jumbo solution that was fine-tuned by ADIGE”.

Our strength was that of being able to count on a sound customer portfolio, thanks to the previous experience that permitted us to play not only the technological card, but also the “ace” of tried and proven tube processing know-how that had been gained with the first laser. Anyone who placed their trust in us never turned back, because the quality aspect had improved and they could count on a good service with precise leadtimes and guaranteed results.

Material has now become very expensive. In the past year alone it has doubled; this means that a piece of tube to be worked on the Jumbo machine can cost thousands of Euros more and if these pieces are worked with inadequate and poor performing means, then one risks on throwing away an awful lot of money. Our final customer pays for semi-finished products ready for being assembled and therefore eliminates any risk of errors. This is an excellent condition”.

The third “stand-by” shift
The advent of the Jumbo allowed Tubilaser to start looking beyond the boundaries of the home market and more towards the Northern countries like Germany that has an avant-garde building culture as far as the use of tubular structures is concerned, but also in unexpected countries such as Croatia and Slovenia.

“In the “Slav” countries we found a far greater opening and tendency towards the type of service we are offering; in fact, they are far more open compared to our countries in the North East, in which the ability to get by is still a limitation” points out Guido Bonaldo. “Whereas in Slovenia and Croatia there is a cultural attitude that is more like the German one rather than ours, which has made them approach the large laser tube without any prejudice and to fully embrace it”.

Today, the Jumbo system works regularly over the two shifts that are considered indispensable to offset the investment made. “The third shift is a “stand-by” that we use only in particular occasions and with special customers” continues Guido Bonaldo. “We prefer to have one shift free and to use it only when there is a machine update or sudden malfunction. If we used the machine over three shifts for a long period and there were an unexpected event, without a “stand-by” we would start to accumulate delays that would affect the service offered to our customers. As Tubilaser’s goal is to provide service and quality, we cannot permit ourselves to get into such a situation. Our clients trust us; they come to us with a date and know that it will be kept; perhaps there may be a delay of just one day, but never one week.

This service philosophy has brought us to being a young business, with 12 employees, that I believe still has plenty of margin to grow, but let’s take it one step at a time and at the right time.
We do have an investment plan in mind to give an even more complete product and service, because once the customer has experienced the advantages, the tendency is to relieve himself of the responsibilities in exchange for certainty”.

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