Increasing, but fast-changing demand
Since 2014, the new Axilone Metal site in Sant Pere de Torelló has led to a strong rise in the production capacity of metal components, with both maximum agility and environmental preservation. “Overall, the demand for metal parts is increasing, which corresponds to beauty brands willing to better highlight their packs, as well as to the fast animation of ranges by creating flakers and limited editions,” explains Site Director David Gregorio. “Meanwhile, we have observed shorter deadlines, reduced batch sizes, and an increasing need for services. This means more agility for us.”
The 15,000 m2 plant was designed to be specialized in drawing, lamination, polishing, anodizing, and assembly operations. Strict quality controls are performed throughout the production process, and there is also a permanent procedure in place for quality improvement and accident and environmental risk prevention. “All in all, 17 or 18 groups for continuous improvement work on all quality, environmental, and safety issues,” David Gregorio explains.
Similarly to the group’s other plants, the site aims to reduce both waste and the duration of production cycles, as well as optimize the quality and level of qualification of the teams, following the principles of Lean Manufacturing. A large part of the process (70%, according to Axilone estimations) was automated, and the machine capacity is controlled in real time.
As regards assembly – customer demand for this service keeps increasing – adjustable machines were designed following the principles of flexible automation to be used for different types of projects. Still, the plant has a clean room for the most high-end parts requiring manual assembly.
As for environmental protection, the new production unit in Sant Pere de Torelló benefits from a recent design. The site was built with panels offering good phonic and thermal isolation. It was decided to favour natural light both in the plant and offices. LED-based artificial lighting is automatically controlled and all waters are treated. As for heating and the use of hot water throughout the industrial process, the plant uses the energy of a neighbouring biomass-supplied plant. Production optimization also has a positive effect on the environmental footprint, in particular as it reduces the quantity of waste (it is all compacted and sold for recycling).
Generally speaking, the site is compliant with the group’s CSR policy (waste sorting and treatment, zero waste objective, solvent-free degreasing) and various progress projects were launched, for example with a view to accurately measure the carbon impact.
This model plant provides Axilone with many advantages to meet new customer expectations, whether “ever-stronger time-to-market requirements”, new services (decoration, assembly), or environmental concerns.