From extrusion to the production of finished components for sophisticated applications: the real core business of the San Marino-based company are high-tech mechanical processes
by Alberto Pomari
Ours is indeed an incredible country. Only in Italy can such unusual and smart concerns be found. Actually the company is called Sammarinese because it is found in the Republic of San Marino, but the founders and current managers are absolutely Italian. The Ceccato family founded the company in 1981, based on their extensive experience in the production and processing of extruded aluminium. Gradually, by risking, making sacrifices, having ideas and intuitions, they succeeded in forming a proper network of companies, not just in the aluminium sector. Let us start with the company dedicated to aluminium.
A 1350-ton press with a production capacity of about 5000 tons per year uses billets with a diameter of 154 mm. The alloys used are mainly in the 6000 class. Last year’s revenues added up to more 30 million euro, with a percentage of exports to the major EU countries exceeding 50%.
The press actually serves the purpose of feeding the mechanical processes which are the company’s real core business. This was the Ceccato family’s real strategic choice: the production of machined components for the industry. This might seem to be a choice similar to that of many other extrusion manufacturing companies, but while for others the primary objective is producing extrusions, for Alluminio Sammarinese the focus is on machining.
Ten mechanical presses, with a thrust ranging from 10 to 80 tons, two hydraulic presses going up to 200 tons, three drilling units; plants for drawing, calendering, crowning, stretch bending; two MIG and TIG welders; nine CNC work stations with three, four or five axes; six cutting machines, a well as other equipment created and invented by Sammarinese’s technicians for customized machining, are the impressive “artillery” available for Sammarinese’s refined clients.
Specialists in automotive components
The automotive industry is the main reference sector. Mainly, components for the sunroofs of convertibles, which nowadays are super-complex and automatic. Aluminium is the choice for almost all of the most important manufacturers of these cars: lightness, especially, but also the complexity of the shapes which may be obtained, the complexity of possible machining, ease of assembly, almost infinite surface finishings and the mechanical properties which may be obtained make aluminium extrusions an irreplaceable material for these components. In San Marino the company follows the client specifications envisaged by the ISO TS norms. In the production department we saw machines for curving items before or after mechanical machining, 5-axis work stations capable of machining the various items with the utmost respect for allowances and the convenience of machining. These components are not banal: convertible cars of very important brends use components machined by this company. The final testing is very important; it is carried out by specialized technicians. Every single component is evaluated by the operator, both aesthetically – no surface defects are accepted – and dimensionally. Every component is actually part of sophisticated mechanisms which require the maximum precision. Besides the car sector, the company has perfected its production of components for electronics, lighting and furnishing in general. Among the products, an example of a bench, designed as street furniture, entirely manufactured using extrusions. This design was presented during different trade shows, including Metef.
The Ceccato network does not only produce aluminium parts. For several years, other production units manufacture extruded PVC goods for the aluminium door and window industry. Polyamide bars for thermal break doors and windows, in a practically boundless variety of shapes and sizes. It is interesting to note the report concerning the revenues from thermal break bars, which are almost totally destined to export, especially in Germany.
Another production unit deals with the production of extruded PVC products for building uses. With these companies Sammarinese certainly differentiated its production and its reference markets. A definitely original way of remaining competitive in niche markets, with high quality and the utmost capability of adapting to clients’ demands.