A meeting with Luciano Canevari, Director General of the Aluminium Division and shareholder of the company, and with Giulia and Federica Canevari
by Mario Conserva
Almec was born in 1946 in Rovereto (Trento), at the initiative of Cesare Canevari, with the name “Officine Meccaniche Canevari”, the original productive specialization was wine-making machineries. The undertaking, supported by his sons Antonio and Maria Pia and later by Giovanni and Luciano, has been oriented, already from the beginning of the ‘50s, on the production of machineries and equipment for the foundry of aluminium and bronze, standing out for its technologically innovative approach. Starting from the ‘60s, with the gained wealth of experience and the precious know-how of its technical staff, the company engineers and develops new moulds for aluminium casting, focusing a lot on the automation, and presenting itself as supplier of systems for the aluminium artefacts production and in general of technical articles in service of the industry. In the following decades Almec progressively established itself on the European and global market for the quality, durability and stability of its products.
We are now in the establishment in Rovereto and we are asking Luciano Canevari, Director General, to draw us an overall picture of the main characteristics of the company.
“Almec is an industrial reality with the typical asset of “family business” that, over the years, allowed us to develop strong points such as flexibility, responsiveness, business elasticity, foresight, values sharing and many others. At present we are dealing with the aluminium semi-continuous casting (DC casting) and with the distribution, spare parts and componentry for oleo dynamic and pneumatic. The company is able to offer a service turnkey for the supply of industrial installations, from project to testing of the system, guarantying the better assistance and a technical/metallurgic support.
Almec made its entrance in its 80th year of activity with two significant successes: the installation of a casting Line in America for various slab size for aluminium production, and a research project for an innovative mould system that, with a limited equipment investment, is able to offer interesting and important structural changes on the cast products. The project, which we are very proud of, was developed in collaboration with Trento University and with a team of the highest level, composed of external consultants with experience in the metallurgical sector and the production of aluminium alloy with HOT-TOP System, and experts in extrusion and forging. As a coronation of the project we put our multiannual experience in the realization of productive lines for light alloy.
For the continuous innovation that Almec is pursuing, we are sure we can rely on a group of excellence, able to synthetize to the best the experiences and to implement the achieved results, with the final goal to improve efficiency and performances of our cast machineries.”
With Giulia Canevari, Almec Project Manager, we talk about the productive capacity of the company instead, and about the main services offered to users.
“Going into details about our industrial specificity, our company produces machineries and equipment for the vertical semi-continuous aluminium casting, cast technologies for extrusion billets with HOT-TOP system and rolling ingot mould and system, the whole often customized on the specific needs of the customer. All our products have a high technological content. The engineering is made by a team of experts and take few days for the simple installations, or few months for the more complex DC system installations. We offer also maintenance and revamping services for existing lines and adaptation to the characteristics of the 4.0 industry.
Almec is a small company with a high dynamic efficiency and flexibility that enable us to satisfy at present more than 90% of the market requests. This is reflected in a productive capacity that allows to produce every year some complete installations and dozens of casting machines. Almec supplies its customers with a service before-during-after the sale, with this philosophy we program every year by our customers the preventive maintenance activity, in order to reduce the production shutdown and to keep the installation updated with technical innovations. The activities by our workshop are led with CNC machines, which production is handled with 3D drawings of CAD/CAM programming.
In order to guarantee the success of our activities, we have placed at the centre the person, with particular attention to the formation, the heath and the occupational safety; we are not a big company but we apply plenty and with sincere determination the most advanced concepts of the corporate social responsibility. To increase further the productive capacity, in the last years we expanded our machinery to follow the requests of maxi-project of DC casting machine with a capacity of 70/90 ton.”
Going back to the main characteristics that distinguish Almec productive lines, and we are speaking to Paolo Valdagni: how would you describe your machineries, standard or custum-made, are they more versatile or have specific quality level, what level of sophistication do you want to reach?
“Almec’s distinctive feature is to offer machines, equipment and customized system for the specific needs of the single customer. Our success comes from the ability to satisfy our customers as good as possible. In particular adapting our technology to the layouts and to the operative modality already existing, in compliance with the regulations about occupational safety and about EC machinery.
For years has Almec combined the cast process with knowledges about the metallurgy, metallographicy and structure of aluminium and its alloy, managing to keep a high technological profile, thanks also to the constant update activity and to the continuous and opened dialog with university and research centres.
This approach allowed the company to understand to the best the cast and solidification processes of aluminium, in order to offer the best technical solutions and economically advantageous.”
What are the most interesting innovations that you offer at present on the market? How have you handled the 4.0 industry applied to your type of product?
“For some time we are offering on the market a system called “Pilot Cast” (Programmable Independent Laser Mould Technology” – Casting). It is an innovative system that comes from the need to automatize the cast for rolling ingot that handles the whole process, without human action. This system comes from the need to protect health and life of people during the casting phase and, at the same time, to standardize the process.
The whole process is led with properly installed lasers, which become the “eyes” of the system, while the arms are represented by actuators and servomechanism run by a PLC which coordinates and controls all the phases, by a continuous monitoring and carrying out corrective actions, in order to guarantee the safety and safeguard of the machinery. The interfacing with the operator uses a simple and intuitive synoptic, that has the aim of highlighting the development of the process. This system guarantees simpler casting processes, repetitive and safe, with the possibility to make constantly all the necessary corrections for the product quality increment and of the work quality. The system of data gathering and of post cast analysis allows to analyze more than 120 trends, that are necessary for the continuous improvement of the process.
The system PILOT CAST is applicable and adaptable to the majority of the cast equipment, both new or existing, by mechanical connections and interfacings with the management system. As far as our production processes are concerned, we relied on experts and consultants in order to apply in an innovative and economically sustainable way all the criteria provided by current regulations”.
Let’s conclude this interesting meeting with Almec, a company aged over 70 but young at heart, ideas and at dynamism, also for the resourcefulness of the new generation, asking to Federica Canevari, Export Sales Area Manager, what macro regional markets does Almec look at with particular attention, in terms of expansion and consolidation possibility.
Until the 2000s our reference market was mainly Italy with few foreign customers all over Europe; in 2011 we changed strategy, approaching the international market with fairs and sector conferences. This strategy proved to be successful and today our name is very appreciated by the main global reference groups in the field of aluminium production and transformation.
Among the winning factors I quote the product customization that can be adapted to an existing installation, the reduced maintenance of the equipment and the after-sales assistance with ad-hoc training. With regard to the future prospects, we intend to reinforce our presence both in Italy and abroad, in particular we offer innovative solutions about automation, mechanic, moulds and the inducted quality by the new systems for the structural modification of billets.
The main Almec’s know-how remains the moulds for rolling ingots and HOT TOP billets, which are particularly appreciated by our customers, they represent a great pride in particular for the inducted quality on the product. Another strong point is represented by the revamping activities, where our “tailored” service is really appreciated.
In conclusion, we are a young team, with a high technical preparation, who works on very important research projects and can build a constructive relationship of trust and approval with the customers, the best catalyst for loyalty and success.”