Italian Tool maker Cuts Lead Times with Blum Novotest

Italian Tool maker Cuts Lead Times with Blum Novotest

Blum Novotest

Lantek Sheet Metal Solutions

Italian Tool maker Cuts Lead Times with Blum Novotest

The production of high-quality aluminium extrusion tools is an art unto itself. Only few companies match the precision and quality with which the Italian Alumat-Almax-Matrex masters this process. Through the introduction of Blum Novotest laser measurement and touch probes in its machining centres, the manufacturing time can be reduced significantly and the accuracy of the products has significantly improved.

Competence, passion and know-how are attributes that account for the international success of the Alumat-Almax-Matrex Group. Thanks to continuous investment in research, development and cutting-edge facilities, as well as the selection of the right partners, the enterprise has become a pioneering manufacturer of aluminium extrusion tools in the international marketplace.

Alumat was founded in Ciserano near Bergamo in Italy in 1994. It employs about fifty staff in the design and manufacture of steel dies for aluminium extrusion. The continuous growth led to an expansion of the business resulting in increased production capacity and a tripling of sales within 4 years.

Time and quality are decisive

“The special thing about our activities is the fact that our tools are essentially individual items created specifically for our customers. Not only do we supply individual dies, but also the entire planning and validation of the product," says Emanuele Astolfi, Manager at Alumat.

“Reducing lead times has become a fundamental component of our strategy. It is what differentiates us from our competitors. From planning to completion, a tool will undergo up to 15 production steps that we currently realise in about six days This took us as many as 15 days some ten years ago.”

This improvement required the deliberate use of machining centres and the attempt to optimise all processes. The company looked for systems that would avoid any down time and facilitate machine-integrated quality control. In addition, the systems had to allow direct access during each production phase, in order to correct any deviations immediately. Then, six years ago, Alumat decided to confide in the technology and professionalism of Blum Novotest. Since then, the machining centres have been equipped with BLUM systems that both check workpiece position, dimensions and also monitor the tools. These instruments soon facilitated the achievement of the desired quality level while delivering reduced lead-times.

Today all operations of the company use the Blum LaserControl system for contactless measuring and monitoring of the cutting tools. In many machine tools, the Z-MT Type tool setting probes ensure the high level of production quality.

BLUM TC50 touch probes for workpiece measurement

The robust measuring systems ensure exact positioning of the workpiece. The system automatically corrects the thermal expansion of the machine whilst the impressive probing speed of three metres per minute provides the speed to accompany the precision. As with all Blum probes, the systems work with a wear-free optoelectronic measuring mechanism that facilitates the precise acquisition of all measured data even under strong coolant influence.

The Micro-Compact NT and Mini NT laser measuring instruments allow reliable, contactless tool checking and measurement despite the interference of coolant and chips. This is warranted by the combination of the patented NT technology that has a protection system for the laser optics and also blowing nozzles for tool cleaning. Thanks to a focussed laser beam, the system additionally impresses with its particularly high measuring accuracy even below nominal speed. This is conducted 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

The compact, hardwired Z-MT probe equipped with the revolutionary Shark360 measuring mechanism is ideally suitable for use in horizontal machining and turning centres. It is used for contact tool measurement, breakage detection, measurement of length and radius as well as axis compensation. Due to its integrated face gear, the Shark360 measuring mechanism guarantees the highest possible precision levels.

On account of the successful application at Alumat, these measuring systems were also introduced at the Almax sister company located in the Trentino region, which has been part of the group since 2004. Furthermore, the Greek company Matrex in Solanki, which is also part of the group, has also implemented Blum measuring technology.

 “The Blum-Novotest products have definitely proven themselves in recent years. This is why we decided to gradually replace the systems from other manufactures. Our Blum measuring technology facilitates precise, reliable and competitive production. The customer service provided to us by the Italian branch of the German metrology specialist also played a decisive part. The reaction time of the experts employed at Blum is extremely short and very supportive,” concludes Mr Astolfi.

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