Thursday, 19 January 2012

Skills and technology to grow: ALESA & BRETON

The world of moulds and dies requires state-of-the art technology to be competitive in an evermore aggressive market. Alesa, an enterprise located in Brescia, is aware of this and over the last few years has invested in Breton multi-functional work centres.

 (by Andrea Pagani and Ernesto Imperio)
Alesa, specialist company in the thermoplastic  injection moulding industry for medium to large size moulds, over the years, step by step, has improved and upgraded its  production technologically offering  customers today an  immeasurable experience.  Gilberto Nicolini, the company owner, explained how the company has expanded and grown thanks to implementing advanced production technology and flexibility, cornerstones of an expansion strategy in a highly competitive market that demands superior quality products.  The company founded in 1979 in Paitone and as of 2007 located in Mazzano, Brescia, has increased its technology and skills to satisfy market requirements. “When we first set out on this business venture" Mr Nicolini explains, " We were a small business concern and only had milling machines for machining moulds but as time went by we began to grow diversifying our product range and investing in new equipment.  The story  of this company has been lived with passion and professionalism seeing how we have built our know-how day after day. I remember the first tool machines we had, then when we retrofitted our first machine for CNC machining, successively employing  the new machine tools available  and so on until we invested in our first high-speed machining centre -  a Breton NC 800 2T bought in 2000.” 
In 2003 Alesa took another stride forwards and bought a Breton Matrix 800 K16 and then in 2007 when the company moved to  the new premises in 2007 replaced the NC 800 2T with the newer improved K25 model part of the Breton Matrix range. "We were amongst the first in our area to invest in high-speed milling technology which proved to be decisive  for our business in terms  of technology and sales.  When we bought the NC 800 2T this was the start of a long-term partnership with the Treviso based manufacturer and which has led to the recent investment in two high-speed multi-functional work centres, the Matrix 800 K16 with Selca 4060 D CNC technology and the Matrix 800 k25 with Heidenhain TNC 530 CNC
Being competitive with Breton
Alesa implements stringent production and in-house quality control procedures to offer superior quality and precision engineered moulds for the injection moulding industry. The moulds are used across a broad range of applications from the automotive industry to household appliances, furniture, gardening and packaging.   The NC 800 2T work centre, replaced by the two newer Matrix models, was for Alesa important training in improving skills and experience in high-speed milling and the use of CAM technology. An experience which has led to closing significant orders both on the domestic and international markets and more in particular with German and Swiss customers. “We immediately noticed” Mr Nicolini goes on to say “The advantages of using high-speed technology.   This was the right direction to become more competitive offering a quality and improved product.  The two Breton Matrix centres allowed us to decidedly improve our quality.  Our know-how and skills and the improved features and functions of these work centres permit us to exploit all the power of these high-speed machines.  The quality surface finish is excellent thanks to the structural rigidity of these centres which combined with the possibility of employing 5-axis machining and head precision milling have allowed us to offer extremely complex products which we wouldn’t have been able to produce without these centres”.
With the Matrix 800 centres production times have been  reduced by two thirds.  An important aspect giving any company that competitive edge. “ Breton has been fundamental in helping us improve our production skills for two reasons, first they listen to our needs and then, in some cases, these needs are then incorporated into their machines and secondly they have offered us training in using the Heidenhain CNC technology which was new for us as we had always used Selca CNC until we bought the Matrix 800 K25.”

Matrix 800: the winning 5-axis solution
In the 90’s Breton, already an important name on the stone processing market for the machines offered, diversified production by introducing high-speed CNC work centres. A winning choice that placed the Castello di Godego based company, amongst the leading companies at an international level for milling machines.  Over the years Breton has developed a complete range of work centres which are now used across a number of applications for milling all the types of materials used in manufacturing industries. The skilled and expert Breton technical assistance service, which is built on the ability of responding to customer specific requirements, was definitely a winning point in favour when Alesa decided to invest in Breton machines. Alesa in Breton saw the ideal partner to work alongside with to achieve a farsighted project aimed at improving production technology and product quality

The Matrix 800 interpolated 5-axis high-speed machining centres are the ideal solution for milling medium size workpieces in steel, aluminium, composite materials and resin. Matrix 800, fast, flexible and compact, the ideal choice for die and tool manufacturing and producing precision parts for the aerospace industry, offers high performance and efficient machine  dynamics all in a compact design satisfying problems related  to  limited space and production logistics. The dual-drive gantry structure allows for optimising the work area guaranteeing machine operators maximum freedom of operation facilitating  workpiece positioning and machining offering maximum machine reliability, safety and performance. These latest models in arc welded steel with structural ribbing  offer improved all round structural rigidity. The flexibility in application and the power  of the MATRIX range are features guaranteed by the wide range of heads available which efficiently and ideally respond  to high-speed machining requirements.  The twist heads, all with axis “C” continuous rotation, and the user friendly programming allow this machine to perform complex  machining operations rapidly by milling  in three dimensions  simultaneously. Thanks to  the possibility of  axis A rotating  ± 105°, it is possible to machine  undercuts with the workpiece in the same position. The 5-axis model mounts high-performing electrospindles up to 55 kw with rotational speeds of 40,000 rpm perfect for high-speed machining  when performing roughing and finishing operations.  Thanks to the wide choice of optional accessories you can customise Matrix 800 to satisfy your specific machining and production requirements

Axis Y travel for the K16 and K25 models, installed at Alesa, are respectively 1,600 mm and 2,500mm whereas axis X and Z for both versions are the same, 2,000 mm and 800mm. Axis speed are 40 (X), 40 (Y) and 20 (Z) m/min. “We are extremely satisfied with both the Matrix machines “ Mr Nicolini declares  and concludes by saying " because we have seen a substantial increase in productivity and quality". We will continue to work in this direction and introduce new investment plans for machines which will provide us with greater production automation and allow us to produce large size moulds and dies."

Thanks go to TM - Teconologie Meccaniche and ALESA 
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