Quality and productivity

Quality and productivity

Keeping pace with technological innovation, Ceba Gears continues to enhance its production capacity by introducing new machinery to meet market demands.

Remaining competitive

Ceba Gears, located in Carate Brianza (MB), specializes in the production of gears, worm screws, racks, toothed pulleys, splined shafts, and precision grinding on gears, holes, worm screws, and racks. Approaching its nearly fifty years in operation, the company remains committed to growth, relying on innovation and technological updates. This commitment, unwavering even during challenging times in recent years, stems from unquestionable financial stability and the entrepreneurial foresight of its owners.

“It was certainly not an easy journey,” explains Fabrizio Cesana, leading the company alongside his sister Loretta, “but it allowed us to reorganize all order management flows effectively, from the technical and administrative office to production and customer delivery. It was a challenge met, enabling us to be well-prepared for the increasingly positive and consolidated market recovery, which has been underway for a few years now.” The year 2017, in particular, recorded a very positive overall trend for the company, mirroring the trajectory of the previous year. “While the first months of last year were relatively conservative in terms of received orders,” Cesana notes, “from May onward, we witnessed a sudden acceleration. This trend resulted in a further overall increase in the sectors we serve, producing gears for machine tools and steel mills.” These positive outcomes allowed Ceba Gears not only to surpass €8 million in turnover but also to integrate new professional figures and technologies internally. “With prospects for the current year and 2019,” Cesana adds, “that shouldn’t disappoint expectations, confirming this positive trend.” For this reason, the company is planning the possibility of seeking new spaces to further expand its current 4,500 square meters of available production space.

Flexibility and optimization, from quotation to delivery

In a market experiencing a clear resurgence, manufacturing companies must respond with not only high production capacity but also flexibility and operational speed. These are aspects on which Ceba Gears has focused for years, investing substantial resources in process optimization and technology. “In 2016 and 2017,” Cesana specifies, “we integrated production with six new machines, including two grinders and four new CNC hobbing machines with 4.0 technology. In the first half of 2018, a new grinder for special processes will be added, also equipped with 4.0 technology. For example, to grind internal teeth or where there is not enough space for the grinding wheel, requiring the use of very small wheels. These are, as always, non-standard machines but developed according to our precise technical specifications. Customization is essential to keep up with increasingly stringent market requirements and ensure the highest level of competitiveness.”

Technological upgrades over time have equipped the company with a production unit capable of processing gears ranging from a minimum diameter of 10 mm to 3,000 mm. “State-of-the-art equipment,” Fabrizio Cesana adds, “enabling both execution speed and processing quality, with in-process controls and/or by taking the piece to our metrology department on 6-axis Zeiss systems for final inspection and certification. Not to mention aspects more related to the operator, who is increasingly facilitated in performing their activities.” From this perspective, the company has always shown great attention. “In this regard,” Cesana clarifies, “last year, we air-conditioned the workshop, certainly making the environment where our employees work daily healthier. There is also a benefit in terms of processes, thanks to a more controlled thermal environment.”

Opportunities of Industry 4.0 and R&D activities

The visit to the company provided an opportunity to reflect on Industry 4.0 and the necessity and possibilities of engaging in research and development in this sector. “The concept of Industry 4.0,” Cesana observes, “is perhaps more easily applicable and directly noticeable in situations where series production is prevalent. For activities like ours, where each batch often consists of unique, special pieces, requiring long processing phases, the focus must necessarily be more on optimizing the entire process than on individual phases. From quotation to delivery. Having all machines connected to the network is undoubtedly a great benefit, allowing real-time verification of progress and adherence to planned schedules. I believe, however, that more time is needed to complete this transformation in sectors like ours.” Regarding research and development, Cesana draws attention to what his technicians are doing in the tooling sector: “Parallel to our regular activity,” he explains, “we are conducting numerous tests and continuous trials with new tools equipped with highly performant cutting edges, on which we are obtaining interesting results. Results made possible by the new machines acquired, whose contribution allows us to further increase our competitiveness.”

Ceba Gears is also active in training (consistently involving young students from local technical institutes in internships) and collaboration with universities, such as the Polytechnic University of Milan. “In this latter case,” Cesana concludes, “collaboration also translates into concrete support for Polimi Sport for Formula Student SAE and Motorcycle Factory, for which we produce some gears.”

Article published in Organi di Trasmissione magazine, March 2018.

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