With more than thirty years of experience in the field, Minsavit srl is a specialist in the cold forming of small metal parts and special screws with different finishes, such as zinc, brass, aluminium, stainless steel, and copper plating according to customer’s specifications.
In this "The making of" article, Matteo Fumagalli – Minsavit Quality Control Manager – will take us on a virtual tour behind the scenes of the Italian company.
Let's get down to business:
How do you select your suppliers?
"The majority of Minsavit current suppliers are historical partners, who are all qualified and ISO 9001:2015 certified. Nowadays, every supplier on the market can guarantee top-class product quality. Therefore, what I look for is flexibility, which is also one of our greatest strengths. On the one hand, when I have to select a supplier for a certain product, I lean toward long-term partners. On the other hand, when it comes to choosing a new one, I always select certified Italian manufacturers (and not distributors!), who are always tested and inspected thoroughly. In general, we divide our suppliers into 3 main product categories: raw material, equipment, and external processing, such as heat and surface treatments. As far as equipment is concerned, we turn to Italian importers for a small part (5-10%), everything else is Made in Italy."
How do you handle the orders? Do you directly receive the design/sample of the product to be made, or do you try to work out with the customer the ideal solution for their needs?
"Both. We do not have a catalog: we manufacture products according to the customer’s drawing, thus offering an analog product is not in our interest nor in our customers because of the way we are structured. Let me give you an example: if a customer asks for a 23 mm flanged hex insert, I will not offer him a 25 mm one in our catalog — because we don't have it! Fortunately, special screws are not limited to simple dimensional variations, but they are constantly evolving in more and more complex parts. It is precisely in this field that our experience comes into play. Basically, we receive requests for quotations with design and dimensional, material, coatings, and packaging specifications. After appropriate feasibility analyses, we make sure to agree with the buyer upon any changes, should there be any. Many times, our customers ask us to solve some complications, such as problems of screwability, handling of the piece, finishing, and packaging — all things that we define in detail during the formulation of the quotation."
How many steps are involved in the production process (machines, software, treatments)? Which are the most complex or critical ones?
"The million-dollar question. Some steps, such as heading, are particularly critical for many reasons, starting from the complexity and the cost of the equipment involved. Other operations, even if they are not particularly critical per se, can potentially compromise the entire outcome, because they are placed at key points in the production chain (e.g. packaging). For this reason, Minsavit uses specific tools, such as the Process Risk Analysis (FMEA), which make it possible to forecast the critical issues and the consequences that could result from a possible error.
As far as machinery is concerned, we are equipped with the latest generation Sacma and Carlo Salvi cold forming machines, from the "simplest" (two blows), to the special two dies-four blows machines, to the more complex multi-station machines. Besides, we rely on numerous second operation machines such as hex cutters, pointing, and threading machines. A small note on hex cutting machines: the introduction of the multi-station in cold forming has eliminated, at least on standard screws, the need for such equipment, thus reducing production costs. Lately, we went back to this type of machinery because it can process pieces which cannot be manufactured on multi-station machines for transport/unloading reasons. Moreover, they allow us to be really flexible with small orders, precisely because we do not have to equip a multi-station on purpose.
In regard to software, we have our production management system. Recently, we have also implemented an effort simulation program which allows us to provide our customers with a draft of the finished parts, even in the feasibility phase. For heat and surface treatments (electrolytic zinc-plating, zinc-nickel, zinc flake, geomet, and thread locker), instead, we turn to qualified third parties."
How does the quality control and management phase work?
"We are certified according to ISO 9001:2015, so our management system works complying with very specific rules and regulations. In addition, we are able to provide level 3 PPAP on request."
Regarding Industry 4.0, do you use innovative systems that allow you to speed up, streamline, and simplify operations?
"We have been investing in our production management software for some years now. This will gradually lead us toward a complete digitalization of the company. Our goal is not to adapt the company to Industry 4.0 at any cost, but to take advantage of all the benefits the 4.0 can have on a small company like ours, where fortunately the human factor is still light years ahead of computerization."
How does the logistical aspect work? Do you take care of the logistics yourself or do you contact external transport companies?
"Again, yes and no. The reason is once again flexibility and customer satisfaction. In most cases, the shipment of the goods is arranged with the carrier. Some customers pick them up by themselves, others ask me to bring the finished products personally. Instead, we always handle the treatment materials for two reasons: speed and control of our product."
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