Raccortubi has reached a pivotal point in its strategic planning. The company has made some important investments in its infrastructure and has established new procedures in its production as it moves into the new decade.
Raccortubi, a leading manufacturer and stockist of piping systems, provides goods for a wide range of industrial applications, from chemical, petrochemical and oil installations to power plants, shipyards and offshore platforms. Wire & Tube Daily had the pleasure of speaking with Luca Pentericci, managing director at Raccortubi, who offered some insight into what it takes to keep the reputation and technology of Raccortubi at the top.
Looking to the future
Mr Pentericci begins by sharing a quick overview of Raccortubi and its production facility, Tecninox: “In order to fulfil the need for greater independence from suppliers and to cope with market fluctuations, Tecninox, a producer of butt weld fittings in stainless steel and special alloys, was created as a brainchild of Raccortubi. From the beginning Tecninox was one of the first companies in Europe in its field to have state-of-the-art production technology. The production at Tecninox was created and remains separate from the main company, Raccortubi, presenting a unique structure allowing the group to achieve greater flexibility in its management of stock, to increase the diversity of materials and products and to increase the capabilities for customisation in order fulfilment.”
Even more recently, while Raccortubi is enjoying new facilities and corporate offices, Tecninox has invested in advanced technology and has renewed its management. Under the new management team led by Luca Pentericci, automated equipment and processes have been installed at the Tecninox facility.
Mr Pentericci shares a few details: “In 2009, we have operated a full revision of our heat treatment procedures to guarantee a complete adherence to the most stringent standards used in offshore installations, by means of well-tested furnace parameter and new practices, which are executed by automated loading and unloading operations. Immediately after the heat treatment, quality checks regarding ferrite content are also performed on the fittings of each and every batch before further production steps are initiated.
“Furthermore,” continued Mr Pentericci, “Tecnicox has installed a new machining centre, operated entirely automatically. This is important because automatic operations insure quality control. The main features of this machine are that it works on 24 pieces at a time (optimising the set-up / transfer time) and performs extremely sophisticated quality checks. In fact, by performing a prior dimensional measurement of all 24 pieces in the process, the machine is able to complete pieces meeting required tolerances and then later rework the discarded pieces – attaining tolerances and reducing scrap.
“Additionally, in an entirely robotic area, a sequence of operations such as positive material identification (PMI), marking and packing are performed. The robot picks up the pieces and the robot controls the environment. PMI was typically manual, exhausting work, now the machine eliminates human operator error.”
Under the new concept, operators are only responsible for moving the materials to the automated equipment. These process innovations are aimed at minimising risks and uncertainties, further reducing lead times, increasing production capacity and developing a repetitive process with very low percentages of rejection. On the other end, all the improvements are a strong signal of confidence and continuity for the manufacturing side of the group.
Raccortubi, of course, maintains a large inventory of piping products for a wide range of industrial applications so that customers can benefit from the extensive availability. However, a distinguishing quality of the Raccortubi is its ability to service special projects and unique customer requirements. Raccorubi is able to tailor their supply in various steel grades and a range of dimensions to meet the demands and timeframes of many special orders.
Mr Pentericci says: “A great deal of our stock is dedicated to projects. Projects typically mean piping packages with a longer delivery time and additional requirements – that is dedicated project management and the supply of additional items from forged fittings to bolts and flanges. With 60+ years experience and established relationships, we are able to capitalise on our strong connections with manufactures and mills. This is a benefit for our customers especially in normal market conditions when delivery times from production are very long.”
Certified quality is a guiding principle at Raccortubi. The company was the first and for many years the only Italian stockist to achieve ISO 9002 certification – subsequently, extended to Tecnicox production as well. Today, the group operates with an ISO 9001 certification obtained from Lloyd’s Register (also extended to Tecninox production). Tecninox is seeking to obtain further customer’s approvals in the near future, including the nuclear sector.
Customer’s first choice
Luca Pentericci asserts that today Raccortubi focuses on being customers’ first choice and on being a point of reference in the supply of piping components – not only in Italy but around the world.
Mr Pentericci sums up by saying: “The structure and strong synergy between Raccortubi and Tecninox are a winning factor. We are able to offer a large inventory and are able to supply a broad range of product. We have strong control of the production process today. And, we have long, established relationships with suppkiers and mills. All of these factors together make Raccortubi an ideal choice for customers and their demanding projects.”
This article was first published in Stainless Steel World