AutoRevista.- As we approach 50 years of company activity (it will turn 50 in 2020), what is STAM Spain’s impact and strategy in the automotive industry? How has the company progressed since STAM acquired Valle Perfiladoras in 2008?
Ignasi Zorita.- When STAM SpA acquired Valle Perfiladoras in 2008, it did so with the intention of integrating it into its commercial, industrial, engineering and production structure. Therefore, STAM-Spain’s progression is similar to the progression of the rest of the companies in the group.
Over these ten years, it has evolved positively in all aspects: turnover has increased and the company’s convergence in terms of STAM SpA’s working methods is practically complete, including the migration of software tools. Understanding between the different departments situated in different countries is fluid and, commercially, the whole group, not centres, makes decisions on the machines we manufacture.
In terms of STAM’s strategy for the automotive industry, it is very similar to the one we follow in practically all sectors: to provide our clients with machines and facilities. In short, high quality tools and first-class advice and assistance services.
AR.- What are the sector’s main demands, taking into account STAM Spain’s expertise? What percentage of the company’s business is linked to the automotive industry?
I.Z.- Automakers project their demands, based on criteria related to safety, design, economy, energy consumption, etc. From their engineering centres, they ask us for tools capable of producing components that will later make up the vehicle. We must be able to design machines capable of converting these parts into reality. In the group, the percentage of business linked to the automotive industry is around 10–15%.
AR.- How do you provide means and solutions both for OEMs and suppliers of different standing and size?
I.Z.- The automotive industry is, in all senses, demanding and requires continuous evolution. It is in this industry where new materials and designs are implemented, which we must respond to with reliable, productive and, where possible, economically competitive solutions regardless of the client’s size.
We seek to create relationships of value with our clients, not sell machines. Our way of working is based on an involvement in projects and joint participation and collaboration. Our clients’ objectives are also our objectives and their successes are our raison d’être.
When we see a car that we know has parts produced with our machines, we feel proud of having had the chance to be a part of it.
AR.- What kind of influence does the Spanish subsidiary have in STAM Group and what are their growth objectives?
I.Z.- It’s difficult to specify a value to define STAM Spain’s influence because, as I mentioned before, integration with other companies is present at all levels: R+D, production, design and planning, marketing, etc. We believe that we are an important part of the group made up of STAM SpA, STAM Brazil and STAM Spain.
“Flexible profilers and variable section profilers are a global technological breakthrough and we are leaders in them”
AR.- How is Stam integrating its technology and its processes into an Industry 4.0 setting?
I.Z.- The concept of Industry 4.0 is so broad that it lends its name to a new industrial revolution, which will mean that once it is implemented we will be in a new era that will have repercussions not only for the industry but also for the whole of society. Neither the labour market, the education sector or the services sector will be exempt. Therefore, as a company with a considerable feeling of social responsibility in general, our mission is to accompany society so that the revolution is kind to people.
Our engineering and software departments are proactive in proposing systems that help us digitalise factories and increase automation and flexibility. Flexible profilers and variable section profilers are a global technological breakthrough and we are leaders in them. They are physical proof of the fact that we are working actively in Industry 4.0.
On the other hand, we are reactive. A fundamental part of our work consists of providing the tools that our clients need and together with them, in accordance with their specifications and strategy, we build facilities more or less integrated into that philosophy.
“Our engineering and software departments are proactive in proposing systems that help us digitalise factories”
AR.- What are the most noteworthy automotive projects that you are working on? How will profiling evolve in the future?
I.Z.- The projects that we work on are covered by confidentiality agreements, so I cannot reveal details about them. However, what I can do is say that the industry is geared towards reducing the weight of vehicles, as that entails great economic and environmental advantages (less contaminating emissions, less fuel consumption, etc.) and this involves the use of thinner materials, high elastic limit steel and special alloys, for example, which also, when combined with different forms (product engineering), attain the same or better performance than traditional materials.
The evolution of profiling will be marked by the needs of society, with factors such as reduced weight to obtain aforementioned benefits, or electric vehicles incorporating new profiles, with new forms for different applications, as where there is now an engine, there shouldn’t necessarily be batteries. They will set our objectives.