Published on: 13/07/2022
The clamping of workpieces is a fundamental step for all companies performing mechanical machining. Choosing a fixing system appropriate for production requirements is important to ensure efficiency and productivity.
The selection of the system depends mainly on the features of the workpiece to be clamped, and on whether it is magnetic or non-magnetic.
For the various types of fastening, there are technologically advanced, effective and reliable solutions. We spoke about this with Francesco Moretti, Managing Director of Moretti SRL, an Italian excellence in this segment.
Could you provide us with a brief description of the company?
The company was founded in 1979 and has supplied mechanical engineering companies with innovative and reliable fastening systems for over 40 years.
We are a team of about 30 persons and our solutions are an example of genuine Made in Italy: we manufacture them entirely in Villa Guardia, near Como, in our production facilities covering an area of 6,000 square metres: 3,000 are dedicated to production and 500 to offices and services.
What are the characteristics of your production?
Our solutions are divided into mechanical systems (standard solutions), and systems based on vacuum technology, for fixing non-magnetic materials (Vacuum solutions).
There are many manufacturers of mechanical clamping systems, but they are not all the same: those who have already tried Moretti’s solutions know that over decades of experience we have developed an ability to listen to and understand our customers’ needs, which enables us to stand out for our problem-solving ability and the reliability of our solutions.
In addition to the most popular models – cubes, crankwebs and clamping tables – we also produce tailor-made systems for specific processes, quickly and perfectly matched to the needs of the production process.
Regarding Vacuum solutions, the companies offering them are not as numerous and the quality offered, according to our customers, is not uniform: and so many come to us with a certain mistrust towards this clamping technology. Our endeavour is to dispel any doubts by offering vacuum-based solutions with high reliability and repeatability and at the same time with all the advantages of not having the constraints and limitations typical of mechanical clamping, a result achieved through decades of research in this segment.
For Vacuum solutions, there are no real standards, as each customer has individual requirements; the modularity of our systems and total control over production, however, allows us to provide tailor-made solutions in a timeframe fully compatible with customers’ production plans.
Which are your main markets?
Geographically, our solutions have mainly been installed in Italy and Europe, but our reputation has also crossed these borders: there are Moretti solutions in use at plants in Canada, India and Japan.
Regarding application sectors, they are countless: the need for clamping is indeed transversal and concerns all companies involved in mechanical machining. More specifically, however, in addition to mechanical engineering companies in general, our systems are very popular in segments where reliability and precision are crucial, such as aeronautics or power generation.
Vacuum systems, due to their ability to clamp non-magnetic materials, are particularly popular not only in aeronautics, but also in segments such as eyewear or racing car production, which use a considerable variety of these materials, from brass to carbon fibre.
What are the strengths of Moretti solutions?
There are several, both physical and intangible: among the former is the choice of quality materials. This is evident in the reliability and durability of our solutions, which customers appreciate. From stabilised cast iron to the exclusive Granisint, an innovative material lighter than aluminium and with even better vibration dampening capabilities than cast iron, all the materials we use are selected to ensure they perfectly match production requirements.
On the service side, our willingness to develop tailor-made solutions certainly makes the difference. Our experience allows us to take into account both the need to meet high quality standards and the knowledge that time is a critical factor for competitiveness.
To meet these demands, especially in times of difficult raw material supply, we ensure that we have stocks of the most frequently used raw and semi-finished materials in stock at all times, so that customisations can be completed in a short time.
What about service?
After purchase, customers appreciate that we do not merely play the role of a standard supplier, but strive to provide concrete support.
While it is true that our mechanical solutions generally do not require maintenance, it must also be said that if, due to the particularly demanding nature of some production process, breakdowns should occur, we are one of the very few suppliers to offer repairs, restoring the repaired system to its original efficiency at a much lower cost than replacement.
For Vacuum solutions, which do require some form of maintenance, our customers soon find that we enable them to handle this aspect themselves, thanks to clear and comprehensive manuals, a Service Kit – including filters, lubricants and other parts requiring regular maintenance, replenishment or replacement – and remote service interventions. Our service is able to resolve most issues within one or two working days.
What other advantages are there for customers adopting Vacuum solutions?
With our vacuum systems, customers are able to clamp workpieces which would otherwise be practically impossible to secure and thus to machine; our tailor-made solutions give the production process an efficiency which would otherwise be difficult to achieve, minimising waste, preserving the qualities of delicate or high-value materials and enabling fast machining, even on five axes.
The validity of our tailor-made solutions is such that they sometimes become… standard: certain solutions we have developed for eyewear manufacturers, for example, have proved so efficient that they have been replicated in other factories and even by other companies in the same segment, setting new quality standards for the respective types of machining.
How do you select the most suitable solution for a customer’s needs?
The process is simple: customers provide us with a three-dimensional model of the object they wish to clamp, naturally also indicating the material it is made of and the type of machining required.
The model is then passed on to our design office, which quickly determines whether we are able to produce an efficient clamping system suited to the production requirements.
At this point, a draft of the solution we could produce is prepared, with a detailed quotation and time estimate; after acceptance by the customer, we start with the manufacturing.
Thanks to our logistics management of raw materials and semi-finished products and the efficiency of our machinery, the system is then realised and delivered within the timeframe agreed upon with the customer.
Your main partners are machine tool users; do you also deal with distributors and machine manufacturers?
It is usually the operators carrying out the machining who face the issue of how to fix the workpiece. At this point they turn directly to us, or to the distributor who refers them to our company.
Of course, if a machine manufacturer wants to provide a turnkey solution, complete with clamping system, so that customers find themselves in front of a complete system and are able to use it straight away, we can certainly work closely with the manufacturer and produce the customised clamping system quickly.
In this case we can more easily integrate, for example, the PLC and the on/off function of our system directly with the machine tool, providing an even more compact and user-friendly solution.
How do you address the issues of sustainability and energy efficiency in production?
We are of course aware of the importance of these issues; this is why our research, development and design department works to provide customers with fastening solutions which use as little compressed air and electricity as possible.
Regarding our company’s activity, we have taken every possible measure to minimise its environmental impact: our production plants are equipped with sensors and software for monitoring energy consumption, thanks to which we check peaks and anomalies and adopt the necessary corrective measures to contain consumption and minimise waste.
Even beyond the production process, we strive to be an environmentally sustainable company: we have adopted LED lighting throughout the company and installed solar panels on the roofs of the buildings to produce and use clean energy from renewable sources.
What tools do you use to maintain a constant relationship with customers?
We are using new media to strengthen our relationship with customers and communicate with companies potentially interested in our solutions.
A first step in this direction was the complete restyling of our morettimodulare.it website, which is now more user-friendly and full of useful information to quickly identify the most suitable solution for customers’ needs.
We are also activating new channels to strengthen contacts with current and potential customers, informing them of new developments and improving our ability to quickly understand and meet their needs.
What are the goals, prospects and plans for the future?
After the recent purchase of a building to expand both production capacity and areas dedicated to employees, we are planning to improve the quality of these areas, starting with the raw and semi-finished product warehouse, which we are planning to automate in order to improve service and lead times for our solutions.
Our production already has a good level of automation, with automatic FMS palletising lines; we recently installed two new grinding machines and a 5-axis CNC machining centre. We are also evaluating the possibility of creating a robotized cell for finishing, to respond more efficiently and quickly to market demands. On the employment front, our company participates in the IFTS – Istruzione e Formazione Tecnica Superiore – (Higher Technical Education and Training) programmes of the Lombardy Region, allowing young graduates to gain practical experience and understand the needs of companies; the programme responds not only to the training needs of students, but also to the demands of the labour market where qualified technical workers are hard to find. We therefore hope that at the end of the training course it will be possible to employ some of the participants.
For over forty years, Moretti has been designing and manufacturing clamping equipment for machine tools. Standardised or customised, mechanical or based on vacuum technology, Moretti’s solutions meet every requirement of the manufacturing industry, guaranteeing precise and repeatable machining, flexibility and safety, with low operating costs.