The new machine tool offered by Utita has been designed for those who need a smaller and more compact model with high levels of performance and flexibility. It complements a range of turning systems, including multi-axis, modular up to 12 metres and with a maximum load capacity of 18 tonnes.
By Maria Bonaria Mereu and Flavio Della Muzia.
Taken from “Tecnologie Meccaniche, march 2023”.
In the industrial manufacturing sector, demand is evolving in several directions, one of which is the growing interest of companies in systems capable of handling smaller batches and frequent configuration changes. Hence, Utita’s idea to develop a smaller and more compact version of its AT range of machines, designed with flexibility in mind, to be able to switch from a standard lathe to a turning centre, depending on the needs of each individual customer. All this thanks to the vast experience gained in over a century of manufacturing activity, since the company opened its first plant in Este (PD) in 1908, with the aim of manufacturing agricultural and weaving machinery. But it was between the 1930s and 1940s that Utita made its first major breakthrough, specialising in the production of machine tools such as lathes, milling machines, vertical boring machines, edge banding machines and centring machines, and also designing systems for automatic machining, a rather innovative technology at the time. After the Second World War, the Veneto-based company, which at its peak employed no less than 1,200 people and had its own foundry (one of the largest in Italy at the time), also developed extensive know-how in the design and manufacture of machine tools and components for the agricultural, automotive and textile sectors. A further major expansion of activities took place in the 1970s, when the company produced the first range of CNC lathes for mechanical applications, and even exhibited one of the first examples, complete with motorised tools, at the Birmingham Trade Fair in 1973.
Tailor-made machines for every need
Today, at its new headquarters in Ospedaletto Euganeo (PD), a team of Utita designers and engineers is constantly working to expand and improve the machine tool range. “After many events, in 2016 Marpa acquired the shares of CNC Utita, and in 2021 of the entire company. Since we became the majority shareholder, we have been trying to develop a new product line in addition to the existing range, and we are now in the process of completing our offer, which consists of turning systems, including multi-axis systems, with long modular machines of up to 12 metres and a maximum load capacity of 18 tonnes”, says Mario Pauletto, Utita’s Managing Director. “We mainly build customised machines, starting with the standard system in our range that is closest to the customer’s needs and adapting it to meet the specific requirements”.
A range that stands out for being able to accommodate the entire part in the machining area (calculated as diameter x length), unlike our competitors whose equipment can only accommodate much less weight. Thanks to this, the customer can count on a machine that, for example, produces a part measuring 1 metre by 6 metres, loading a tube of this size regardless of its weight, as the calculations made by our engineers take into account the full swing. These machines can also be adjusted in length in half-metre increments, with all the advantages that this entails.
Always one step ahead
Utita’s technical department is actively working on the development of the AT 300, 400 and 500 lines, which will soon be joined by the AT 200 version, a machine also designed for subcontractors who need a more compact solution with a smaller footprint, but without compromising on high flexibility and performance.
This was driven by the need to acquire a share of the market characterised by companies requiring smaller systems than those traditionally made by Utita. “This is an area that we had somewhat neglected, but which we now want to regain in a significant way, also in view of the fact that our existing customers, who already have our larger units, have had to turn to other suppliers when they needed smaller CNC systems. Now they will be able to rely on us for such requirements as well,” commented Francesco Zanetti, Purchasing Manager. “This will allow us to be present throughout the sector, in a favourable position within the industrial landscape. And for the future, we see an increasing demand for state-of-the-art technology, including 5-axis, with the possibility of complex machining with single part positioning, with a rather solid machine base, in full Utita tradition”.
An expanding market
The solutions offered by the Veneto company are appreciated by a wide range of customers all over the world, with countries such as Italy, Germany and China representing Utita’s main interests. In fact, many large industrial groups require the large machining centres in our catalogue, which they can use as the basis for their often very extensive customisations, having at their disposal areas and handling systems fully capable of handling this type of machine. “In the near future, we intend to maintain our presence in these countries, but also extend our sales network to other geographical areas of the world. Our main reference sectors include hydraulics, mainly in the form of motion components (cylinders in all possible combinations), paper printing, nylon and wood, as well as rollers for power presses or columns for both thermoplastic injection moulding machines and sheet metal forming machines for the automotive sector, just to name a few”, explains Federico Ceschi, Customer Service Manager. “In this respect, our technical support service is an extremely important asset. We are talking about a team of highly qualified people who are able to build strong and long-lasting relationships with our customers, offering them all the support they need throughout the life of our machines. An average life of around 25-30 years, although in reality it can be much longer, which means that it is more important than ever that they are kept in perfect working order, so that their high production levels are never called into question or compromised”.
The department is equipped both to work remotely and to carry out on-site visits according to servicing plans, also in view of the fact that, as these are often highly customised systems, operators seldom have in-depth knowledge of their operation.
Training the technicians of the future
The training of Utita’s technical personnel is therefore crucial and is managed within the company through articulated coaching and direct transfer of know-how, taking into account the ever-changing nature of systems and production requirements, which require the technical know-how of our technicians to become stronger every day. “Utita has always been committed to the school-work project — offering students the opportunity to see and experience first-hand what they have learnt in the classroom at a theoretical level —, and to prepare from a practical point of view the young people who will be the technicians of the future, also in our company”, adds Ceschi. “Moreover, the trend for the coming years will be more and more towards the automation of production systems, particularly in terms of collaborative robots, which will relieve operators of heavy tasks, so that they can concentrate on value-added activities, perhaps within a work island where they will be able to manage 4 or 5 systems at the same time. In this way, the importance of the individual is not called into question, but rather reinforced, also due to the fact that nowadays the number of companies producing large batches is decreasing, with a trend towards small numbers and high flexibility, which makes the role of the operator absolutely essential. Last but not least, all this goes hand in hand with the Industry 4.0 paradigms, on the basis of which an extremely large amount of data is transferred from the plants to the company’s management system. A flow that must be interpreted and managed by qualified personnel with new skills, in whose training the Utita management team invests heavily in order to guarantee an excellent level of service to the customer.