International correspondent, Joe Simpson sees first-hand the latest offerings from Donatoni Macchine at Marmo+Mac 2017.
In July 2017, Italian stone machinery company Donatoni Macchine (Donatoni) took another leap forward towards becoming a complete solutions provider for stone processing equipment when it acquired Montresor, the Villafranca di Verona-based leader in the design, marketing and installation of edge-polishing machines.
Coming on the heels of Donatoni’s partnership with the Beisse-controlled Intermac, this move provides yet another element of vertical integration in the stone market. It combines Donatoni’s technologically advanced bridge saws with Intermac’s computer numerically controlled (CNC) workstations and waterjet tools, and now Montresor’s edge polishers.
The company announced the deal during Marmo+Mac 2017. The theme of the Donatoni/Intermac/Montresor presence at that event was ‘Think Forward’, emphasising the newly-formed group’s ability to create digital factories through the integrated solutions it will provide in the future. The 1,300sqm of exhibition area featured an array of 14 machines, with 80 experts on hand to answer any questions.
Donatoni says the combination of the three marques makes for automation that is sophisticated but easy to use. The creation of the intelligent factory, the implementation of automated solutions to maximise process optimisation, and the provision of 360-degree customer care were the ambitious goals pursued by the partnership between Intermac and Donatoni. The addition of Montresor will see these objectives further engaged.
As well as expanding the company’s already extensive portfolio of stone processing technologies, the acquisition is in line with Donatoni’s key philosophy of providing its customers with cutting edge stone processing technology that is easy to use, guarantees the customer the best yields and is fully supported by category-leading aftersales service and technical support. The company says the end result should be “higher output, better quality and lower costs”.
The three partners
The acquisition follows on from the partnership Donatoni formed with Intermac in 2015. That integration has been regarded as a big success by the stone industry. The combined Intermac and Donatoni marketed their products vigorously, offering very competitive prices. As a result, Donatoni’s turnover is estimated to have increased by 50%, with the company’s Jet becoming the world’s best-selling five-axis bridge saw (according to Biesse).
Donatoni was established in 1959 in Domegliara, near Verona, Italy and is known worldwide as one of the prime companies involved in stone manufacturing.
Thanks to the quality and reliability of its products, Donatoni is present in most worldwide markets, a connection it maintains through an efficient commercial network and a constant presence at major world exhibitions such as Marmo+Mac. As well as Australia, the company has a presence in Europe, the United States, South America and Northern Africa. It also caters to the Middle Eastern and Asian markets.
Donatoni specialises in the construction of bridge saws, while Intermac is known for CNC work centres and waterjet cutting tools for stone. As Donatoni and Intermac use the same computer operating systems, their digital tools can accomplish a wide range of work using the same file.
For customers, this creates a much simpler workflow, helping the partnered companies to deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction. The company sees its real strength resting in these relationships it builds with customers. According to the company’s area manager, Luca Donatoni:
“I think what really helps us to stand apart is that we prioritise service and technical support ahead of sales. Whether we are working through an overseas subsidiary or a third-party agent, we always make sure that the service network is in place before any machines are sold and shipped.
“Our customers rely on our machines for their profitability, so we take great pride in offering the best possible customer care and technical support. This is not an add on for us, rather it is a core value, and the bedrock of our success…”
Donatoni also explains why Marmo+Mac 2017 has been so successful for the business. He says, “Two years ago, the exhibition was a great platform for announcing the joint venture with Intermac. Last year, we were able to show the significant synergy between the two companies in terms of equipment and ethos. This year, Montresor provided the missing piece of the jigsaw…We now have a portfolio of machines that is very adaptable and suitable for every type of manufacturing.”
With a product offer aimed at those working marble, granite, porcelain and synthetic/advanced materials, Montresor & C. s.r.l. satisfies the requirements of more retail-oriented clients as well as those of larger companies with a stronger focus on highly technological solutions.
Donatoni explains that one goal in acquiring Montresor was to continue to build stronger customer relationships:
“The recent Montresor acquisition is further proof of our complete customer dedication. Montresor has always placed itself at the forefront of innovation, offering superb quality and the ability to meet the demands of a constantly evolving market. These values are shared with Intermac and Donatoni Macchine, and provide the basis of an operation that aims to position the company as the only choice for those looking for complete and integrated solutions for the stone industry.”
Industrial Revolution 4.0
In line with this customer focus, industry observers see stone processing as being one of the main areas where “Industrial Revolution 4.0” (i4.0) thinking is going to create big benefits within the next five years. Putting together these three aspects of processing creates a potential industrial “suite”, which could meet almost all the needs of many in the natural and synthetic stone processing industry.
As KPMG noted in its “Beyond the Hype” report into the development of i4.0 capabilities:
“If the true value of i4.0 comes from the transformative performance improvement it unlocks, then manufacturers will need to start focusing on scaling up their initiatives to achieve enterprise scale. To be clear, we are not suggesting that all humans be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence. Nor are we (necessarily) advocating for massive investment into new technologies. Rather, we believe that organisations need to drive their i4.0 strategy at an enterprise scale — cutting across divisional lines and bringing together people, processes and capabilities from across the organisation to achieve transformational change.”
Biesee, in announcing the acquisition by Intermac, stated:
“Both acquisitions, whilst having no impact on the financial structure of the Biesse Group, are highly strategic and will enable Intermac to increase its 4.0 solution product offer in glass and stone, ensuring that it is the go-to partner for the design and manufacture of special automated and integrated turnkey plant.”
The raw ingredients of this kind of integration are certainly available. Intermac’s distinctive technology solutions include the Intermac Windows Numerical Control that transforms a common PC into an actual numerical controller, plus the company’s five-axis operating units with HSD electrospindle, which allow the processing of components with complex geometries.
(Three-axis machining centres move a part in two directions (X and Y), and the tool moves up and down (Z). Five-axis machining centres can rotate on two additional rotary axes (A and B), which help the cutting tool approach the part from all directions.)
The Intermac Windows Numerical Control was part of The Italian Stone Theatre display at Marmo+Mac. Its technology for cutting and finishing sintered materials is also available on the Genius and Busetti F10 ranges.
Tools on show
Donatoni showed off a range of new equipment at Marmo+Mac such as the Cyberstone which uses a “collaborative” robot to automate and integrate production while meeting the specific requirements of the stone sector. Stylish and powerful, Cyberstone CR1 facilitates any kind of processing, from cutting, shaping, turning and polishing right through to sculpture.
The Echo 725 CNC is an interpolated five-axis CNC bridge saw, with Z axis stroke of 500mm, rotating blade head swivelling from -5 to +365 degrees and tilting from 0 to 90 degrees. It can perform orthogonal cuts up to 250mm, and is the ideal machine for performing oblique, circular and elliptical cuts, two-dimensional and three-dimensional digging and carving of blocks.
The Echo 725 CNC allows users to obtain accurately shaped products and high productivity thanks to the X and Y axes sliding on linear recirculating ball guides in oil bath. Brushless motors and high precision gearboxes are used for each axis drives.
What is more, the “Tools” or “Top” versions can use diamond tools such as milling wheels, drill cores or horizontal blades.
Two versions are available. The Echo Belt is a slab moving system with a rubber conveyor belt that reduces downtime caused by loading, unloading and programming. The Echo Twin, which generated a lot of interest at the show, is an automated system that exchanges slabs by moving the two tables in and out of the cutting area, effectively doubling production by reducing downtime, and also saving space factory space with its compact footprint.
Another new machine that was well received was the Quadrix DV 1100. This is an interpolated five-axis cutting and working centre with Z axis stroke of 1000mm, rotating blade head swivelling from -5 to +545 degrees and tilting from 0 to 90 degrees. It can perform orthogonal cuts up to 410mm thickness; as well as oblique, circular, elliptical cuts, two-dimensional and three-dimensional digging and carving of blocks.
The Zenit is a polishing and calibrating mono-head CNC machine with automatic tools changer and three interpolated axes.
Although it can calibrate, polish, grind and brush, it is much more than just a polishing and calibrating machine. Through the innovative system developed by Donatoni, this CNC machine is equipped with a double pressure control system, via a ball screw for high-precision calibrations, and a pneumatic pressure system for polishing works.
The Zenit CNC guarantees extremely accurate work. It can drill, execute rectilinear and curved cuts using diamond tools, and engrave. The Zenit is equipped with 10 position tool storage for ISO 40 cones that can hold 300mm abrasives plates for polishing and calibrating. The electro spindle has an automatic tool changer.
Montresor showed off its Luna 7+4, Vela 7+2 and Lola 10+8 ranges.