Metal’s commitment: a biennial plan for sustainable development

Metal's commitment to sustainability and the environment

At Metal’s, commitment to sustainability and the environment remains a top priority throughout 2024. Respect for the planet – and the community in which we operate – is a topic we deeply care about, and there are several projects we intend to undertake to further develop our Green Mission.

Furthermore, in recent years, attention towards these aspects has been very high, both in European and non-European markets. For example, some regulations have been introduced (such as the European directives CSRD and CSDDD to promote responsible corporate behavior towards the environment and human rights), which are pushing companies to move increasingly towards clear and transparent communication regarding environmental, social, and governance issues. Equally important, even the most attentive and demanding customers are interested in the environmental impact of production and the product itself.

For this reason, we have planned a series of initiatives aimed at developing an effective path for sustainable development. A path that we want to embark on from now on, even in the absence of a legal obligation, because we want to anticipate the times, provide our customers with increasingly precise and updated data on our activities, but above all because we want to set concrete goals in terms of ESG development.

The first project we have decided to undertake is aimed at measuring our current environmental impact. This is a fundamental operation to define the starting point for future actions and establish tangible improvement objectives.

So, we started with the calculation of our organization’s CO2 emissions, as well as the development of a tool that calculates the emissions required for the production of our clients’ products.

Metal’s and the environment: commitment for 2024

Indeed, there will be two significant projects in our green journey for the first half of 2024: measuring the company’s Carbon Footprint – started in January 2024 – and developing an LCA tool. All these activities will be carried out with the support of external companies specialized in this field. Let’s see how.

1. Measurement of the company’s Carbon Footprint

The measurement of the Carbon Footprint allows us to calculate the exact amount of carbon dioxide (CO2), both direct and indirect, that we release into the atmosphere every day.
The calculation of company emissions adheres to the international standard ‘Greenhouse Gas Protocol’ (GHGP), a global framework for the measurement and management of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions derived from the operations of public or private entities. Everything is based on a standardized method – contained in the ‘Corporate Standard‘ guide – that classifies company emissions into categories:

  • Scope 1: corresponds to direct emissions generated by the company through production processes and the company fleet. To obtain the data, we analyze, for example, energy bills, various company invoices, consumption monitoring systems, also evaluating fuel usage and travel distances.
  • Scope 2: represents the data for indirect emissions, generated by an external supplier (both for electricity and thermal energy). To extract the necessary information to calculate it, we compare bills and supply contracts, or proceed with meter readings, inverter readings, and GSE reports (if there are photovoltaic systems).
  • Scope 3: considers all other forms of indirect emissions not included in Scope 2, such as: purchased goods, freight transport, business travel, investments. There are a total of 15 Scope 3 categories, to be evaluated based on the type of business.

The calculation therefore involves all areas of our operations and also involves our suppliers. Therefore, it requires a few months of development, but the results are expected by the end of this month (May 2024).

2. Development of an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) tool for the products we produce

During the same period, we will also focus on the development of an LCA tool (Life Cycle Assessment). What is it? It’s a very important tool that will allow us to understand the impact of every product created at Metal’s throughout its entire life cycle, from the extraction of steel for semi-finished products (and any other raw materials associated with complex assemblies) to production, transportation, and delivery to our customer.

This way, we will be able to provide our customers with accurate and specific information for each product sold. To calculate the CO2 emissions of each item produced, a series of data will be analyzed. In particular, the tool will evaluate:

  • The type of steel and other materials used; 
  • Internal and external manufacturing processes; 
  • Transportation of raw materials to our facility; 
  • Modes and transportation to our customers.

Again, to ensure the most accurate measurements possible, some operations will directly involve our suppliers.

Sustainability is a topic that we care deeply about

What we have just described is only the beginning of a long journey towards sustainability that we have decided to undertake some time ago and is part of our Green Mission. The real challenge, in the coming years, will be to implement all the necessary measures and interventions to further improve our performance in terms of ESG, namely environmental, social, and governance programs.

Today, at Metal’s, we can be satisfied with our path towards sustainability. In particular, we have:

  • Implemented an environmental management system (in accordance with the guidelines provided by ISO 14001 standards) to ensure constant monitoring of the environmental impact of our activities; 
  • Upgraded our machinery park with increasingly efficient equipment;
  • Installed photovoltaic panels to utilize more energy from renewable sources; 
  • Launched a new plant for nitrogen self-production.
Metal's commitment to sustainability and the environment

In the social sphere, in addition to various welfare tools already in place to support workers and achieve a better work-life balance, we obtained ISO 45001 certification in 2018, which pertains to management systems for occupational health and safety.

But this is not enough for us: as long as there is room for improvement, at Metal’s, we will seek to adopt all necessary practices to do so, involving all stakeholders, both internal and external, with a comprehensive assessment of risks and opportunities in mind.

Do you want to know more? 

If you care about sustainability like we do and are looking for a reliable partner already committed to developing good sustainable practices, trust Metal’s to bring your projects to life.

Metal’s case study: how we improved production with automated processing

Case study: automated processing

At Metal’s, we manufacture assemblies, semi-finished products, parts and components in stainless steel, both simple and complex. We not only process stainless steel but also take care of the design and technical phases, advising our clients on potential improvements to optimize processing times or reduce production costs, obviously without affecting quality. Our work is full of challenges; we go beyond fulfilling our client’s orders and cover the entire logistical process. We always keep to the agreements, the budget and produce (or assemble) the desired quantities on time. In some cases, we even intervene ourselves, suggesting improvements to the client’s project to maximize production efficiency, thus limiting costs and accelerating delivery times.

Improved production efficiency through automated processing: a Metal’s case study

With a view to continuous improvement, whenever possible, we also propose improvements in the production process.

In particular, in the case outlined in this article, you can see how we can intervene to optimize the processing of a product, reducing working times and costs.

The case and the suggestion in brief: a significant modification to the production process to reduce costs and time

For a major client in the food industry, who has been relying on Metal’s for years to manufacture fryers and ovens, we evaluated a change in the welding process.
Prior to the innovation we proposed, this process was artisanal and involved human intervention. Therefore, we suggested a new type of processing that also met the customer’s need to improve the final product, while reducing costs and time.

Our proposal: choosing laser robot welding to reduce time and costs

Our engineering department proposed standardizing the processing by replacing manual labor with faster and cheaper robotic laser welding, and opting for a new interlocking system.

In fact, laser welding does not overheat surfaces as manual welding does, is more precise as it operates on a specific area, and is faster— a superior method for manufacturing fryers and ovens, two products with delicate stress requirements.

Know-how and technology

Having accepted the suggestion, the client was able to enjoy the benefits of choosing an innovative production process without additional investments, resulting in improved products both aesthetically and in terms of functionality.

Testing and prototypes to verify product quality

Before suggesting the automated processing option in this project, our engineering department evaluated all the actual benefits of the proposed solution by simulating different conditions. Through a series of tests, technicians confirmed the production benefits, discarding less convincing options and also evaluating the best choices to be adopted to reduce working time.

Confirmation that the new production process did not alter the appearance or quality of the already marketed products came only with the prototyping of the product. The prototype allowed the client to test the quality of the proposed solution, evaluating its aesthetics, functionality, and stability. Furthermore, we demonstrated that automated processing was faster, reducing potential material waste.

“For this particular project, our technical department took the initiative to show the client the advantages of automation, suggesting the transformation of the current manual process into an automated one. First, we explained to the client the benefits they could gain, both in terms of costs and production speed. The initial concern about this change, driven by uncertainty about the aesthetics and quality of the product, was quickly overcome by creating a prototype that demonstrated the product met all expected standards. The prototype was also useful for verifying the usability of the product, in addition to its robustness and functionality.” – Luca Regazzo, Technical Sales Manager.”

The benefits of automated processing

All modifications – whether requested by the client or proposed by Metal’s technical department – never affect the production process. When evaluating the introduction of a new processing method – as in this case study – or improvements to optimize costs, production, and processes, the processes proceed quickly to always meet the agreed timelines.

In this case, in particular, thanks to automation, times were even improved, and our client was able to benefit from the advantages of automated processing. Laser technology, in particular, offers accuracy, speed, and high processing performance, adapting well to complex surface treatments. Incorporating laser welding into this project allowed us to speed up the entire process, benefiting from more precise processing and reduced material waste, optimizing work quality and costs.

Today, at Metal’s, the machine park is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, always operational, 24/7. The machine park continues to expand because our goal is to refine processing and provide our clients with the best opportunities in the market. In this case study, we’ve presented an example of what we can do for you with our knowledge and technologies to help you grow and improve your production.

Collaborative robots in the field of mechanical machining

Collaborative robots

Collaborative robots (or cobots) are designed to promote interaction between machines and humans in the production environment.

Conceived in the late 1990s by two professors from Northwestern University, J. Edward Colgate and Michael Peshkin, cobots have become increasingly efficient and safe. The Danish company Universal Robots introduced them to the market in the 2000s, selling the first product in 2008 and thereby paving the way for smart manufacturing.

But how does the collaboration between humans and machines take place? How do they differ from traditional robots? And can they truly enhance production? In this article, we will address all these questions.

Cobot Robot: what they are, differences from robots, and main characteristics

Collaborative cobots are innovative robots designed to facilitate cooperation and interaction between workers and machines. They can lighten the operator’s workload and support them in more risky and heavy tasks.

This collaboration is made possible by some fundamental characteristics that differentiate cobots from traditional robots, such as lightweight design and innovative features including safety sensors. On one hand, these features ease the integration of the machine into the workplace, and on the other hand, they enhance its (artificial) intelligence to improve and maximize productivity by automating almost all operations.

The main differences from traditional robots

Cobots differ from traditional robots in terms of flexibility and lightweight design. Traditional robots are typically massive, heavy, and stationed at a fixed position. They occupy large spaces, and people need to maintain a proper distance from them, respecting the boundaries set by safety barriers.

Collaborative robots, on the other hand, represent a true revolution in the world of industrial robotics. They are light, compact, and designed with an anthropomorphic design that mirrors some human features. For example, some cobots trace the features of the arm in their shapes, even copying its movements.

Cobots, furthermore, involve sharing space with people when the work areas allow it. They have been designed to enable workers to perform various operations in close proximity to the machine, and, following a risk analysis, in most cases, they are implemented without protective barriers, ensuring total safety.

As for productivity, traditional robots excel in handling large volumes but are characterized by high rigidity. Cobots, on the other hand, are flexible and easy to deploy even on different tasks.

The characteristics that make cobots unique

Collaborative robots can be integrated into a work environment more easily compared to traditional robots, which require specific spaces along with the protective barriers we have already mentioned. They are versatile and programmable to perform various tasks, especially strenuous ones, in challenging environments, automating tedious and repetitive operations for the worker.

The proximity between humans and machines is also a plus because it allows combining the worker’s experience with the precision and endurance of the cobot. Both will work on the same components but with different tasks, thereby increasing production and reducing error rates.

Moreover, these mechanical arms, thanks to their compact size, do not alter the production layout and are quick to install. They do not require special electrical modifications. Additionally, thanks to the simple and intuitive programming interface, cobots can seamlessly integrate into an existing production line, and all workers (even those without previous experience in collaborative robotics) can quickly set up their functions.

Finally, cobots consume minimal energy, minimizing waste.

In summary, cobots offer:

  • Innovative design
  • Flexibility
  • Lightweight structure and movements
  • Ease of programming
  • Increased safety
  • Compact size
  • Collaboration with workers

All these features make them unique and excellent allies for increasing productivity.

The “Safety Issue”

The safety of cobots is a topic that deserves further exploration. As mentioned earlier, most collaborative robots do not require the installation of barriers, but precautions are still necessary to ensure the absolute safety of personnel.

One of these precautions is speed limitation, as outlined in the Technical Standard UNI EN ISO 10218-2:2011, included in the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. The standard dictates that the cobot should be designed to modify its actions and movements based on human presence. This allows the machine to reduce its speed as soon as a person enters the workspace, returning to normal operation after the person exits.

All of this is made possible by sophisticated and reliable sensors and motion control systems that accurately and promptly detect human presence (and other obstacles) in the work area.
Furthermore, some cobots are equipped with additional safety features, such as a sensitive surface that immediately stops upon contact with people and restrictions on the orientation of tools in case an operator enters a risky area.

Collaborative robotics and industry: what future holds?

The industrial sector is becoming increasingly aware of the positive impact that cobots and, more broadly, collaborative robotics can offer in the workplace.

The collaboration between humans and machines can relieve workers from certain heavy, repetitive, and risky tasks, allowing them to focus on other activities. Additionally, cobots can be implemented in various projects to reduce overall time and costs, not to mention the energy savings in general consumption.

Equipped with highly sensitive sensors, cobots ensure maximum precision in all stages of the manufacturing process, guaranteeing quality and accuracy in production.

This is why the adoption of these new intelligent machines is a growing trend. The Interact Analysis Global Collaborative Robot Market – 2023 study estimates that “the size of the global collaborative robot market is expected to reach $10.8 billion by 2028, with a year-over-year growth of 40.1%.”

Why use cobot robots in the mechanical and metallurgical industries

As highlighted, integrating cobots into the machinery can improve and innovate production, with a primary focus on assisting operators in hazardous or heavy tasks.

Collaborative robotics can be easily employed in various sectors, including mechanical and metallurgical industries. This innovation aligns optimally with the needs of smart manufacturing, facilitating intelligent management of processes and human resources. Moreover, it allows companies to stay abreast of the times, offering products capable of meeting the evolving demands of the market.

In particular, in the mechanical and metallurgical sectors, cobots can enhance the precision of machining, minimizing the risks of errors. They are useful in the following phases:

  • Assembly: for assembling parts made of metal, plastic, and other materials; screwing and fastening various components.
  • Welding: for safely welding components using various methods (including laser technology)
  • Handling: to automate the loading and unloading of materials.

Collaborative robots are, therefore, cutting-edge technology that can improve business performance and the production process, not by replacing humans but by enhancing and refining their work.

In Metal’s, we are finalizing projects that involve the application of cobots to automate various phases of our process, particularly for performing operations such as:

  • MIG and TIG welding
  • Laser welding
  • Brushing
  • Capacitor discharge

Collaborative robotics can perfectly integrate into the existing production line to handle complex tasks requiring a high level of precision and quality. They can relieve operators from more strenuous tasks, improve finishes by increasing precision, and enhance consistency in production, further innovating our machinery.

Would you like to know more?

Rely on Metal’s for your projects: we produce and assemble systems, machines, and complete devices according to your plans, using state-of-the-art machinery to ensure production within agreed timelines.

On the way to Internorga

We’re thrilled to announce that starting tomorrow, we’ll be attending the renowned Internorga Trade Fair in Hamburg!

Internorga is the ultimate meeting point for the hospitality and food service industry, bringing together innovators, experts, and enthusiasts from around the globe.
From March 8th to March 12th, we’ll be welcoming visitors at Hall B7, Booth 516.
It will be a great opportunity for us to connect with industry leaders, explore emerging trends in the world of hospitality but above all to highlight how we can support businesses in the production of stainless steel components, assemblies and machine parts.

If you’re attending Internorga, stop by our booth!

See you in Hamburg!

Surface treatments for steel: shot peening and satin finishing

Steel surface treatments

Shot peening and satin finishing are two of the most commonly used surface treatments for refining stainless steel surfaces.

But what goals do they allow to achieve, and how do the two processes differ? In this article, we will explore the advantages, common characteristics, and differences between the two methodologies, as well as how to use them effectively.

What are the surface treatments of stainless steel and what are they used for?

Various surface treatments can be applied to stainless steel. These processes are typically carried out after manufacturing, with either aesthetic or functional purposes. They are useful, for example, in removing scratches or enhancing the material’s resistance.

Among the well-known surface treatments for stainless steel, we can mention:

  • brushing to smooth the surface;
  • electropolishing: providing a shiny, brilliant surface and reducing roughness;

In addition to these, we’ll delve into stainless steel shot peening and satin finishing in the following paragraphs.

What is stainless steel shot peening and how it is done

As reported in the study “Effect of shot peening on the hardening and surface roughness of nitrided austenitic stainless steel”, published in the International Journal of Engineering Science and Technology, shot peening is a treatment that enhances not only the material’s aesthetics but also renews its robustness and extends its life.

Following all processes – such as cutting, welding, punching… – stainless steel undergoes significant changes in its structure, which tends to lose strength and resistance.

The shot peening process takes place in the final stages of production and is entrusted to specific machinery where stainless steel is literally bombarded by thousands of spheres (made of glass, steel, ceramic) across its entire surface.

This process occurs at high speed. The compressed air jet – controlled at every step – pushes the beads against the area to be treated, ensuring a better distribution of tension throughout the material and increasing its solidity without damaging the surface. In fact, the process creates small craters on the stainless steel’s surface layer, inducing metal compression, making it more resistant and durable.

Additionally, this treatment also impacts the aesthetics of the steel. Shot peening, indeed, eliminates imperfections and scratches, improves material adhesion, and roughness, preparing the material for subsequent processes, such as painting, for example.

Shot peening and micropowder peening of stainless steel: features and benefits

Shot peening and micropowder peening are two treatments that are practically identical, differing primarily in the size of the spheres used in the process. Micropowder peening, in particular, is recommended for the processing of high-quality and delicate components.

Depending on the desired finish, the abrasive material of the spheres (such as ceramic, glass, stainless steel) and their size can be selected to recreate a uniform, matte, non-reflective, and highly homogeneous surface.

The shot peening or micropowder peening process is, therefore, recommended for:

  • increasing the durability of the material;
  • improving the strength of stainless steel after processing;
  • uniformizing the surface;
  • eliminating oxidation, welding traces, and imperfections.

Satin finishing of stainless steel: What is its purpose?

Satin finishing, on the other hand, is a treatment primarily focused on the aesthetic aspect of a stainless steel product. In this case as well, the process occurs on the material’s surface to be worked on, but it involves the use of abrasive belts to eliminate imperfections and scratches. Moreover, the belts can have different grains and formats depending on the desired result.

The satin finishing process is delicate and rather complex: the treatment must be uniform, carried out with great precision, and using cutting-edge machinery to perfectly address defects caused by previous processes (such as bending and welding).

The advantages of satin finishing can be summarized as follows:

  • Eliminates imperfections resulting from stainless steel processing (such as burrs, oxidation, and scratches).
  • Gives the metal a matt appearance, making it aesthetically more appealing.
  • Removes the reflection on the surface, making it opaque (useful in certain markets, such as the food and packaging industry, for example).
  • Prepares stainless steel for further surface treatments or coatings.

Why consider shot-peened steel?

As we have seen, satin finishing and shot peening are two crucial surface treatments for stainless steel, especially for those involved in complex assemblies. Each treatment has its own characteristics that should be considered based on the ultimate goal and the target market.

Shot-peened steel is more durable because shot peening, as we’ve discussed, increases its robustness, in addition to improving its aesthetics. Therefore, this can be a process to consider not only for enhancing the product’s appearance but also to prepare it well for subsequent processing stages and enhance its durability over time.

Upon request, at Metal’s, we carry out shot peening treatments on stainless steel using glass or ceramic microspheres. This material, in particular, allows us to work on the product’s aesthetics while simultaneously enhancing the hardness and resistance of the material.

Of course, to achieve the desired result, factors such as the hardness of the material used for the spheres, their size, the speed, flow, and intensity of the jet must be taken into consideration.

Do you want to know more?

Discover the best stainless steel surface treatments for your project. Rely on our professionals and evaluate the benefits you can achieve in your processes.

Metal’s case history: optimizing costs while maintaining the product’s aesthetics to adapt it to different markets

At Metal’s we manufacture stainless steel assemblies, semi-finished products, parts and components in agreed quantities, managing the entire process: from orders to delivery. We can handle all kinds of projects, especially the most complex and challenging ones, following every step of the logistical and production process.

Our goal is to deliver the required products to our customers, respecting the quality and technical prerogatives agreed during the design phase. We operate in different markets, adapting design and functionality to their characteristics, and following the entire product realization process. Whenever possible, we recommend improved options to reduce production costs without affecting the quality of the materials used or delivery times.

Reducing production costs while meeting market demands: a Metal’s case history

The feasibility of a project and the application of possible improvements in economic and technical terms are assessed by our technical department. This analysis usually takes place at an early stage of the process but can be requested by the customer at a later stage, when production has already started. As happened, for example, with a major customer in the Food & Beverage sector.

The case and the request in brief: cutting costs without affecting quality and aesthetics

A company operating in the Food & Beverage sector entrusted us with the manufacture of beverage vending machines: products that we supply to our customer ready for shipment to their end customer, packaged and placed on the pallet, equipped with a welded painted steel frame, display, plastic accessories, wheels and stickers.

The request: to find a solution that would allow us to reduce product production costs without affecting quality and aesthetics, while ensuring compliance with the specifications necessary to produce distributors in line with the needs of the various markets. A common request among our customers, who often contact us to produce the product while optimizing production costs.

It is a different challenge for every project. Each one requires a specific and customized solution. In this case, for example, the beverage dispenser had to have a very large display, refrigerator and boiler, because it was intended for the Middle Eastern market.

Our proposal: a new fastening system combined with new folds

The technical team that followed the initial stages of study and design suggested:

  • to change the fastening systems, shifting from welding to riveting (a technique that maintains the same solidity and rigidity, at lower costs);
  • implement special bends to allow specific fastenings;
  • consider the industrialization of the process by creating dedicated molds to produce the parts and using robotics during the brushing phase.

More design solutions to choose from

The proposals put forth by our technical department were aimed at cost reduction. Suggestions were then evaluated by the customer, who took them into consideration for his final choice. Our task, in fact, is to develop the project in accordance with the requirements agreed with those who rely on us. It is always the client who identifies which among the suggested options is most suitable for their objectives.

Analysis and testing to achieve the best possible result

At Metal’s, the technical department is involved from the early stages of the process. In particular, it assesses the technical feasibility of the project and the costs, then creates prototypes to be tested before starting production.

What happens when you involve the technical department in a project that has already started, as in the case illustrated in this article? Just as if it were a new job. The department explores possible alternatives to fulfil the client’s requirements. It examines and tests various options, outlining the advantages of each proposal and presenting the client only those renderings that can enhance the project.

For example, when making beverage dispensers for Middle Eastern countries, our engineering department considered the particular functionalities of the product, evaluating different alternatives to reduce costs while meeting the demands of the target market and the quality of the components.

This has been an interesting challenge for our team: being a complex assembly, every decision made could also affect other elements, starting from the aesthetics:

“When the customer asked us if it was possible to reduce product costs without interfering with the aesthetics and quality of the components, the engineering department took back the initial project to evaluate possible solutions. It was an interesting challenge since these particular beverage vending machines were designed for the Middle Eastern market. In this model, in fact, both a refrigerator and a coffee boiler have been installed, along with a larger display compared to traditional ones. All components that – if modified – could affect both costs and aesthetics of the product. The technical department therefore made several proposals, creating a prototype for the customer to physically test the functionalities of the new version of the product and evaluate any modifications”. – Luca Regazzo, Technical Sales Manager.

From design to delivery: entrust everything to us

When the customer positively evaluated the prototype, our technical department gave the green light for production. The product was then tested to ensure it met all standards before being delivered and placed on the target market.

At Metal’s, we follow every phase of the process – we have already talked about how we work in a dedicated article – and, if required, we can assemble the various components to provide a finished product ready for use. Thanks to a state-of-the-art machine park, in operation 24 hours a day, we ensure continuous production and delivery of products on time.

We can also handle logistics. If the product is complete and requires no further finishing, you can entrust the shipment to us and we will ensure that your batches arrive at their destination. As far as packaging is concerned, all specifications are agreed upon in advance with the customer and customized to ensure that the product is delivered without damage and designed to optimize transport.

A single partner for the most complex projects

The case study discussed in this article is just one of many examples of how we work every day to meet our customers’ demands. Rely on Metal’s for your productions.

Metal’s for complex stainless steel assemblies: the supply of systems in an advanced state of assembly

When our sales department receives an order for the production of a complex assembly, the Metal’s machine is set in motion to meet the demands and timelines agreed with our customers.

How does this process work, which parties are actively involved and what are the benefits for those who turn to us?

From the raw materials purchase – in particular stainless steel – to order and delivery management, those who decide to use Metal’s services can interface with a single partner that verticalizes complex and specialized supply chains.

In this article we will explain in detail how we procure raw materials, how we classify them before production and what technologies are involved in the entire process, allowing us to achieve the complex assemblies designed for and with our customers, on time.

Material procurement: stainless steel

In a previous article, we saw how we work at Metal’s and how our production process develops. In this in-depth look, we will focus on the material procurement phase, which – in our case – corresponds mainly to the purchase of stainless steel.

The main types of stainless steel we use are:

  • AISI 304: the percentage of chrome (between 18 and 20%) and nickel (between 8 and 11%) makes it a valuable material, highly resistant to corrosion, but also easy to machine. Recommended for products for food preservation and the chemical industry.
  • AISI 430: ferritic type, this stainless steel is resistant to high temperatures. It can be used in the food industry.
  • AISI 316: a standard stainless steel composed of a variable percentage of chromium (between 16% and 18%), nickel (between 11% and 14%) and molybdenum (between 2% and 3%). With its high corrosion resistance, it can be used in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries.

The material is purchased from the most important European steel mills that can supply flattened sheets already cut to a specific, standard or customised format. Of course, we can also obtain other types of stainless steel according to our customers’ needs.

Precise orders and careful checks upon receipt of the goods

Once we have determined with the customer the most suitable type of stainless steel for a complex assembly in an advanced state of assembly, we enter the order into our management system and send it to the supplier.

The order is complete with drawings, all specifications and accompanied by a technical supply specification, i.e. a detailed document in which we specify to our supplier the requirements of the material, both technical (such as dimensions and thickness) and aesthetic (such as finish, roughness). In this document we also indicate the choice of packaging. This is a crucial detail because all our plants are equipped with automatic loading systems and an incorrect assessment can slow down production.

Upon receipt of the material, warehouse staff check the suitability and accompanying documentation, verifying the accuracy of the information given and consistency with the product ordered.

It should be noted that a 3.1 certificate (as required by EN 10204) identifying the casting origin of the material is always attached to each delivery. This document contains all the chemical characteristics of the stainless steel and is essential for the verification phase and its processing.

If everything complies, the material is labelled and placed in the warehouse, ready to be used.

The importance of labelling

The labelling of the raw material is crucial because the unique code identifies both the supplier’s lot and our finished product. This makes it possible to trace the material at all times, even after the complex assembly has been delivered to our customers.

This is an added value for those who rely on Metal’s because, in the event of non-conformity reports or requests for specifications such as the traceability of products destined for the medical sector, for example, we can trace the raw material that was used in the production of each item at any time.

With the advanced management system, every flow is always under control

At Metal’s we use the best technology for order and production flow management. We have already anticipated that the order sending to suppliers is done through a management system. This allows us to speed up the automatic procurement of material and share important documents such as drawings, checklists, and specifications.

In fact, our ERP management system is connected to all areas of Metal’s, from administration to warehousing, and in real time can return an exact snapshot of stocks and material usage for each specific project. Thanks to an advanced functionality (i.e. the MRP algorithm), the management system analyses the requirements of sales orders and generates purchase or production requests.

Depending on the type of article and the agreements with the customer, the articles are automatically ordered by the system so as not to slow down production and anticipate hypothetical shortages of raw materials. Obviously, all articles are managed with different procurement policies and stocks, production batches and lead times are entered manually to guarantee agreed deliveries.

In addition, to ensure quick responses to market demands, at Metal’s we use the inventory management system known as consignment stock. This means that within our warehouses, in agreement with our suppliers, we keep a certain quantity of stainless steel that we will only use when needed. The advantage? Always having a stock of raw material, for a smooth workflow.

An integrated and shared system

At Metal’s we have chosen ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software that respects the Industry 4.0 production paradigm and is always interconnected with our state-of-the-art machinery.

The ERP is natively integrated with all MES (for production management) WMS (for logistics) and TQM (dedicated to quality control). In this way, information is usable and easy to monitor in real time and at all company levels.

In detail:

  • MES (Manufacturing Execution System) returns the progress of production orders, records timings in real time and shares all the required documentation.
  • WMS (Warehouse Management System) enables timely management of materials by determining the location of items within the company and inventories.
  • TQM (Total Quality Management) analyses any process drifts in real time and ensures that pre-set PPMs are achieved.

What happens when the order includes materials other than stainless steel?

For some customers we produce complex assemblies involving the assembly of steel with other materials. For the procurement of the materials, we can follow two solutions:

  • rely on our Italian and international suppliers;
  • contacting trusted partners suggested by our customers.

In the first case, we can request a quotation and obtain the necessary components at a favourable price and/or with better delivery conditions. If these conditions satisfy our customers, then we can proceed with the order.

Of course – at the customer’s request – we can intervene at any time. For example, during the production phase to optimise costs without sacrificing product quality or, in an emergency, when a component has to be replaced or is no longer commercially available.

In a fast-moving and ever-changing market, being able to count on a single point of contact for supply – technically prepared and able to adapt to ever-changing requirements – is a crucial competitive advantage.

Outsourcing management is also digital

Finally, we have activated a SCC portal to manage the outsourced supply chain in an integrated manner for activities involving the support of external suppliers. In this way, orders generated by the management system are conveyed to the portal, which is always within reach of the supplier.

A tool easy to manage and consult, in which: 

  • orders are recorded (including drawings and all relevant information); 
  • you can find out the production progress; 
  • it is possible to generate the labels required for the delivery and identification of goods. 

In this way, communication is reduced to a minimum, avoiding dispersion of information and optimising production schedules.

Would you like to know more?

The manufacture of complex stainless steel assemblies involves the purchase of raw materials as well as their processing. Find out how we manage the entire process without delays and what advantages you can gain by choosing Metal’s as your single point of contact.

Brushed steel: the hygienic finishing

steel brushing

Steel brushing is a very popular finish for semi-finished products and complex assemblies. It is performed after other processes (such as bending and welding) to eliminate inaccuracies and to make the stainless steel more homogenous, smooth to the touch and opaque.

Its function is aesthetic, but also hygienic: brushing makes the surface easier to clean and suitable for use in the food and medical sectors.

In this article, we will describe how the brushing process takes place, its advantages and the effect on the appearance of the final product.

Features and benefits of steel brushing

Brushing is a precision operation that eliminates irregularities on stainless steel surfaces.

It is generally carried out in the last stages of the production process to remove small defects or “smooth” the metal, giving it a matt and less shiny appearance.

In particular, it is useful to:

  • make the surface smooth and homogenous, eliminating irregularities;
  • cover metal surface defects;
  • eliminate shiny effects.

Usually, it is performed using specific tools and machinery – manual or automated – that, thanks to the combination of abrasive brushes with variable grain size and wax-like substances, enable stainless steel to be worked to eliminate superficial defects in the metal or residues from previous processes.

To be carried out to perfection, brushing must be light. Abrasive brushes, in fact, must act gently on the metal to structure the surface, without removing or damaging its layers.

A very precise operation that is usually carried out with state-of-the-art equipment. In particular, when they are robotised, they are “instructed” and configured with the right specifications by skilled workers to complete the assembly or semi-finished product with the finish agreed with the customer.

The equipment plays an important role in this phase, as does the degree of preparation of the workers specialized in the stainless steel processing. 

For this reason, Metal’s fleet will soon be expanded with new equipment and, at the same time, we will invest in employees training. In particular, we will have 9 brushing booths, 6 of which are manual systems and 3 robotic systems, to speed up the production process and guarantee the finishing of semi-finished products and complex assemblies within the agreed times.

Does brushing increase steel strength?

Stainless steel boasts several properties including deformability, hardness, ease of cleaning, thermal conductivity and resistance to corrosion. Choosing brushing as a finish not only increases the metal’s strength but also offers other interesting advantages.

This particular finish, in fact, is useful for other purposes. As we have already mentioned, on an aesthetic level it eliminates imperfections, even those that may occur during machining. At Metal’s, for example, we choose the raw material in accordance with our customers’ needs both in terms of aesthetic requirements and technical specifications.

However, during the production process, small porosities and micro-cracks can be created in the material, especially during welding, laser cutting or punching phases. In this case, brushing the steel allows not only to eliminate residues of previous processing (such as dark spots accumulated during welding, for example) but also to level the metal, making it smooth to touch again and without imperfections.

Futhermore, this finishing is required by companies operating in the medical and food industries because it is able to remove all pores from stainless steel, guaranteeing greater hygienic safety. Micro-cracks can harbour bacteria, which are not particularly welcome in these areas, which must be aseptic and easy to clean.

Stainless steel, in fact, is the only material suitable for coming into contact with food. Moreover, thanks to its high resistance to corrosion and extreme temperatures, it is one of the most widely used materials in the medical sector.

In order to maintain these valuable characteristics, however, stainless steel must always be perfect. Brushing, therefore, is an important finish because it can ensure a low roughness to the metal (about 0.8 microns), smoothen the surface and prevent contamination.

Where should brushing be used?

To summarise, brushing can be applied in all areas and on all products, but it is especially recommended in the food and medical fields to produce semi-finished products and complex stainless steel assemblies that are safe, easy to sanitise and without the risk of contamination.

On an aesthetic level, for example, it can be useful to eliminate any imperfections from the surfaces of semi-finished products and components that require high aesthetic characteristics such as for professional kitchens, machines, for bakery or professional cafeterias.

The finishing can also be applied to switchboards, control cabinets and other specific equipment for industrial use.

Finally, it can be used for the finishing refrigerators, food processing machines, meat processing machines, bottling machines and other appliances for the catering or large-scale distribution, ensuring product durability and easy maintenance.

Brushed steel maintenance and cleaning

Cleaning, sanitizing and maintaining brushed steel is very simple and fast.

In order not to damage the material, while preserving aesthetics and resistance over time, it is advisable to use a soft cloth and specific detergents for stainless steel, especially when the finished products are used in the HORECA, medical or industrial sector. Even ethyl alcohol, to be sprayed on the surface and immediately removed with a dry cloth, also guarantees cleanliness and shine.

In addition, you should not use:

  • abrasive sponges and metal sponges, which can cause surface scratches;
  • bleach and chlorine-based detergents, which reduce the resistance of steel.

By following these steps, steel will retain its characteristics for a long time and will not be damaged.

Do you want to know more?

What are the benefits of brushing? Trust Metal’s, find out what this finish consists of and what benefits it could bring to your project.

New Industry 4.0 investments

By participating in the “Sustainable Investments 4.0 Grant”, we have been able to realize a significant technological investment that increases production volumes while optimizing manufacturing processes for our products, ensuring greater efficiency and versatility to our facility.

The increased productivity achieved, further maximized through integration with the factory’s MES system, represents another step forward in the company’s technological innovation journey, which also ensures an improvement in overall sustainability.

Metal’s case history: simplify a complex project, reducing maintenance costs

case study extraction hoods

At Metal’s we can handle the entire production process, to realise stainless steel assemblies, semi-finished products, parts and components in the quantities and with the characteristics you need. We love challenges and this is why we can realise even the most complex projects.

Ours is a path that, from consultancy to production, goes through multiple stages to offer our customers the desired product, within the agreed timeframe and according to the planned investment, often offering improvement solutions that reduce costs even once the product is in operation.

Reducing production and maintenance costs: a Metal’s case history

Our technical department assesses the feasibility of the entire job, proposing sustainable or alternative solutions to improve the initial project and optimise it, with important benefits, both technical and economic. This was the case, for example, of a major Food Processing customer. 

The case and request in brief: reducing the production costs of a complete assembly with all components

A customer in the food processing sector entrusted us with the production of suction elements for ovens, with one aim: to reduce costs by managing the entire production in Metal’s. A challenge we accepted with enthusiasm because making products of this type means not only machining stainless steel, but also finding improved solutions to produce a complete assembly of all the components necessary for its operation, including wiring, junction boxes, fans, exhaust pipes and condensation units.

Our proposal: streamlining the project to optimise production and maintenance costs

In order to reduce costs, our technical department has considered every variable to intervene on, including components already produced, stock residues and open orders. Then, thanks to timely and active discussions with the customer, they designed a solution that not only met the required criteria, but also allowed an optimization of post-production costs.

In fact, our engineers have proposed the construction of grooves to drain water more efficiently and reduce the number of welds, while providing an interlocking system for the fans to facilitate the replacement of the component in case of repair. Suction elements designed in this way are easier to assemble, clean and maintain.

Reliability even in emergency conditions

At Metal’s we are the single point of contact for each project, which means that our customers can also rely on us for materials and components procurement, and not only for design development, production and delivery. We are at their side in everyday life and also in emergencies.

This was the case, for example, when, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the same Food Processing customer suddenly found itself without fans, an essential component, necessary for the operation of the suction elements, because its trusted supplier was not operational due to restrictive measures to contain the virus. In a short time, we looked for a new company that could meet the quality and cost requirements, guaranteeing supply and avoiding a production stop.

“Due to the pandemic, the supplier suggested by our customer, could not supply an essential component to put the suction units into operation, so we immediately dedicated ourselves to looking for an alternative product that guaranteed identical performance and sustainable costs. It wasn’t easy but we finally identified a European supplier. We asked to receive a sample to test it. Having assessed the quality of the component, we were able to proceed with production. Today, the supplier we identified during the emergency collaborates with us and with our customer for the construction of the suction units”. – Michele Perin, Purchasing Manager

Consultancy at the beginning of the project

At Metal’s, consultancy is an essential service that allows us to evaluate, together with the customer, the different paths to take in order to achieve the agreed end goal.

Usually this discussion takes place at the beginning of the collaboration (i.e. before starting the entire production process), but dialogue with customers is constant and can take place at any time.

It may happen, in fact, that changes are required to speed up the production process or reduce prices, while maintaining the same quality of semi-finished products or complex assemblies.

It also happens that some emergency situations have to be faced, such as the difficult availability of a component. Critical situations that could compromise delivery times or change the final price of the product, but which – thanks to timely and targeted intervention, the result of in-depth knowledge of the field and the reference market – can be contained.

At Metal’s, in fact, we can deal with the unexpected, delivering the desired product within the agreed times and prices.

To do this, we draw on the experience of a team of technicians, engineers and specialised workers who, after careful study, evaluate and suggest new options to meet customers’ demands.

From approval to product realisation

Once we have outlined the path to be taken together with the customer, we always make a prototype before starting up the series production.

This – especially in the case of changes of the initial project – allows us to carry out further checks, to test usability, solidity and verify, together with the customer, if every request made has been satisfied.

To manufacture the products, we make use of a fleet of state-of-the-art machines, active 24 hours a day. This allows us to meet agreed deadlines and avoid delays. Furthermore, production is constantly supervised by our technicians and the products must pass suitability tests before each delivery. This scrupulous and careful process allows us to deliver assemblies, machine parts, semi-finished products and components of the highest quality.

A single partner for the most complex projects

At Metal’s we can simplify any complex project and find effective solutions even in times of crisis. In this case study, we have illustrated an example of what we can do for you, even if the unexpected happens.