Italian Machine Tool Maker Acquires 100% Stake in Canadian Company

A manufacturer of horizontal machining centres and special-application machine tools, Gruppo Riello Sistemi of Verona, has acquired 100% of the Canadian company Tri-Way Manufacturing Technologies Corp. The purchase represents another milestone in Riello’s process of internationalization, following previous acquisitions of Mandelli Sistemi (Piacenza, Italy) and Burkhardt+Weber (Stuttgart, Germany) and the establishment of Gruppo Riello Sistemi China in Shanghai.

Tri-Way is headquartered in Windsor, Canada, across the river from Detroit, the American automotive capital. The medium-sized machine tool company has a long history of supplying equipment for manufacturing automotive components, counting among its customers the three major American automotive companies, General Motors, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler, along with the most prestigious subcontractors in the sector.

With its 90 employees and a 2005 turnover of €15 million, Tri-Way will be a reference point for Gruppo Riello Sistemi in the North American Market, which already accounts for 10% of its total sales. Renato Pegoraro, previously sales director of Riello Macchine in Verona, has been named to run the company in North America. He is an expert on the American market.

Said Andrea Riello, company president and CEO, “This acquisition is part of the industrial plan that was started back in 1992 with the aim of reaching certain volume levels and at the same time successfully competing on the global market.” Riello noted that the plan follows three guiding principles: internal growth, product innovation, and efficient organization.”

“After having extended the product range and reached the right dimensions to face the global market,” continued Riello, “with the acquisition of Tri-Way we are now ready to fulfil the needs of such a demanding and technologically advanced market as that of North America. Our efficient sales network is now present with appropriate structures in the major product-consumption areas: Mediterranean Europe, German-speaking Europe, China, and North America.”

1,000th ‘Power User’ Achieves Certification in SolidWorks Program

SolidWorks Corp. has reached a milestone in its international program to recognize the most proficient users of its 3D mechanical design software by designating the 1,000th Certified SolidWorks Professional (CSWP). The CSWP program makes it easier for design engineers to market themselves and their services, and helps employers identify individuals who excel at quickly designing sophisticated products.

Stephen Borg, CEO of Acorn Technical Services of Oak, Nebraska, USA, is the 1,000th CSWP. Certification helps him assure new customers that he is qualified in 3D mechanical design with SolidWorks.

“CSWP certification really means something,” Borg says. “Only skilled and proficient engineers even attempt the exam. So when we tell new customers we know SolidWorks, they don’t have to worry about our skills. And if I’m hiring a CSWP engineer, I can be confident that he or she is proficient with SolidWorks.”

Although challenging to obtain, CSWP certifications have doubled every year since the exam’s inception. Many software vendors offer certifications based on the results of a question-and-answer exam, but SolidWorks also requires a hands-on demonstration of modeling skills. Candidates must show that they have advanced skills in building parametric solid models and can adhere to evaluation criteria for accurate design specifications. By the end of the eight-hour exam, they will have modeled a minimum of six challenging parts, assemblies, and drawings.

“Design engineers who are proficient enough to become CSWPs become part of a special community of proven SolidWorks talent and solid modeling innovators,” said Jeremy Luchini, SolidWorks certification program manager. “SolidWorks is especially attentive to their feedback on our products, and their suggestions often show up in the next product release. We’re proud of the success of this program, which is challenging enough to be meaningful and accessible enough to be achievable.”

CSWPs receive event discounts, business card logos, SolidWorks active wear, and a listing on the Solidworks website. Information on the CSWP program is available on line.

American Mold Builders Report Shows Importance of Injection Molding in Ireland

Applied Market Information Ltd.‘s latest guide to the injection molding industry in Ireland shows plastics processing as the most important component of the plastics industry in that country. Last year it consumed an estimated 26% of all polymers. Injection molding is now substantially greater, by volume of material used, than either pipe or film extrusion.

As outlined in AMI’s Guide to the Injection Molding Industry in Ireland, the strength of Ireland’s injection molding sector is due the country’s success in attracting foreign investment in advanced manufacturing industries over the past two decades. Since 1980, 40% of American investment in European electronics has come to Ireland, and over 300 overseas electronic companies operate there. Some 80 medical device companies operate in Ireland, including 10 of the world’s top 15 device companies.

Many of these companies have their own molding shops, but there is also a substantial subsupply sector to support these foreign-owned enterprises. Of the 154 companies listed in AMI’s guide, 50% are in-house. Over 60% of all injection molders in Ireland are owned by a foreign parent, with American companies the largest investors, followed by German businesses.

A downturn in demand for IT and computer products in 2001 did have an impact on the injection molding industry with several companies shutting down in 2002. However, the medical devices industry remained a strong sector.

For 2002, AMI estimates that consumption of polymers by the injection molding sector amounted to 63,000 metric tons. After a disappointing 2001, demand rose by 3% over the previous year, in line with the average trends for a five-year period from 1997. AMI forecasts that for the next five years, demand will increase on average by 2% per year, which would result in an injection molding sector of about 70,000 metric tons by 2007.

The main challenge facing the industry is its reliance on foreign-owned OEMs with their global manufacturing capabilities.