Enhancing the manufacturing process with automation and digital improvements


Enhancing the manufacturing process with automation and digital improvements

Italian speciality bearing manufacturers CPM explain the modern changes and enhancements in production, as well as their goal towards international expansion.

Founded in 1967, with over half a century of history behind it, CPM is one of the leading Italian companies in the design and production of special bearings.

Over the years, the company has constantly grown in terms of turnover and customers and has progressively expanded its product portfolio in its plants in Nova Milanese, near Milan.

Today, with a staff count of 200 employees, it produces more than 4 million bearings destined for national and international markets with a turnover exceeding 40 million Euros. The domestic market sees about 60% of turnover, with the specification that about 80% of this turnover is then conveyed by customers across the border. The remaining 40% is direct export with greater prevalence in India, China, Canada, and North America.

CPM bearings are dedicated to different applications, such as power transmission, medical, robotics, textiles, biking, hydraulics, and other areas.

Digital and IT tools have been enhanced at CPM, and the management, at the helm of the company, has strengthened the drive towards internationalisation to expand possible commercial outlets, with a strong propensity for the enhancement of Made in Italy quality.

One of the points of pride of the Milanese company is being able to fully maintain the business in Italy: the company has a structure that includes five warehouses totalling 20,000 m2 of production space (10,000m2 of which are covered), in which the various departments are located where the turning, grinding, lapping and assembly operations are carried out.

Even the heat treatment, one of the fundamental phases of the production cycle, is carried out internally by Carbotempra, a company owned by CPM, equipped with high-performance automated lines and specific high-performance, low-environmental-impact ovens of the latest generation.

Over the past year, investments have been made to automate and improve production, such as increasing the number of automatic assembly machines and robotising certain processes. A production cell with two grinding machines served by a robot, dedicated to the exclusive production of a family of angular-contact ball bearings intended for use in robotics gearboxes, was put into action in March 2023.

Further investments include the acquisition of an additional internal grinding machine for opposing grinding wheels and a lapping machine for spherical and cylindrical tracks. CPM are reinforcing the control equipment and installing two more SPC stations, completing the program started a few years ago to equip every operating machine with this in-process control method. Finally, a further automatic assembly line is on its way, with backlash control before the packaging phase. 

In accordance with the investments made and those in the process of being completed, and the development of new corporate strategies, CPM certainly looks to the future in a positive and proactive manner, keeping pace with technological innovations and market trends, such as the move towards an increasingly sustainable industry. One example is hybrid bearing solutions for use in the world of transmissions and electric motors. 

The challenge for the future is to identify market trends in advance to be ready to respond in a timely manner; assessing threats and opportunities becomes a key step in the strategic decision-making process, the only one possible to ensure that the company’s business will develop steadily and sustainably.

Producing locally and thinking globally is in the DNA of CPM and represents the added value that has allowed the company to grow constantly, continuing to firmly believe in the quality of a Made in Italy product now exported all over the world.

All production processes, from design to logistics, to the production of components, take place completely within the company with the advantage of being able to constantly monitor the quality of the bearings produced, focusing on flexible order management to respond promptly to the various customer needs.

This represents an added value that guarantees both the constant verification of the quality of the entire process and every single detail created, and the flexibility necessary for the management of the high customisation required.

Each project is followed directly by the technical department that supports the customer by collaborating from the very early stages of product development by making available the high know-how of CPM. The entrepreneurial evolution has led the company to specialise in the production, in medium and high series, of ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, tapered roller bearings and needle roller bearings with a dimensional range between 10mm bore and 800mm in outer diameter.

The company has long since acquired the UNI EN ISO 9001:2015, UNI EN ISO 14001:2015, UNI ISO 45001:2018 and IATF 16949:2016 certifications for the automotive sector.

The adoption and development of lean production by CPM represents a further fundamental point to be consistent with the company claim “your needs… our actions” by providing national and international customers with an increasingly complete and “tailor-made” service.

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