Last May Faster, a global manufacturer of quick-release couplings for hydraulic circuits, organized an event for its international clients, focused on the Construction Equipment segment. Technical workshops and cultural encounters preceded the tour of the modern and welcoming plant in Rivolta d’Adda (near Cremona) where almost 7,000 components a day are manufactured, including both standard couplings and special solutions.
by Fabrizio Dalle Nogare
We planned the event as an opportunity for our clients from all over the world to visit the city of Milan, admire the art of Leonardo da Vinci, get in touch with the Ferrari and even get a closer view of Faster’s production. I am convinced that the relationship with clients should go beyond sales and convey values and experience”.
The Lombardy-based company’s CEO, Stijn Vriends, Dutch but by now deeply acquainted with Italy, thus described Connecting Equipment World, the two-day event which Faster organized in May, with technical elaborations and cultural events. “The focus was on the Construction Equipment segment: this is not our reference market – which remains agriculture – but it is a growing industry where we would like to play an increasingly important role”.
During the first day of Connecting Equipment World, focused on technical workshops concerning the use of couplings in machines for the Construction segment, participants were able to exchange views with Giancarlo Bruno, a great expert of Formula 1 motor racing, and, during the evening, they visited Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper.
Quality and R&D to explain the company’s success
The second day’s program included the visit to the Faster plant in Rivolta d’Adda. This production site was purchased by the company in 1996 and now employs almost 400 people. Besides quick-release couplings – components allowing fast connection and disconnection from a hydraulic circuit and which must be able to withstand both weather and dirt, as well as high temperatures and pressure – Faster also produces multi couplings and special solutions based on clients’ specifications.
“Quality and R&D are the two main factors which can explain the company’s success during its lifetime: we can stand out on the market because we can create cutting-edge, patented impeccable products”, CEO Vriends continued. Thanks to a well-equipped technical office with 25 employees, Faster registers 5 new patents every year and has a total of 50 currently active patents. Couplings manufactured in Rivolta d’Adda are certified and respect the main international standards.
The application segments for Faster’s products are numerous and range from agriculture to industry; from oil & gas to refrigeration equipment. As said, however, the new challenge is called Construction Equipment, a segment which, as Stijn Vriends explained, “includes many types of machines, more than 40, and the use of the coupling may vary according to the type of the machine. In this segment, the couplings have many application opportunities and we believe that building a strong relationship with our clients may allow both us and them to grow”.
From steel bars to the well-equipped test area
In the Rivolta d’Adda plant, both standard couplings and special solutions are produced. The starting point is steel bars, machined with CNC multi-spindle equipment in the new machining area, revamped in 2006. The assembly department – capable of producing more than 7,000 couplings a day, over 120,000 a month – can count both on automatic and semi-automatic production lines, and on manual workstations.
“Operators’ manual skills is certainly an advantage for us, especially (but not only) in the assembly of special systems”, the R&D Director, Paolo Rusconi, explained.
Another crucial section of Faster’s production is definitely the test area, equipped with test benches and cutting-edge machines for the testing of components which, as we said, are often used in environments characterized by dust and difficult surrounding conditions. “Couplings undergo stress tests at extreme temperatures, tests with saline mist, and tests which verify their resistance to sand. For these tests we use a particularly aggressive silica sand which comes from the desert areas of Arizona”, Rusconi continued. Quality, we might say, also means leaving nothing to chance.