Italmatic: A long-established full portfolio manufacturer
With a history going back 45 years and more than 7,500 machines in operation around the world, the Italmatic Group is today one of the leading retreading equipment and accessory providers. These days the Milan based machinery manufacturer offers a comprehensive portfolio of products, from passenger car tyres up to and including complete production facilities, for use in the retreading of various types of tyres. “We are probably the only or at least one of a handful of companies able to deliver everything from accessories for bicycle tyres through to facilities for the retreading of 63-inch OTR tyres,” Italmatic vice-president Massimo Ghitturi comments to Tyres & Accessories. Italmatic can also offer its customers turnkey retreading facilities, from the preparation of a layout to installation and startup technical support.
In the course of last year Italmatic continued to extend and diversify its product range and now offers products and services in three crucial areas: Equipment and accessories for tyre retreading (such as rasping machines, extruders, vulcanisation presses and autoclaves, rasps, carbides, hand extruders and envelopes for vulcanisation), consumables and repair items for the tyre trade (including balancing weights, valves and repair materials) and solid rubber tyres for forklifts.
Italmatic exports around 70 per cent of its products to numerous global destinations, particularly to the Middle East, Far East and the US. “In the Asian markets,” Ghitturi shares, “we sell a good deal of machines. And for language and fiscal reasons we have resolved to open a sales office in Singapore that is capable of taking care of technical enquiries. All manufacture of retreading equipment and accessories takes place in two 6,000 square metre factories in Italy; the first of these is located in Cassina de’Pecchi (Milan); this site focuses on the production of retreading. The second is located in Capannori (Lucca) and Italmatic builds vulcanising presses, autoclaves and moulds in this factory.
“At present there is particularly strong demand for OTR tyre retreading equipment. Tyres and casings in this segment are very valuable and mining companies operate under high cost pressures, and for this reason the demand for retreaded tyres is increasing significantly. Demand is especially strong in regions where mining has markedly developed in recent years, such as China, South Africa or Columbia,” Ghitturi adds. Consequently, the Italmatic Group has invested in its OTR tyre business. Recently, for example, it introduced the “Matic PL 80” rasping machine capable of buffing OTR tyres up to 63-inches in diameter and preparing them for retreading. This rasping machine tops off the range of equipment for so-called giant tyres, complementing already produced items including presses, moulds and autoclaves.
The newest Italmatic product, the recently introduced “VR6” vulcanisation press for the retreading of truck tyres, was developed based upon a similar product that is used for retreading solid tyres. For this reason the press delivers five times the power of conventional vulcanising presses. The new VR6 was prepared analogous to presses for solid tyres in order to satisfy the highest standards. Upon closing, the press lid moves in a way that enables a “perfect joining together,” the manufacturer explains. This leads to an increase in the vulcanisation press’s operational lifespan by an average of eight years compared with conventional presses. The press’s standard operational pressure is 16 bar but this can be increased to 21 bar.
Italmatic also manufactures a complete range of vulcanisation moulds for passenger cars, 4x4s, light commercial vehicles, trucks or earthmovers. In 1976 the machinery manufacturer established a mould manufacturing company, and in the years since Italmatic Presse Stampi was incorporated the demand for all varieties of presses and autoclaves has substantially increased; at the same time mould manufacturing has also markedly risen.
“Our reliability and professionalism over the years has enabled the sale of complete, turnkey retreading facilities to major names such as Bridgestone, Michelin, Pirelli and Goodyear,” the vice-president continues. The company’s most recent investment in the mould building sector was made in a five-axis CNC Milling machine capable of engraving moulds for both the tread and the sidewall. This milling machine is distinguishable from other typical commercial equipment in that it is able to work a 2,500mm x 2,500mm x 800mm work piece; the CNC mill has a cutting speed of 60 metres a minute and is noteworthy for its high precision with aluminium. All work is prepared by Italmatic’s specialists within CAD or CAM programmes.
The Italian company also offers complete systems for the production and retreading of solid forklift tyres. Since 2000 the Capannori factory has served as a centre for the manufacturer of super-elastic solid tyres under the “Comfort” brand name, a product line the manufacture says guarantees “maximum quality and performance.” Simultaneously the production facility serves as a model site for potential customers interested in machinery for the production of new industrial tyres and for their retreading. At present Italmatic’s solid tyre business is represented in all major European markets except for Germany, where the Italian machinery manufacturer is currently seeking a business partner. Italmatic will exhibit at the CeMAT show in Hanover at the start of May and hopes to forge suitable contacts there.
In addition to international market recognition, the vice-president mentions that over the years Italmatic has continuously developed its organisational structure and obtained ISO 9001 quality management system and ISO/TS certification. With this certification Italmatic is able to certify the requirements of the Fiat Group, a major customer for the machinery manufacturer.
These days Ghitturi defines Italmatic as a company with a broad product portfolio, a growing company that is also involved in other industries, such as glass and composites. “Versatility is our strength and has allowed us to continue growing even during times of global economic uncertainty.”