The partnership between Festo and Stecam, a Livorno-based company active in the design and construction of special automatic machines, leak testing, assembly, test benches, pallet and bench assembly lines, has become increasingly consolidated over the years, creating an important synergy. The most important sector today is automotive, where Festo’s drives and motors have taken more and more space on Stecam’s creations. Stefano Segri, Owner and Technical Manager of Stecam, and Marco Dottore, Application Sales Engineer – Electronic Light Assembly of Festo, spoke about this important collaboration.
“Stecam SRL was founded in 1996, in a design room for basic automation systems,” says Stefano Segri.“Since then, despite the difficulties related to the sector and the market, we have expanded to a well-established structure. Completely counter-current to the big companies which have suffered greatly after the crisis of 2009”. Over the years, Stecam has presented itself as a machine manufacturer, establishing increasingly intense partnerships with its suppliers. First and foremost: Festo, which was chosen as the state-of-the-art company in the supply of pneumatic components.
For more than twenty years, Stecam and Festo have been working together, growing step by step with the times, evaluating together both pneumatic and electrical solutions. “Festo supports us from the design stage in the choice of the most performing and suitable components for the application, with ongoing consultancy that has led Stecam to save time and improve machines’ efficiency” says Marco Dottore. “Additionally, support was also given during the machine start-up phase, by our technical staff”.
Such close collaboration has led to an expansion of Stecam as a company in response to customers’ needs:
“Our customers – continues Marco Dottore – are very well-known multinationals, and by choice, within the company we aim for those kinds of companies on the Italian territory. The goal is to promptly respond to individual needs in the best possible way, thus playing an all-round consulting role”.
Automotive and beyond: implementing motion solutions
Automotive is the leading sector which includes globally recognised brands. “Automotive companies ask for tailor-made solutions, which is why we want to develop machines that are up to date with the times and with an eye on the future” says Marco Dottore. Hence the need to implement the motion part with electric actuators, which has consolidated the collaboration with Festo.
“On every machine or line Stecam has produced over the years, there has always been an escalation of Festo’s motion components, up to the last line for the non-automotive customer such as DAB Pumps, currently in production” explains Dottore. “Where the new CMMT-ST and CMMT-AS drives have been implemented, together with our EMME-AS and EMMS-ST engines, which in power the ESBF electric cylinders and EGC and ELGA electric axes”.
“Each machine, then, has its own procedure – Segri continues – We always produce prototypes with an innovative approach, also boasting two patents with which we entered the field of electric motors”.
The importance of safety in automation
The market now wants home automation machines, ergonomic and responsive solutions that guarantee the operator a complete, flexible and innovative interface. In addition, the automotive sector relies heavily on the safety aspect to guarantee total compliance with the rules.
“Safety inside the machine is entrusted to certified control systems (PLCs or similar) and the components in the field, with regard to the implementation part, are the most varied – explains Dottore – Pneumatically, they range from HGL and VFOF block valves, VOFA certified air start and exhaust valves, cylinders with block system (KP) to dynamic brakes (KEC). Naturally, when it comes to safety, an important role is played by motion systems. In fact, Festo’s CMMT-ST and CMMT-AS drives are fitted as standard with Safety Torque Off (STO) and Safe Brake Control (SBC) safety technologies, which allow a Performance Level E to be achieved”. Safety is a priority and the collaboration between Stecam and Festo manages to guarantee it and make it optimal. “In this regard, customers place great trust in us – Segri concludes- because we guide them from the embryonic to the testing stage. This really means co-engineering and co-designing the product”.