Ciclo Fapril SA in Portugal has undergone many changes over its 46 years of activity that make it stand out. As mentioned in the company name, the business set out as a producer of bicycle components to then move on to the supply of automotive components for Citroen and then the trend that followed over the years. Ciclo Fapril of this decade has completely renovated its corporate shareholding as well as its marketing strategy. With the advent of the second generation, consisting of five brothers, sisters and cousins directly involved in the corporate activity directed by Vital Almeida, General Manager and Nuno Santos, Managing Director.
"We have over 160 employees and we are completing renovation of the fleet of machines and the production process to give us a configuration of a job shop based on the maximum flexibility" points out Vital Almeida. "Our market has evolved considerably; we provide tubular components and assemblies for automobiles, motorcycles and scooters, but also parts for eolic towers, products for the hospital sector and sanitary equipment. We export 90% of our products throughout Europe and even further. To be at the height of our customers' expectations we have to provide a full service: design, implementation of the equipment and welding jigs, quality control up to robotised welding. This is the type of organisation that we are about to complete". "The need to own engineering and manufacturing know-how - explains Almeida - had forced us to become self-sufficient and proactive with customers. For this reason we are able to industrialise products with our own means, design and implement all welding and control jigs and offer a certified product. Moreover, having robotised the welding process with 26 stations, long-term repeatability of the single pieces is absolutely necessary. A guarantee that is provided by the production systems used upstream for cutting and bending".
In fact, if you take a walk through the workshop you can see the recently installed ADIGE LT712 lasertube and TS72 sawing machines and a few E-TURN and DYNAM0 tube benders by BLM, from which the production process starts and ends in the robot welding cells. "This fleet of machines makes us extremely flexible and versatile so that we can adapt to the most diverse applications" continues Vital Almeida. "In the motorbike and scooter sector we supply, for example, very well known brands such as Peugeot, Malaguti and Piaggio, but at the same time we got jobs for the eolic towers where the internal access ladders are made of tube; we also supply the American office furnishing sector and companies linked to the sanitary equipment sector. This versatility is our strong point". "To supply Europe from Portugal is not like being in France, Italy or in Germany. We feel as if we are at little at the bit at the borders and need to be attractive in terms of cost/quality without depending on others" says once again Vital Almeida. You can tell when he talks that he wants to continue enhancing the production process and diversifying further the activity, but its still early to talk or even write about it.