BCF, a Friulian job processing company is specialised in processing copper tubes for the production of coils, headers, assembled units and, more generally, components for the conditioning, refrigerating, heating, heat exchanger and air treatment industries.
Sergio Burato and Emilio Sangoi, owners, founded the company back in 1995 with another partner. "We started business here in Rivignano in rented property - explains Burato - then in 1997, we built the first of our own buildings, in 2001 the second and in 2005 we added a third, which is now being fitted out and will be used to process aluminium".
Relations with BLM started immediately already back in 1995 with the purchase of the first tube bending machines for small diameter tubes used for domestic conditioning. Core bending was not required and the BLM PLAUNO and PLANET systems guaranteed a suitable quality for the application. Since then, the relationship with BLM has become very sound to the point that the BCF workshop could easily be used as a showroom given the number of BLM machines installed.
Since 2000 there are only 2 partners, Burato, who is responsible for production and sales and Emilio Sangoi who is responsible for the administration. The company has a head count of 110 employees and Mr. Burato talks with satisfaction about the pleasant internal relationship between the employees and management. "I'm always in the company" he explains "and if anyone needs to speak to me for any reason, they can always stop me even in the corridor" and continues "even if this type of relationship is increasingly more challenging as the company grows".
When speaking about BCF he describes it as a service company, then goes on to explain, "a service company that aims at quality, which is understood as satisfying the customer's expectations, of course, within the limits of the resources that we have. We operate throughout Europe and even, to a small extent, outside Europe. To find outlets abroad has been one of the goals of the sales network since the beginning. It is important to differentiate both in terms of customers and territories. Moreover, it is important to invest in innovation and technology; the margins on these products are limited, therefore we try to focus our efforts on the products we have.
With BLM we have found a partner who pays attention to innovation and who invests in research, keeping abreast of technology. The technological evolution is more than clear and is very important for a company who wants to stay on the market.
Over the years, the company has experienced various moments of rapid and dramatic changes. As already mentioned, initially the company followed the domestic conditioning market, but that type of production literally disappeared overnight in Europe and moved towards the emerging countries such as China most of all.
The company therefore reacted by investing and purchasing different machines to penetrate other spin-off sectors such as industrial conditioning, aiming at larger diameter tubes with high-tech reliable products. "It was necessary to adapt to the new market requirements, explains Burato - for larger diameter tubes and bigger machines that bend with core. BLM was ready with systems like E-TURN and RH/LH all-electric tube bending machines with automatic loading system".
"The step taken from the hydraulic machine to the all-electric system was important both from the performance viewpoint, that is higher accuracy and reliability in the bend and from a practical elimination of the hydraulic oil with all the problems that came along with it".
2009 was a difficult year worldwide, but BCF came through without exploiting payoff supplement funds, which meant that the employees were kept on and ready to resume production immediately as of January this year. Now BCF is looking at recruiting new staff even if the market has once again radically changed. "We are now talking about reducing the batch volumes that are required even quicker" says Burato. "The solution is to continue investing in technologically avant-garde machinery that is able to provide automation and mostly flexibility in meeting the customers delivery requirements".
The new fibre laser system has recently been introduced in this renewal towards a greater flexibility. The Lasertube LT Fiber with 2 kW fibre laser source has made it possible to apply the laser technology in copper tube processing with a considerable advantage as regards decisively shorter processing times.
"Before - says Burato - with traditional machinery holes were made that then needed to be burred; now programs are created in the technical office and they are sent directly to the LT Fibre.
The automation is also important; to avoid possible operator errors, the LT Fibre system is equipped with a camera that checks that the material section actually corresponds to what is indicated in the work program, thereby preventing damage and waste.