Gonvarri Valencia

Interview to Juan Francisco Chicote, manager of Gonvarri Valencia

What kind of production processes is this line used for?

Our production is mainly oriented toward customers in the automotive world. We mostly receive orders for steel for the hot stamping process, although we have also cut products such as aluminium as well as certain galvanised products. Our regular client base is principally made up of domestic customers but we are bringing these products to Germany too.

What do you think about the performance of LB?

For Gonvarri it is clearly a success story. Especially considering that it started out as just a prototype which we have managed to consolidate into a comprehensive industrial and pioneering process in our region.

What did it mean for the plant to go from conventional blanking to laser blanking?

Gonvarri's commitment to this innovative technology is clear; we are the only service centre in southern Europe that uses a line with these characteristics. Fagor's line of Laser Blanking perfectly complements our commitment to our customers, at a time when customers are looking to cut costs. The option of being able to remove dies is usually a very relevant incentive when our sales teams go to customers. Also, the option to improve nesting and the option to eliminate maintenance and die storage costs is very important.

Moreover, a very relevant detail in the world of automobiles is the possible flexibility in the line. It allows you to reduce delivery times, to modify the dimensions of the part throughout the life of the project, to optimise the design of the parts, and even to combine several references in the same cut. We’ve also found it to be a good arrangement as a backup in case of a possible breakdown in traditional blanking.

You have the only team of its kind in the country, how do they stack up against the competitors?

Fagor’s laser blanking at Gonvarri Valencia allows our customers to give them total coverage throughout the life of the vehicle, both quick access to the prototypes and a quick start on delivery of the first series. While even being able to optimise parts in the final life of the vehicles.

In the face of competition, this puts us in a very interesting position now that electric cars and hybrids are becoming increasingly popular. This is a good option for the supply of components for this type of vehicle.

How do you assess the process of setting out the project to your needs?

It has been years of effort on both sides; today it is a consolidated production line and therefore a success story. This story will allow us to cover a wider range of products and achieve better productivity. One of Fagor’s strong points is its flexibility and closeness to the customer, aspects that are a constant source of improvement for us.

What advantages do you think it offers to retrofit a conventional blanking set-up in laser, as opposed to acquiring an entirely new one?

In today’s market, where we think there is a certain overcapacity in some cutting processes, it is a very attractive idea to take advantage of existing machinery to achieve very interesting returns on investment. And this is a good example.

Why did you trust Fagor for the laser blanking?

Gonvarri and Fagor have a long history of successful projects together. Both companies share a common vision regarding the potential of this technology and we have been able to jointly take advantage of the opportunity to operate in this development.

What about the availability and performance of the line?

It is clear that with laser blanking we aim for serial production of vehicles that do not have a very large production run. Electric vehicles currently have production runs of no more than 40 or 50 thousand cars per year. That figure is still good for laser blanking. Lower still than that there are electric cars, hybrids, high-end cars, or vehicles with many customisation options.

There are projects in which dies will be necessary in the future, but in previous ones many pieces could be made using laser blanking. Laser blanking makes sense in series and pre-series production as well as while adapting in search for optimal nesting.

How does this technology influence the part release process?

If a new car can go from design to production in 15 months, with a laser blanking it might be possible to do it in between 6 or 8 months.

What are the product characteristics obtained with this technology?

In terms of quality, if we translate it into parts per million, which is the valuation standard, the defective rate is very low.

When we get into the world of laser welding, where a perfect cutting edge is required, we are not doing badly. It is a more sensitive cut, which requires precise flatness, where vibrations can be a complicated issue. But quality performance is at a high acceptance level.

It’s been a fantastic opportunity for us. We are a company that has historically sought to stand out from the competition and within the group. We have had productive processes that you cannot find in any other Gonvarri plants.

The laser has placed the company’s demands at a much higher level than we could have. And we have had support from you and internal resources.

Countries Spain

Solutions Laser Blanking Line

Sectors Service Center

Technologies Blanking lines


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