05/10/2017 Nicolò Grammatico

Kuka Robotics interview

A high-tech company, born in the homeland of high quality food and open to domestic and foreign markets, here is the Ronchini Massimo Srl, KUKA system partner that designs and builds numerical control machines and high precision robotic systems for the handling and processing of raw materials. We asked Filippo Ronchini the company’s CEO, what it means to work for a specialized milling market and what role the KUKA robots play in the development of the Ronchini Massimo Srl business.

Can you tell us how you were born? What is your story?

The Ronchini Massimo Srl has a history that dates back over 20 years ago, when we started with our core business, which from the beginning was a world of milling.

First with small three-axis machines for the engraving and graphics market, namely bench machines, to then increase the size in terms of areas and volumes of work until we get to specialize in various processing technologies; not just the milling, therefore, but everything that goes around the market for the transformation of materials. But we saw that milling technology needed a breakthrough; we therefore looked at the world of robotics, trying to imagine a robot that in addition to pick and place could also bring our traditional technology, using it for new types of processing.

The first was a plasma cutting robot; then we specialize in robots for three-dimensional sculpting, milling and machining.

What about the integration in the territorial context where you are, compared to one like Lombardy cradle of industrial production?

Actually we do not work a lot for our area. Parma is specialized in food, with types of food companies, including ham factories, cold cuts factories and dairies, which are an environment far from our average, where the degree of automation is not pushed, since the production processes are very traditional.

We are therefore more well-know on the whole Italian territory and on a regional level with Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, in the automation basin.
Our company was born on the banks of the university for my interest in automation. Then with the help of my family has expanded, it wasn’t born from a market request but from a passion, at a time when the internet was in its infancy, there wasn’t the possibility to see the technological landscape in its complex, but even then I perceived the lack of milling and prototyping over the bench, that is the business from which we started.

An industry that wasn’t there or was very limited in the number of companies able to produce pantograph systems like ours. We were born in a garage and then… We grew up!

Do you have any prospects for internationalization?

We’re not a big company, but we started looking around a few years ago. Not for reasons related to the crisis, which we have not seen, but because two years ago we decided rationally to internationalize by choosing a market: the United Arab Emirates.

First with a visit, then with international European fairs, we met a major retailer and from there we started with the reorganization that serves to enter the foreign markets, from communication materials, to the trained personnel to interface, to an assistance service that looks abroad. A long and complex but necessary process. We went to the Emirates because we saw a market interested in technology and medium-sized European companies, but with a great technological contribution.

It’s us: excellent technological level and technical capacity, medium size. We have thus met this great company, with strong commercial potential, which puts us in touch with companies with excellent commercial skills but with reduced technical competence. However, our product requires a lot of it and must be thoroughly known to be sold in the best possible way. We have already obtained several installations and in 2018, we are therefore thinking about the opening of a new office in Dubai, with all that it involves in terms of organization and tax.

Which KUKA models do you prefer and on which product advantages do you choose them?

We went to KUKA after some experiences with competitors and we are very happy with that choice, not only for the robots themselves, but also for the assistance that is always ready in case of problems. But it is above all the relation we have with KUKA that makes the difference.

In case of need of software implementations, advice, information on the preparation of the robot, we always solve very quickly and this gives us the possibility to be very quick even in customer responses.

For us supplements it’s essential to give immediate answers and get directions for everything concerning problem solving.

While we are talking to the customer about the plant, if we have a doubt about which robot to choose or design aspects we have only to call the contact KUKA and here is the answer we need. This is added to the quality of the robot, which is excellent.

What are the specifics and critical aspects of your production?

Over the years we have evolved, specializing in various technologies in the field of materials processing therefore in our production we haven’t only the historical milling systems, but also the tangential cutting, blade cutting machines, which allows to cut rubberized, textiles and soft materials in general.

From here we then migrated to areas such as laser cutting for metals and plastics, plasma cutting, up to even machines for processing foam, polystyrene, so we created a series of machines for cutting with hot wire . Over the years, we have therefore established ourselves as the leader in the field of pantographing together with machine tools for all the materials mentioned.

Why do KUKA robots respond to your production needs?

The product is really very reliable, but KUKA, unlike all the other brands, has superior recognition on the market.

Maybe for the color, maybe for investments in marketing and enhancement. A capillarity that reaches the customer, who comes to us because if he’s looking for a robot, he looks for KUKA. Often companies approaching robotics for the first time, confuse the brand with the product.

They are looking for a robot and they want KUKA because marketing is so strong that it supports the product and the system integrators.

To KUKA robots we integrate our specialized expertise, from milling to the 4.0 industry, another topic on which KUKA has strongly pushed the interests of companies that don’t know exactly what it is, but who are guided in this direction by the valorisation of the brand name.

In summary, KUKA not only makes excellent robots, but also offers added value that ranges from marketing to customer support.

How do you respond to the problems of your markets and what solutions do you introduce?

We make robotic cells in general, welding, cutting, pick & place, but we have also put on the list a robotic system to deliver turnkey called RM-RoboCut3D, presented at Mecspe with KUKA. A cell for which we are known in our sector as landmarks.

In fact, we come from an excellent experience in robotics, but also in processing and cutting, this experience is now summarized in a turnkey cell ready for use thanks to our specialized expertise and KUKA robots.

Nicolò Grammatico

Sales manager of Ronchini Massimo Srl

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