This article as been co-written by Alan Gross, President, AMG Bolting Solutions, and Rosy Trovato, Director of Business Development, Meccanotecnica Riesi.
The Role of Nuts and Bolts
Fasteners are objects that hold two pieces of materials together.
Examples of these are industrial fixings, pins, screws, studs, bolts, nuts, etc.
Nut and bolts, in particular are a critical component in modern manufacturing.
They serve a wide array of applications in both commercial and industrial products, from wind turbines to hand tools.
Despite their simple appearance and installation method, nuts and bolts are actually very difficult to design and produce.
This is especially true when you consider their complex combination of mechanical properties and design features that enable them to function properly and be leak-free.
The Importance of Precision Bolting
For most nut and bolt applications, manual torquing and clamp loading is ideal as both economics and time-efficiency far outweigh the need for knowing the precise clamp load and force.
However, for other bolted joints, such as gas pipes, truck U-bolts, and other critical connections, it is mandatory to know exactly how much pressure / force is applied via torque, tensioning, and/or calibration.
If you are interesting in learning more about difference types of fastening methods read: 6 Ways To Tighten Fasteners For Various Industrial Applications
This focus on precision bolting goes beyond the fastener itself.
As you will soon discover, the brackets, flanges, plates, and other parts which the fasteners are designed to hold together are just as critical to the success of precision bolting methods as the tools used to implement the procedure.
Today, we are going to highlight a company who designs, inspects, and makes these complementary bolting components using precision machinery.
The Foundation and Brief History of Precision Machining Company MR-XPM
Rocco Lo Stimolo, general manager and founder of Meccanotecnica Riesi, was born in Riesi, Sicily in the 1950s.
Lo Stimolo provided the base of expertise that MR-XPM was built on and from which it continues to grow.
After working at a local firm dedicated to machining and garnering twenty years of experience, Lo Stimolo made the decision to start his own factory, Meccanotecnica Riesi s.r.l., in 1992.
Through a substantial investment, MR-XPM began to diversify their machinery to meet the needs and complex requirements of precision manufacturing.
Currently, the company owns the latest technology and machinery, allowing to process a wide range of materials to fit our customer’s demands.
Serving Various Industrial Verticals
Founded on the principles of innovation, value, and quality, MR-XPM has become very competitive in:
- Oil & Gas,
- Research, and
- Offshore Production
Throughout the years, the company, which operates both nationally and internationally, has been able to set itself apart by the quality of its manufactured products.
A focus on continual improvement and attention to detail is an aspect that has been with MR-XPM since its founding and has continued to remain a crucial aspect of who they are as a company.
Chance favors the prepared mind
If it is true that most of MR’s international relations came ‘out of the blue’ and were not the result of a specific marketing activity.
It is also true that those relationships, begun by good fortune, would not have lasted without a positive response from MR. in fact, as Monsieur Pasteur said at the end of the nineteenth century;
Chance favors only the prepared mind.
International Relationship Building
At the beginning of the collaboration with a Qatari company in early 2000, Giovanni Lo Stimolo flew many times to Doha to take measures of parts on site, in order to create the designs for the construction of pump and valve spare parts.
Nowadays MR is their preferred supplier for new and refurbished extruder die plates.
Relations with the United States and Norway are maintained with regular visits to customer sites, in order to ensure satisfaction and acquire information aimed at service improvement.
Meanwhile, MR continues its cooperation with Research.
The good reputation it has earned in this field has allowed them to join the team of companies supplying components to the CERN LHC particle accelerator built under the city of Geneva, Switzerland.
MR produced aluminum plate cores of two electromagnetic calorimeters (EMCal and DCAL) part of the ALICE Collaboration project.
While its participation in exhibitions has not returned the expected results in terms of directly increased sales, MR has enriched its experience and international contacts through the exposure of its products to the MEC SPE in Parma (2004), EWI Dubai ( 2005) and the Offshore Technology Conference, Houston (2006).
Also, thanks to the Italian Trade Agency (ITA), MR’s case was brought to the attention of the media.
Machines Italia magazine, edited by ITA, wrote several articles on MR since February 2008.
In the same year Rosy Trovato, Director of Business Development with MR, was invited as a speaker on the “Partnering for Success” panel in a conference jointly organized by the Chicago office of the Italian Trade Commission and Financial Times, entitled “Manufacturing for the Future.”
The discussion panel, moderated by Scottish journalist Ruari McCallion, was based on the explanation of how the interaction between an American firm, Massa Products Corporation (MPC), and an Italian one had led to a mutual success.
Don Massa, President of MPC, emphasized the huge savings that MR gives to their company, maintaining the highest quality standards required in their field.
This allows them a great competitive edge.
Collaboration with schools and universities
MR’s cooperation with Universities actually began several years ago, when Mr. Rocco came into contact with the University of Palermo and held a conference there about industrial reality in Riesi.
The contact with some professors led to a number of students approaching MR during the production of their theses.
One thesis focused on the project for the design and construction of 22 aluminum paraboloids at MR.
His thesis enabled Eng Palumbo to graduate with honors in Mechanical Engineering.
MR works with vocational schools and technical colleges in the provinces of Enna and Caltanissetta in co-op projects when students alternate presentations and lectures delivered by MR’s experts with the direct contact with the machines in the workshop.
MR relationships with universities are not limited to Italy, in fact, they instigated collaborative relationships with EVTEK University of Helsinki, Finland, Embry Riddle University in Daytona Beach, Florida and Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (NEU).
It is with the last-named that MR had developed a solid and lasting relationship by the end of 2009; since then, NU’s International Co-op Office has been sending resumes of students interested in placements in MR.
MR internship ranges from Engineering to Marketing.
Mechanical Engineering Students have the opportunity, as part of a half-year course, to deepen their knowledge of customers’ mechanical design drawings being turned into machine language by the software used during their studies and those used in MR.
Students of Marketing use their skills in the preparation of articles for our newsletter, post and blog on social media and undertake the production of brochures and marketing literature in general.
Rosy Trovato, from MR, promoted the idea of a Dialogue of Civilization in Family Businesses.
On May 2014, 24 students from Northeastern University, along with Professor Justin Craig, spent two weeks in Sicily to study local family businesses including Meccanotecnica Riesi.
MR considers the interaction with the American younger generation as part of a long term marketing strategy because, due to their positive experience at the company, they will be MR ambassadors in the world.
In the mid-term some students come back to MR with drawings and RFQ for the firms for which they have found employment after graduation.
One intern from Embry Riddle involved in the construction of an rocket engine for a university project.
MR is also cooperating with Babson College, Wellesley Massachusetts since 2013.
MR hosted two JMCFE teams in 2013 and 2015. (Joint Management Consulting Field Experience) projects, which involve the creation of teams of students studying specific business needs and creating operational and marketing plans for them.
Both teams were coordinated by Prof. Kenneth Demma.
Closest collaboration with clients’ engineering department
We’ve recently got an order for hundreds of stainless steel structural plates.
The parts looked very simple but as soon as we started with partial deliveries the client arose some quality issues.
A roughness equal to 32 on a surface is very important in order to seal this along with another part of the assembly through an o-ring.
The challenge is that this degree of finishing was only necessary on a specific area of the part.
Initial quality issues were overcome by the creation of a special equipment designed by our internal engineering department and thanks to our suppliers for turning tools.
Specifically, we changed the geometry and the type of turning inserts in order to guarantee the different finishing degrees on the same surface.
Another issue on this area came after we took this solution.
In fact, the use of a specific tool that was able to guarantee the finishing was unable to obtain a requested sharp edge in the intersection between a diameter and a flat surface.
We made several attempts by turning the surface with different turning inserts in order to minimize the radius that was created during the turning phase.
The sharp edge is required to assemble the part with the sharp edge of a standard component.
Our solution was the creation of a 0.004’’ groove.
We had another issue with some blind threaded holes on a very tight thickness where the hole was 0.25’’ deep and the thread had a 0.23’’ pitch.
The challenge here was to obtain an almost fully threaded hole without causing any swelling in the back of the part.
The client was fully satisfied since the first deliveries, because we immediately decided to make the threads by milling and not by tapping.
In this specific case tapping would have been easier, but we wouldn’t have obtained a fully thread hole.
Each plate has more than 40 of such holes.
Another challenge was given, but the specific geometry of the part since the drawing was requiring a 0.001’’ flatness.
We made several hypothesis about possible machining processes by brainstorming with our operators, engineering and quality people and at the end we came out with few proposals that we tested.
After internal testing we went for a process consisting in alternating roughing and pre-finishing phases.
This way the process was slightly longer than other solutions, but it was the only one able to guarantee a precise flatness.
And, this is the precision that is so critical ensuring joints, plates, and other surfaces connect and fasten accurately.
While in our daily lives we take for granted commodities that are pre-assembled for our use and consumption, it is clear that the challenge of bringing new and existing improved products to their final state is a daily battle.
Fortunately, it is a battle that is being won by innovative companies like Meccanotecnica Riesi, who place emphasis on precision machining, as well as, exhibiting industry thought leadership in building community and long-lasting relationships.
BRAVO, M.R. BRAVO!