Professional refrigeration by Studio 54 since 1994 for top efficiency, produced with high tech machineries. All Made in Italy solutions. (video: Studio 54)
Studio 54 has been working in the field of professional refrigeration since 1994, supplying a wide range of products that guarantee top efficiency and reliability. Upright cabinets, counters and tables, chill blasters, display units and walls, as well as minibars and hot display cabinets, meet every organizational need for food preparation, conservation and display for the Ho.Re.Ca and retail (supermarket) sectors.
Quality of materials, Made in Italy design for the high tech professional refrigeration solutions
In addition to its standard product range, which is appreciated for the quality of the materials used and its typically Italian contemporary design, Studio 54 also produces highly customized and tailored products to meet its clients’ specific needs.
“The company was founded with limited financial resources,” says Marco Bruseghin, Chairman of the Studio 54 BoD, “but with great passion, that of myself and my partners. Ours is a success story: today Studio 54 has 52 employees, 18 of which are office workers and 34 production staff; we produce around 7,000 parts a year, with a turnover of around 15 million EUR, and we work in a global market: around 40% of our turnover comes from Italy, 50% from the rest of Europe, and 10% from Russia, the Arab countries, the United States, Canada and Australia. Obviously we aim to expand and penetrate new markets.”
25 years of investments
“We cannot deny that, especially in the first few years of business, we were unable to afford significant investments in technology for the workshop,” Bruseghin continues. “All our resources were concentrated on design, semi-finished parts were outsourced and then assembled in-house. We always thought that Studio 54 would have to become autonomous in all its processes, because we have always believed that having our own agile machinery would allow us not only to develop our whole production line but also ensure higher quality.”
More efficiency: from external manufacturer to owned technologies not only for sheet metal working
Although Studio 54 works in an area – Veneto – which has many jobshops, the company decided to work against the tide. “At the start the investment was too great, but as soon as we had the chance we chose to invest: the advantages have been huge. In the Padua area the subcontracting market is impressive. It’s no wonder that people ask us why we decided to invest in sheet metal working technologies and machinery when within a radius of 2 or 3 miles around the company we could easily find partners who can satisfy our needs,” Bruseghin continues.
“Our reasoning is linked to efficiency: once we finished the design of a refrigerator, for example, working with an external manufacturer took an awful lot of energy. We had to explain the product and our needs, and transfer our know-how so that the outsourcer could produce exactly what we were looking for. Moreover, we had to deal with frequent issues linked to delivery times and non-conformities. This is why we began to seriously consider adopting our own technologies, not only for sheet metal working but for practically all our processes.”
When arrived the moment to invest in machinery fleet
As time passed, the business grew and so did the available resources, and so the owners decided to invest in the machinery fleet for the professional refrigeration solutions. “In the workshop, in terms of sheet metal cutting, initially we used a conventional shear and a punching machine,” Bruseghin explains. “The shear didn’t perform well, and we had to work with wide tolerances, consequently reducing the quality of the finished product. The punching machine – an automatic turret model with around thirty tools – was fairly flexible but it took a lot of time to manage burrs and sharp edges, which were often impossible to avoid. As regards bending, on the other hand, we worked with 2 conventional press brakes. The problem with these technologies has always been linked to their dependency on the operators, who are fundamental in the part handling and are therefore a decisive factor for productivity: a fast operator who works regularly, precisely and continuously with these technologies can increase productivity by quite a few percent. But over the years we realized that the need to man the machinery was becoming a limit to our development – without forgetting that in that period we had good relations with several jobshops, who performed around 80% of our production.”
You say crisis, we say opportunity
The 2008/2009 crisis was a turning point, and the market slump in some way forced Studio 54 to rethink its business in professional refrigeration.
“I think it was inevitable,” Bruseghin states. “We wondered what we could do to continue being successful, and thought about diversifying our production: so we began to specialize in customized products. Indeed, today around 50% of our total turnover comes from bespoke equipment, we are like tailors who stitch their products to fit the customer. And, almost paradoxically, from 2010/2011 the crisis led us to opportunities both in Italy and abroad, allowing us to grow significantly. All in all, our approach to the crisis was positive: it is easy to see all the problems that arise during hard times, but for us it was a chance to think about different products and penetrate new markets.”
Everything began with the automated laser
“Ours has been a path of growth: we aimed to obtain financial stability,” Bruseghin says. “Slowly but surely we set aside the resources which allowed us to invest in new and modern production equipment in 2015, improving efficiency and solving the frequent technical and maintenance problems that are typical of outdated equipment. We began to assess optical fiber laser cutting, which seemed to offer huge benefits for processing stainless steel. Stainless steel is not only expensive and delicate, but it is a material that when processed using conventional technologies like the shear or punching machine produces burrs and scrap which, despite the safety devices, can injure the operators during machine management and handling. The idea that handling after cutting could become far easier and safer to manage was one of the aspects that convinced us to invest in this technology.”
Studio 54 and the Salvagnini L5 high-dynamic fiber laser
After carefully scouting the market, Studio 54 opted for a Salvagnini L5 high-dynamic fiber laser, with 3000×1500 work range and 2 kW source, connected to an ADLL automatic loading/unloading system and an MCL automatic sorting device, able to work unmanned.
The ADLL automatically picks the sheets from a pack in masked time and also unloads the cut sheets, eliminating the intermediate handling usually performed by the operator, while the MCL automatically unloads, separates and stacks the single parts.
Bruseghin explained: “We were convinced basically by two factors: the first was Salvagnini’s approach, that of a global supplier of a complete solution of machinery, integrations and connections. The second factor was geographical: being close by is an extra guarantee in terms of assistance, service and a continuative relationship generally. Configured in this way, the L5 system has demonstrated that it was the perfect choice, because today we are able to run it for around 20 hours a day. Based on our experience, I can certainly say that it was a significant investment in economic terms, but it has completely changed our way of thinking and simplified our subsequent technological choices.”
Downstream from the laser system: the impact of the panel bender in professional refrigeration
“Having become confident with the L5, we realized how much the laser system had improved our productivity,” Bruseghin continues. “The output certainly met with our expectations, practically resolving the cutting problems, but it underlined a bottleneck in the bending department, which couldn’t keep up with the production rates of the laser. This is why in 2017 we decided to invest in a panel bender.”
The panel bender P4-2116: versatile, flexible and highly productive
Studio 54 chose a P4-2116 panel bender for its professional refrigeration solutions: a versatile, flexible and highly productive solution which offers automatic set-ups in masked time, without re-tooling, thanks to the universal tools for bends from 0.4 to 3.2 mm. And which benefits from the effectiveness of the HPT for manually loading and unloading sheet metal and bent parts.
“The panel bender is a completely different machine from a conventional press brake,” Bruseghin explains. “It guarantees exceptional results, even with stainless steel. Stainless steel is a complex material, because once the protective film is removed it highlights even the tiniest defects and imperfections. With a conventional press brake it can be easily scratched and even dented. Thanks to the controlled tool movements, bending with a panel bender avoids these imperfections, and doesn’t produce any of the defects that can often be seen against the light. The end result is that our quality increased exponentially. It is really interesting to note that this improvement has been recognized first and foremost by our customers. Moreover, with the panel bender, the whole process from the drawing to the end product is improved enormously: during the design phase, the solutions adopted in the engineering department were unthinkable with conventional press brakes. Not to mention the speed: with the panel bender we produce much more than we previously did using 3 conventional press brakes run by 3 operators. And also in terms of cost per part produced, we have recorded significant advantages.”
Automating bending: Salvagnini B3 press brake equipped with ATA
“There was just one more step to take to completely renew our technological fleet: investing in bending,” Bruseghin explains. “We immediately realized that the Salvagnini B3 press brake, in the version equipped with ATA, was the right machine for our production needs and our logic: this machine masks the set-up times, because when the operator calls up the code of a program, the machine sets up automatically with no risk of error.”
The press brake chosen by Studio 54 is a 3-meter B3, with 135 ton maximum bending force equipped with ATA, the automatic set-up device used to automatically change and adjust the upper and lower bending tool length, recovering production time and efficiency.
Contributing significantly to reducing the variability that has always marked conventional bending, the ATA redefines the concept of time linked to the press brake: whatever the material, thickness and shape of the part being processed, each specific set-up has a certain, repeatable and foreseeable duration. The change is fast, the programming simple and user-friendly.
In 8-hour shift gained at least 40% in terms of productivity
“With the ATA, we are able to avoid set-ups for both the upper and lower tools,” Bruseghin continues. “We work with very thin thicknesses, between 0.5 and 1.5 mm, all similar which are all managed with the same set of tools: we never change the punches and dies, we start bending straight away. Eliminating down times for tool changes and measurements, by automating all these activities with the ATA, offers huge advantages. In terms of output, I can say that in an 8-hour shift we have gained at least 40% in terms of productivity. Of course the press brake has to be programmed, but the operator doesn’t have to do it himself: the programmer who creates all the nests for the laser also creates the panel bender programs, and now the press brake programs too, so this clearly has advantages in terms of speed.”
A workshop in step with the times
“At Studio 54 we produce lots of special and custom parts, often single batches or very small batches of 4 or 5 parts,” Bruseghin says. “Some of our production consists of large batches of 200/300 parts, which we program to run unmanned overnight. Now we are autonomous for 90% of our processes, and outsource only a few activities linked to production peaks or highly specific parts – such as steel welding, which has significant safety issues. Investing in technology has also brought benefits in terms of costs: of course these plants involve significant initial investments, but once they are up and running they assure truly competitive costs per part. Today, with increasingly low margins and the fact that it is increasingly hard to work exclusively in high quality productions, this aspect should not be underestimated.”
Laser, panel bender and press brake behind the high tech professional refrigeration solutions
Such a major technological renewal in the workshop also came with its effects in terms of design of the professional refrigeration solutions. “We haven’t completely redesigned our parts and our designs, although we plan to do so,” Bruseghin continues. “Certainly all our new designs today are created using a different philosophy, suited to the specific nature and possibilities offered by the technologies which are now at our disposal. As regards the laser, the possibility of nesting standard steel sheets means that we can combine different parts and make use of the scrap which would otherwise be thrown away. Obviously we couldn’t have done this with either the punching machine or the shear, but with the laser we have reduced scrap by over 15%. The panel bender is fast and assures high quality, it has only a few limits linked to shape and maximum bending size, and these can be overcome with the press brake, which has practically no constraints. The department in charge of machine programming also organizes production, sorting the parts to be made on the panel bender or the press brake using a fairly simple logic: always prefer the panel bender, while directing production flows according to need and the saturation of the various systems. Of course we know that we can rely on Salvagnini OPS for these activities, we like this solution very much and are thinking about it for the future.”
An eye on the results
“We obtained very many results and advantages with these investments,” Bruseghin concludes. “Undoubtedly today we are much more versatile, we can produce any part practically in real time. We are much faster because the machinery is fast and integrated, perfectly suited for lean production and able to minimize set-ups and down times. We have reduced the cost/part ratio, so today we are more competitive. But thanks to the Salvagnini systems we have also developed new products: thinking of the technical specifications of the panel bender, we have designed and produced our AT series refrigerated table, an ultra-high quality product we market almost exclusively in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This is a special article, easy to customize with covering panels for the visible parts, and has assured exceptional growth: in around 3 years, with this product alone we have achieved a turnover of about 2 million EUR; around 15% of our total turnover. A product that has truly hit the mark, and which was made possible only by the technology we are equipped with.”