In 2004, Vito Rimoldi S.p.A. was asked by a leading Italian company in the field of furniture fittings to mas-produce small cylindrical foam rubber items, to be fitted in automatic lines, inside the devices that limit the speed when closing doors and drawers.

the problem

The blanking technology, originally used to make sponges, had some limitations as it increased the deformation of the material being processed.

Although this defect was limited, it was evident that it could never be completely resolved.

Even more difficult was to guarantee the dimensional constancy of the piece over time, with tolerances of a few tenths.

In 2007, Vito Rimoldi SpA got in touch with other companies that were producing components for the furniture sector at worldwide level. It quickly became clear that blanking was not the most suitable technology for all the products required by the market.

It was necessary to use a different technology.

the challenge

the challenge

Vito Rimoldi SpA decided on high-pressure pure water-jet cutting, a technology with which the company was already familiar, as it had been using it for small and medium series production for years.

However, if on one hand standard water-jet machines were very versatile, on the other, they had low productivity and proved unsuitable for large production series like the one we wanted to deal with.

the solution

The company decided to involve an important Italian University Centre in the project. Between 2007 and 2008 it developed a new water-jet machine capable of guaranteeing a level of productivity that met our needs.

We conducted an experimental test campaign (DOE), aimed at defining the ideal characteristics of the cutting nozzles and of all the process parameters of pure water-jet cutting applied to foam materials: we were thus able to develop the architecture of a new cutting machine, capable of simultaneously handling more cutting heads.

On the back of such work, we produced the initial samples for the first foreign customers and received positive reviews and encouragement to continue with the industrialization of the process.

With the support of a manufacturer specialized in customised machines, in 2008 Vito Rimoldi S.p.A. built its first cutting machine specifically designed for this type of production, with accuracy characteristics unrivalled on the market and a productivity that finally met the new needs.

continuous process improvement

Control machines for high-volume production  

In 2008 the production of three different sponge gaskets started. As they are small and very light, sponge gaskets are difficult to handle.

In 2009 Vito Rimoldi SpA involved the Department of mechanical engineering of the Politecnico di Milano to develop the most appropriate technology for measuring, testing, selecting and handling the pieces.

The following year with the support of a company specialized in automated production lines, Vito Rimoldi created its first 100% robotized control station. Over the years new and more performing machines were added.

A raw materials cutting machine

As the percentage of discarded sheets at acceptance was very high and the supplier proved to be incapable of improving their own quality level, in 2012 the company decided to invest in a machine with rotating blade to cut the mats and the foam blocks and obtain sheets of the desired thicknesses.

At this point, all stages of the production process were managed internally with considerable benefit on the overall quality of the final product.

a winning strategy

a winning strategy

Our customers rewarded the continuous investments to improve the product as well as the production capacity and this, together with the increase in the production volumes year after year, confirmed that the strategy adopted by the company was a winning one.

Today the production department of Sponge Gasket can produce several hundred million pieces a year, 100% inspected and packed automatically.