Uniriv Kft. was founded in 1991 as a family business and is headquartered in Csepreg, Hungary, near the Austrian border. They were the first to produce pull rivets in Hungary, and since then the company has come a long way in this industry segment, which is mainly represented by Italian and, more recently, Chinese manufacturers.
The company has become the largest manufacturer of industrial fasteners in Central Europe over the past three decades. They have been represented by their components in 25 countries, from Mexico through Germany to Russia. The company purchased two Mitsubishi Electric machine tools to increase its own tool manufacturing capability as a part of a major investment three years ago. Purchasing the MV1200S wire EDM and the EA12S die-sinking EDM was a huge step forward for the company and they could rely on the professional assistance of the distributor (M+E Kft.) throughout the process.
“We need to be able to recognize that times are changing, and we also need to change if necessary,” said Zsolt Pócza, the company’s owner and Managing Director. Today, rivets account for only 30% of the company’s total production. Typically, these are more specialized industrial products with higher added value, usually not for commercial use. “On the other hand, almost 70% of our products are based on technical drawings and designed according to individual customer needs,” adds Pócza. These are manufactured for the automotive, construction machinery and assembly industries. These industries have very strict requirements in terms of quality, and this has necessitated improvements in the quality of manufacturing tools.
We need to be able to recognize that times are changing, and we also need to change if necessary.
“We always record the duration and the causes of downtime,” explains Pócza. One of the most significant reasons for downtime was tool shortages, as revealed by data three years ago. Responsible for taking decisions for the company, Pócza was faced with a difficulty question: “I felt we have two ways ahead of us: investment in new machines or ending in-house tool manufacturing”. The company decided to improve their tool manufacturing technology with EDMs manufactured by the now 100-year-old Mitsubishi Electric. “Since then, the lifecycle and service life of our tools have increased significantly,” said Pócza who considered it as important: “Since the new development, our production problems caused by tool shortages have almost completely disappeared. We believe our output has increased by about 30-40% over tool manufacturing with manual machine tools.” In addition, the company has saved a lot of manufacturing costs. “Tool development and manufacturing are a very expensive process in Europe. It costs about 10–15 thousand euros depending on the complexity of the workpiece,” says Pócza, who knows that a lot of fastener manufacturers do not execute this process in-house: “By comparison we solve this in-house with costs of about 1000–1500 euros. This is a significant difference.”
This improvement involving a major investment in the company was preceded by careful consideration. “I did not want to decide it alone, so I involved my colleagues in the search and selection from the beginning,” explains Pócza, who adds: “It took about two months to review all possibilities and our decision was unanimous.” The Hungarian distributor helped us with professional advice to choose the best-suited machine for all parties involved from the beginning. And they offered a unique 12-year positioning guarantee for their solution.
Pócza remembers the selection process: “We had the opportunity to visit reference companies where these machines were already operating and this was very useful when we made the final decision. Furthermore, we brought one of our workpieces for test machining, so we could be convinced about the capabilities the machine in industrial use.” He said the following about the attitude of M+E Kft.: “I never felt they simply wanted to sell us a machine. Rather, they helped us to find the perfect solutions for our purposes.”
Uniriv Kft. has been ccommitted to supporting the education and training of the younger generation for many years. “We have a close partnership with the local vocational high school, and we accept 8–10 students per year as trainees, with some of the them starting work at our company after graduation,” says Pócza, who thinks the younger generation is open-minded for the new technology based on their nature and work happily with world-leading technologies. “The youngsters use the modern equipment and most of the older colleagues were left on universal machine tools. I think this is the optimal solution for everyone and all colleagues can work with machine that they want to,” Pócza believes.
The company takes into consideration the expertise of all relevant colleagues when investigating a machine in depth. There was an in-house request for both the wire EDM and die-sinking EDM purchased from the same manufacturer. Reliable support and service are at least as important as the capabilities of the machines. “We are absolutely satisfied with the machines, the support and the background service. Quality was also essential since we had planned in the long term for machines working in two shifts,” says Pócza summing up. “It’s obviously an advantage that we can respond flexibly to our customers’ demands thanks to a truly high-standard tool workshop.”
“I never felt they simply wanted to sell us a machine. Rather, they helped us to find the perfect solutions for our purposes.” Zsolt Pócza
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