CORDIS - EU research results

Energy and Resource Efficient, Highly Innovative Solution Integrating Punching and Laser Coil Technology for Metal Manufacturing Industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Efficoil (Energy and Resource Efficient, Highly Innovative Solution Integrating Punching and Laser Coil Technology for Metal Manufacturing Industry)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2016-05-31

PRODUTECH S.r.l. is an Italian company, specialized in metal sheet working machines, that counts on more than 20 years’ experience in innovative production machines, including key metal processes such as punching and fibre laser cutting technologies. Our products constantly evolve in line with continuous R&D efforts: their high innovation degree, allows PRODUTECH to be a notable actor on the global market of metal working machines, accounting for 166 customers in Europe and 22 customers outside the EU.
Industrial activities are responsible for more than one fourth of the total energy consumption in Europe. In particular, the metallurgical industry is responsible for about 20% of such energy expenditure, summing up to about 51Mtoe per year. In this context, metal forming machines are used in a wide range of discrete production areas, including white goods, steel furniture, lighting and electrical equipment, construction, automotive, agriculture, air-conditioning and insulation, road signs and a lot more.
At moment, no solutions are available in the market offering a complete integration of the metal forming process, including electric punching, fibre laser cutting and direct coil feeding. The integration of these three technologies (laser, punching, coil feeding) represents the key factor enabling the resource efficiency offered by EffiCOIL. With this project, PRODUTECH aims to launch to market a new machine for metal coil working, combining the flexibility of coil metal punching – process already patented by PRODUTECH - with the precision and speed of the coil fibre laser cutting - first brought to market by PRODUTECH.
The objectives of the study were achieved through a technical, commercial and financial evaluation, where key issues related to IP, technical challenges, market opportunity, business strategy, risks assessment, financial simulations, were approached.
As a result of the Feasibility Study (FS) prepared, several key findings can be appointed. Regarding the technical aspects, considering EffiCOIL current state of art, the project feasibility is confirmed. We have been able to successfully demonstrate the EffiCOIL technology core: to separate the heads and lower supports of the punching tool and laser cutter, so now they can move independently or synchronized on work phase, without the need for mechanical transmissions. Besides, several risks were identified and evaluated bringing back the conclusion that major challenges will be related to a) the integration of punching tool and fiber laser cutting and b) the synchronizing of the ancillary equipment with the main machine. Meanwhile, the commercial assessment confirms the market opportunity. The sector trends are positive and there exist many niches where EffiCOIL is potentially the best solution. EffiCOIL value proposition and unique selling are unique (none of our competitors offer comparable solutions) and will satisfy unmet market needs, as current distributors and customer have expressed. We aim to consolidate our current markets in Europe and abroad and, at the same time, we will begin to prepare the international expansion in other countries. To achieve that, PRODUTECH large commercial expertise enables to attach EffiCOIL to our already established commercialization channels. Furthermore, we hold a well-developed value chain, from distributors to institutions (i.e. UCIMU) and suppliers.
Finally, regarding the financial evaluation we claim a highly profitable project for a moderate base scenario, in terms of sales, cost structure and selling price. The FS performed provide a comprehensive view of the technical, commercial and financial steps to be taken in order to minimize risks and optimize the strengths and opportunities, and the conclusion that we must go ahead with EffiCOIL project and apply to SME Instrument to get phase 2 funding.
On one side, directly working from coil allows a drastic raw materials savings, as well as accessory machines and processes, thus resulting in consistent reductions in CAPEX, power consumption, occupied surface and required manpower. On the other side, the integration of punching and laser cutting allows a reduction in power consumption and production time, as well as a higher quality and flexibility of the final products. Finally, the usage of electric punching with forming tools allows the elimination of hydraulic oil, with a consequent elimination of polluting liquids and dangerous gas emissions. The integrated technology will result in a 52% reduction of energy consumption for metal sheet production, as well as a 20-30% reduction of wasted metal sheet, with a decrease in Capex and Opex if compared with standard solutions.
With a moderate sales forecast (cumulative sales in 2019-2023 period below 50 units and 19 units sold in 2023), the profitability of the project would be high (IRR>20%). This is more than realistic taking into account our current expertise: 166 European and 22 extra-European customers, 37 European and worldwide distributors, etc.
Nonetheless, EffiCOIL project is not just about PRODUTECH growth, but also about contributing to build a “smart, sustainable and inclusive” EU for the 21st century. Nowadays, industrial activities account for more than one fourth of the total energy consumption in Europe and metallurgical industry is about one fifth of such energy expenditure, summing up to about 0.6TWh per year and for about 5% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. In this context, a single punching and cutting processing line consumes about 0.11MWh per year. EffiCOIL integrated solution will result in a 52% reduction of energy consumption for metal sheet production, as well as a 20-30% reduction of wasted metal sheet, a part from 40% of CAPEX reduction, 36% saving of occupied surface and the elimination of CO2 emission, compared with other laser cutting technologies. Furthermore, the 40% reduction in processing time and 70% less of personnel intervention, allowed by EffiCOIL solution, is aligned with the EU Key Enabling Technologies (KET) strategy and with the European need to transit from traditional manufacturing facilities towards the Factory 4.0 philosophy and the smart production.