Aignep celebrates 40 years of growth and innovation in the fluid technology.
Established in 1976, the Italian company Aignep started its activity as subcontractor, producing components in the ambit of fittings for hydraulic and, in the specific case, water plants. Between the late Eighties and the early Nineties the turning point occurred: Aignep decided to approach the market with various investments for the development of solutions intended for fittings with the company’s brand. The natural evolution and the growing specialization in this ambit was characterized by an enlargement of the product range and by a gradual reduction of subcontracting activities, an area that still exists today but represents just a marginal aspect of the corporate activity. In 1992 the company changed its business structure, becoming part of Bugatti Group, a reality operating in various manufacturing sectors, such as – besides others– the machine tool and the outdoor lighting technique industry; Aignep has however maintained its original technical character, continuing its investment and development course. The productive facilities, taking up a surface of 22,000 square metres, are headquartered at Bione, in Brescia province, and the company has sales branches in USA, Spain, Switzerland, Brazil and France.
Different materials, five product lines
Aignep has five different product lines: fittings, solenoid valves and cylinders, automatic quick couplings, solenoid valves for the fluid control and compressed air treatment components.
To manufacture these parts, Aignep uses a broad range of materials, such as brass, steel, plastic and implements in-house the entire production. During our meeting with Mr Graziano Bugatti, general manager of the company, he underlined: «if you analyse our catalogues, you might suppose that we do not manufacture all product ranges whereas we have instead a notable diversification of both competences and machinery». Talking about the applications of their products, Bugatti added: «We can supply products to all those companies that use compressed air. Product sectors are manifold. We rely on specific products for sectors like automation, pharmaceutics and automotive. We address industrial distributors, not end-users». We are presenting here the latest product lines that the Brescia company has released on the market.
The 40.000V series: metal push-in fittings with FKM seals
It is a line of fittings for heavy-duty activities. The push-in fitting generally reaches 15 Bars, this line features 30 Bars and it is mounted as standard with a seal for high temperatures and use with aggressive chemical products. «It is a niche product» told us Bugatti «that however only Aignep stocks up in various typologies, from 4 to 4 mm of tube ».
The 40.000V series by Aignep satisfies the market requirements where it is necessary a “high performance” component both in terms of pressure and of temperature. This range derives from the development of high-temperature applications with NP 30 bars. Fully nickel-plated, with FKM seals as standard, the 40.000V is equipped with high-performance tube clamping washers, which allow working while withstanding high pressures and traction. In case of vibrations, this range grants the best sealing, both in pressurized and vacuum conditions. It is usable with inert gases and liquids compatible with composing materials and it has quick connection and disconnection. The line assures full flow and vacuum resistance thanks to special shaped seals and two threads are available, BSPP and Metric. The line products stand out for high resistance to temperature and pressure and they are silicon free. Their applications are mainly in the air, cooling water, vacuum and steam sectors: pneumatic automation in high-temperature environments, automotive, welding, heavy industry and especially, as already said, in presence of challenging conditions and of strong vibrations.
Food grade push-in fittings for drinking water
With the “59.000 Foods & Drinks” line, in compliance with the constant regulatory evolution of the food industry, Aignep proposes a range of products in conformity with NSF 51 and NSF 61 and 372, as well as with 1935/2004/CE and DM 174.
This line, made with a special lead-free alloy CW510L, has been devised for all those customers that have this new growing need. It is a range especially implemented for the diary industry, coffee machines and vending, food&beverage, the medical and vacuum ambit. It is characterized by quick connection and disconnection, full flow and vacuum sealing thanks to shaped seals, three thread typologies.
The stainless steel washer grants the perfect clamping of tubes of any material, without damaging their surface. The connection between tube and fitting grants the total tightness even in case of impacts and vibrations. Besides, the particular geometry of seals allows the use of fittings in vacuum conditions as well. All the threads of this series are equipped with tightening parts, which allow the immediate use of fittings, notably reducing installation times. Finally, the orienting fitting with safety ring inside improves durability to rotation and traction.
The stainless steel series
It is a series of push-in fittings, automatic quick couplings, adapters, valves and function fittings. The quick line 60.000, fully made of 316L stainless steel, enables the circulation of corrosive fluids and/or the creation of circuits in aggressive environments. They are food grade products, suitable for the permanent contact with alimentary fluids, for the use in challenging environments, also salty, which can be sanitized or undergo washing with the most aggressive detergents, too.
Some outstanding characteristics of the series are the quick connection and disconnection, the full flow and the vacuum tightness thanks to shaped seals. The applications where the products of the 60.000 series find applications are automation in presence of washings, the diary industry, the chemical, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industry, medical and “life & sciences”.
Automatic quick couplings
The range of Aignep quick couplings allows the company to give an adequate answer to the manifold requirements of its customers: the different applications, the performances and the reliability are the advantages given by the whole of this relevant range.
With simple or double interception of nickel-plated brass, made of stainless steel, compliant with the main reference regulations, they can be used to convey various fluids. Blowguns are supplied as completion. This series is mainly used in compressed air plants, in pneumatic and fluidic automation, in the food & beverage and life & sciences sectors, in the mould cooling and in processes with inert gases.
The main features of this series are the profiles from DN 2.5 to 12mm, normalized profiles, multi-coupling ranges, the fixing possibility with one hand only. It stands out for lightness and small footprint and it is equipped with safety versions.
Investments in automation and new products
We asked Mr Bugatti some remarks about Aignep’s markets and commercial strategy. 70% of the production addresses foreign Countries, with coverage of the entire European market and American continent. The markets where the company is less present, Bugatti explained us, are the Asian ones, and this is mainly due to price reasons. The general manager specified: «Our products are of European quality and then they rank in a high-end range. However, it is true that every year we succeed in growing a bit in Asia, too, because also the demand for high-quality products is increasing. Investing in automation has been for several years our strategy to decrease costs. In the company, the production units requiring the operator’s presence are very few. For 15 years now, processes have been increasingly automated, from raw materials to shipment». Bugatti acknowledges the merit of the constant growth of Aignep to two fundamental factors: «First, the company hugely invests in the design of new products and every year it can offer new articles. Then, we rely on a big well-stocked warehouse. Concerning this issue, we are a bit in countertendency with the lean production, but it is a precise choice we made several years ago: all standard products are always available in our warehouse and naturally this highly favours delivery terms».
Fluidity high-performance solenoid valves
Fluidity is Aignep line of solenoid valves subdivided into three typologies according to the flow rate: direct acting, direct acting diaphragm and servo-assisted diaphragm valves. Direct acting solenoid valves can deliver a maximum admissible pressure of 40 bars, thanks to a diameter of the fluid passage orifice that goes from 1 to 5 mm. Diaphragm versions can reach a pressure of 25 bars, being equipped with an orifice for the fluid passage whose diameter varies from 10 to 25 mm. In this case, threads range from ¼” up to 1” of diameter. The third type of solenoid valve, still diaphragm type ‘Series 03F’, even if featuring the same sizes of the thread and orifice diameter, allows the opening-closing of the diaphragm even at pressure approximately reaching 0 bars. To allow satisfying all most various application ambits, the company provides for three types of seals: for air, inert gases, water (up to 75°C), mineral oils, fuel oils and diesel with temperatures from -10°C up to +90°C it is advisable the NBR; for mineral oils, petrol and fuel oils with temperatures from -10°C up to +140°C, the adoption of FKM is suggested whereas, for hot eater and steam at a maximum pressure of 2.5 bars, with temperatures from -10°C to +140°C, the EPDM is adopted. The electro-pilot, made of stainless steel and laser-welded, allows reaching maximum pressures of 40 bars and approaching heavy-duty applications.
Brass and stainless steel
The solenoid valve body is made of brass or stainless steel, ideal for applications in environments where aggressive fluids are present (like for instance the food industry). The guide tube, the fixed and mobile core and springs are all made of stainless steel. This choice allows granting product sturdiness and durability in time. Another autumn novelty concerns the direct acting valves of the Fluidity line: they will be manufactured with a new technology in steel 316, through an injection process. This will allow reducing the product cost by at least 30% in comparison with those implemented with the conventional micro-casting process.