High-quality components make up performing gearboxes. O.L.V. Officina Meccanica has made its long way, specializing in high-precision machining with NC machines for turning, milling, deep drilling and gear cutting of spline shafts. Federico Valle has told us the past, the present and the future of the company.
In 1988 his father Giuseppe Valle, after a twenty-year experience as metalworker employee, decided “working on his own” establishing O.L.V. Officina Meccanica, headquartered at San Carlo Canavese, in Turin province (Italy).
In 2020, the second generation in the person of Federico Valle joins the father in the management of the company, specialized in the machining of transmission shafts and pinions.
«The company started 32 years ago with two people and two lathes. Along the years, we have gradually grown and today we can count 50 employees and a machine fleet of around 80 Numerical Control units of various typologies».
The core business
The primary customers of O.L.V. Officina Meccanica are represented by multinationals that manufacture and assemble transmissions and gearboxes intended for vehicle manufacturers, for automotive, agricultural, industrial and earth handling machines. «Wherever a transmission is present, we can intervene with our offer and our turning, milling, deep drilling and gear cutting machining of spline shafts. We are specialized in the operations that precede bevel gear cutting, intervening in case of straight toothing».
20% of O.L.V. Officina Meccanica’s business is constituted by the automotive segment, exclusively represented by luxury and sports cars by prestigious brands, with approximate yearly productions of 6,000 pieces.
«We work as a subcontractor, therefore we rigorously operate upon customers’ engineering and design. They generally provide us with the technical documentation, then with phase designs with the various operations required, and after assessing the feasibility with our machines, we provide for issuing an offer».
O.L.V. Officina Meccanica can manage both subcontracting and full job orders. «lf preferred, customers can send us their material for the machining but we can also provide for buying the material from steelworks or resellers. Moreover, if preliminary heat treatments are needed, we can manage them turning to one of our trusted suppliers».
Along the years, we have also added a stronger and stronger automation component, with anthropomorphic robots and automated arms for loading/unloading. «We have started automated manufacturing on some turning and deep drilling lines. However, being a subcontractor and working on medium-small batches, where we sometimes manage even 20-30 pieces, there are still machines with manual loading/unloading, with the operator who provides for the component control. Concerning transmissions, we can also manage batches up to 10, 000 parts but, since we do not operate in the automotive market of small cars but instead of luxury cars, we must not produce millions of components».
Precisely due to the demanding typology of customers, which mount transmissions on luxury cars, the company is asked to supply very high technical quality, with extremely strict tolerances. «In this context, a relevant role is played by our forefront metrological room, which uses Numerical Control machines of different kind, such as optical scanning machines, three-dimensional machines and other measuring instruments, such as profilometers and profilographs, for the validation of the single piece».
Moreover, each machine of the production department is equipped with measuring instruments that are directly used by the operator on machine board for the piece control.
Today the outstanding challenge resides in quality: if customers go on buying products in Europe, and especially in Italy, the reason must be sought in the capability of assuring quality and of giving real product guarantees, in view of its whole future service life.
Ready for a more complex technique
In recent years, the products needed by the transmission market have become increasingly complex from the technical point of view, to full benefit of the performance of lighter and technically better gearboxes and clutches.
«Nowadays, final customers design increasingly competitive transmissions, with very high performances that need extremely precise and reliable inner components. While in the past it was not possible to intervene with some operations because machines could not technologically reach utmost precision, today we overcome new frontiers, for instance avoiding pre-grinding operations executed before gear cutting, due to the extreme precision that already allows achieving the best result with turning».
*** foratrice profonda
In clutches and in gearboxes, deep drilling has become very important to improve performances: more lubrication and less material, which means more lightness and higher heat dispersion.