Its headquarters are in heart of Umbria and it is renowned in the world market, one of the leading suppliers of aeronautical ball screws: this is Umbra Cuscinetti S.p.A.
Supplier of the most sophisticated solutions for high-tech markets in the industrial, energy and aeronautical sectors, Umbra Cuscinetti was established in Foligno, Italy over 40 years ago (1972) and today it is the parent company of UmbraGroup, an international brand which operates several manufacturing sites.
We went to Foligno to see, close up, the multinational that has extended its presence over the years, first in Europe with the takeover of two German companies: Kuhn Präzisionsspindeln Und Gewindetechnik in Freiberg am Neckar and Präzisionkugeln Eltmann in Eltmann, and then in the United States with the takeover of Northwest Gears in Everett. Last but not least, a Research Centre was established in Albanella, Italy in 2012 to develop high-performance electric motors, thus opening new opportunities connected to the mechatronics world. A flagship of Italian industry, UmbraGroup employs about one thousand employees who work at the various facilities, and has a profit of 160 million Euro; moreover, it has always been a reference partner for world-class companies and a leader in their reference markets, such as Boeing, Airbus, British Airways, Lufthansa, KLM, Lockheed Martin, Trumpf and Schaeffler Group for which it is an official supplier.
As of 2014, Mr. Antonio Baldaccini, son of UmbraGroup’s founder Valter Baldaccini, was appointed CEO & President of UmbraGroup, a position that he manages enthusiastically utilizing strong leadership skills. His global vision, based on his twenty years of experience at the Group, provides a strong innovative boost that is actively leading Umbra toward a new phase of development. With solid results, Mr. Baldaccini is creating a new managerial business culture by increasingly empowering management, involving all process protagonists, rewarding merit and fighting against waste: “Only by challenging people daily will we be able to face future challenges with the goal of being FIRST!”
Concrete Values with no Compromise
Umbra Cuscinetti S.p.A. lays its foundation on clear structural values understood by all employees with no compromise. These values are contained in the acronym FIRST, which simultaneously mirrors the reasons that make it a unique partner. Umbra is aware that the long-lasting prosperity at the core of economic development is preserved when productivity goes hand and hand with concern for people. UmbraGroup pursues a sustainable profit while developing its human resources and employee contributions, thus driving ethical and solid growth so that all can benefit from it. UmbraGroup is deeply committed to the enhancement of ethical principles, to innovation and social responsibility, in short, a method that allows it to successfully face market challenges.
Let’s analyse, one by one, each of the inspiring values that are the basis of the Group’s success.
Focus on customers. Umbra establishes a cooperative relationship of confidence and trust with customers, and aims at being chosen as the best economically sustainable solution. Each customer is strenghtened and their satisfaction is the ultimate goal.
Innovation. UmbraGroup creates an environment that encourages innovation, one where change is seen as a source of wealth and growth opportunity. Curiosity is source of learning, and new ideas are welcomed and are flexibly and rapidly put into practice.
Respect. Listening to customers and stakeholders and understanding them comes first, as does keeping ones’s promises. Adherence to business values, as well as conforming with current regulations, are essential in both corporate and private life.
Social Responsibility. Work can also be an effective instrument for contributing to the common good. This is the reason UmbraGroup promotes employee wellbeing and development both inside and outside of the workplace by promoting equality and taking care of all stakeholder needs.
Teamwork. Great teamwork is accomplished by a skilled and motivated staff who succeed in achieving important results and actively taking part in attaining goals and solving problems that are difficult to handle alone.
Enthusiasm and solid professional ethics put UmbraGroup at the forefront in its reference sectors. Its mission, in short, is: “Being the customer’s supplier of screws, ballscrews, bearings, actuators and components for high tech markets. We partner with each customer to implement the best solutions”. To reach this goal, the Group invests strategically in Research and Development. Important results are achieved throught collaborations with Italian universities, international research centres and exclusive , consolidated relationships with the Research and Development departments of well-known customers. The majority of offers are,in fact, customised, and the customisation process includes all phases of production starting from the design, not only in technical aspects, but also in that of co-design.
Products and Application Sectors
We will now focus on products and relative application sectors. This will allow us to better understand the versatility of this multinational manufacturer which operates in several key sectors, from aerospace to the industrial and energy environments. The Group addresses these markets with a diversified range of products: balls, bearings, ballscrews, and actuators.
Let’s start with aeronautical recirculating ballscrews (RBS). UmbraGroup is among the world’s market leaders. It’s ballscrew applications are found in primary flight controls, in high lift systems, in thrust reverse, in wheel and propeller brakes, and in auxiliary systems. In the industrial market, RBS are used in various application sectors, such as machine tools, railway, presses, milling machines, packaging, automaton, biomedical, and shipping. Another top product line are Umbra’s large-size balls and roller bearings, which have a wide application in large-size machines and plants, from rolling mills and mining plants to oil rigs, to machine tools, power transmission and renewable energy generation plants.
Finally, let’s talk about Electromechanical Actuators (EMA) which perfectly integrate the traditional Umbra mechanical components such as bearings, recirculating ballscrews, and gears, with motors, electronics and software. Intended for the aeronautical, industrial and energy markets, they are compact and silent, characterised by low consumption and cost, high performance and solid reliability. Additionally, UmbraGroup can supply other systems and components developed for high-tech markets. Finally, Umbra provides dependable after-sale service which allows them to consolidate and maintain customer relationships: a crucial strategic necessity in today’s marketplace.
Foligno: where it all started
Today, under the leadership of the new CEO, Mr. Antonio Baldaccini, a new corporate phase has begun with a managerial business organization and a new innovative expansion, where people and technologies are the key instruments in facing the new market challenges.
It goes without saying that here at the Umbra Cuscinett headquarters, the improvements are immediately noticable. In fact, last year, they began a remodelling effort that has already borne fruit and will make the factory even more comfortable and functional. The facility has 25,500 m2 of production space and 2500 m2 for offices and services, including a dedicated cafeteria for 704 employees who are made up of machinists, engineers, administrative employees and top management.
There is great enthusiasm among the management team, especially Luca Amici, Vice president Industrial Products Umbra Cuscinetti, Marco Ceccarelli, Director Electromechanical Actuators, Umbra Cuscinetti, and Lucio Panzolini, Business Development Manager Electromechanical Actuators.
Umbra has adopted an approach aimed at reducing waste and increasing effectiveness and efficiency. This approach called “Lean Production” permeates the entire company, from the manufacturing processes to management training. The method is aimed at streamlining production and minimizing waste to the point of eliminating it. This is also extended to business management, as a fulfilment of Lean Management. An innovative boost is reflected in continuous Research and Development of new products, which is conducted at the Research Centre in Salerno. Umbra invests almost two million per year to remain at the leading edge of the sector. The company has always cultivated an innovative attitude, approaching the customer as a global supplier capable of actively taking part in the creation of customised products. This customisation process starts with the co-design, an increasingly sought-after service today. Although the company has based its fortune on custom-made products, today they feel the need to open up to a wider market and to seek out new opportunities that might emerge: with this goal, they are studying product lines with standard characteristics that feature faster response times and more competitive soltuions, with more suitable costs and delivery terms for standard clients. Several other aspects heartily embraced by management in addition to research and development, include after sale service, product cycle efficiency, low environmental impact and concern for worker’s’ health and safety.
The valuable support of the ERP Software
For UmbraGroup, being the leader is not simply having a set of shared values applied daily, but also being a skilled trendsetter. Microsoft has just started marking the new version of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the American giant’s management software for large companies fully based in the cloud. It was previewed by UmbraGroup, the only Italian company among the few companies selected worldwide by Microsoft to develop the new ERP. The product was tested at the PKE facility of Eltmann and, following the pilot phase, they started creating the valid “core model” for all sites where the management software will be extended in the next three years. This project will continue and as a key leader on a global scale, UmbraGroup’s strategy is focused on improving the efficiency of the various Group factories and manufacturing processes, as well as human resources in its entirety.
A Company and its territory
Speaking of Umbra Cuscinetti S.p. A, it is worth highlighting the importance of its presence in the region. It provides employment opportunities which are expected to increase further, reaching at least 1200 workers. Also, consider the reference induced activities and the entirety of activities linked with social responsibility, one of UmbraGroup’s principles. For years, the company has been committed to supporting actions in both the local and international communities. with the aim of actively intervening in the cultural, social, and environmental spheres. A Social Responsibility Committee is entrusted with the task of evaluating and selecting the projects that will later be implemented. In the area around Foligno and in the Provence of Perugia in particular, they have undertaken educational and socio-cognitive projects with schools and local municipalities such as establishing a library, tailor-made for children in Foligno, and donating personal computers for the computer lab at a school in Spello. Moreover, last May, the Valter Baldaccini Foundation was established in honour of UmbraGroup’s founding father. Umbra Cuscinetti S.p. A. is one of the founding members. The foundation’s mission is to continue to accomplish Valter Baldaccini’s work by sponsoring national and international projects in scope in the fields of social and cultural research and technology.