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120 INDUSTRY TODAY
ANY COMPANIES ARE ABLE TO EXCEL
because they focus on a small range of products
and make sure they're manufactured to a high
standard of quality and at a price that keeps them
competitive in their market. Metalurgica Suprens
is one of those companies, making only hose clamps used by the
world's biggest and best known vehicle manufacturers.
Suprens is now in the middle of a project of expanding its line
of products to include new pieces that will mainly be used to
secure different vehicle systems, not just hoses. The company is
using its expertise in making clamps to produce the new,
stamped, pieces, which are bigger than clamps, and is mostly
using manufacturing equipment it already had, minimizing the
need for new investment.
“Ford asked us for a bid on making the parts,” said Ney
Curtolo, Suprens head of manufacturing. “It's a bit different
from what we normally do because these parts are bigger, but
we decided to give it a try and we expect to launch the new prod-
uct early next year.”
Some new equipment was needed, including different meas-
uring instruments that can handle the bigger size of the new
parts. Suprens so far hasn't needed to hire any new workers to
get test production up and running, instead sticking with the staff
it already has.
The new products, which are stronger and thicker than the typ-
ical hose clamp, will secure parts of braking systems and part of
the exhaust system into place. Another new part that the com-
pany is studying producing is a kind of heat shield, made from
aluminum, that will protect other parts of the car generated by
different parts of the exhaust system.
The company started the project two years ago, and has
already finished making most of the necessary adjustments to
their equipment and machining the new molds needed to stamp
out the new parts. The production line is now being tested, and
samples of the new parts have already be sent to Ford as well for
testing on the trucks they'll initially be used on.
“We don’t just supply products, we provide solutions,” Curtolo
said. “We’re proud of the partnerships we have with our clients.
This project was developed together with Ford, from beginning
to end, to meet their needs.”
Suprens’ main market is original parts, that go directly
into cars and other vehicles as they’re being manufactured.
Sales to vehicle makers and auto parts distributors represent
about 60 percent of total revenue, but the company also has
customers in the naval, aerospace, chemical, agricultural and
food industries.
FOUNDED IN 1958
Suprens was started in 1958, under another name, by Achiles
Orlando Curtolo and his sons, Cesar and Nilson, and family
members continue to work in the company. The name was
changed to Suprens in 1966, though the Curtolo family owns the
company even today. It's based in Campo Limpo Paulista,
located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Sao Paulo, in
the heart of the country’s industrial region and close to most of
its customers.
“They changed the name because they wanted a better com-
mercial brand name, but it wasn't a change in ownership,”
Curtolo said. “It was founded by my grandfather, and when he
died his sons took over.”
The main clients when the company was founded were Scania,
Wabis, Massey Harreys and Vemag. That list has now grown to
include Volkswagen, which is Suprens' single biggest client,
Ford, Fiat, General Motors and others. The company also exports
parts to various countries in South America, such as Argentina,
Paraguay and Chile.
“Brazil is by far the biggest automaker in South America,
so our sales are concentrated here,” Curtolo said. “We sell
replacement parts to other countries, but we focus on our
home market.”
Suprens started out making just one product, the Presil clamp,
for its clients. At the time the company was founded, Brazil's
automotive industry was largely limited to assembly operations,
a situation that has since changed dramatically, with most of the
world's biggest car makers now manufacturing vehicles almost
from scratch.
GROWING WITH THE CAR MARKET
The company was successful and expanded during the 1970s as
more and more manufacturers started buying their products.
Suprens was able to invest in new, better, faster and more pro-
ductive equipment to meet the growing demand, and in 2006
opened a new factory, of about 8000 square meters (86,000
square feet) on a property of 40,000 square meters. The invest-
ment in the new plant, and in new equipment, permitted the com-
pany to boost capacity by 40 percent, Curtolo said.
“This was to meet growing demand in the market,” he said.
“Our previous factory was about half the size of this one, so we
moved to this one to be able to grow. “Our sales have been ris-
ing along with car sales in Brazil.”
The company’s growth over the years has always been organic,
through the investment of its own cash flow in new capacity and
better products.
PROFILE • METALURGICA SUPRENS