We met Mr. Bruno Tommasini, head of SEE (Special Electronic Equipment) in GD3, the Bologna-based company's research and development center, who explained the results of this valuable collaboration.
What were the motivations that led you to choose Ever components?
"What we look for from a supplier is definitely a willingness to adapt to our needs. Ever has been a very present and helpful partner for us, able to respond to our needs to make drive modifications/customizations. The drive that was proposed to us and that we had initially assembled is no longer the same in either mechanics or electronics: the Ever drive has been completely readjusted in terms of electronic components, mechanics, dimensions, mounting holes, and internal software. Ever has always assisted and supported us in our requests, has been able to adapt its product to our needs, and we can be absolutely satisfied with the results obtained."
When did start the collaboration with Ever?
"In 2000 when SEE was established within GD3 (which was born in 1998), Ever was considered an interesting company. The relationship materialized a few years later and Ever is still our main supplier of stepper motor drives."
What are the elements that set your company apart?
"The essential element is definitely research and development: the creative capacity and high investment dedicated to the study of new solutions (more than 10% of turnover) have always generated breakthroughs in the industry. The innovations introduced by G.D also come from the ability to collaborate with its customers, to listen to their requests, to develop new solutions, and to plan and achieve future goals together. One of G.D's main objectives is to have an organization capable of anticipating customers' needs and responding in real time, creating together with its partners solutions with high added value in terms of increased production capacity and reduced unit costs.
Ours are very interesting machines in that they can wrap and pack any type of cigarette: the flexibility of G.D's machines allows them to work with different brands, from Italian manufacturers, to the U.S. and China, to big brands in the rest of the world. Once the technological innovations have been developed, G.D's commitment is to make them completely reliable through collaboration with customers who test the new machines in real production conditions, but also by monitoring the hundreds of machines installed around the world to ensure maximum reliability. The primary objective of G.D's R&D is to ensure excellent and consistent product quality."
Have you always relied on outside companies to supply the electronic components?
"G.D is a mechanical company that was established before the war and entered the tobacco industry around the 1970s. Back then the machines had very few electronics and were equipped with a single motor. Today electronics is a fundamental element: as far as possible we try to buy commercial products but the controls to be carried out on the machines require detennined characteristics (especially regarding speed) that cannot always be found on the market; for this reason G.D directly designs particular parts or electronic boards, the realization of which is entrusted to specialized companies.
In the 1980s, the controllers (PLCs) on the market were unable to meet our needs in terms of speed, amount of data, and input/output characteristics, so a controller specifically designed for our lines was developed in GD. In addition, input/output interfaces and all power devices, including stepper motor drives, had been designed. This system is still installed on 'traditional' machines, but today the companies have developed and, regarding stepper motor drivers, we have chosen to rely on Ever, which specializes in the production of drives and is therefore able to offer innovative solutions with high added value: today Ever drives are installed on all our new generation machines that have stepper motors."
G.D is a major player in the field of cigarette manufacturing and packaging machines (makers and packers). G.D is part of COESIA, an industrial group consisting of eight companies specializing in the production of automated machines.
Founded in Bologna in 1923, G.D has its roots in a city with a great tradition in mechanical technology. In fact, today the industrial district surrounding the Bologna area is called "Packaging valley" and is the world's leading district in the production of automatic packaging machines. Since 1939 the company has been owned by the Seragnoli family, whose creativity and inventiveness became the guiding force in the company's development towards the packaging machine sector, first in the food and hygiene field and then in the tobacco market.
G.D. is a company that can offer a wide range of solutions and is the only company specializing in the supply of complete high-speed lines. Through an extensive sales network consisting of 11 subsidiaries and five production plants located in Germany, Brazil, the United States, Indonesia and Japan, G.D is now present in 110 countries worldwide with more than 500 people employed abroad.
The company's headquarters are located in Bologna, Italy, where four other plants with different functions also operate: in G.D1 the traditional machines used to make the packaging are made and developed, G.D2 is the workshop where the machine tools for producing the parts are located, G.D3 is the research and development center for new technology fast machines, in GD5 the machines that make the cigarette and manage the application of the filter are developed, and GD6, in close contact with GD3, is the production center for high-tech fast machines. G.D boasts a turnover that reached 498 million euros in 2008 thanks to a worldwide workforce of more than 2225 people.