At FerroČrtalič, one of the most advanced global providers of specialized high-end solutions for surface treatment challenges, they took a strategic decision on building up their research & development and service capabilities so as to better serve and support their worldwide and industrywide customers.
Mr. Bojan Črtalič, Founder and Procurator of this family-owned global company, and Mr. Darko Malnarič, R&D Manager, are explaining us more about reasons for this bold move and present us more about installed capabilities.
(?) MFN: Mr. Črtalič, could you tell us more about the reasons for this bold & bravehearted decision during these turbulent times?
(!) B. C.: Since its very beginnings, we have been very strong R&D and customer oriented at FerroČrtalič. Step by step, we were building our test & service center over time. We were always striving to explore new fields in correlation to surface treatment with different technologies and for different industries. A lot of own and co-financed R&D projects have been successfully accomplished in the past period, probably also due to my engineering background and my passion to achieve and exceed the limits of what is known and possible in this very specific field. Therefore, we could proudly say that striving for new challenges and transcending existing boundaries is cemented into our company DNA!
So you can easily understand that this decision was not only a logic one, but also a very easy natural one to take. Today’s and even tomorrow’s customers are increasingly demanding: precision and superior knowledge are becoming a decisive competitive advantage.
(?) MFN: And what were main directions/goals that you were following with this strategic capability built up?
(!) B. C.: Well, we are following very closely the involvement of our strategic markets/industries and new related technologies. On this basis, we decided that we have to:
- upgrade our own capabilities in the field of shot peening, especially for aerospace industry;
- join the amazing journey of AM–3D printing technology - development of totally new segment with state-of-the-art solutions Addiblast®;
- secure our presence in the future Laser Cleaning&Texturing&Marking technology; and
- implement UL Standards and secure up-to-date in-house quality laboratory with all key measuring and other equipment.
By virtue of all these, we are now more than ready for tackling practically all key future challenges from our fields of interest!
(?) MFN: Mr. Malnarič, can you walk and talk us through up presented novelties?
(!) D. M.: I would be glad to do that. For beginning, let me point out that last year we have made 21 tests in our center for customers from Europe to the USA. Apart from this, we are also making specific services and in that sense help our customers optimize their processes and financial technically and financially.
For the beginning, let’s first start with our new shot peening machine Blast 20-20 AUTO/ROBO. With this machine, we are able to shot-peen parts up to 1500 mm in diameter and 1000 mm high. Nozzle movement can be done by 2-axis servo driven manipulators or with a robot arm ABB IRB 4600 type, while the table rotation can be used as the 7th axis of robot arm or independent for continuous rotation. For precise shot or Peen-blast process double chamber pressure vessel in installed end and equipped with several MagnaValves. The process of shot peening is controlled by PLC and SCADA systems, where all parameter scans are set and monitored by our own FerroEco Smart Panel.
Nevertheless, the aerospace industry has not yet fully recovered since the COVID-19 shock, but we were able now to perform some very interesting tests for the most demanding companies from this industry, such as shot peening of jet engine blades and vanes and many more components.
Now, when the companies from all others industries are restarting their investment projects, we are ready to showcase & prove best solutions and new ideas what are we able to achieve.
In our last year’s article, we presented reasons and goals for our jumping on the train of AM (Additive Manufacturing) with a new product portfolio under the brand name Addiblast®. The logical next step for us was to acquire newest SLS technology-based 3D printer for our Lab. With this machine, we are able to make our own tests of this new amazing & disruptive technology, produce parts for our own needs and also offer services to our valued partnering companies from the field of our interest.
Since laser technology is emerging as one of the technologies of the future that might slowly start to substitute certain classical blasting solutions, we had to start preparing us intensively for this possible shift.
With the latest and most advanced 300W Laser system, we are also exploring and testing projects related to laser texturing and marking in some high-end industries such as EVs, precise aluminium alloy or titanium parts, super-precise components, or medical implants. This technology is very interesting also due to its greater environmental acceptability.
And last but not least, we upgraded our up-to-date quality laboratory with all key measuring and other equipment such as an optical metallurgical microscope, endoscope, different roughness testers, etc…
We are fully aware that working towards our strategic goal of becoming one of the best global providers of specialized surface treatment solutions is not possible without keeping quality and innovations at the center of all our business activities!
(?) MFN: Mr. Črtalič, what would be the message to your existing and potential customers for the end?
(!) B. C.: I am extremely happy and proud of what we have achieved with our young generation so far! A big thanks goes to all employees for their commitment and passion in pursuing our common vision. The strong, dedicated and highly educated and experienced team under the leadership of my two daughters is a solid guarantee for the successful realization of all active and new projects, and for the benefit of our valued worldwide customers. I will slowly be able to retire to a well-deserved retirement...
MFN would like to thank Bojan Črtalič and Darko Malnarič for this interview!
Sela pri Dolenjskih Toplicah 47
SI-8350 Dolenjske Toplice, Slovenia
Tel. +386.7.38 45 100