STEELWORK ENGINEERING SPECIALIST PELFA GROUP EXPANDS ITS HYDRO SEGMENT

Autor: Mario Kogler , 24.02.2020

Steelwork engineering provider PELFA Group Srl., which has its headquarters in the Northern Italian town of Buia near Udine, last year inaugurated its new production hall.

With this milestone event in its company history, PELFA has achieved a considerable expansion of its in-house manufacturing competence. Founded in the late 1970s, the tradition-steeped corpo­ration today manufactures high-quality industrial components for the energy sector, railway operators, the military, hoisting technology providers, and the construction industry. For more than 10 years, PELFA Group has been a reliable partner of the hydropower industry and proven its competence with a series of international large-scale projects. High quality and ma­terial standards, as well as efficient project management and customer-focussed service have earned the industrial engineering firm an excellent reputation. It is no wonder, then, that a growing number of international manufacturers in the steelworks engineering industry trust in PELFA’s competence and have their high-quality hydropower components delivered from the PELFA facilities near Udine.

The pioneering spirit of PELFA’s founder Redento Fabbro is still palpable today throughout the firm’s manufacturing facilities. After all, it’s qualities like his drive for innovation, flexibility and openness to new developments that the firm still practices today. Since its foundation in 1979, the firm has grown to its current workforce of 150 staff. Over the years it was possible to preserve the traditions held dear in the family-owned business of back then. “Our employees are still our most valuable capital,” explains Ing. Forgiarini Andrea, who has been serving as PELFA Group’s CEO since 2004. This appreciative corporate culture not only promotes a positive social interaction among employees, it is also essential for ensuring smooth collaboration between the various departments. “This way, we can keep our internal employee turnover on a very low level, which means valuable competence stays within the company. Of course, this policy also benefits our customers,” says Ing. Forgiarini Andrea, adding that “For us it’s essential that we stay flexible despite our constant growth and change. This allows us to respond quickly to all kinds of new situations, but that works only with seasoned, well experienced employees.” The various teams are used to working in close ollaboration, which eliminates communication barriers between the individual professional groups involved. “Although we are a mid-sized industrial firm we actually practice the corporate culture of a small-sized business with its flat internal operational structures,” as Andrea explains. This means that engineers, welders, material engineers, varnishers, customer support staff, product, project and quality managers, as well as technical editors and communicators are working hand in glove with each other at the local manufacturing facilities. What is more, says Ing. Forgiarini Andrea, “We even interlinked the offices visually with glass panels instead of walls.” This streamlined management structure allows a close focus on details to enable smooth project processes across the various different areas of competence.

NEW INVESTMENT – NEW PERSPECTIVES

The manufacturing processes can be tailored to individual requirements to cover the variety of components for individual contracts. New investments are undertaken every year to accommodate both current and future market developments. “It’s a constant process of adjusting to the market situation,” as Ing. Forgiarini Andrea explains. To keep up with changing market demands, a new machine shop was put up last year and taken into operation in December. With this extension, PELFA expanded its manufacturing floor space by 1,000 m² to a total of 25,000 m². Equipped with some new manufacturing equipment, it did not take long for this promising investment to prove its worth. “As far as our manufacturing processes, assembly work and just-in-time deliveries are concerned, they are now easier to plan, and they can be implemented more efficiently to boot. This means we are now able to suit our customer’s requirements even better, and we are able to respond more quickly and flexibly to belated changes,” says Andrea. To put this added value into practice, other departments were reorganised as well, with targeted optimisations in individual areas ranging from the delivery network to warehousing, logistics, and quality management.

HIGH QUALITY STANDARD

At PELFA, the quality of individual industrial components is not just spot tested. Instead, quality testing is incorporated already at the planning stage of the individual manufactring concepts. Every day at least five seasoned and highly qualified staff are busy ensuring the proper implementation of quality standards, subjecting the components to rigorous tests after each relevant manufacturing step. PELFA takes its quality testing very seriously, which has other advantages as well, as CEO Andrea explains. “Good quality management makes it easy to spot further optimisation potential.” As a result, quality assurance is an essential contributor to the firm’s further development.

SERVICES AND POTENTIAL

PELFA Group has been active in international markets for forty years, specialising in the manufacture of systems, machines, and mechanical and welded components for a variety of different industries. PELFA covers the entire production process, from order acquisition to the delivery of the finished turnkey product. All working steps can be performed on-site, including comprehensive contract management, engineering, materials purchasing, cutting of sheet metals and structural shapes, pressing, bending, calendering, welding, heat treatment, tooling, sand blasting and painting, as well as pre-assembly and mechanical final testing. The shops are equipped with cutting-edge technology such as CNC and NC ([Computer] Numerical Control), but also with traditional machinery, to enable the manufacture of components for industries ranging from steelwork engineering to energy technology, mining, and various others. PELFA’s portfolio includes the construction of new facilities, overhauling and restoration of existing equipment, delivery of parts and components, and the installation of selected turnkey systems. These services include materials sourcing, oxygen cutting, welding and machining of parts up to a weight of 100 tonnes. Many years of experience in industrial metal engineering have allowed PELFA Group to acquire extensive knowledge in engineering,  anufacture and delivery of products for the heavy industry. This comprehensive knowledge, as well as the firm’s reliability in terms of contract implementation and deliveries, have convinced a long list of hydropower businesses to choose PELFA Group as a proven project partner. “Each of our customers and partners is assigned a dedicated project leader, who acts as a contact that they can consult with on all relevant issues,” says Andrea. Each order is processed differently, depending on the individual customer’s requirements. “Over the last ten years we have acquired extensive knowledge concerning the manufacture of high-quality system components for hydropower projects. By now, we can provide almost the entire range of related competences as in-house services. That’s our strong suit today,” concludes Ing. Forgiarini Andrea. The share of hydropower projects in the firm’s annual turnover of around 25 million euros amounts to roughly 60 per cent. PELFA offers its customers a wide range of high-quality hydropower plant components such as draft tubes and housings, as well as fully-featured Kaplan, Francis, Pelton or hydrodynamic turbines. One of the largest parts ever manufactured by PELFA is currently on its way to the hydropower construction site of HPP Bodorna in Georgia.

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PELFA Group’s new machine shop was taken into operation last December. The resulting extended workshop floor space and additional machinery enable a more detailed implementation of customer requirements.

photo credits: PELFA Group

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Measuring 8 m in length and weighing 70 tonnes, the component is transported to its destination in Georgia. With a design flow rate of 35 m3/s, HPP Bodorna generates a rated output of 2.556 kW. Commissioning of the plant by Gugler Water Turbines GmbH
is scheduled for next September.

photo credits: PELFA Group

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Group photo in front of the 20 t pump impeller. (left to right) Giulia Alessia, Sales; Erich Feldtänzer, Regional Head of Sales for German-speaking countries; Ing. Forgiarini Andrea, CEO, PELFA; Alessandro Bertino, Head of Mechanical Manufacturing.

photo credits: zek