Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019, TLM Srl has established itself as a leading Italian brand within the fastener machinery sector. Here we speak to Director Pietro Sorli about the growth of the business and how it became a specialist in machines for screws and bolts.
TLM is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019. Where does your company stand today in the screws and bolts making machine industry?
“Today, TLM is leading this market’s trend to leave rolling machines with a surplus of electronics and return to machines with mechanical solutions and adjustments. Companies have been riding the wave of digital automation in terms of adjustments. However, this excessive use of electronics has been counterproductive and uneconomical.
TLM strongly believes that the best screw machines are those featuring mechanical adjustments. Electronics alone cannot replace them and do not put users in the correct conditions to make screws. Mechanical adjustments are more flexible, easier to learn, and enhance the role of technicians – as well as their manual skills and attention. Some electronic applications are extremely useful, such as sensors used to detect distortions. Nevertheless, the standard functions of these machines must remain mechanical.”
Why is TLM focusing on combined or multi-function machines?
“Firstly, we are meeting the market’s demands, but also these types of machines are our speciality and our ability to supply such high-quality equipment is a real ‘feather in our cap’. Today, the automotive industry is the most strategic market and this puts it in a strong position to impose specific prices. If a component needs three processes, using three single machines, several loading and unloading operations, as well as requiring workpiece washing procedures, then this is just not economical. All these steps require intermediate checks, a lot of the time, and increase the risk of damage. A multi-function machine allows customers to carry out all these operations, and obtain a finished product, in just one step. The cost of a multi-function machine is amortised thanks to these time saving solutions.”
What are the main features of a TLM machine compared to those of your competitors?
“Sturdiness and durability best describe our machines. TLM machines are long-lasting, as the many overhauls they’ve been subject to over time have proven. The base – the machine’s head – has been designed so as to be rectified. Many manufacturers think that this procedure is useless. For TLM it’s essential.”
How does a new model of a TLM machine come to life?
“Our client shows us the component to be manufactured. We usually suggest a solution that allows us to carry out all the processes or washer/bushing coupling in just one step. We’ve created special loading solutions for washers, as well as loaders that bring the bushings onto the screw, or stud orientation mechanical systems. We present a pre-design that suggests solutions and provides an estimate of the processing times. Next, we test and prototype our machines. The final solution is revealed at the end of the commercial agreement.”
Where do you see your company in 10 years?
“It may appear as a simple answer to a complex question, but our guidelines are clear. We want to continuously improve our machines, making their mechanical adjustments even more user-friendly. We want to help operators work better and customise our machines based on our client’s requirements. Our passion for fine mechanics, and the creativity we have in inventing new mechanical solutions – plus resisting to the temptation to rely on electronics, is what drives us every day.”
Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 12 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.
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