Theknos, the magazine of the College of Industrial Engineers of Barcelona (Col·legi d’Enginyers Graduats i Enginyers Tècnics Industrials) has published in its issue of January an article about Tecfluid. We write down the English translation of the report as the original is in Catalan:
Technique and measuring
Correct fluid measurement of flow and level allows control of processes, and control often involves optimization and, therefore, saving resources. This is the reason why industry worldwide rely on solvent and reliable equipment measurement such as those manufactured by Tecfluid at their plant in Sant Just Desvern.
Tecfluid have come a long way to become a modern and recognized factory where are conceived, designed, made and tested flowmeters and level meters of all kinds. Four decades of experience has made them specialists, and they show proudly their facilities that exude activity and care for work and combining neatness with their own day-to-day bustle of a production center.
COMMITMENT TO VERTICALITY
Vertical integration is perhaps the most notable feature of this family business. And it is because of this feature, increasingly rare in SMEs today, that sections involved in manufacturing of components host a rich variety of production techniques: moulding and machining of glass, semi-automatic and manual moulding and CNC machining of various materials. The organization of these sections is particularly complex, as the company manages around 35,000 references, basically works on request and rarely series of more than 300 units are manufactured.
What led Tecfluid to remain faithful to the internal manufacture of most components? Jordi Picazo, founder and current President of the Board, gives a clue: “We often were having troubles getting providers that were working with the tolerances required by our equipment, so we opted for ensuring the quality of the key components by manufacturing them ourselves. ” The known solvency of the resulting product supports the importance of the decision.
The expansion of facilities that were about to run small was resolved in year 2000 with the construction of a new building on an adjacent plot, which gave even more verticality to the company: Moving from side to side in Tecfluid involves going upstairs (or downstairs) seven floors: “We are exactly at a company with double vertical nature” Picazo says.
FROM GLASS TO ELECTRONICS
Product evolution has conditioned the company, which began in 1974 as a personal challenge of their founder: “I worked on a commercial company selling German flowmeters – Picazo explains.- High quality products for applications basically industrial, expensive and with excessively long delivery times. A visit to Germany convinced to me that this product could be manufactured in Barcelona, since my superiors did not share this idea I decided to undertake the adventure on my own”. After developing their own system of molded glass tubes, new flowmeters came to market with growing acceptance. “I knew well the sector and we made a product of comparable quality to those imported and with a lower price.”
ULTRASONIC FLOW MEASURING IS THE NEW PROJECT THEY ARE DEVELOPING TOGETHER WITH THE UPC (Catalonian University)
The metal tube flowmeter, that time would turn into the flagship of the company, was soon added to the glass tube flowmeter, as well as other equipment for the measurement of level and flow, that finally have been forming an extensive and complete product catalogue. Electronics have gained increasing prominence and they are present in a wide part of the range, that is why the R&D&I department have a separate division dedicated to the hardware and software development for equipment, and they are currently focusing their efforts on the creation of new algorithms to properly process the signal and achieve more stable and reliable readings. This combination of mechanical and electronic aspects give Tecfluid their international forefront.
FUTURE & COLLEGE
Tecfluid are looking forward with optimism, after overcoming years of crisis, thanks to export growth. The international market has grown to represent more than 50% of turnover, and the Catalan instruments normally travel to over 50 countries all over the world, including India, Japan and Russia, where export is particularly complex. In Sant Just they do not stop developing new products: “Although in the flow and the level measurement almost everything is made up – Picazo admits – we have a new interesting project on going: the new ultrasonic flowmeter with ability to work in a larger range of pipes than actual version”. It is not surprising that UPC (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Catalan University) collaborate in the Project, as Picazo claims collaborations university-industry as a fact of almost justice: “We have always asked for being able to work with the university and have access, through agreements, to a material that we have helped to acquire as taxpayers. For many companies the entrance to college is essential in order to meet product development of certain level, although it is sometimes difficult to adapt the pace of work of a scientist at the university with the businessman who needs to market a product to keep up. ”
In Tecfluid they have a special care in communication, both between different departments of the company and with the outside sets. This is demonstrated by the five engineers working in the technical sales department, offering a highly qualified service, in order to properly advise customers and transmit abroad an image of competence in their area and provide adequate service. Advantages result of being responsible for the product from its initial conception and knowing it in detail.
Company dedicated to the design and manufacture of flow and level measurement instrumentation for fluids.
Number of employees: 50