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Brazil's 2024 trade fair impressions and local manufacturers of machine tools

Miannini

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 17, 2023
Location
Brazil
Last week I went to the machine fair Feimec at Brazil, here are my impressions.

In the 50-60's we had our national industry protective barriers, that allowed us to have many local manufacturers of machine tools.

Nowaday we still do have some factories that still do their casting, machining and manufacturing all their machines parts right here. But I could count only 3: Romi (our giant in lathes, CNC machining centers and plastic injection machines), Nardini (lathes, CNC machining centers and milling machines) and Ferdimat (conventional and CNC grinders, surface and cylindrical). Guess this is just about normal in the contemporary world: I heard the very same complainings from US, Germany and Italian exhibitors.

A traditional Romi T240 toolroom lathe was priced locally at US$ 37k. Very well made, all moving parts are fully enclosed for operator's safety (and local regulation NR-12), it screams swiss-like precision everywhere. Beautiful castings, finishing, painting. It can be equiped with CLP. I have always wondered if these cost much less abroad, just like our exported cars. Market determines the price, not the cost of production.
A very known and traditional lathe manufacturer (they were the local market leaders), an equal sized Nardini MS-205 regulation compliant lathe was priced US$ 20k. For about US$ 40k you could get a very sturdy 2.5m (100 in) between centers lathe with 110mm headstock bore, about 3x heavier. Very good quality, but a noticeably a little less refined than the Romi. General manager showed me many videos of their foundry works and their pride of being locally built.
My biggest and happiest surprise came at the Ferdimat grinding machines stand. They produce almost anything in grinders: SG ranging from 8x12 to goliath sizings over 100 inches! Any model can have CLP or CNC, over the standard full manual hydraulic mechanism. Cylindrical grinders also available, same options. A very nice hydraulic 24x12 SG was US$ 39k, plus US$ 7k for the CLP (which you can program just about every parameter, such as each axis movement, speed, etc). CNC will easily double manual machine price. This was the manufacturer that got me impressed with their quality! Everything was top-notch. They also make custom one-off machines. They are based near Embraer.
Fixtures and clamping manufacturer Brasfixo had a amazing line of all kinds of vises, sine tables, clamps, CNC-gang towers, very well made and competitvely priced with the far-eastern imports.

There were many Swiss and German CNC machines, absolutely outstanding (and out of my brain sight). Most manufacturers were displaying CNC everything. I didn't have much time to look at those, as the fair was just to big (about a 10 mile walk if you did every aisle/corridor).

Aside from these manufacturers, all other exhibitors of traditional machines were Chinese or Indian. Similar machines from about 1/2 to 3/4 of the locally made price, but with 1/5-1/3 the quality. Higher standard demanded higher prices and I couldn't match any of their machines to the same level of the national ones. Their best machines were touching the price of the local ones, without the same quality. Some exhibitors just brought catalogs, not a single machine for us to see.

Additive machining: those seem to be a lot more mature than a few years ago. And "cheaper" too (wathever the 100$ of k that may mean).

The general fair had a predominance of welding equipment. Many manufacturers of electric, TIG, MIG. Nowadays every single manufacturer has a pocket sized (big pocket, I mean, more like a purse) welding rig. They all seem the same or at least very similar in features. Configurable start ramps, pulses, etc. You choose your flavor and pricing range. I couldn't easily point differences between a Lincoln and a cheapo welder (I know that quality should vary).

Lasers: welding and cleaning were the most crowded stands. The rage was all about laser soldering guns. How cool is to see a laser vaporizing rust and grime? Oh, I couldn't, local regulations don't permit indoor usage of those because of fumes. I had to only appreciate the samples. But one could test the laser welding gun, very neat.

Lasers #2: engraving and mopa laser are THE thing I'd love to have. Engraving and then colouring (in stainless steel) is just sooo sci-fi. Wondering if one could make those lasers to "grind" flat surface and then create scrape-like half moons, thus ending the hand scraping era?

Mitutoyo was displaying a bi-directional communication line of measuring tools, which you could program via Bluetooth and their display changed colours from under tolerance to tolerance to over-tolerance. A 2mm per turn micrometer advance was very welcomed by me. Finally measuring tools may be finally evolving from the 1980 calculator displays.

Chinese tooling seem to have achieved enough quality. Whole lots of quality looking endmills, taps, chucks, live centers and other accessories. Why pay 5-10x more to have a name brand than a Sino DRO? Guessing it's going to be the same with consumable tooling very soon. Thanks for the samples they gave me, I'll be putting them to work.
 

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Thanks for the show review. Nice looking Romi lathe. I used to private's label drill presses from Kone in Brazil...they still around ? DC power feed attachment I engineered and added here.
 

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They were not an exhibitor at this year’s fair. Their website still up and running. Most of their product lines are far-eastern importing, although they still show their top line as made in Brazil.
Hearing from vendors, they said that Kone local production was shut down, but they also said that Nardini and Romi were too, which is just the opposite.
I know that Yadoya drills (very heavy duty, amazing quality geared drill presses) still produces locally. I’m looking for an used vertical wheel surface grinder from them, very similar to the Kugelmüller and Swisher.
 
I have an old kugelmuller vertical finisher from must be the 40s , they still use or used the roller bearing on the machine plates recently.
Built like a tank.
Mark
 
A $37k lathe that comes with a lantern tool post. Looks like they're cutting corners.
The Room T 240 lathe pictures I'm seeing show a turret, not a lantern type tool post. Also the compound looks like what I think of as "European style" with a stud to secure the tool post rather that a tee slot. Can't think how a lantern tool post would work with this.

David
 
Can you speak to the generalities if import permits for industrial equipment?

My employer makes a line of stationary industrial equipment that isn't machine tools. I've observed some of our South American customers can take months to arrange shipment of spare parts and wear component orders that they've paid a substantial deposit for. I think it might be a system in Argentina that usually has crated parts sit for nine months in our shipping department.
 
Can you speak to the generalities if import permits for industrial equipment?

My employer makes a line of stationary industrial equipment that isn't machine tools. I've observed some of our South American customers can take months to arrange shipment of spare parts and wear component orders that they've paid a substantial deposit for. I think it might be a system in Argentina that usually has crated parts sit for nine months in our shipping department.
Argentina is inexplicable. I have been spending time there since 2007, and if you had a month, I could begin to explain why those crates sit in shipping, but even then, its complicated. 100% tax on most imports, plus a system designed with all kinds of off the books ways of it taking even more time and more money to get something thru customs.
A used Porsche Cayenne SUV is $50k or so in Seattle. They cost $250k in Argentina.
A lot of stuff is unavailable at any cost, and imported tools and parts are rare, expensive, and usually there are cheaper local alternatives.
But some things, like cnc equipment or petro industry supplies or MRI machines get imported, and it takes forever and costs a fortune, and your customer is not why- they want that stuff next week, but you gotta go thru the system, the system of favors, multiple rubber stamps, bribes, and waiting lists.
 
I've always felt Nardinis were light duty, I don't like their design. However, they are a nice lathe to operate, the controls feel good, and a great headstock.

Never tried a Romi, they look cool though. That guarding is ridiculous. How can anyone get any work done?
 
Brazil. Total bribe shit show. I have tried to export my products there. Not happening. I have Brazilian nationals wanting to import my products. Several. Too many hands need greasing to make it work. They all gave up. All had same experience. $$$ gets things done if market will allow. Cannot even export single items to a user.
 
I've always felt Nardinis were light duty, I don't like their design. However, they are a nice lathe to operate, the controls feel good, and a great headstock.

Never tried a Romi, they look cool though. That guarding is ridiculous. How can anyone get any work done?
Those guarding are a local regulatory obligation, as bureaucrats - who can't tell the difference between a screwdriver and a plier - know it better than machinists what to demand for reducing labor accidents. (irony mode: on).
The required items: instantenous chuck brake, chuck guard, leadscrew cover, pedal brake, emergency button at apron and headstock, cover for toolpost/cutting area, reset button for every time you disengage any cover.
I found that I appreciate the motor brake whenever pressing any stop button/lever and the need to reset it to "ready" mode everytime you move any guard is a welcome addition, by my experience. Leadscrew covering is a time saving feature because it keeps all dirtyness away from it. Can't say anything about the toolpost sliding cover, as I haven't used one. I like to use a moveable articulated protection acrylic screen attached to my compound carriage so that oil doesn't spill and chips don't fly at my face.
Most machinists remove all those safety switches/features anyway. They are ok-ish for the begginer/student, annoying for a intermediate user, anti-effective for a pro. I really dislike the chuck guard (pain to use, makes difficult to see close to jaws).
Most markets does not require (m)any of those features.
 
Brazil. Total bribe shit show. I have tried to export my products there. Not happening. I have Brazilian nationals wanting to import my products. Several. Too many hands need greasing to make it work. They all gave up. All had same experience. $$$ gets things done if market will allow. Cannot even export single items to a user.
This is just thrid world "normal".
 








 
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