MAPAL Inc. exceeds market expectations with its precision tools and services.
By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media
Efficiency and costs are constant pain points for manufacturers in the automotive and aerospace industries, but that is where MAPAL Inc. can lend a hand. “Our target is always to reduce their manufacturing costs to increase their productivity,” CEO Sidney Pimenta Paiva declares.
The company, which has locations in Port Huron, Mich., and Fountain Inn., S.C., is the U.S. branch of the MAPAL Group, an Aalen, Germany-based provider of precision tools and machining solutions. Paiva notes that the firm started operations in 1950 before coming stateside in 1977.
Today, MAPAL Inc. provides cutting tools for machining parts to clients such as General Motors, Ford Motor Co., FCA, Boeing and Bombardier. “We offer a full service from engineering and design, setting machines up to inventory management, going through standard tools to special application tools,” he says.
Its latest products, he adds, include its Tritan-Drill, which sets itself apart with from traditional drills. “The big difference is that this drill has three cutting edges,” Paiva says, noting that a traditional one only has two.
With the Tritan, “We can improve cutting range and speed in the range of 60 percent,” he says, noting that the product has been a good fit with all clients but mostly the heat exchanger industry. “It’s very well [regarded] by the customers.”
MAPAL Inc. also employs 70 engineers strategically located across the United States to serve all of its clients. “We are very, very successful in helping many companies that have mass production where they need significant cost reductions,” Paiva says.
Partners in Technology
MAPAL Inc. also drives its success by continuously investing in new technology to go above and beyond market expectations. “We want to be partners in technology, and not only suppliers,” Paiva says, noting that one example is the company’s movement into 3-D printing.
As more major players in the automotive industry move more towards electric vehicles, MAPAL Inc. has to provide “very unique tool solutions,” he says. “Sometimes we have to use 3-D printing to produce our tools to reduce the weight.”
In addition, “They have to be developed and researched,” Paiva says, noting that the movement into 3-D printing will help MAPAL Inc.’s business evolve with the times, as well as serve new clients, including those in the medical sector. “That is a very interesting market, as well.”
MAPAL Inc.’s recent investments also include a 11,000-square-foot expansion for its location in Fountain Inn. Currently, “We are more than doubling the manufacturing capacity as well as building a completely new area for our administration and engineering and design,” he describes.
The location also recently added a new test center for researching tools for the aerospace industry. Clients such as Boeing and Bombardier can send parts to the lab to be tested. After they are approved, “They go directly into their production without wasting any time and money,” Paiva says, noting that this is the second lab of its type MAPAL Group has built outside of Germany.
Manufacturing quality is a major focus for MAPAL Inc. This has driven the company to achieve industry certifications, including ISO 9001. “We also manufacture some of our own equipment to control our tools,” Paiva says.
The company also uses lean manufacturing in the form of its MAPAL Global Production System. As part of the process, “We are audited by our headquarters yearly,” he says. “We also have KPIs reviewed weekly for all departments related to production.”
The company also places a strong emphasis on its relationships with raw materials suppliers. That way, “We can have very healthy, close cooperation with our suppliers in designing new products, new materials and new geometries,” he says.
On the Rise
Paiva is a longtime veteran of the MAPAL Group. Before joining MAPAL Inc. last year, he spent more than 20 years managing its operations in Brazil. Today, “I’m still responsible for the Latin America operations [as well as] Canada and the U.S. market,” he describes.
He is proud of MAPAL Inc.’s engineering capability. “We can provide the best solutions for our customers,” Paiva says, noting that he sees strong growth ahead for the company.
Thanks to its current investments, the number of tools the MAPAL Group makes inside the United States will increase. “In 2017, before we started this huge investment, we were below 50 percent,” he recalls.
“We’ll over 65 percent with all the tools manufactured and serviced here in the United States,” he predicts, adding that he plans to double the size of the U.S. operations in the next five years. “I do believe MAPAL Inc. will have a great future here in the United States.”