RETREADING FROM A TO Z
Cima Impianti produces machines dedicated to all retreading stages. Highly automated, eco-friendly and designed for all sectors and applications where tires are involved, these machines enjoy a wide distribution throughout the world. We spoke with the company president Massimo Capecchi
Cima Impianti moved its first steps nearly 65 years ago in Pistoia. Its production centred around moulds for the fast growing tire retreading industry, a sector that would, in time, see Italy occupy a leading position. During the 70s the company introduced an exclusive radial tire curing technology, shifting from a platen press to an automatic curing press, first of its kind, making the company the leading world supplier of the retreading industry. We talked about the latest innovations with the president Massimo Capecchi.
What do you produce?
We build numerical control machines for the main retreading stages: buffing, extrusion, re-grooving, repair and curing. We can provide "turnkey" facilities, starting from the customer's needs to following each step of the project, design, manufacturing, delivery and installation. We cover the whole range of tires, from automobiles to earth movers; we produce highly customized moulds and curing presses for the aviation industry, to meet the restrictions and rather complex parameters imposed by regulatory bodies. These machines offer many more features than standard equipment and are designed with the cooperation of our customer’s technical teams. Our aircraft curing presses, thanks to their tubeless / bladderless system, are the best selling machines of this kind in the world, and are used by both independent retreaders as well as in premium tire manufacturer’s retreading facilities.
What is the strength behind your philosophy?
Having a deep knowledge of the industry and the ability to understand in advance our customer’s needs. Our curing presses are the most widely copied around the world, but copies can hardly be compared to the original which is produced in one factory only, in Pistoia. The “Made in Italy” logo is a guarantee for all our clients.
As cars evolve so do car services. What direction have you taken to meet the needs of the average customer?
Support services are as important as the quality of the machinery we supply. Post-sales assistance is guaranteed by our specialists working from our Pistoia facility as well as in Richmond (Virginia, USA) and from our distributor Central Marketing Inc., which oversees both sales and technical assistance for the United States, Canada and Central America. New and retrofit machines are all equipped with remote assistance systems able to refresh and update the software besides performing remote diagnosis. We also provide assistance on machinery manufactured by other companies, such as autoclaves, which include repair and retrofitting of electronic devices aimed at improving control, recording parameters, guaranteeing compliance to current regulations and quality standards and, of course, remote assistance. As many manufacturers closed down, a number of retreaders were left stranded, and we filled the void. Finally, our investments in training courses, produced a team of technicians, with deep knowledge of the retreading process, specialized in assembling and activating our machines right at the end user’s facilities. Furthermore, our team trains local staff on how to operate the machines as well as their maintenance. And since we aim to cultivate customer relationship, we have also opened a division dedicated to supplying consumable goods. This is an expanding activity, with a focus on product quality.
What are the current trends as far as retreading machines are concerned?
Automation and process control, which help in streamlining operations, reducing the risk of errors by less experienced staff, besides supporting our clients in complying with the required mandatory certifications.
Autopromotec 2017 is about to kick-off. Could you give us a preview of your latest products?
We will expand the range of our lube-free curing presses, which do not require either lubrication or greasing of moving parts, thanks to the self-lubricating materials used in parts particularly subject to wear. We aim to have this technology, introduced back in 2015 on our truck tire presses, right across our entire range. This next step follows in the wake of replaceable parts introduced in the 1980s and their centralized lubrication system in the 90s, a feature that is still a distinguishing factor on our machines today. In addition we will have an automatic control system for temperature and inflation pressure and another one that facilitates disassembling the upper bead improving ergonomics. Furthermore, remote assistance will be extended to all our machines, including curing presses so far excluded. Finally, we will expand the supply of consumables with new top quality international brands. We look forward to introducing a new truck tire balancing machine that will flank the fourth generation of the DB 900 IN/UG. A perfectly balanced tire is essential for the quality of the retread, which can closely resemble a new product. This machine, though, does not just have the purpose of eliminating unbalances, but, more importantly bring to the attention of the retreader the presence of unbalances and help them identify the cause.
The product range
Cima Impianti machines support retreaders during every stage of the operations and covers every application range, from cars to trucks, from earthmovers and off-road agricultural machines to aviation. As far as buffers are concerned, Cima focused on the creation of CNC machines ranging from its TB44-HP with two rasps for car tires, lightweight transport and 4x4s with 19.5" wheels, to CI-MAXI in three models 35", 51" and 63" able to cater for the entire range of earth movers. The CI-Maxi 2100 for 19.5 to 25 " tires (truck and small earth moving) will soon be added to the range. The CI-Maxi also includes re-grooving option of any tread pattern design.
Following the buffing of the tire, repairs are manually performed; After this phase, a unique CNC machine comes into play, a CI-Master-SKF 35", 51" and 63", an automatic extruder dedicated to skive filling and cushion gum application on OTR casings, bringing great benefits to the operator who should otherwise fill, by hand with small extruders, the skives that are formed during repair work.
The CI-Master numerical control extruder is now available, a complete range that applies new rubber to the casings to be cured in presses or autoclaves. For cars, 4x4, both light and heavy duty trucks, the range includes the economical CI-Master 22.5", and the more complete CI-Master 24" model, the CI-Master 35", 51" and 63 " cater for earth moving machines, in addition to the IC -Master 2100 soon to complete the range.
The last stage before curing, if we are looking at a complete re-construction, is the application of sidewall veneer strip at the same time to both sides of the tire. This is often done by hand; In other cases it is completely automatic with a second, specific extruder or, again, with a specific function integrated in the machine that applies the tread rubber. Cima’s favorite solution, as the operation is performed in just a minute and without the extruders typical air leaks, is an intermediate option: the machine applies the sidewall veneer strip at the same time to both sides of the tire. The program allows to apply the strip in one or alternatively in two stages depending on the width of the sidewall of the tire. The FCT 850 is dedicated to car tires while the FCT 1200 will look after trucks. The software can record each step of the job for each dimension thus operating in automatic mode using the same extruder operator. Finally, the press cures the tread. Cima can boast a rather large range of products: twenty different models ranging from the RP0 (small plane landing gear) to the RP14 with diameters up to over 4 m, with many variants in heating, inflation and actuation systems.