Azmec does not simply design and manufacture vacuum pumps and liquid ring compressors: it provides comprehensive services ranging from pump repairs to finding the best solutions with a view to reducing costs and energy use. A description of our work process and of some of our latest installations.
A corporate mission which has been carried out for half a century in a consistent, efficient and straightforward way: producing vacuum pumps and liquid ring compressors. This has always been the core business of Azmec, a company which was established in 1960 with the main purpose of carrying out mechanical processing for others, then started working on pumps and compressors in 1964. Its work currently takes place on two sites: the original production unit in Genova Voltri inaugurated in 1960, and the one at Verderio Inferiore, in the Lecco province, which was opened in 1991. The Genova Voltri factory covers an indoor surface of 1,700 square metres; this is where liquid ring vacuum pumps were produced until 1990. When the local unit in Lecco was opened, the factory in Liguria started focusing almost exclusively on outsourced processing work and maintenance in the mechanical sector; the production of vacuum pumps and liquid ring compressors, on the other hand, was moved to the Verderio Inferiore premises, where it is completed using CNC machines; the pumps are tested in a room fitted with cutting-edge instruments, where machines with an absorbed power of up to 450 Kw can be tried out.
«One of our main strengths – says Idilio Bonacina, production manager at Azmec – is our flexibility, associated with the quality of our processes. Part of our standard production is pre-assembled in our factories, which means that we are able to dispatch orders in about twenty days. We are a small company, therefore we can react promptly to customer requests. Just to give you an example, in one day or two at the most we are able to draft an offer. Most recently, moreover, we have been increasingly focused on services: we have been running a series of studies with our customers to find out which is the best product to be installed, as well as further strengthening our in-house design work with a view to reducing final costs while preserving our top-of-the-range quality and performance».
Azmec works for important groups such as Burgo, whom it recently supplied with three pumps. «We delivered our machines (two pumps of the ALC 620Z type plus one ALC 355Z pump) for the repair/extension of the vacuum plant in the factory at Tolmezzo, where natural paper without wood is produced for offset printing, as well as cut-sizes and glossy paper for food» adds Bonacina.
«The customer – says Claudio Pesenti, from the technical department of the Verderio Inferiore company – informed us about the additional capacity it needed, then provided us data as to available space for the installation, which was rather small. We designed the installation, adding the necessary suggestions as regards correct positioning of the machinery, taking into account the limited space available. Also we delivered to Cartiere della Basilica two ALC500Z pumps to restructure the machine producing tissue paper. To Andritz we have supplied six pumps (four ALC530Z and two ALBV95/2000 models) which will be installed in a paper mill in Japan. Also in this case we followed the standard procedure: base on their request we draft an offer; if the latter is accepted we move on to the design phase. In many cases we arrange on-site visits, for example to Flora-Pyramids, an Egyptian paper mill belonging to the Zeritis group, which asked us to check the operation of their pumps. We ran a set of specific tests and found out that some of them were no longer performing to standard, so we replaced old Siemens models with our pumps. In this case we suggested a replacement, as opposed to repairing, and the customer went along with our idea.
There is no point in repairing a pump which has been working almost uninterruptedly for thirty years because the normal wear and tear in the components leads to an efficiency drop by about 1.5% a year; on the other hand it might be useful to repair those which are ten or fifteen years old. The difference in cost between repair and replacement is about 50%. To Celli paper we will be delivering one ALC500Z and one ALC506Z with partition plate, pumps to be installed on a tissue machine being built for one of their customers in Mexico. Mention should also be made of our supply to Uniboard (an Egyptian group) of an ALC400Z pump and two pre-separation units. The customer requested our presence during the start-up phase and our company regularly provides this service on request».
Azmec, as already mentioned, has a long-standing expertise in vacuum pump and liquid ring compressor manufacturing. It has a wide range of products which are renewed and upgraded on a regular basis.
Its current range includes the AL/2000 liquid ring vacuum pumps with flow rates from 180 to 12,500 m3/h, the ALZ/2000 pumps built with two suction vents, which actually means that you have two pumps in one with totally independent and differentiated vacuums (flow rates from 1,500 to 12,500 m3/h), the ALBV/2000 pumps with two vertical suction vents (from 2,000 to 7,500 m3/h), the AL-B4 pumps with two suction vents guaranteeing flow rates from 4,500 to 21,000 m3/h, as well as the AL-BC version from 450 to 17,000 m3/h, the ALC-Z pumps with flow rates from 150 up to 38,500 m3/h. One of the main features in the AL 2000, ALZ2000 and ALBV 2000 pumps is the motor which can be assembled on line or above the pump in order to save space. Of course Azmec also provides all the necessary accessories, from transmission units to pre-separation units, from discharge separators to silencers, and so on.
Mention should be made in particular of the units supplied by Azmec which are totally soundproof. A large-sized pump generally produces noise up to 85/90 decibel; this level is unacceptable even in some paper mills. For this reason Azmec decided to cover its compact units with soundproof panels. In this way it is possible to drop below 80 decibel also in the case of larger pumps, or even under 75 decibel for those with a smaller flow rate. The pump is placed inside the panels, while the electric motor is on the outside because it requires cooling which would not be possible inside the panels. As for air discharge, a silencer is fitted and connected to piping which releases the air on the outside. Azmec provides a complete kit with pump and accessories, but on request also the soundproofing of pumps already installed.
Azmec is also extremely keen on saving energy, and it does this also in an advisory capacity which is greatly appreciated by customers. «For example, in order to achieve energy saving, we generally recommend – says Bonacina – pumps which are larger than strictly necessary; in this way it is possible to reduce the rpm rates which means that the pump is less subject to losing efficiency. We also recommend to install an inverter which makes it possible to increase the rpm rate as required, and as a consequence the flow rate, in line with variations of the paper coat weight. To give you another example, we recommend and supply cooling towers if there is not much water available and it needs to be recirculated because pumps perform better when working with cold water. Moreover, we recommend the use of pre-separators to make sure that the smallest possible number of polluting particles gets inside the pump». In conclusion, more than a mere supplier of pumps Azmec is a partner able to deliver ad-hoc solutions for its customers, also verifying – if required – the performance of the pump during operation. These products can be expected to suffer a performance reduction of up to 15% in ten years, which means that the payback time for repair work is only one year. Also bear in mind that, in most cases, Azmec is able to provide a «forklift» to make sure that the client does not have to suspend/reduce production.