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Simex looks to future with major investment

First publishedin Aggregates Business Europe & International
2015 September October
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Simex's VSE 40 screening bucket on a Komatsu crawler excavator
Simex's VSE 40 screening bucket on a Komatsu crawler excavator
Simex is looking at an exciting future packed with product innovation after investing heavily in its production sites and doubling its team of engineers – including a new group dedicated to R&D.

The specialists in hydraulic attachments for earthmoving machines, based near Bologna, Italy, are noted for their high-quality quarry-based products – such as crushing and screening buckets for excavators, front loaders and skid-steer loaders.

At INTERMAT 2015, Simex showcased five new hydraulic attachments – the new VSE 30 screening bucket for small excavators, the CB 1500 crusher bucket for front loaders, the RW 500 self-levelling wheel saw for front loaders, the RWE 60 wheel saw for an excavator boom, and the MP 1000 cutter head for profiling tunnels.

During a recent visit to the firm by Aggregates Business, Luca Morgantini, Simex’s operations manager, talked about the company’s ongoing redesign of its current nine-strong line-up of crusher buckets for loaders (CB series) and five-model range for excavators (CBE series).

“What we have changed is the design of the tools and the rotating drum,” said Morgantini. “We have the crushing bucket working by rotating the drum against fixed counter tools. We have focused on the shape and best quality of material for the tools and improved the [crusher bucket] top teeth in order to be able to improve productivity and customer cost of ownership.”

Prototypes of new CB and CBE crusher models will, said Morgantini, be completed this autumn, with new ready for market models due to be presented at bauma 2016 in Munich, Germany.
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Simex CB 1500 crusher bucket
Simex CB 1500 crusher bucket on a Caterpillar 289D compact track loader
Also ideal for quarry-based applications, Simex is also planning to unveil a new cutter head model, the TF2500, and the rest of the firm’s recently upgraded cutter head line-up – the TF200, TF400, TF600, TF850, TF1100, TF2100, and TF3100 – at bauma 2016.

“We have introduced many improvements and their performance is higher than in the past. We now have a better control of the hydraulic power to the cutter, so that the working efficiency is higher and the application with any kind of excavator is much easier,” said Morgantini. “Our machines are fully hydraulic and the motor is integrated into the drum. We did not trust in what we call the gearfall, which is a lot of gears to move the power from the cutter head motor to the drum. This can bring problems in some cases.”

Morgantini explained how Simex had split its engineering department into two parts around 18 months ago – with seven engineers now working on improving existing products; and four entirely focused on R&D for new models.
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Luca Morgantini, Simex operations manager
Luca Morgantini, Simex operations manager
Among current projects being looked at by the R&D team is creating new tools that can extend the range of applications of Simex’s VSE 30 and VSE 40 screening buckets. “Our screening buckets are good for handling different sized material from building sites, but we’d like different tools that increase the range of sites suitable for them to work,” said Morgantini, who believes that extending the applications of the VSE series will enable Simex to compete even more strongly with sector heavyweights REMU and ALLU for screening bucket market share.

Morgantini said that the VSE screening buckets are already being well received by customers domestically, and in export markets including Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.

Having in recent years invested heavily in cutting-edge robotic welding technology at its production sites, Morgantini said Simex was also planning to make big investments to increase its workshop capabilities. The impressive company production facilities also include a 2,500m² product testing site next to the R&D department at Persiceto HQ. “The testing site allows us to see the functionality of the machines, but testing of durability and productivity is always carried out on a customer job site, where the models are working with different kinds of materials to what we have collected here,” explained Morgantini, who was BOMAG’s engineering manager for pavers and milling machines before taking up his present senior role at Simex 18 months ago. “Prior to coming here, I liked the approach of Simex – always looking to innovate. Attempts to innovate are not always successful, but it’s very important to keep trying.”

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