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Santiago Merino con Ana Sanchez (responsable de personas) y José Gastaldo (director comercial) en Factor.

Santiago Merino, 41 years at FACTOR

FACTOR was founded in 1982 with a team of 10 people. One of them was Santiago Merino, who retires today May 4, 2023 after 41 years of dedication in the development of the operations area of this company.

Santiago is a skilled, ingenious and problem-solving man, who went from performing off-machine operations or second operations, to being responsible for Health and Safety and taking responsibility for the assembly of components. We talked to him about his experiences in the company and this is what he told us.

Your early beginnings and those of FACTOR took place in parallel, how do you remember them?

I remember it as an act of courage. Initially we were a group of 10 people, a bit crazy but determined to face the challenge of building a company. We put a lot of teamwork and perseverance into it, we all did our best to move forward with the works that came in. In conclusion, the first years were a great adventure, which turned into a solid company.

Santiago Merino en el exterior de las instaciones de Factor en 1982

Santiago Merino outside Factor's facilities in 1982.

Can you briefly review your professional history?

In short: work, work and work. Personally, I have always wanted to grow professionally and I have tried to take advantage of the opportunities I have had. I studied Industrial Master's Degree, which today is vocational training, and I have taken multiple training courses both inside and outside my working hours. I was trained on programming, materials, cutting tools, etc. All this helped me to take on different positions in the company: I was in the stamping area, in turning and also final processes; there was even a stage in which I was responsible for Safety at Work, where I prepared reports and ensured security in the plant. Those were the beginnings of today's OHS.

What is it like to work in a family company?

For me it has been the best! I was fortunate to be part of the team from the beginning and throughout my career I have had the confidence and support I needed. Something that has always pushed me to give my best. I am delighted to have been part of this great family at Factor.

You have lived the generational transition, how was it?

In a word: orderly. Mr. Gastaldo knew how to organize the transition from management to his children very well. The training and subsequent incorporation into management positions was carried out in a timely manner. Without rushing and ensuring that everything was under control. Today FACTOR is a company that has firmly positioned itself in a very different reality from the one we started with. And that is good news for those who live this reality today.

Has there been anyone who has influenced your professional career? In what way?

Of course. Mainly my mother. She taught me the fundamentals of training. It was because of her that I "prepared myself for professional life", studying mechanics at the School of Industrial Mastery.
Then I undertook this beautiful project guided by a great man, José Gastaldo. A person with great leadership skills, who knew how and when to say things, how to motivate and show you the way to solutions, not problems. He had a great business vision and always managed to transmit security and confidence. I am sure that if XXX Gastaldo could see today how the firm is evolving, he would be tremendously proud.

How have you managed to maintain the level of commitment to your work for so many years?

My main motivation has been and is my family. My children and their education. This is the engine that drives me, but also my own desire to excel. I have always wanted to do my best and being part of a team like FACTOR is what drives you. It's like playing on a soccer or basketball team. Everyone wants to be a starter in their position, but the team is more important. Empathizing with teammates and supporting each other in dealing with day-to-day problems is very important in building a commitment to the job.

Is there any anecdote at FACTOR that you remember with affection?

In the company we have never been one to leave anything to chance, but I remember that after going to the notary's office when the company was founded, we went out to dinner. We celebrated well, very well. And the next day we started work at 6 AM! That first day we didn't do much, but it gave us the push we needed to get to where we are today (laughs).

What have been the biggest changes you have seen in FACTOR?

The biggest changes I have experienced are those related to management methods and work organization, and to technology. Today, processes are the cornerstone of the organization, and they are always being analyzed in order to improve them. On the other hand, technology has evolved a lot, both in manufacturing and inspection.

What cultural values have you experienced at FACTOR and do you think they have been maintained over time?

I think I could summarize them as "being an honest, professional team with a vocation for customer service". And yes, I think these values have been reinforced over time.

What is the change you would like to see in the company in the future?

I would love to see Factor continue on the path of growth, absorbing more workload and bringing more value to the industry every day. I would love to see the team getting better and better trained every day and that between us all we ensure the long-term sustainability of the business.

What advice would you give to employees who are just starting out in the company?

Effort. Nothing is achieved without effort, and every effort is rewarded. The history of each person is written by each person, taking advantage of opportunities and enjoying every moment.

How do you face your new future?

The future? For me, the future is day by day.
The truth is that I don't know yet what I'm going to dedicate my time to, and that new sensation is pleasant. I really like photography, motorcycles and above all, manual work. I guess I'll move around this triangle. I'll let you know...

Santiago Merino with Hector Piza, who takes over as head of Auxiliary Operations.

The entire FACTOR team appreciates your dedication and commitment. You have always facilitated the work of your colleagues, providing definitive and ingenious solutions. We wish you a well-deserved rest, dedicating your time to what you like the most, riding motorcycles, traveling and being with your family. It has been 40 years of pleasant memories. Good luck!

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New 3D printer in the machine park for Smart Manufacturing

At Factor Ingeniería y Decoletaje, at the forefront in the development of intelligent mechanical products, we have recently incorporated a new 3D printer Prusa i3 MK3S+ to our machinery dedicated to "smart manufacturing".

The Prusa i3 MK3S+ will allow us to improve the customization and efficiency of customer solutions, as it has a number of advanced features that make it an ideal machine for the development of new products. Of all its features, the following stand out:
    1. High resolution for manufacturing with higher precision and tolerance (±0'05).
    Versatility for the use of multiple materials, from rigid plastics (PLA, ABS, PEtG, Nylon) to flexible filaments and carbon fiber.
    3. Size for printing parts up to 250x210x210 mm.
    4.    Automatic table leveling.
    5.    Intuitive software, online support and a large and very active user community.

The addition of this 3D printer to Factor is another step in our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement. The company continues to make progress in improving the technological capacity and know-how for the development of software and hardware for intelligent products. We have a team of engineers and programmers who work closely together to develop integrated and customized solutions that meet the needs of our customers.

 

Comprobación visual de pieza impresa 3d sonbre plano

In our Smart Manufacturing approach, we optimize the manufacturing of industrial products and processes through the use of advanced technologies such as IoT and Big Data. We support design and functionality for efficient data management and enhanced analytical capabilities. In addition, we take responsibility for testing and certification, paying special attention to the care of the client's intellectual property, and ensuring the confidentiality and security of the information.

More information about our services in smart manufacturing.

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Factor is I4Q project partner

Industrial Data Services for Quality Control in Smart Manufacturing (i4Q) will help European SMEs overcome the obstacles preventing them from entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The project will provide a complete solution to improve the quality of manufactured products with the goal of defect-free manufacturing, thus driving the concept of a fully digitized smart factory.

The i4Q project kicked off in 2020, being now in its last stage, where it will provide a complete suite of 22 IoT-based i4Q Solutions, capable of managing the huge amount of industrial data coming from factory devices and thus improving productivity comprehensively at low cost.

I4Q is formed by a team of 25 partners with the common goal of manufacturing with ZERO DEFECTS. We continuously face the challenge of redesigning and adjusting our manufacturing systems, adapting our processes to produce products that adapt to specific customer requirements and guaranteeing high quality under permanent constraints related to: 

Reducing production costs
Reducing waste, scrap and defects
Reducing production costs and lead times.

All this under a scenario based on environmental sustainability, the need to minimize our carbon footprint and energy efficiency.
 
We are proud to be part of this team. Factor is one of the pilot plants that has established functional and operational requirements for the systems under development. We have provided, thanks to our MES and MTLink (Fanuk) systems, real process, machine and planning data to be used in the algorithms of the suite, and we will soon test the i4Q Beta solutions in our facilities to refine the results obtained.

Thanks to all I4Q partners for the great effort to reach the great expectations we have in 2023!


Here is a LINK TO THE PROJECT WEBSITE.

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Set-up of the Nakamura-Tome WY150 CNC lathe at Factor's facilities in Valencia.

We improve our turning capacity

With the incorporation of this new Nakamura-Tome WY150 compact loader, there are now 14 Two-Turret Two-Spindle lathes in our bar turning machine park.

 

Yesterday, we received at our facilities in Puçol, Valencia, the new Nakamura-Tome WY150 compact loader. A CNC multitasking lathe with two (2) Y axes (±45mm and ±35mm) and opposite spindle, which allows us to cut simultaneously with 2 tools, a feature that guarantees more balanced processes and faster process times.

Thanks to the incorporation of this technology, we will be able to expand our industrial capacity to manufacture parts up to 515 mm. in length and 190 mm. in diameter. The lathe has 2 turrets with capacity for 48 tools and also, one of its main features is the incorporation of a loader/feeder integrated in the machine. With it, we further reduce the cycle time of those parts that require loading/unloading of preforms or cut-to-length blanks, eliminating the placement task performed by the person operating the CNC.

A new investment that contributes to our efficiency and growth, covering short term needs and having more capacity available for new projects in the turning area.

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Multidisciplinary training in Agile methodology

El curso, impulsado por el área de innovación dirigida por Alfredo Giménez, persigue acelerar la generación de valor y ganar en eficiencia.

En el mundo industrial, las dinámicas y necesidades del mercado evolucionan y cambian cada vez con más frecuencia. Así, por dar respuesta rápida a estos cambios, es como surgieron las metodologías ágiles, que además se llegaron a concretar en El Manifiesto Ágil. Una síntesis conceptual de 4 valores y 12 principios que revolucionaron a principios de los 2000 el modo en el que se gestionaban los proyectos de desarrollo de software.

La metodología Agile es dinámica, se realizan entregas cíclicas y en cada una hay definición de requerimientos, diseño, verificación y entrega. Supone una estructura de trabajo para la gestión de proyectos que prioriza:

  1. Individuos e interacciones. Valorar más a los individuos y sus interacciones que a los procesos y las herramientas, trata de impulsar la comunicación entre las personas.
  2. Producto/servicio entregado y funcionando. Valorar más el producto/servicio en funcionamiento que la documentación exhaustiva. Lo que prima es entregar el producto que quiere el cliente por encima de otros trabajos que no se consideran imprescindibles.
  3. Colaboración vs negociación. Reforzar la colaboración con el cliente, que ellos marquen la dirección en la que se debe orientar el producto/servicio. Es más importante que la negociación contractual.
  4. Respuesta ante el cambio. Agile permiten que los equipos sean flexibles, que cambien rápido de estrategia sin afectar al producto. Lo más importante es entregar valor al cliente.

En esta primera edición del curso, impartido por Agile Nomad y coordinado por Ana Mª Sánchez, responsable de personas en Factor; han participado 15 personas de diferentes áreas de gestión de la empresa. Entre todos hemos trabajado conceptos como “MINDSET” (VUCA, CYNEFIN y vivir con problemas complejos) y KANBAN (eventos, artefactos y generación de hábitos SCRUM).

Agile es una forma innovadora de gestionar y organizar una industria como la nuestra. Nos ayuda a adaptarnos a las nuevas necesidades y sus entornos cambiantes, y al mismo tiempo, crea una atmósfera de trabajo colaborativa y transparente entre todos los compañer@s.

Gracias a esta formación, ya hemos empezado a abordar proyectos troceándolos en “sprints” que han de completarse y entregarse en pocas semanas. También, nos equivocamos rápido y aprendemos rápido de forma experimental y colectiva. La generación de valor se acelera…

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