Barberán, the family-owned company, a bench in its market

The company began its nearly 100 years as a family-owned blacksmith workshop in Castelldefels (Barcelona). Thanks to continuous effort, enthusiasm and teamwork, Barberán now specialices in the design and manufacture of surface finishing machinery.

Four generations have passed since the time of the company’s founder Juan Barberán Borraz and the company continues to focus its efforts on what characterizes it the most: designing and producing custom-made machinery, in both long and short runs. The company only outsources standard components, while most of the production is carried out in their plant. Their clients can be found all over the world. We share many values and thought that it would be very positive to share their success story with our market. Their degree of professionalism is exemplary and the solution presented by ZAYER is something to be proud of, which is why we wanted to single them out as a point of reference!

We wanted to interview them about their latest significant investment, the KAIROS 13000. We were attended by Javier Espuny, head of manufacturing at Barberán.

They say that Barberán machines can be found in the most unexpected places in the world. Is that true?

Absolutely, we can rightfully say that wherever there is a furniture plant anywhere in the world, there will probably be a Barberán machine.

“No matter how hidden away, if you find a furniture manufacturing plant, you will also find a Barberán machine” 

Many of our clients have told us how they found a Barberán machine in the most out-of-the-way workshops in India. Some time ago, we were known as manufacturers of profile wrapping. At that time the brand felt as though it was a label, since having “a Barberán” was a way of referring to an entire range of products. Since then we have expanded our offer, which now includes 4 lines of finishing machines: Lacquering, Profile Wrapping, Lamination and Digital Printing.

What kind of competition is there in the sectors your work in and how are you positioned?

In the lacquering market, for example, competition is enormous and we are positioned in the high quality product range. The market of the profile wrapping sector, where we are one of the leading companies, has reached maturity. However, the areas where we are doing best are the lamination and digital printing sectors, where we are pulling out all the stops. 

Lamination clients are large producers, such as IKEA, that require tailor-made machines that involve a long pre-sales process. In normal circumstances, once we finish detailing the layout of the machine so all the client’s needs are met, in practical terms we become the only company capable of manufacturing it. We are absolute leaders in this segment and this means that we have to manufacture extremely large mechanical structures. Up until now, we worked with a machine with a lengthwise (X axis) capacity of up to 8,000 mm and a maximum width (Y axis) of 700 mm. The pieces were fastened in various positions, rotated and machined as best we could in 4 different positions. Handling, repositioning and preparation took us up to a week and a half. 

This was too long and became the underlying reason for making changes: we needed to optimice the space reserved for the machine and ensure the longest machining travel possible so we could machine larger pieces faster. All the manufacturers that came to visit the plant were capable of adapting to the available space, but it was ZAYER that gave us the highest X-Y-Z travels. We installed a KAIROS 13000 in an area measuring 22 x 6 meters where longitudinal travel (X axis) was 13,000 mm, cross travel (Y axis) was 1,600 mm and vertical travel (Z axis) was 2,500 mm, which was more than any of the competitors had achieved. 

“The accuracy, reliability and robustness of ZAYER machine improves our quality scores”

On the other hand, we work within an industry that is undergoing enormous changes driven by digital printing. We have generated an extensive amount of internal know-how. For example, what used to be offset and flexography printing will be replaced with digital technology; in parallel, our team collaborates with research centers to develop internal R&D, which will upgrade the technology and our capabilities. What we needed was to increase the flexibility of our machines and their structure. Now we are concentrated on this sector and the changes we are implementing there will affect the rest of the company.

As a result, the accuracy, reliability and robustness of the ZAYER machine can be transferred to all the products made in the plant, which also improves our own quality scores.

What specific reason was there for choosing a ZAYER machine to make these changes, rather than some other machine on the market?

There are numerous factors that have to be taken into consideration when you make an investment as significant as this one. I already mentioned our weak spots, but there was a lot more involved and ZAYER was the only company that met all our requirements. 

Performance: I’m not referring solely to machining capacity, but also to the possibility of performing pendular work so we can machine one piece on one side of the table while we are preparing the next one on the other side. If we consider that positioning the piece, preparing the tooling to fasten it, etc. takes up the most time, this is an outstanding step forward in improving our production times It used to take us 1 1/2 weeks to machine a large piece and now it takes us 1 1/2 days.

“The KAIROS 13000 has reduced our machining times tremendously, making us much more competitive”

It is important to note that this reduces our manufacturing times and we are extremely careful when applying costs to production and therefore to the sale of each machine. The cost of each minute of work is higher because of the investment, but whereas a given project used to take 400 minutes, it now takes 100 minutes of machine work, thanks to the KAIROS 13000. The end result is that even though the cost per minute is higher, the delivery time has been reduced four-fold!  On top of that, since we can apply this to each project, we have become that much more competitive.

In fact, this improvement has opened the way for us to restructure all our veneer production and increase production of machine welded structures, such as fairings. 

Reliability, precision, robustness: We are very proud of our machines and the finishes we achieve on our products. As regards finished products, this marks a before and after, a consequential internal commitment to become more competitive. And this is one of the well-known characteristics of ZAYER machines. The KAIROS 13000 does more than enough in this regard. 

Safety & ergonomics: The machine covers the safety and ergonomic conditions that we require for work posts and is equipped with safeguards that protect the operator from swarf without diminishing visibility at any time. The work area stays clean, usability is simple, safeguards can be moved with little more than the push of a finger and machine operation can be monitored no matter where you are.

We are delighted.

«Purchase of the KAIROS 13000 has changed our way of doing business and provided us with the advantages that come with the machine’s rigidity and structure. This has really been a big step forward«

Have there been any other features of the KAIROS 13000 that you did not expect or have been impressed by? If so, why?

Well, the answer is yes: The bed at ground level did not convince us, since we weren’t used to it — but we followed the recommendation made by ZAYER. In the end, having the machine at our feet was the best decision we could make. It entails many functional advantages that we were not aware of. We have obviously had to provide tooling to support the pieces and so on but it has been worth it.

I would also highlight the option of the operator working either inside or outside the cabin. The possibility of the operator working inside was new to us and increases operator awareness, improves concentration on machine operations and enables closer monitoring.

Another point in favor was having the same advantages while working from outside the cabin. The second Heidenhain control makes it possible to track operations such as piece buffing or completing an operation from outside the cabin, made possible by working with a cable chain that can be extended up to 12 m without impeding visibility in any way.  

I would like to finish by mentioning the aesthetics.

The ZAYER machine reflects the solvency of our plant, which helps sales. The total absence of flaws in the design strikes the viewer.  Currently, at Barberán a visit to this machine is essential for anyone who comes to see us and never ceases to impress visitors. There may be more expensive machining centers, but people actually stop and stare when they see this machine. Clients looking for a fast after-sales response for spare parts (we have a 24×7 hot line) know that we have our own equipment, which makes them feel more confident. Our capacity generates their trust.

There is no doubt that they are convinced by watching the KAIROS 13000 at work.

“The KAIROS 13000 reflects both capacity and solvency, providing confidence that helps sales”

Did you notice any differences in the help and collaboration provided by our team of experts when you purchased the machine?

Definitely! ZAYER’s participation began once we had completed our analysis, but it was key. The expert in charge of giving us advice was zealous and sharp; he knew he could offer us significant advantages and he didn’t stop until he had covered them all.

He put himself in our shoes from the start to understand the problem we were facing, and he knew how to discover our needs and structure the machine so it would fulfill our requirements to the letter, without having to overstate anything or trying to sell us solutions that did not apply. The head requirements he described were right on target and everything was sized to PERFECTION. We had our doubts about the cost, but he was flexible about payment methods, which helped us decide from the beginning.

“ZAYER’s support has been 100% helpful and we have always felt at ease” 

Afterwards, their support throughout the ENTIRE process was key. I would especially highlight the installation and start-up of the machine. We felt we could really put ourselves in their hands. Others did not succeed or did not stand out, whereas ZAYER gave its best effort. The civil engineering work required for start-up was significant, but we were assisted the entire way 100%. The experts at ZAYER have trained our team and given us advice about the quality of the foundations, screen insulation against vibrations, drawings and all the rest. The sales delegate performed follow-up every week, monitoring timely deliveries and making sure everything went as planned.

That sounds great, it’s a pleasure to hear about a case like this. Well Javier, we are delighted that everything went so well and thank you for the interview. We hope all your plans work out. See you next time, my friend!

Thanks to all of you. You know where we are, whenever you need us!