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Packaging & design

Metal: Axilone’s model plant in Catalonia

The Axilone site specialized in metal transformation is nestled in the heart of the Catalan Cosmetic Valley, in San Pedro de Torelló (Sant Pere de Torelló in Catalan), 80 km north of Barcelona. Put into service in September 2014, the new 15,000 m2 unit is dedicated to the drawing, anodizing, and assembly of metal components (caps, rings, and others). This is a key advantage to adapt to a very steady business context and meet the agility expectations of the beauty market.

David Gregorio, Axilone Metal

David Gregorio, Axilone Metal

As a leading supplier on the premium beauty market for the skincare, makeup, and perfume segments, Axilone relies on a double industrial skill: metal drawing on the one hand, plastic injection on the other. The company has four industrial sites, including two dedicated to plastic injection in France (Auray and Guidel, in Brittany), one in China, mainly focused on the production of lipstick components, with a double metal and plastic expertise, and the Sant Pere de Torelló site in Spain specialized in metal drawing and anodizing. In 2016, Axilone achieved a 181 million euro turnover – makeup represents slightly more than half the global activity and the remainder is divided between skincare and perfume.

Increasing, but fast-changing demand

Since 2014, the new Axilone Metal site in Sant Pere de Torelló has led to a strong rise in the production capacity of metal components, with both maximum agility and environmental preservation. “Overall, the demand for metal parts is increasing, which corresponds to beauty brands willing to better highlight their packs, as well as to the fast animation of ranges by creating flakers and limited editions,” explains Site Director David Gregorio. “Meanwhile, we have observed shorter deadlines, reduced batch sizes, and an increasing need for services. This means more agility for us.

Axilone Metal’s new manufacturing unit in Sant Pere de Torelló in Catalania

Axilone Metal’s new manufacturing unit in Sant Pere de Torelló in Catalania

The 15,000 m2 plant was designed to be specialized in drawing, lamination, polishing, anodizing, and assembly operations. Strict quality controls are performed throughout the production process, and there is also a permanent procedure in place for quality improvement and accident and environmental risk prevention. “All in all, 17 or 18 groups for continuous improvement work on all quality, environmental, and safety issues,” David Gregorio explains.

Similarly to the group’s other plants, the site aims to reduce both waste and the duration of production cycles, as well as optimize the quality and level of qualification of the teams, following the principles of Lean Manufacturing. A large part of the process (70%, according to Axilone estimations) was automated, and the machine capacity is controlled in real time.

As regards assembly – customer demand for this service keeps increasing – adjustable machines were designed following the principles of flexible automation to be used for different types of projects. Still, the plant has a clean room for the most high-end parts requiring manual assembly.

Environmental commitment

As for environmental protection, the new production unit in Sant Pere de Torelló benefits from a recent design. The site was built with panels offering good phonic and thermal isolation. It was decided to favour natural light both in the plant and offices. LED-based artificial lighting is automatically controlled and all waters are treated. As for heating and the use of hot water throughout the industrial process, the plant uses the energy of a neighbouring biomass-supplied plant. Production optimization also has a positive effect on the environmental footprint, in particular as it reduces the quantity of waste (it is all compacted and sold for recycling).

Generally speaking, the site is compliant with the group’s CSR policy (waste sorting and treatment, zero waste objective, solvent-free degreasing) and various progress projects were launched, for example with a view to accurately measure the carbon impact.

This model plant provides Axilone with many advantages to meet new customer expectations, whether “ever-stronger time-to-market requirements”, new services (decoration, assembly), or environmental concerns.

Vincent Gallon

Portfolio

  • Axilone Metal - metal drawing
  • Axilone Metal - metal drawing
  • Axilone Metal - transformed material - finished product
  • Axilone Metal - anodizing baths
  • Axilone Metal - anodizing baths
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