A Spanish Success Story
Worldwide Spain-based Fermator is the largest mono-product manufacturer of automatic doors and spare parts for lifts in the world.
The Reus, Spain-based Fermator Group has seen phenomenal growth over the past few years. While it had enjoyed much recent expansion and high revenue when ELEVATOR WORLD last covered it in detail (EW, October 2007), it has continued on an upward path and now boasts it is “the largest mono-product manufacturer of automatic doors and spare parts for lifts in the world.” The group includes 1,240 employees led by a management team of 67 and had EUR252 million (US$286.4 million) in consolidated net sales in 2015. It is a global leader in the following segments: new installations for residential, commercial and freight applications, and existing installations for residential and commercial applications. Globally, it boasts nine manufacturing hubs, five distribution centers and 33 authorized distributors. There are also four factories under construction.
The company graciously invited all Elevcon 2016 attendees to tour its local plants following the conference, including its headquarters. Your author readily accepted and was well taken care of by Jordi Anguela, Xavier Buesa and Samuel López Barrera. Anguela explained that, per Fermator’s international orientation (serving more than 90 countries), employees in contact with customers must be able to speak the customer’s language, making the company linguistically diverse. In addition to Spain, its production facilities are located in France, Italy, Poland, Greece, India, China and Brazil. Distribution centers are in Turkey, the U.K., Sweden, France and Germany.
A family-owned company, Fermator manufactures all kinds of lift doors, except vertical freight doors. It produces operators, landing headers, and doors in round, asymmetric, reduced-width and manual configurations. Its under-driven doors are popular for panoramic elevators. Other components include AC permanent-magnet motors, which it designs, develops and manufactures, and electronic circuits, which it designs and develops. Some models are plug-and-play for modernizations or repairs in which other brands and models are replaced.
Our first stop was a short drive from Reus to Falset, where the Fermator-branded factory, dubbed “DMT,” is located. More modern (approximately 15 years old) and a bit smaller than the company’s original location in Reus, it only produces what Anguela explained as “commodity doors,” which are usually in the form of very large orders from OEMs. These include the VVF 7 door, which conforms to the new EN 81-20 code.
The lack of custom work and design here precludes the need for many office workers — only 15 of the approximately 100 employees here hold office jobs. Though many workers (both permanent and temporary) were constantly busy, the modern system has much automation: specifications come in electronic files, there are four tireless robots that operate 24/7, and all packaging and loading is tracked via a barcode system.
The large Tecnolama plant was built in 1977 and later expanded to produce a larger quantity of custom doors. These have been very popular and comply with required international standards, including EN 81-1/2, ASME A17.1, and fire requirements EN 81-58 and UL 10B, among others. Its fire doors are rated for 1 or 2 hr., depending on customer specifications, and can stop both flame and heat.
Approximately 280 people work here, with 80 of those being office workers. Anguela stated the employees pride themselves on having only a 15-manufacturing-day lead time for most types of doors. Workload here is sometimes more sporadic due to the custom, smaller-scale orders, so when they are more busy, up to 10% more workers are hired temporarily. All employees were friendly and were reportedly happy to work for the company in an area where few skilled, high-paying jobs are available. “Many of us say we want to retire from here,” Anguela explained. “Our growth over the past few years has been extraordinary. You can see a good future ahead.”