”Portuguese Venice” it is how the harbor town of Aveiro is being called, labelled so because of its canal system and colorfully painted moliceiros, traditional boats with brightly painted prows, originally made to harvest seaweed in the lagoon. With the Atlantic on the doorstep and just a few minutes from the ocean-swept sandy beaches Aveiro is not only a tourist attraction, but also a busy port and an important economic center, traditionally associated with the salt production. One internationally active group of companies in the region is PRIFER Group, supplier and manufacturer of industrial outsourcing global solutions. It is exactly here where the company has its headquarters. The Manufacturing Journal had the opportunity to talk to Mr. Bruno Bessa, director of the Metal Division of the Prifer Group, who gave us a closer look at the successful enterprise and its activities.
PRIFER Group – products, services and activity areas
Prifer Group started its activity in 1977, manufacturing and selling its own brand products for the agricultural industry. At first the company was mainly focusing on the production of the irrigation and watering systems, up to now still an important part of the company´s offer. Nevertheless, in the meantime the enterprise kept growing and expanded its production capacity also to other areas in order to complete the production value chain and maximize both the offer and profits. The first branch this group has invested in, was the production of molds to aid the injection of plastic parts - this is how the first division of the company- the Molds Division came to be. Apart from molds for plastic injection, the Molds Division has been also producing molds for plastic compression, aluminium and zamac injection. Having focused initially on the production of molds for the automotive sector the opportunities became quite obvious- it is the automotive industry that is still now one the biggest sources of the company’s turnover. It is also the Molds Division that counts among the most representative sectors of the company. The developing and manufacturing molds for the automotive sector is something that often needs real preparation and formation, though. That is why some new investments had to follow- the Engineering & Development Division has been founded. As the answer to the growing interest not only in injection molds but also in finished parts, Prifer has also decided on establishing another division- the Die Casting Division. The next important step was the founding of the Surface Engineering Division, this enabled by the evolving technological means. The Surface Engineering Division includes surface finishing (polishing, deburring, vibration, blasting etc.) and surface treatment (liquid and powder coating, chroming, PVD treatment, WS2 treatment, laser engraving, etc.). Finally, responding once again to the current requirements of the market and its customers, the company opened the Metal Division, where not only the transformation of sheet metal takes place, but also assemblies of all components that are being produced by Prifer Group (plastic, metal, aluminum and zamak parts) as well as purchasing components to be integrated in global products (electronics devices such as monitors, cables and others). Today Prifer Group is present at each stage of the production process, from developing to assembly. The still growing PRIFER GROUP has in the meantime nine different plants in Portugal and five located abroad.
The insider view on Prifer - its working techniques and strategic potential
Quality is not just one of Prifer’s priorities, the enterprise understands it much more as the mandatory condition for its own existence. The suppliers and employees are also part of the company’s success and it is also them who must be extremely competent in their branch of activity, delivering the final products in time and quality conditions required. One of the most important priorities and key principles PRIFER is trying to follow and comply with, is the decision of working always with the best- the company sees in it the only way to develop and continue growing. At present the enterprise is composed out of a group of almost 800 people, all of them highly experienced technicians and engineers. Apart from being experts in their branch they are also excellent team players, passing on their knowledge to the younger colleagues and sharing their experiences. All of the company’s production is done in segregated and highly specialized units, each division having at least one or more industrial branches, with autonomous production management. Prifer has a big amount of very positive recommendations, both nationally and internationally, and is widely known for its professionalism, dedication and unconditional commitment to what it is doing, meeting deadlines and responding to quality requirements, what makes the company the trustworthy partner on the markets. The markets and clients for their part recognize the company’s credibility and competence and keep on launching new challenges - Prifer’s path has always been the one of innovation, entrepreneurship and constant development of new competencies. It is also the path the company is following now. From the commercial and strategic point of view the most significant is being able to control the whole production chain within the Group and staying geographically close to the clients. Today the Prifer Group has a stable market position and is the very name for delivering global solutions in all the branches of its activity.
A glimpse into the future - investment plans for the years to come
Prifer is constantly working on renovating its industrial facilities, investing in better equipment, in faster, more efficient and up-to-date machines and production technologies. This relatively new business has in the last years invested in various equipment for metal transformation for component assemblies (infrastructures, cutting machines, bending, welding, assembly lines, etc.) The plans for new investments always depend on the demand of its clients and the constantly changing market demands. The plan for the years to come includes in the first place the increase of the productive capacity in different group divisions and - passing over to expand the value chain.
Awards, achievements and the ongoing events
The company holds different awards and is proud of the long list of prizes related to its growth in exportation, turnover, innovation and quality; nevertheless, what it values most, is the satisfaction, trust and credibility in the eyes of its clients and customers. Prifer participates in international fairs and exhibitions, as for example in K 2019 in Düsseldorf or in Metal Madrid (in November 2019) to mention just a few. For 2020 the company is also preparing to take part in such fairs as Euroguss and Midest Paris. Following its social commitment policy and being a responsible community member PRIFER Group is also known for supporting innumerable initiatives, promoting mainly local sport teams and participating in social charity projects - trying this way to contribute to the development and well-being of the own region and its population.