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Interview to Fernando Odriozola, Managing Director of ULMA Inoxtruck

ULMA Inoxtruck has revolutionised transport and stacking equipment

ULMA Inoxtruck is a recently-created ULMA division. Fernando Odriozola, the Managing Director, reveals the secrets behind their success. 

Where did you get the idea to develop hygienic design transport solutions?

The idea came from a trade fair in the USA, AMI Chicago, where we realised there were no solutions available for environments requiring specific equipment because of their high levels of humidity or salinity. We saw an opening and the ULMA group had the wherewithal to fill it. We have a sheet metal works dedicated exclusively to producing stainless steel components; a company, ULMA Packaging, that has been supplying equipment to the food sector for product packaging for 50 years; and another company, ULMA Carretillas Elevadoras, which has manufactured and marketed one of the market's top forklifts for the last 27 years, accumulating valuable know how in terms of technology, specifications and services. The synergy between these three businesses was the basis to develop this idea. The company Ulma Safe Handling Equipment, using ULMA Inoxtruck as its commercial brand, was officially registered on 1 January 2010.

What differentiates you most compared to other transport equipment available on the market?

All of our products are characterised by their hygienic design which, in addition to incorporating stainless steel elements and components, makes it possible for our equipment to be cleaned daily unlike conventional equipment while ensuring that corrosion does not become a problem. This allows us to extend the equipment's lifespan and to reduce its maintenance costs. All without having to replace any parts. We have developed a series of improvements to the equipment: we do not use lifting chains but special cables to make sure this part of the equipment requires no maintenance and to extend its lifespan. It does not require a greasing system, all of its bearings are self-lubricating and encased to prevent damage from dirt or salt. At the end of the day, this is an added maintenance cost that you either spend on grease and bearings or you invest in solutions to allow you to reduce these costs.

What is your star product for the meat industry?

Our star product, because of its innovative nature, is the electric stacker. It is a double traction lifting system that makes it possible to work in environments where conventional stackers are not suitable. But as regards response and sales volume, compared to our forecasts the biggest surprise has been the ergonomic tables and scissor pallet trucks. With the different level selection options available in the pallet truck itself, we have improved the ergonomics and productivity of the palletising and depalletising process for products in processing or packaging lines. We have introduced a series of functions in an ergonomic desktop that did not yet have effective solutions for ergonomic issues in this type of high humidity environment where temperatures normally range from average to low. And in addition to solving this problem with this product, we have increased the productivity of the end product palletising and depalletising process itself.

What is your strongest region within the meat products sector?

We mainly work in Northern Spain. Our main market is anywhere from Madrid northwards. Our fish business is highly concentrated in Galicia and meat in the North and Northeast. Our meat business includes major brands like Casa Tarradellas, Embutidos La Selva and Martínez Loriente.

And what about your international exposure? What do these markets demand?

In Europe, we currently have a presence in Norway, Iceland, France, the UK, Portugal, Ireland and Germany, and in the first half of 2012 we took the plunge in South America. In the future, we plan to adapt our product range for the US market. As for the Asian market, for the moment we have only considered Japan. They also have very high hygiene standards. Almost all of the equipment for Japan is manufactured in China, meaning we can set up in Japan with a product that meets their needs and will encounter no local competition.

What is the secret of your success?

One of our secrets is awaking the interest of a great number of clients. Another is taking part in fairs where people can get up close and touch the machine and see what a "hygienic design” is, that it is not just an open structure. It is important that they see all of the solutions we have come up with that make the machine's maintenance costs almost negligible. A third is running demonstrations. That has won over many clients. And finally, the name ULMA has opened many doors because many clients who are looking for quality see ULMA as the Mercedes of packaging machines because of its high standards. That positive opinion has been a great help.




ULMA Inoxtruck - Obispo Otadui 10 - 20560 Oñati (Gipuzkoa) - Tel. +34 943 848 943 - info@ulmainoxtruck.com