The clever choice for quality cookware: Santana doubles output with Brazil’s first DISAMATIC C3

When Fundição Santana decided to upgrade its process to cope with skyrocketing demand for its cast iron cookware, the Brazilian foundry knew exactly which moulding line would be top of its list.

“All our strongest competitors rely on DISA moulding machines,” says Pedro Souza, Operations Director and joint owner at Santana. “They need to achieve the highest quality for their cookware and that’s exactly what we wanted too.”

Santana is a family-run business, established in 1985 by Pedro’s father Mr. Jader. For many years, the foundry specialised in household ironware like garden furniture and circular stairs before moving into jobbing work for agriculture and other sectors. Santana employed jolt-squeeze machines and floor moulding for these applications.

Next, the foundry started producing cookware as a sideline, giving it an alternative market when demand for agricultural castings fell during the winter. But by 2012, Santana was struggling and close to shutting down.

Going all in on cookware

“In early 2012, I took a trip to Canada and realized how big the potential market was for top quality cookware,” says Pedro. “We decided to grow our range and improve its quality.”

The next 18 months were a battle but, by 2014, the foundry was breaking even. Then came the reward for their hard work: exponential growth and, with the arrival of new investment in 2017, the chance to boost capacity and sharpen their competitive edge.

“We had already bought a horizontal machine in 2010 from another vendor but it was just too slow,” says Pedro. ”I thought vertical moulding would work well for us – as it does for other cookware manufacturers – but with a much simpler set-up to start with. In 2018, we spoke to DISA about installing the first DISAMATIC C3 in Brazil.”

The DISMATIC C3 moulding line is a popular choice for foundries that want to achieve a step change in performance with a relatively small investment. By incorporating the expertise and advanced vertical moulding technology from DISA’s high-performance D-lines, it opens the door to high-speed, high uptime and high-casting-quality production that’s affordable even for small series or lower volumes.

A step change in moulding performance

In July 2019, Santana installed its DISAMATIC C3-250 and began to upgrade its operation to handle the move from horizontal to vertical moulding, with DISA’s expert Application team supporting them every step of the way. New tooling, improved sand mixing, an extra melting furnace, staff training: getting fully up to speed took just six months.

We had a lot of work to do to upgrade the other parts of the line and had to learn to programme and set up the machine, but now it’s very simple for us to manage,” says Pedro. “DISA were very supportive, giving us extra time with their Application consultants.”

Once running, the sheer speed of the new machine highlighted bottlenecks elsewhere, with an extra shot-blast machine required to help surface treatment keep pace with the rest of the line. The C3’s share of production has grown rapidly since installation, now standing at 70% of the total, which means that the legendary DISAMATIC quality is having more and more influence on Santana’s scrap rates.

Partly due to better sand mixing improvements improving the jolt-squeeze machines’ casting quality, Santana’s overall scrap levels have dropped from 6.5% to 5%. But at 2.5%, the DISA machine’s scrap rate is less than half that overall rate and still improving. Despite monthly casting output nearly doubling to 280 tons since the DISAMATIC C3’s installation, the amount of hand finishing and grinding required has actually dropped.


Powering up for the future

As the pandemic struck in March 2020, it became clear the new machine’s arrival was well timed. People were stuck at home with money to spend and the company saw a big upswing in cookware sales. Today, cookware makes up over 50% of Santana’s output. It’s no surprise to learn that the foundry is now the largest cookware manufacturer in Brazil and has ambitious plans for the future.