Visit to Slovakia: discovering the productive heart of one of our suppliers of continuous cast billets

06.03.2023 – I’d like to share the visit I recently made to one of my billet suppliers.

In I.S.A.C we believe it is important to deepen commercial relations but I rarely have the opportunity to be invited by a steel manufacturer while are more frequent the visits to companies dealing with mechanical processes or thermal treatments of ours products.

The steel mill that I visited is named Zeleziarne Podbrezova (ZP) in Slovakia, and in the world it is commercially represented by Pipex Italia. ZP is actually a Group consisting of numerous companies present in 6 European countries but the heart of its activity is precisely in Podbrezova (Zeleziarne means factory).
This steel mill has been existing for over 180 years, it is certainly one of the oldest in our continent: it was born under the Austrian Habsburg Empire for the production of rails used to build one of the first railway networks of Europe.

With the ZP Group we have a relationship that has lasted for several years: with their carbon steel bars, in I.S.A.C. we normally hot forge steering parts for truck axles for industrial vehicles, the lids and the flanges for Oil & Gas and for earth movement we produce hub fun, circle hub, holders, trunnions and gearboxes parts for axles.
I found useful and certainly important to go and ascertain how their raw material is produced.

Starting from the scrap, ZP produces continuous cast billets which then partly sells outside and partly transforms internally into seamless tubes and pipes of various size ranges and for different applications.

I was impressed by the magnitude of the company, its production capacity and its investments in technology and automation. Another aspect that reassured me was to find a huge quantity of stocks in their warehouses, a sign of reliability and financial solidity.

But my visit also led to further discoveries and reflections: I was able to see the company’s identity values through the management they have of their staff not only in the working environment but above all in the surrounding one.
Because just outside the factory there is a world made of sports fields, services and homes, created and made available by the company for them and for their families.
And not only that: they run high schools for the future technicians in the company, sports teams of hockey, bowling, football – also have a football team playing in Premier League. And then, hotels and hotel schools, golf courses, skis, health clinics.
This aspect is often forgotten, but the harmony of human resources impact considerably in the progress of the company up to the quality of the products they make.

I then made a discovery that really struck me: I found some of the gears made by us of I.S.A.C. in Italy inside their hot-rolled tube mill.
This shows how the global economy can create surprising connections between companies of different countries.

In conclusion, after this business trip, I realized how important it is to take time to visit my suppliers, not only to ascertain the quality of the raw material, but also to better understand how they work and what their values are.

Best regards,

Giorgio Grivetto