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In the right gear

Portrait

Unus International was founded in 1986 by a group of investors as an individual entity but looks back on an even longer history in its field. Before its new beginnings in the late 1980s, it produced bicycle bells and electropneumatic horns for automobiles. The new company began to produce electrically powered universal window regulators – at a time when that technology was relatively new in the automotive sector.

In the early years in this endeavour, the company produced for after-market sales, but with the patenting of several of its innovations, it started increasingly to become a supplier for original equipment manufacturers. Its first gear motors were incorporated into French automaker Simca’s vehicles, with Fiat and Lancia following

Ten years ago, the company switched gears entirely and steered its strategy towards a concentration on the export market. This shift was accompanied by a successive expansion of its product spectrum. These days, Unus produces a wide range of gear motors for window regulators, sunroofs, sun blinds, seat adjusting systems and steering columns for automobiles, as well as robotic systems for the civil and industrial sector.

“We increased our product lines and have become one of the most reputable producers of specialised gear motors in the industry,” says trained engineer Massimo Melato, general manager of Unus International SpA. “Many high-end automakers have called on us to produce components for their vehicles,” he adds. Today, Unus produces 87% of its products for OEMs. Roughly 10% of its products go to after-market sales, and the rest encompasses gear motors for civil applications. “Unus is in the first class of its league,” Mr. Melato says.

“Our customers know us as for our extremely competent, dependable and quiet motors,” he adds. With just 65 employees, many of whom are trained engineers, Unus is a relatively small enterprise in its field. Still, it produces as many as two million motors annually in its fully automated production facility.

“We do not deliver what customers want, but what they really need,” Mr. Melato says. For many customers, that means motors that are robust, that can deal with extreme changes in temperature and climate, ones that will be challenged by a range of materials and fluids. “Every motor is specially developed for each of our customers,” Mr. Melato says.

Indeed, Unus develops each of its small motors to perform at top levels. Many of them make practically no sound at all. It develops these products on time, employing a streamlined logistics system that has made it a major exporter for Korea, Mexico and China. The heart of Unus’s operation is its development team, which is always working to develop new applications in automation technology.

This team strives diligently to develop ever-smaller, wear-resistant gear motors that are built using comparable prices. “It is important to be competitive, but our customers pay what we are worth,” Mr. Melato says. The road for Unus lies in more diversification – adding to its product line while building upon the solid business practices that have earned it ISO 9001, 16949, and in the future, 18001 certification.

“Every product that leaves our house has been tested 100%,” Mr. Melato says of the company’s drive towards perfection. “Unus has a strict zero-error policy,” he adds. Quiet, dependable, impeccably engineered – that sounds like a dream motor.

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