Metalúrgica Riosulense makes a diverse array of parts for the automotive industry. Christopher Langner tells how the company has become a leader in the Brazilian economy.
Ever wonder what makes a car move? Well,
anyone who is a bit interested in cars will say the heart and soul of an automobile are its cylinder and combustion systems. The wheel motion starts when the pistons are moved by an explosion inside the cylinder. Well, if that’s the most important part in an engine, Metalúrgica Riosulense makes an essential part of thousands of vehicles. The company from the Southern Brazil state of Santa Catarina manufactures high precision parts for combustion engines, mostly very specific for the valve train system.
Riosulense makes, for example, several kinds of valve guides, valve seats and valve tappets, besides special cast iron parts for OE Companies.
Products Notwithstanding, Riosulense’s mainstays are its valve guides. The company makes more than 2,000 different types of valve guides for virtually every vehicle model sold in Brazil. And that includes heavy-duty applications, not to mention various trucks, Jeeps, pickup trucks and vans. All have engines that can be equipped with Riosulense valve guides. The company’s valve guides are so universally used because they are made with special cast iron. The quality and choice of materials is a key to assure resistance and high precision fitting.
Another important part manufactured by Riosulense is the valve seat. An important supplier to the auto industry, the company makes over 1,500 different kinds of valve seats for everything from heavy-duty vehicles to passenger cars. In addition, Riosulense produces semi-finished and raw valve seats.
Aware of the high temperatures and pressure to which these parts are submitted, Riosulense makes its valve seats with a steel alloy comprised of a high grade of nickel and chromium. Other models are made in cast iron with chromium and molybdenum or alloys based on cobalt and nickel.
One of the Riosulense’s best-selling products is another key part in the closing and opening of valves, the tappets. The company uses one of the best-proven methods of making tappets: chilled iron. This is a process in which the iron is superchilled over a metallic surface creating the shape desired. Some of Riosulense’s tappets are also tempered to reach hardness levels over 60 Rockwell C.
One of Riosulense’s main products is cylinder liner. These tube-like parts coat the inner part of the cylinder so they have to be able to withstand great pressure. That’s why it is so important they are well made. Riosulense produces liners for almost all
models sold in Brazil.
The total satisfaction of the clients is the priority of the company, which deals mostly in metal-mechanics and auto parts in addition to supplying the domestic and external aftermarket and OE companies worldwide. Marketing strategies and close attention to services have enabled it to remain a force in the industry.
From wood to metal
Though it is basically a foundry and Riosulense is all about metals, the company was founded in 1946 as a little shop to fix machines used by the then flourishing local lumber industry. At that time, imports were limited, so replacement parts for the foreign-made machines had to be manufactured locally. The result was that Riosulense opened a little foundry.
In the late 1950s, when cars began becoming popular in Brazil and the country’s auto industry was burgeoning, that expertise proved useful. Soon, Riosulense was producing parts for Ford cars and even exporting them.
In 1988, the company listed non-voting shares in the Brazilian market, which made it much easier for it to tap markets for funding and made it more transparent. Now, after achieving TS 16.949 and ISO: 9002 certifications, Riosulense is on a drive to receive ISO: 14000 by 2008. To do so, the company invests heavily in reforestation and other environment-friendly policies. After all, if it weren’t for wood, this steel company wouldn’t exist.