With gear manufacturers constantly on the lookout for new business opportunities, Rom Koubi has a suggestion: “Consider powder metal,” he says. “It’s efficient and flexible, with an ever-growing range of applications, and we are here to show you the ropes.”
By “we” he means Proment Project Management, Inc., the company that his father, Shimon Koubi, founded in Israel nearly 40 years ago. “He began by focusing on equipment for pressing and industrial automation, and then he discovered powder compacting machines, which we have taken to a new level,” he says. “We studied what was out there, asked for our customer’s input, and then designed our own machines that not only address their concerns but also provide value-added features that we developed ourselves and patented. And our machines are far less expensive than the others you’ll find on the market, with the top of the line model costing about 40 percent less than our competitors.”
Just as the company’s name implies, however, its capabilities range far beyond manufacturing cutting-edge and cost-effective powder compacting equipment. Proment also serves as a partner to gear manufacturers who are interested in embracing powder metal, conducting site evaluations and providing guidance in terms of what will be required to make the transition. “We can help retrofit an existing production line, or create a new one that’s dedicated to manufacturing powder-metal gears,” Rom Koubi says. “We’ll make recommendations as to the layout that will best fit your facility, the equipment you’ll need, and where automation will result in more-efficient production, paving the way for significant returns on your investment.”
As proof of the Koubi’s investment, they established Proment Canada in 2002—with Rom as managing director—which has since built a significant foundation with an eye toward bolstering its presence in the United States. “We started by providing control solutions such as industrial automation,” he says, “and then we slowly increased our capabilities into building a machine, then a full production line, and then a whole plant layout, so we’ve really expanded our work here in Canada and are now involved in more than 42 different fields of interest.”
Proment is now described as a project-based company that can assist entrepreneurs by taking their dream and making it a reality, all the way from designing a process for manufacturing the part to shipping it out to customers. Should the client choose Proment’s powder-compaction machines, they will benefit from quick changeovers thanks to its proprietary adaptors—embedded with a chip that instructs the machine to reconfigure accordingly—and secondary features such as palletizing equipment with robotic loading and QC provided by optical scanners. “Accuracy is to half a micron,” Koubi says, “so you can sort out the parts that don’t meet your primary requirements to sell at a lower price to companies that don’t need the highest accuracy for their particular application.”
That sort of efficiency, in fact, is central to the whole powder-metal process. “As gear manufacturers know, between grinding, deburring, and other processes there’s a great deal of material loss, so that you might end up only using about 70 percent of your bar stock,” he says. “But powder metal is 100-percent accurate, and 80 kilos of material results in 80 kilos of product. We’ve designed our machines in such a way that there is no spillage, even when you change your tooling.”
Powder metal is also cheaper than bar stock, he points out, and enables gear manufacturers to create the exact mix they need to achieve the desired outcome. If you require more strength you can simply change the mixture, and there are no microfractures since it’s a cold process. “You just stamp the shape you want, send it to the sintering oven, and then polish the end product if you want,” Koubi says.
With manufacturing plants in Ontario and Israel, and years of experience building high-quality, low-cost powder-compacting machines and accessories, Proment is in a position to share its products and expertise with gear manufacturers who are interested in broadening their capabilities to enter lucrative new markets.
“We design every single thing that goes into our machines, including the software that allows you to run the presses remotely,” Koubi says. “Because of this we offer a very high degree of customization to make sure our customers get exactly what they need to succeed in this market. Between the machines we’ve designed, and the knowledge we possess, we can help powder-gear manufactures compete with anyone in the world.