Spain’s reforms point the way for southern Europe

ON A back road in the Llobregat valley west of Barcelona, amid a jumble of old wine-growing villages and modern factories, stands a research centre owned by Gestamp, a Spanish firm that in just two decades has become one of the world’s leading makers of car body-parts, doors and bonnets. With 100 plants in 21 countries and sales last year of €7.5bn ($8.4bn), Gestamp is a specialist in hot stamping. This process makes parts six times more resistant than if they are cold-stamped, allowing cars to be safer, lighter and less polluting. What was once mere metal-bashing has become a high-tech operation.

Gestamp invests 3.8% of its sales in research and development, and holds more than 900 patents. “We are working on cars that will only go into production in five or six years’ time,” says Juan José Matarranz, one of the 58 scientists and engineers at the research centre. Alongside, in a factory equipped with robots, laser-cutters and high-temperature forges, Gestamp churns out parts...Continue reading

Souce: Europe

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