Ulma Forged Solutions is a company from Oñati that is a world leader in the manufacture of flanges (the joining elements between tubes) in carbon and special materials in the USA and the Middle East. It exports more than 90% of its turnover, which exceeds 120 million euros a year.
The company was founded in 1962 in Oñati by a group of workers from a forge that had moved to Vitoria. They used the facilities they left behind and set up a cooperative to manufacture forged parts under the name Enara.
“We started as a mechanical workshop, bought the first hammer and manufactured flanges”, recalls Meritxell Sánchez, CEO of Ulma Forged Solutions. In the early 2000s, the company was already the world’s leading manufacturer of carbon flanges in a small range.
In those years, they saw the threat to their business from low-cost countries and in 2005 they undertook a strategic shift with higher value-added products. “We were selling flanges to stockists, to large distributors and we turned to projects that involve manufacturing small and large flanges in all possible materials”.
The company invested more than 40 million euros for this change and acquired a forging factory in the town of Lazkao “that had knowledge of forging special materials”.
Ulma Forged Solutions manufactures flanges of up to three metres in diameter, it also has a business line of projects for engineering companies and a third line, called forged components, which offers all kinds of forged parts in carbon, stainless steel or nickel alloys.
The sectors for which they work range from oil gas and railways to capital goods, aeronautics and heavy vehicles.
The company employs more than 480 people and has a turnover of more than 120 million euros. Ulma Forged has two plants in Oñati and one in Lazkao, and sales offices in the USA, Korea and Dubai. It sells on all five continents. Exports account for more than 90% of turnover and it devotes 4.5% of its budget to R+D