From the ancient name of a South African tribe where the first diamond fields were discovered, CAFRO is today synonymous with excellence in diamond and CBN tools for precision mechanics. Founded back in 1955 by Giovanni Mancina, the third generation of the family is today at the helm of the company, inheriting the 60-year tradition of total dedication and technological knowledge. The managerial approach of the company has always been the based on high-level professional skills, product quality and innovation.
CAFRO's history dates back to the intuition of Giovanni Mancina, born in Milan in 1911, whose story is deeply intertwined with the historical events of the 20th century. Employed in the toy-manufacturing family business, destroyed by the crisis of 1929, still a teenager he had to start again from scratch. After many jobs, at the age of thirty he is supervisor at the Robert Zapp Company in Milan, one of the first Italian companies to manufacture carbide tools. With the outbreak of the Second World War, he is recalled from the front and employed in factories reorganized for weapon manufacturing. In 1941, he gets married and accepts a new job in Fino Mornasco at the newly founded company USAP, the Italian branch of the German company Walter of Tübingen.
This is where CAFRO starts. In 1955, Giovanni Mancina already had at home a small manufacture of metal smallware where he worked in the evening and, after seeing in Usap the first diamond wheels, he reconverts it becoming a pioneer in an industry that is taking its first steps. An easy-to-remember name, which is pronounced almost the same way in all languages, as old as the ancient diamond fields: CAFRO is now 3 people with new machines for the manufacturing of resin bonded diamond wheels. The first customers come from the northern Italy area and are top-class names. The expertise developed over the decades in the manufacture of carbide tools allows reaching other sectors and it is time for Giovanni Mancina to devote himself entirely to the new business, moving the company into a new building next to his house, in via Donizetti, Fino Mornasco. All diamond wheels were manufactured with natural diamond, until General Electric synthetises the first industrial diamonds; CAFRO is invited to visit its new facilities in Ohio, starting a partnership lasting since then. New machines are added, demand grows (also from abroad) and the number of employees reaches a dozen or so. The manufacturing skills are refined and new formulations are developed. In 1965, the first sintering press is installed and metal bonded diamond wheels are added to the production range; the following year the sons Roberto and Guido join the company. The number of employees increases to fifteen, a new department for manufacturing carbide tools opens, the range of resin and metal bonds widens and are laid the basis for bond analysis and development.
In the early ’70s the superabrasives industry is booming. CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) becomes available on the market and now steel and iron alloys grinding is finally possible, opening enormous application possibilities and providing a significant boost to the growth of the company. Polycrystalline diamonds is now available too and CAFRO reorganizes the carbide tools department, becoming the first manufacturer in Italy of POLYDIAM Polycrystalline Diamond Tools. Soon the department’s production range widens with the POLYBORN polycrystalline CBN tools. In 1980 CAFRO celebrates its 25th anniversary with precisely 25 employees and a dozen or so agents in Italy, Switzerland and Germany, taking part to the EMO Trade Fair in Hannover, the main global exhibition for tool manufacturing. From then on, CAFRO has always been present at this important event. In the ‘80s CAFRO, always engaged in research and development, starts to build machines to optimize its own production processes: presses, grinding and profiling machines automation; the development never stopped since then. CAFRO is one of the first companies in Europe to manufacture big diameter wheels up to 600mm for double face and centerless grinding, the first vitrified wheels are added to the production range.
The market growth was exponential in Italy and abroad, so in the early ‘90s it became necessary to expand the manufacturing department. In 1995 CAFRO moves to the present facilities sited in via Raimondi 55, Fino Mornasco, then covering 3000 square meters; in 1999 a second hall for a total of 5000 sqm covered area is added, where the new, innovative electroplating department starts manufacturing. In those years Mario, Giovanni and Silvia, the third generation of the Mancina family, join the company, giving a new impulse to innovations as electroplated products and the CAD system. In 1996, CAFRO’s Quality Management System is certified ISO 9002, and in 2002 the certification is updated to ISO 9001. In 2002 the new vitrified department opens, completing CAFRO’s production range with its top-quality item; in this case too, the product development is based on a innovative way of managing the vitrified products. In 2007 CAFRO’s Environment Management System is certified ISO 14001 and in 2009 the third hall, now used as general warehouse, is built, for a total of 6500 covered square meters.
CAFRO’s growth continues with the development of Hybrid bonded wheels and an update of the resin bonds through the CAFRO Bond System, a coordinated and flexible system introduced in 2013, allowing to create the ideal wheel for every application; in 2014 many of those new products are selected for the new Stock List, which offers standard CAFRO products with optimized quality and competitive process for immediate delivery. In June 2014 CAFRO’s Health and Safety Management System is certified OHSAS 18001 and an Integrated Management System for Quality, Environment and Health and Safety is active. CAFRO is increasingly well-equipped to compete on the global market; its sales network covers Europe extensively, sales representatives are present in Asia and north and south Americas, customers are also reached as far as Africa and Australia.
The core business of the Company is represented by resin bonded Diamond and CBN wheels; the production range is completed by metal bonded, electroplated and vitrified and hybrid bond grinding wheels, polycrystalline tools and abrasive powders and pastes. The company's know-how includes the design and production of machinery and equipment, research on raw materials and bonds, innovative applications and tool use optimisation, also through a solid partnership with our customers and with several European machine tool manufacturers. CAFRO’s customisation is the service which, over the years, has attracted many loyal customers from different sectors, from multinationals to family businesses. For the CAFRO staff customer care and product quality are the cornerstones of our business. CAFRO is a quality and leading-edge brand that offers its customers a wide range of customised and standard products, providing highly professional service and guaranteed products.