At our factory for marine controls in Flen, 90 kilometres southwest of Stockholm, the quality manager Stefan Hansson says that the staff are like clockmakers, technicians and developers, rather than operative employees. The feeling in the products has to be perfect. Everyone on the team is sensitive to the slightest deviation from this goal.
“Every marine controller consists of a host of small, moving parts that fit together intricately, and all parts are custom-made. There are no standard products. The staff performs genuine craftsmanship, and everyone takes part in the whole development process to achieve the unique feel and quality that is Caldaro’s trademark.”
The team in Flen has produced close to 200 different variations of controls since they started in 1985. There’s absolutely no mass production here. Some controls are available in batches of a few hundred, and others are available only as a single, unique specimen. In each case, however, the base design conforms to existing models as much as possible to maintain cost efficiency.
Feeling, design, and quality
“Our mission is to create specialised, custom hardware where the feeling, design and quality are most important,” continues Stefan. ”In most cases, we know the exact ship for which we create a controller. In some cases, we even know the captain’s name and preferences for the feel. Most of our customers come from the water jet market, but the number of controls for propeller motors grows.”
Caldaro performs lifetime tests of the controls; in four weeks, they go through 40,000 operations – equal to ten years of actual use. For other kinds of ships, that might be equal to three months of actual use – the preconditions for each ship are very different.
Our suppliers are companies within a range of 30 kilometres. That means quick deliveries and adjustments of the design can be made from one day to the next.
“We are a tight-knit group, and some of us have more than 30 years of experience. Everyone is engaged in making our products, and ideas for making them better can come from any individual in the group. Both Caldaro and each product we sell is in a constant state of progress,” says Stefan.