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How It’s Made: Inside FaitalPRO, Driving Loudspeaker Driver Development

Striving for the highest standards in development and manufacturing

“We have a series of sophisticated instruments for checking all aspects of the components when they arrive – physical, magnetic, variations due to external influences, such as temperature,” says R&D manager Romolo Toppi. “We must also make certain that materials’ characteristics remain constant, particularly important as far as neodymium magnets are concerned, as there is considerable misconception among suppliers regarding standards.”

Loudspeaker performance is evaluated via acoustic measurements in two anechoic chambers (one fully floating), laser-based assessment, performance with large signals and analysis of geometry and behavior of moving parts.

An entire in-house validation infrastructure enables to carrying out a variety of tests on components, prototypes and end products include corrosion, thermal shock, UV rays and vibration and shock testing, to see how they’ll stand up to use (and misuse) in future applications.

Of particular importance is the capability of guaranteeing that all Faital products will be corrosion-proof, waterproof and capable of withstanding very broad thermal and vibration shocks,
making them environmentally impervious to anything mother nature (or users) will throw at them.

“A great deal of attention goes into developing components that are producible in the most economic manner and able to guarantee performance, but having implemented the strict regulations in other industry sectors enables FaitalPRO to maintain very high quality standards,” Naggi says.

A sophisticated product development process includes 3-D design, extensive prototyping, and evaluation in one of the company’s anechoic chambers.

From the incoming inspection of materials, there are stringent almost “military” level quality control and tests to ensure that products work in the conditions decided upon with clients at the beginning of the program. The company also tests, controls and even purchases the material – such as plastic – used by its suppliers.

Cones are tested on arrival before being mounted on actual loudspeakers, and there’s also a 3-D measurement system to compare components with the original models ordered. End products are also labeled to enable them to be back-tracked down the entire chain.

Highly Productive

Located in extensive tree-shaded grounds in the rural town of Chieve, Faital’s 86,000 square-foot (8,000-square-meter) manufacturing plant, just a half-hour drive from the Milan metropolis, features highly automated production lines designed for extreme flexibility.

Naggi explains: “The design and automation of the lines enables a number of different models to be produced with almost no down-time between job lots, apart from a few minutes required to reset the machines via touch panels, ensuring an extremely high productivity rate.”

Highly automated assembly lines provide precision manufacturing in addition to enabling different models to be produced with almost no down-time.

The facility’s warehouse system is equally streamlined and includes climatized zones for components more sensitive to temperature and a special dedicated adhesive store-room.

The actual production line begins with the assembly of the magnet assemblies, some of which are extremely complex, includes curing chambers that can be adapted according to the type of adhesives (also formulated to Faital specs). Along the line there are cleaning stations to make certain assemblies are absolutely free from unwanted particles (or “crap in the gap” as Turra memorably refers to it).

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