MGN, which was established in 1957, is one of the rubber processing companies with the most experience in Europe.
The technical team at MGN specialises in elastomers. They advise clients and design the best alternative according to their needs, at the highest quality and most competitive price.
We adapt our knowledge and levels of certified quality to the needs of any sector of the industry that requires our services. Over the years and thanks to hard work and perseverance, we have acquired extensive experience in the industry.
At the end of the 1950s, the German consortium METZELER NEMROD –which specialised in surgical, orthopaedic, industrial rubber and sporting goods– closed its company in Getafe: ACIMSA.
The then manager of ACIMSA, Andrés Navarro, saw the opportunity to become a manufacturer and supplier to cover pending and unattended orders of the company, which was in suspension of activity and payments, from the small workshop he opened at Calle Apolonio Rodríguez in Madrid.
A pair of second-hand machines, moulds and a truck full of his hopes and dreams were enough to open Manufacturas de la Goma Navarro in 1957.
In just over a year, they moved to a small 40 m2 workshop at Calle Aligustre in Madrid.
Nemrod was founded in Barcelona in 1935 as a toy manufacturer. In 1941, they began manufacturing diving gear, an industry in which the brand is still a benchmark. In 1959, Seamless Rubber began to distribute in the USA, where the “Made in Spain” stamp on manufactured rubber meant high quality. The German Metzeler (technical rubber and polyurethanes), a small Nemrod shareholder, increased its stake to 100% in 1981. At the end of the 80s, the factory moved to the US.
Acimsa, our “mother” company was owned by Nemrod-Metzeler in Madrid.
When closing the ACIMSA (Aplicaciones del Caucho Industrial Moran S.A.) factory, the then owner Mr. Morán, entrusted his young manager Joaquín Navarro to sell the machines. In payment for his efforts and sales, he offered him some old machines and moulds, which he used as a starting point to open a workshop in 40 square metres.
That small workshop and his sales vocation were the company’s origins.
Following the late 50s’ system, rubber moulds were heated with steam. Greased rags, forged screwdrivers and a large mallet were the tools with which they opened, closed and worked with the moulds. Four hard-working young people started what is now MGN.
Moulds mean customers
The clients of what used to be ACIMSA demanded continuity to supply the parts they needed. The moulds received as payment were the main asset and the base with which to manufacture and meet the needs of clients who had lost their supplier.
Pedals, cuffs –reinforced with adhesive tape on the ends to prevent the clamps from slipping–, stop sets for car bonnets and gear stick protection covers for the Seat 600, Seat 1500, Gordini and Simca 1000.
The original spare parts for Peugeot, Renault, SEAT, etc. were the most important parts during the start of the company’s operation and offered the Navarro brothers a good business opportunity.
With the philosophy of an agile service company, they used techniques to offer a quick response as an added value: they picked up the orders at replacement shops in the morning, the parts were manufactured and bagged while they were still hot –sorted by maintenance kit for each vehicle– and they were distributed on a Vespa around the workshops in Madrid in the afternoon.
In the 60s, MGN already offered just in time services; the zero stock strategy was already an advantage and so the company sold its products with a clear differential value. That was our school.
The company continued its upward track record: New markets and new applications made renewing equipment and facilities necessary, as well as technical backstopping.
We were part of the almost massive access the Spanish people had to the absolute success of the time: the SEAT 600. The famous pellet was the car that motorised Spain during the so-called “developmentalism” and the incipient middle class.
The first Seat 600 was manufactured in the Zona Franca factory in Barcelona on June 27, 1957, the same year we opened, and it was registered in Madrid. It had a 633 cc engine and weighed 585 kg.
Ten years later, the fleet of vehicles included 1,330,000 cars of which 60% (760,000) were Seat 600.
Workshops started opening up and the need for spare parts to cover such a high demand increased. Parts were manufactured in that small MGN workshop from dawn to night, seven days a week. Production was gradually extended to every model at the time, and for new applications: stops, covers, mats, as well as the cuffs and pedals they’d always produced were the star parts at the time. Developing quality products guaranteed a growing market and greater added value.
Infrastructure and space
The 40 m2 workshop became too small…
New car models, new moulds and more production meant we needed more space.
We opened a new 600 m2 store workshop in San Sebastián de los Reyes that was destined to production and to serve as a warehouse and a small laboratory where we could investigate in the exciting world of rubber and its derivatives to meet the diverse needs that industries generated.
The 70s opened the way to projects that allowed us to develop non-toxic rubbers to be used with food products. The manufacture of these products required new cleaning conditions, standards, certifications, quality requirements, etc. that we gradually incorporated.
On this base, we implemented processes that are absolutely indispensable today: regulations on quality management, environmental management and health and safety at work.
We thus met the needs of companies such as Mahou, Sadrim and Alugasa for products such as olive pitters, special joints for beer and soft drink dispensers, coatings for barrels, edgers for fish containers, etc.
MARESA and PETACO –manufacturers of the popular pinball machines– were also key customers during the company’s diversification process. Coloured rubber parts for this type of machines offered us the opportunity to work with colour in rubber applications.
Our entry into the lift industry gave us the chance of collaborating with some of the most important lift companies worldwide, with which we still work today. Zardoya-Otis continues to be a first-class technology partner.
Since then, the metal rubber parts manufactured by MGN have been essential to achieve the levels of comfort and speed that distinguishes the Zardoya-OTIS lifts, the world leader in the manufacture of state-of-the-art lifts today.
The on-going contact with our automotive industry clients placed us at the forefront, adapting our production and management to European manufacturers’ standard: Volkswagen, Renault, Fiat, Seat, etc.
We produced rubber metal parts, engine mounts and ventilation equipment for models such as the Renault 12, the Renault 18, IVECO Pegaso and the Continental group and, with small part orders for large series, we incorporated vulcanised injection processes.
The need to develop non-toxic chemical formulations for food use was the starting point to invest in laboratory equipment, control methods, etc. Servicing these new industries was the first steps of what would later become MGN’s R&D department.
The slot machine industry was a tremendous success and machines started being manufactured in Spain. Rubber was the perfect element to withstand blows from solid steel balls and we developed new and more technical formulations.
Responding to this new market required us to incorporate strict cleaning conditions, more specialised personnel and more demanding requirements in all production processes. These characteristics and putting clients and the market at the centre of what we do are still the company’s hallmarks.
One of the first lifts was installed in the chambers of King Louis XV, who used it to stealthily sneak in his mistress, the Duchess of Châteauroux.
Otis was the first company that started manufacturing lifts. Zardoya Otis is the first vertical transport company in the Iberian market, with a turnover of 665 million Euro. Our on-going collaboration with the company started in the 70s.
At least the company’s journey lines up with the rails.
The eighties were the decade in which the railways started to take centre stage in Spain and the entire EU. We naturally carved out a space for ourselves as professional rubber manufacturers in the synergies that this expansion generated. Our location in Madrid, the hub of the country, has also been a competitive advantage for us.
For our company, with an eye to constant improvement, the search for technological alliances was already a strategic target; in the 80s, RENFE and Metro de Madrid, in their expansion and renovation strategies, unprecedented in Europe, proved to be an interesting opportunity from an operations perspective and as a technological partner to supply to and to learn with.
MGN also took part in the maintenance of the equipment for freight transport alongside companies such as Tafesa and Transfesa. Investments in moulds for producing high-liability pieces have been a constant commitment since then.
The same business opportunities that helped the company come about have remained over the years. Equipment maintenance, as well as planning it and executing it, is a decisive factor for meeting urgent commissions with proven guarantees for quality like ours.
The equation for those years was Quality>Trust>Satisfied customer>New commissions. We started to apply this same working philosophy with other customers and sectors, such as the Army and heavy and civil engineering machinery manufacturers.
We opened a new plant in Ajalvir measuring 3,000 square metres with specific production lines for treatments for metal parts, mixes, storage space for raw materials and offices. The stage was set to meet the needs of a booming market that, 30 years on, has put our country on the cutting-edge for the railway sector.
The track to development
Towards the end of the 80s, RENFE created a classification system for suppliers in terms of the liability for the product supplied. Since rubber is a high-liability product on trains, MGN was entered into the group of top level requirement suppliers on its own merit. RENFE coordinated a system for receiving material at the source for Class A suppliers.
According to this system, RENFE reception engineers would check that the material complied with the requirements stipulated in the Technical Specifications. This way of working was, without a shadow of a doubt, a new boost, and we could say it was the origin of what would go on to become the R+D+i Department at MGN. The RENFE technicians became external consultants and with them we were able to improve our production and control systems, our laboratory equipment, etc.
In turn, mobility materials for the Army (tanks, 4×4 vehicles, etc.) needed quality products that were guaranteed to last for its maintenance processes.
Toward the end of the 80s, we obtained a quality certificate in accordance with the PECAL IV standard, as approved suppliers for the Spanish Home Office.
The Army’s heads of purchasing were good negotiators, tough and demanding. Major Martínez and Captain De Juan were both part of our contact list for the Army in those years.
The 90s meant several steps forward for MGN in terms of consolidation of quality processes and certifications.
In those years, we began to work on a data configurator to intersect the plan codes of the different manufacturers.
In the 90s, this utility was limited to some large companies: RENFE, CAF, GEC, ALSTHOM. Over time and after working with many more companies, it became a great work tool with which we could use the know-how we’d developed over many years and apply it to the reality of a changing market in which major manufacturers seek standardisation in their sets of responsibility.
The demanding RENFE supplier classification system meant, first of all, a real challenge and then the business achievement of maintaining the category of supplier A, the highest rating.
In the mid-90s, MGN invested heavily in technical equipment. We adapted our productive means and incorporated technical resources capable of responding to new demands and requirements. Our own optimisation goals, the growing need to design and manufacture products that met diverse quality standards and specifications and the implicit guarantees of the railway industry become our fundamental investment axis.
We shaped our engineering and design department with new control methods, test equipment, technical personnel, etc. Today, MGN has a testing and metrology laboratory and a first level technical team.
At the end of this decade, in order to create our branding, we reduced the company’s original name to its initials: MGN, promoting a corporate communication that reflected our evolution.
The capacity to shape the setup: engine, manufacturer, model, type of bogie, component, registration, edition of the plan, of every manufacturer and operator in the market become a fundamental value to place all our parts and especially to maximise our efficiency when it came to customer queries. Once product/needs/process/client relationships were established, we used the configurator to check things easily in any stratum and bidirectionally.
Quality and service audit
Renfe’s management contracted a consultant from the Basque country to evaluate its suppliers’ capacity.
The political situation in the country was fragile, the distribution of markets, new industries and territorial identities gained strength. The result of the audit for most of the suppliers was influenced –beyond technical aspects– by all of this.
As in other stages of our history, we managed to see opportunities in the crisis and through our ethos of on-going improvement, self-criticism and once determined what part of the bad results was real, those responsible at the time got to work. Thus began a process of change and adaptation, research and constant search for support, technical advice and training to improve every process.
We made the Socratic motto our own: we only know that we don’t know anything, in order to grow and innovate.
A definite change in the company took place in 1997 and the company’s management and organisational structure were renewed.
Targets were set to obtain the ISO 9000 certification. New marketing collaborators, a new catalogue, a new brand image, changes in management bodies and shifting from a vertical structure to a flat structure based on a new work team philosophy that focused on human capital.
At the end of the 90s and with the new century, the diversification targets materialised thanks to one of our main customers: Zardoya OTIS.
In 2000, MGN took part in the internationalisation support programme organised by ICEX Pipe 2000 project, in order to search for commercial agents.
At the beginning of the 00s, we defined our Strategic Plan that aimed at turning MGN into a benchmark manufacturer of rubber metal technical parts. This first strategic plan was based on three main pillars:
⇒ Our human resources, the fundamental raw material on which to base everything else. Training, performance evaluation systems, multifunctional work team.
⇒ Engineering and R&D, design capacity within the industry in the EU.
⇒ Export and search for strategic clients outside our borders.
In 2001, MGN certified its quality system according to ISO 9001 and completed its adaptation. At the beginning of the 00s, we defined our Strategic Plan that aimed at turning MGN into a benchmark manufacturer of rubber metal technical parts.
At the end of 2004, the official ceremony to close Red Nacional de los Ferrocarriles Españoles, RENFE, as a monopoly and divide it into two state companies took place at the Madrid-Puerta de Atocha station: Renfe-Operadora, to manage the transport of passengers and goods and the Administrador de Infraestructuras Ferroviarias (ADIF), which takes care of building and maintaining infrastructures, managing movements and telecommunications, as well as station and good terminal estates.
This division, together with the subcontracted companies for the management of high-speed lines, brought us new production and service challenges.
The time machine
France was a benchmark when it came to high speed, with a network of more than 4,000 km at the beginning of the new century.
While Harry Potter used a chain that allowed him to go back in time, we had the Paris-Madrid-Casablanca route that offered us the chance of going back and forth: Our time machine was as simple as flying to Lyon and meeting with those responsible for purchasing or engineering for French operators. We could see what was going to happen in our country a few years later; to then travel to Casablanca or Cairo, and bring new production systems in terms of requirements, specifications, formulations and rubber qualities that arrived a bit ahead of time there.
The new high speed projects were exciting challenges for us.
Our first fair was in Lyon in 2002. We got there in a rented Mercedes Vito, travelling like a troupe with our booth, parts, our luggage, displays and a lot of excitement.
It was the beginning of an adventure that’s still going on 10 years later and begins to yield results consistently.
MGN joined MAFEX and everything has been much easier since then, as we’ve had the support of specialists to develop projects aimed at exporting (fairs, trade missions, reverse missions, technical meetings, forums, etc.).
⇒ Within the Sixth EU Framework Programme, MGN took part in an R&D project called “Ultrasonic Vulcanisation Monitoring” in 2003.
⇒ R&D project (CIDAUT-CSIC-MGN) to improve the operational life of the parts.
⇒ The railway platform.
⇒ Seventh EU framework programme, the Safe Rubber Project.
⇒ Achievements with clients.
We implemented a balanced scorecard to channel the energies, skills and specific knowledge of all our staff towards the achievement of long-term strategic goals. This BSC is already part of the company’s routine and allows us to see our future through a realistic present which is continuously reviewed and improved.
In recent years, both in trade missions and through fairs, MGN has sought partners in Paris, Milan, Santiago de Chile, Shanghai, Delhi, Berlin, Lille, Lyon, Warsaw, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Miami, Brussels, London, Rome, Rabat, Pune, Beijing, New York, Bombay, New Orleans, Sao Paulo and Casablanca.
Creating a brand
Since the nineties, MGN’s management conceives corporate communication as a vital work and business development tool for the company. It’s committed defining its differential identity and, based on its values, to create a brand image with an essence that transcends and drives all its activity, inside and outside the company.
The results are clear. Today, MGN is a benchmark in Spain and it’s projected abroad with the same drive as in its home country.
MGN’s trust in its communication increases in times of change. Our results and the feedback from our clients and collaborators confirm it.