The first years
TUPY’s history is closely linked to the history of industrialization in Brazil and to the history of the city of Joinville, colonized as from the second half of the 19th century by European immigrants, mostly from Germany. Albano Schmidt, Hermann Metz and Arno Schwarz, who founded Tupy on March 9, 1938, descended from those immigrants. Albano was a business man and his partners, people who had already been manufacturing iron artifacts, using rudimental foundry knowledge.
Ten years before Tupy was founded, Albano had challenged his companions to discover "the formula of the malleable cast iron", used in the production of pipe fittings, which, until then, had always been imported. With no laboratory resources or manuals that might give some sort of hint on how to get to the formula of that alloy (originally discovered in 1630 in England), everything was carried out on a trial-and-error basis, until 1935, when they obtained the correct composition. Three years later, in the facilities of an existing workshop downtown Joinville, the first pipe fittings with the TUPY brand started to be manufactured. In 1941, they received the similarity certification, which meant that they were similar to the imported ones.
While the pipe fittings were conquering the market all over Brazil and becoming sales leaders, Albano Schmidt planned the construction of what was to become the Boa Vista Industrial Plant. The transference to the new plant began in 1954. The new facilities gave a boost to the beginning of the suburb itself, presently one of the most populated in the city. The first foundry unit, with annual production capacity of three thousand tonnes, soon transformed TUPY in the largest company in the state of Santa Catarina.
Albano Schmidt died in 1958 and his office was occupied by his 26-year-old son Hans Dieter Schmidt, already seen by his father as his natural successor. A man with modern ideas and entrepreneurial vision, Dieter created, in 1959, the Tupy Technical High-School, with the purpose of qualifying man power to face the challenges that he believed would come along with the automotive industry.
The first contract for the production of automotive parts was signed in 1958: brake drums for the recently established in Brazil Volkswagen.
In 1963, the second foundry unit was installed, exclusively for the production of automotive parts and, in 1972, the first Research Center was created in a partnership with the São Paulo University Polytechnic School. In 1975, a third effort materialized the vocation of the company to play a role in the automotive sector: the engine blocks and heads foundry unit. That segment is responsible, presently, for more than 60% of the company’s business.
The premature death of Dieter Schmidt in an airplane accident in 1981, when he was the State Industry Secretary, and the excessive diversification of the group, which, besides the metal-mechanical sectors, also had businesses in the chemical and plastics sectors, almost lead Tupy to close its doors.
The 1970’s decade also marks the beginning of the company’s internationalization. Already exporting pipe fittings to South America and Europe, the company established business offices in the United States in 1976 and, in Germany, the following year.
In 1981, when occupying the Office of Secretary of Industry of the State of Santa Catarina, Hans Dieter Schmidt passed away in a plane crash. His premature death, the economic stagnation which Brazil was going through at the time and the excessive diversification of its businesses - which went from foundry to chemicals to plastics - had an impact upon the company during this and the next decades.
In 1991, TUPY professionalized its management and, in 1995, it went from being a family business to having its share control in the hands of a group of pension funds and banks, a capital solution to face the excessive indebtedness. In the same year, TUPY acquired Sofunge, a Mercedes-Benz captive foundry.
Already focused on its core business, foundry, the company began to concentrate all its efforts in increasing exports, consolidating itself in the international market as a global player in the automotive sector.
In 1996, besides unfinished products, TUPY started to supply machining services to its customers. In 1998, it acquired a foundry unit in Mauá, State of São Paulo, at the same time as it modernized its Joinville manufacturing plant.
The years 2000 started with the implementation of the environmental management system (SGA), which will require investments in several areas so as to reduce more and more the impact of the productive processes on the environment, in accordance wih the corresponding legislation. The first certification, by ISO 14001, was obtained in 2001.
That same year, TUPY mastered the utilization of CGI (Compacted Graphite Iron) for the large scale manufacture of engine blocks and signed its first deal with Ford, United Kingdom.
In 2003, the shareholders decided to change the Company’s leadership. The new administration establishes as its priorities the restructuring of the indebtedness and the reorganization of the structure, essential conditions to provide the needed support for the growth that would come later on. In 2004, the company was awarded the Finep Technological Innovation award (Agency of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology for Financing Studies and Projects) for having mastered the process of manufacturing compact graphite iron components.
In the three following years, TUPY benefitted from the strong growth of the world’s economy and, even facing the limitations due to its debt restructuring, concluded at the end of 2003, it reached results that would grant it an important status within the foundry market. That circumstance motivated controlling shareholders to show their trust in the company once again, by means of the conversion into shares of debentures worth R$ 304,6 million at the end of 2007.
At its 70th anniversary, in 2008, TUPY - already financially restructured - announced investments of R$ 420 million, destined to the modernization of its manufacturing plants, increase of production capacity and widening of machining services and environmental improvements. The year of its 70th anniversary will be remembered as the company’s best, in sales and cash generation.
Focused on engine blocks and heads, especially those made of CGI, TUPY announced heavy investments in 2011 to be applied to increase the production capacity for those components as well as in the areas of machining, technological adaptations, automation, facilities, logistics and environment.
With the purpose of expanding the production capacity, Tupy inaugurated on June 2th, 2012 the new factory of cylinder blocks and heads, called Foundry C, in the industrial park of Tupy in Joinville (SC).
With investments of approximately R$ 157 million, the Foundry C was built with the latest technology. The new factory has 24 thousand square meters and capacity in the first stage of 70 thousand tons/year, with the potential to double this number.
Its products are designed to the global automotive industry, mainly for commercial, agricultural and heavy vehicles.
On April 16th, 2012 Tupy completed the acquisition of two foundries in Mexico: Cifunsa Diesel and Technocast, both specialized in the manufacture of cylinder blocks and heads and belonging to Saltillo Industrial Group (GIS). These acquisitions mean the first production base of Tupy and foreign added up 325 thousand tons to its annual production capacity, making the company the largest global manufacturer of cylinder blocks and heads. The operation also expanded Tupy presence in the segment of engine components for agricultural machines, construction and mining.