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Machines Italia M








Innovation A Manufacturing Renaissance




FALL 2004


Why reinvent

the wheel? Turning innovation into productivity


hat you hold in your hands is a special publication, brought to you by the Italian Trade Commission in conjunction with the editors of The Manufacturer, which

explores the creativity, flexibility, and innovation of machine manufacturing in Italy. With famous names such as Ferrari and Lamborghini in the auto industry, and Prada and Dolce & Gabbana in the fashion world, Italian brands have long been associated with design and innovation. But did you know that Italy is also the second largest exporter of pharmaceutical packaging equipment to the United States, or that annually its plastics Paola Bellusci,

machinery exports are in excess of $152 million to this country?

Trade Commissioner The following pages are filled with the latest news and insightful features that detail the doings of more than 14 industrial machinery manufacturing sectors and 10,000 companies that encompass Machines Italia: agricultural/farm machinery; ceramics;

Italian Trade Commission

earthmoving machinery; food technology; footwear, leathergoods and tanning; foundry

Government Agency

and metallurgical machinery; glass; marble and stone; metalworking; packaging;

Address: 401 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 3030 Chicago, Illinois 60611-4257

plastics and rubber; printing, graphic and converting; textile machinery; and wood.

The cover story on page 12 first digs into the rich history of Italian innovations. For centuries, Italian innovators like Da Vinci, Galileo and Marconi have dramatically

Toll-Free: 1-888-ITALTRADE / 482-5872 (U.S. and Canadian Callers)

changed the world in which we live. The tradition of creative excellence they embody

Telephone: (312) 670-4360 (outside the U.S. and Canada)

McCallion delves into how some Italian companies are bringing better visibility to

lives on through today’s Italian manufacturers. Jolyon Helterman looks at what is happening today. In our special feature on global supply chain on page 18, Ruari

operations. Rich Weissman goes into the latest techniques of lean manufacturing, and how some Italian companies are profiting as a result, on page 23.

Fax: (312) 264-6209

There is much happening in the world of Italian machines. Read on for some of the


highlights. We hope you enjoy it.

Web Site:


Paola Bellusci Trade Commissioner—Chicago


Table of

contents 4

Machines Italia News Newsbriefs from a selection of our 10,000 partner companies


Through Italian innovation America becomes more competitive Many American companies seeking competitive advantage have tried to reduce costs by outsourcing or off-shoring their manufacturing



Best Practices Best-practice business guides from Machines Italia can help your company achieve excellence


Italian Innovation If necessity is the mother of invention, Italian is its native tongue. The list of inventions that began life on Italian soil is long and wholly astounding



Global Vision Visibility across the global supply chain isn’t an option—it’s essential in today’s business world


Lean Manufacturing Offers Global Appeal The benefits of lean manufacturing are truly international—how manufacturing companies from Italy are contributing



Trade Shows in Italy Upcoming exhibitions in Italy sponsored by our partner associations



Industry Summary A brief look at Machines Italia’s 14 partner associations and industries




Machines Italia


News Briefs Concetti ( is a packaging machinery company that created a faster machine to form and fill plastic bags. Concetti’s Continua 1800 is the latest in form-fill-seal packaging machinery, the newest in a series of machines that have been popular with major U.S. companies. The Continua processes 10 to 50 kg bags at a rate of 1,800 bags an hour—one of the fastest on the market. Change-over times have been reduced to two minutes or less, allowing for increased production capabilities. Italian machinery manufacturers offer big innovations in the aerospace industry. Italian machinery manufacturers solved the problems that grounded the military use of tiltrotor aircraft and are now moving these vehicles to civilian markets. Italian companies created the latest Mars orbiter and rover, which was launched June 2003. Italy’s latest helicopter designs are being used by some of the leading search and rescue missions.



Salvagnini finds new opportunities in niche markets and new industrial sectors Salvagnini Italia S.p.A. (


a perfect example of a traditional Italian machinery manufacturer which actively seeks new opportunities in a mature market. Founded approximately 40 years ago, Salvagnini is now one of the largest manufacturers in Italy’s machine tools industry. From its early days, Salvagnini, which now manufactures laser-

high-end home furnishings made from steel formed

cutting, punching and bending machinery, focused on

and fabricated by Salvagnini machinery. In April

metal-forming machinery for the air conditioning

2003, the furniture—with new state-of-the-art

industry. However, as that market matured and demand

designs—was unveiled at a Milan furniture show.

decreased, Salvagnini’s management and engineers

Through this initiative, Salvagnini was introduced to

searched for new applications and new markets.

an entirely new audience of potential customers for its

Salvagnini found its new opportunities in both






niche markets and entirely new industrial sectors. In the

traditional customers a vision of new applications and

past, Salvagnini machinery had been used in the

uses for their machinery.

production of office furniture, but when demand

Salvagnini continues to explore new business

dropped, Salvagnini naturally shifted its focus to other

opportunities outside of traditional sectors. It realizes

arenas. Although there was still little demand for









lightweight metals with high resistance—will

Salvagnini’s management realized that office furniture

dramatically reshape the automotive industry and

was just one aspect of the entire furniture sector. Working

potentially create new applications for its machinery.

with top Italian interior designers, Salvagnini

In preparation for this, Salvagnini engineers are

partnered with three Italian designers and a design

working closely with large foundries and with

school and launched its “Steel and Style” project, creating

universities in Italy and abroad.





SACMI’s focus on added value leads to innovation

Advanced Wood Products Laboratory offers targeted classes

SACMI Imola ( is

equipment that not only benefits its

another Italian company discovering that

traditional customers, but also may allow


meeting market needs often leads to new

SACMI to enter new markets. One of


applications in less-traditional industrial

these machines, introduced in February





Group a






sectors. Founded in 1919, SACMI is

2003, is an infrared device that can

subsidiary of Rimini, Italy-based SCM Group is

comprised of three main divisions:

measure the level and “taste” of the fluid

dedicated to ongoing training which led to its

injection-filled machinery, ceramics and

in fruits (such as apples, melons, pears or

collaboration with Georgia Tech (College of

beverages/packaging. Although SACMI

oranges) before they are packaged.

Architecture) and the State of Georgia to establish

is well known for its ability to build the

Another machine being developed by

the Advanced Wood Products Laboratory (AWPL) at

entire line of closure machines—from the

SACMI will function as an “electronic

Georgia Tech. Manufacturers from across the

creation of the closure to the packaging of

nose” that can “smell” coffee beans to

country participate in introductory and advanced

the final product—it faces strong

detect their level of bitterness. These

CNC programming, machine-side training and

competition from other manufacturers

technologies will introduce SACMI

targeted managerial training workshops. Since its

across the globe.

customers to the latest in quality and

inception in 2000, through an equipment loan

Because of this competition, SACMI

freshness control measures and SACMI’s

agreement, SCM placed 16 SCM Machine Centers

continually looks for new ways to add

R&D department is currently exploring

at Georgia Tech.

value for its customers and this focus has

applications for both of these devices in

led to the development of innovative new

the medical field.

ATOM S.p.A. shows flexibility by adding new markets ATOM S.p.A. ( originated as a manufacturer of cutting machinery for the footwear industry. However, a changing marketplace led ATOM to expand into new markets. ATOM now develops cutting machinery for footwear; insulating materials; foam packaging and carpets. They also developed a water-cutting machine used by a luxury car manufacturer for leather interiors.



Cannon finds new applications for existing product line

Nordmeccanica machine doubles Lawson’s production capabilities Nordmeccanica S.p.A. (, a packaging company, has created a new solventless packaging machine. Lawson Mardon USA Inc., an Alcan Packaging Company, purchased Nordmeccanica’s Duplex Compact SL off-line solventless laminating machine because Lawson needed to deliver flatter, clearer packaged products to one of its biggest customers. The Nordmeccanica machine doubled Lawson’s production capabilities, reduced waste, and saved energy.


has moved from being solely a


manufacturer of polyurethane foam


machinery into the plastics industry,

Advanced Italian glass cutting machinery gains popularity

polyurethane foam machinery. Since



Low-E (low emissivity) glass became popular for its energy

then, Cannon has diversified and

application used to make plastic parts

efficiency, but due to its complexity, traditional glass-cutting

grown into a multinational company

for refrigerators. But as is often the case

machinery could not cut low-e glass without destroying the



in a mature market, companies like

invisible coating on the glass’s surface. Lovati Fratelli

Pittsburgh, PA, became a manu-

Cannon sometimes find that a fresh

S.r.l. ( and Bottero S.p.A.

facturing facility in 1980) with sales

take or a new application for an older

( introduced machinery that can cut this


product line can increase sales.

glass. Popular in Europe, this glass is being used in more

Forty years ago, Cannon (, company,













Cannon attributes much of its success

While plastics remains Cannon’s

to its strong commitment to research

main focus overseas, U.S. markets have

and development, not just the R&D

driven the creation of new applications

W. Virginia plant creates jobs

behind machinery, but of new markets.

for its polyurethane foam machinery.

In November, 2002, Sogefi S.p.A. (,

As a global company, Cannon

Working with a major U.S. customer,

an Italian automotive parts manufacturer, invested

realized that its success would hinge on

Cannon has developed an innovative

$27 million to build a new facility in West Virginia,

bringing the right products to the right

method to insulate pipes with poly-

creating nearly 150 new jobs. As West Virginia

markets at the right time. This led

urethane foam. This new application

Governor Bob Wise said, “Automotive manufacturing

Cannon to produce machinery for

will allow Cannon’s U.S. customers to

facilities, such as Sogefi, have strong economic

several industrial sectors—such as

develop home-cooling systems to reduce

impact potential to the state by creating quality jobs

refrigeration, automotive, furniture,

temperatures without the use and

at their own facilities as well as creating spin-off

construction and packaging. Cannon

expense of air-conditioning.

employment and payroll at supplying companies.”

homes and businesses along America’s coasts.

Santoni—changing American fashion Santoni S.p.A. (

fashion landscape to promote

materials and glass fibers; laser



new designs. Italian textile machin-

finishing treatments for ready-made

circular knitting machine, giving



ery manufacturers, like Santoni,

garments; hi-tech, continuous dye-

birth to the “seamless” technology

are now introducing innovative

ing lines for denim wraps; fully

in which entire articles of clothing

machinery, including: multi-purpose

automated hank-dyeing lines; and

are knit from a single yarn. This


equipment for the finishing of

technology changed the American

processing the most valuable natural




industrial textiles.

News Briefs Italian manufacturers capitalized on a major U.S. manufacturer’s aggressive push into the wind-power market by designing and building larger generators that offered more efficiency and higher tolerances than those produced by other countries. As a result, the company has relied almost exclusively on Italian generators since the late 1980s. Italian farm equipment manufacturers broke into the tight U.S. tractor market by focusing their efforts on smaller, 20- to 40-horsepower tractors, ideal for the two fastest growing farming segments—hobby farmers and specialty crop producers who sell to local markets.

Tria turns scrap into return on investment Established in 1955, Italian manufacturer Tria

such as an injection-molding plants, to increase

S.p.A. ( built its entire business around

efficiency and reduce product waste. According to

a niche market—the design and manufacture of

Tria’s Managing Director Luciano Anceschi, 40

machinery for the in- and off-line recovery of plastic

percent of plastic scraps can be recycled and reused,

scraps. Basically, Tria machinery gathers and

turning what was once waste into an excellent

collects the scraps produced by other machinery,

return on investment.




Through Italian

America becomes grown so quickly in some markets that the 10-to-1 Many American companies seeking competitive cost advantage has been halved in just a few years. advantage have tried to reduce costs by outsourcing or off-shoring their manufacturing. For all these reasons, a growing number of U.S. But the practice has come under fire recently—both from politicians seeking popular companies are seeking domestic alternatives to support in an election year and die-hard outsourcing or off-shoring. And there are many supporters of American business, Donald A. opportunities available. Why? Because the U.S. has done little to embrace Goodwin reports efficiency-producing workplace automation. The U.S. hy? Because the outsourcing or off-shoring


has, for example, a fraction of the manufacturing

trend does not always deliver on promised

robots used in either Europe or Japan—where

cost-savings—and because it brings significant risks.

companies have been forced to increase efficiency

Consider for a moment:

because of a consistent decrease in population.

Hidden costs. While labor savings can be

The Automation Option

considerable, they must be weighed against the

A critical part of any lean manufacturing strategy is

real cost of doing business half a world away. A

picking the optimum combination of labor, capital and

recent Wall Street Journal article quotes an official

materials for a particular product. Often overlooked in

with TransOceanic Shipping Co., a major U.S.

the mix is more intensive use of capital machinery and

logistics firm, as saying, “For some companies, the

automation. American businesses tend to rely more

transportation so expensive that their

heavily on labor in the production mix than do other

business is no longer commercially viable.” Other

countries. This explains why U.S. companies embrace


the replacement of high-cost U.S. labor with low-cost





productivity rates are so low they dramatically reduce the cost advantage. •



labor from Asia. Higher levels of automation are necessary in

Lack of legal protections. The laws in most low-

developed countries to maintain the “manufacturing

cost countries do not protect intellectual property

multiplier” that generates value for the economy and

rights. This means Asian suppliers can “borrow”

to drive innovation. Europe and Japan have

proprietary manufacturing processes and use them

embraced automation, recognizing that it is

to compete against the American companies that

necessary to remain competitive. Just one look at

provided them in the first place.

U.N. statistics should be enough. The U.S. has a

Changing market dynamics. Cost advantages can

population of manufacturing robots that is less than

erode dramatically. The demand for labor has

one-third the size of either Europe’s or Japan’s.


more competitive Boeing’s Delta IV relied on technology from Pietro Carnaghi. Image courtesy of Boeing.


available for better productivity is the precision

purchase two to three times more automation

vertical turning, milling and grinding centers

equipment per year than their U.S. counterparts.


Italian textile machinery manufacturers such as

( of Italy for the production

Santoni S.p.A. (, for example,

of turbine blades. This multiple function unit can

are now introducing automation machinery such as

produce new blades to exacting tolerances and also



bring old blades back into tolerance. These machines

processing valuable natural materials and glass

are used by the leading turbine engine manufacturers

fibers, laser finishing treatments for ready-made

and subcontractors throughout the world.








garments, high-tech continuous dyeing lines for










denim wraps and fully-automated hank-dyeing lines.

(, produces high-speed, high-power milling

One way for U.S. companies to catch up is to

centers for the aerospace industry. It has the ability to

consider new sources for machine tools from these

manufacture complex large-scale precision airframe

countries that depend heavily on automation. These

structural components. This allows airframe builders to

sources can provide state-of-the-art capabilities and

reduce part counts, weight and assembly time.

experience to help U.S. companies move to the next

positioned to help U.S. companies compete more

levels of automation and productivity. The aerospace industry is a hotly contested market with only a few global airframe builders and a few engine builders remaining.

These suppliers and other Italian companies are

Acquiring the

most productive machinery available is crucial for their continued survival. One example of machines

effectively in the global economy. Donald A. Goodwin is President of Technomic International, ( business intelligence and consulting firm with over three decades of domestic and international experience which has worked for leading companies in a wide variety of manufacturing industries.



practices Machines Italia, a joint initiative between the Italian Trade


Commission and 14 leading Italian machinery manufacturers’


associations, is proud to make available to this publication’s readers


a complimentary series of four best-practices business guides.

Envy may be one of the seven deadly sins, but its presence is vital

The guides written by industry experts John R. Brandt and

when it comes to operations performance. Every executive wants

George Taninecz, both of the Manufacturing Performance Institute,

his or her company or plant to be at least as good as those of his or

outline the step-by-step actions and policies that plant managers,

her peers; most, in fact, want them to be better-or even the best.

purchasing executives, and senior management must implement to

Unfortunately, it takes more than simple desire to be the best.

avoid the common pitfalls which can impede a company’s growth and

Outperforming competitors requires an intense study of those

success in today’s dynamic marketplace.

competitors-of their financial results, of their operating metrics, of their management strategies and practices-as well as a willingness to invest


time, energy, and resources into adapting the results of that study to a


new operations environment.

More than $143 billion was spent on capital expenditures by U.S.

In short, every great performance, every continuous-improvement

manufacturers in 2001, representing about $400,000 per

project, begins with a benchmark. Leading manufacturing facilities

manufacturing facility or $2.8 million per purchasing executive

annually save on average more than $8,000 per employee through

(purchasing agents and purchasing managers). Yet many of those

continuous-improvement projects and programs, and benchmarking is

investment decisions were made by purchasing departments with

a core component of that success. And while no two organizations

little or no input from operations executives. Equally disturbing is that

benchmark in the same fashion, there are four fundamental phases that

a significant number of these purchases came directly from the plant

manufacturing organizations must address in order to get the most out

floor, without any real involvement of either local or corporate

of a benchmarking effort.

purchasing departments. Purchasing capital equipment without the active participation of



operations personnel inevitably leads to decisions based only on price


- often with disastrous consequences. On the other hand, investing in


capital equipment without the expertise of a corporate purchasing

Every organization has its favorite metrics measurements that gauge

department often results in organization-wide inefficiencies including

control, progress, and success. At a world-class organization, these

overpayment, missed economies of scale, and lack of integration

measures serve as a common “performance language” that links

between facilities and business units.

corporate strategy, divisional goals, plant targets, departmental

Smart manufacturers avoid such pitfalls by assembling a

budgets, and individual incentives into a unified, results-oriented

capital-purchase team that combines the broad skills of

system. But at a mediocre or failing organization, these measures

purchasing and manufacturing, as well as the strategic input of

usually turn into management babble and confusion reams of records

senior executives.

and disjointed findings tracked simply because “that’s what we’ve

always done.” Metrics at these organizations become restraints that

costly overproduction. Savvy manufacturers focus instead on capacity

actually waste resources, aggravate employees, and block improvement.

optimization—the ability to efficiently produce exactly what’s needed,

How can companies break out of the metrics maze and develop

when it’s needed, without costly buildups of unwanted inventories.

a more successful performance-management process? By focusing

For your complimentary copy or copies of best-practices

executive effort on what makes performance measures powerful

business guides contact us directly at 888-ITALTRADE (482-5872),

and useful and by implementing a seven-step review that

email or through our “Media Center” on

continuously analyzes, updates, and transitions new and better where you will find them as well as

metrics into the organization.

featured case histories, news articles, etc., showing how we are “Turning Innovation into Productivity” for numerous North


American based manufacturers. We hope that once you have had a chance to review these


guides you will find them beneficial for your company’s needs

The ability to squeeze every ounce of productivity from existing

and that when making future purchasing decisions, you will

operations can mean thousands of dollars in savings. Yet many

consider at least a few of the tens of thousands Italian

companies still confuse productivity with increased output—forgetting

manufacturers who are members of our 14 partner Italian

than profitable productivity not only increases margins but prevents

machinery manufacturers’ associations.

Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s 20th Anniversary Conference and Trade Show If you make the purchasing decisions for your company, you Cincinnati, OH October 18-22, 2004 have an enormous responsibility. You must know the ins and

Visit Machines Italia at booth #217

outs of production in a way no one else does—finding machines and systems solutions that are functional, reliable and durable, with readily available service and spare parts. You decide whether the return on investment can ultimately be realized. In short, much of your company’s success depends on your purchasing choices. Italian machinery can make your decision easier. That’s why this year Machines Italia is proud to be one of the corporate sponsors of the Association for Manufacturing Excellence’s 20th Anniversary Conference, being held in Cincinnati, Ohio from October 18th to 22nd, 2004 as well as an exhibitor at the concurrent trade show, Advanced Manufacturing & Productivity Exposition (AM-Expo) 2004 (October 19th-21st, 2004). Both the conference and expo share the common goal of striving to improve global competitiveness within the

manufacturing industry, presenting technological advances, workshops and education on best practices. In keeping with this aim, Machines Italia will present the latest information on its partner associations and companies at these events. At our booth #217 in the Northern Kentucky Convention Center (Covington, KY), Machines Italia representatives will be on hand to help you find the right partners and manufacturers who can administer to your most challenging and specific production needs. You will be able to find information on the world’s most highly skilled engineers, designers and manufacturers who always turn innovation into productivity either by re-tooling existing concepts or by creating entirely new systems not yet imagined. While the conference will address a variety of issues affecting global enterprise excellence, Machines Italia will provide visitors with case histories, industry white papers and current information on what Italian machinery manufacturers are doing here in North America to keep local manufacturers productive.

For more information, please visit:





innovation If necessity is the mother of invention, Italian is its native tongue. The first maritime compass? Flavio Giola. The thermometer? Galileo Galilei. The radio? Guglielmo Marconi. Alessandro Volta and the battery, Salvino D’Armate and eyeglasses, Pellegrino Turri and the typewriter— the list of inventions that began life on Italian soil is long and wholly astounding.


nowing what to do with a machine can be as

An early compass

valuable as dreaming it up. A Dutchman, Hans

Lippershey, built the telescope in 1608. But the contraption sat, useless, for an entire year until it occurred to an Italian (Galileo) to point it up toward the stars. The architect Filippo Brunelleschi, tired of unrealistic-looking blueprints, devised the theory of linear perspective; Masaccio, a fellow Florentine, was the first to use it to give the illustion of depth in a painting. Bartolomeo Cristofori grew fatigued with the incessant plucking sound of the harpsichord and decided to do something about it: He created the

Alessandro Volta demonstrates his battery

world’s first keyboard with volume control: the piano. Italy’s busiest innovator may have been a man named Leonardo, who left the tiny Tuscan town of Vinci to become one of history’s most visionary thinkers. When he wasn’t tied up making masterpiece of Lisa Gioconda’s smile or hiding codes in The Last Supper, Leonardo whiled away the day developing expertise in music,





astronomy, botany, geology, and more. Depending on the account, the original Renaissance man counted among his numerous inventions the parachute, the helicopter, scissors, and an auto-feed hydraulic saw.



Alenia Spazio contributes to exploration of Mars

Italy has become synonymous not just with

APM Inc., which handles the Bologna-based

ingenuity but with unmatched quality. After 300 years,

company’s U.S. distribution and service. “Their

Stradivarius is still the world’s most-sought-after brand

equipment is used all over the world in coffee, flour,

of string instrument. Ferrari (,

rice, bakery, and confectionery packaging.”

Lamborghini (, Maserati

One of the keys to packaging efficiency is

(—for car buffs, Italy represents the

completing all production steps in one cycle. Patented

ultimate in edgy performance and style. Consistent

machines like ICA’s HF100C/P automate the process

invention from the likes of Versace (,

from the formation of bags out of flat paper to

Armani (, Dolce & Gabbana

measuring and filling to the heat-sealed final product.

(, and Prada ( is what pushed Milan to displace Paris as the fashion capital of the world. But Italy’s most forward-looking innovation today goes on far removed from the glitzy spectacle of runway and racetrack. In a country so beloved for its colorful style, cuisine, and la dolce vita, the Italian manufacturing sector hums quietly along.

“Having private ownership for three generations, with the same family running the company, it’s a signal of continuity, which is very highly appreciated by the market.”

A package deal Prada and ICA S.p.A. ( two things in common: an Italian headquarters and a flair for

By saving reloading wait times, labor and production

inventive bags. But while Prada’s bejeweled handbags

costs are minimized.

are destined for the fashion-forward few, ICA’s bagging machines have revolutionized the packaging industry.

Another challenge is how to deal with products that release gas after packaging—the most common

Anyone who’s ever opened up a package of flour

example is coffee. Small holes in the package stave

understands implicitly that some materials are more

off explosions caused by the extra volume, but aroma

unwieldy than others. If you’re unsure, try emptying

and flavor are compromised. To solve the problem,

one onto your counter, then scooping the contents

ICA’s packaging machines incorporate Aroma

back into the bag. Now repeat the process about

Systems technology—essentially a one-way degassing

6,000 times an hour—with minimal spillage—and

valve—to keep shape and flavor intact.

you’ll get an idea of ICA’s challenge.

Packaging flour and coffee is hard enough. The task

“The ICA line is extremely innovative in bag

gets more daunting with increased size and toxicity. APM

forming and filling of difficult-to-handle products,”

also distributes machinery for the Bastia Umbra–based

said Denton C. Smith, executive vice president of

Concetti Group (, which



specializes in machines that package chemicals, animal

expensive. Since a substantial portion of costs

feed, and fertilizer. “Many products that Concetti is

involves setup and breakdown, rotogravure has

running today would have been thought impossible to

traditionally been an option only for customers in a

run less than a decade ago,” Smith said. Concetti

position to place large orders. The shorter the press

machinery is built with metals that can withstand the

run, the more prohibitive the costs.

corrosive effect of toxins, and several lines include

Cerutti S.p.A. (, a printing

multiple separate chambers that perform duplicate

equipment manufacturer based in Casale Monferrato,

functions—to avoid cross-contamination dangers.

has been working to making rotogravure a feasible option

“I think one important aspect of the Italian culture is to propose not only the products, but to place them side-by-side [in front of] the customer and actually solve their production problems.”






unmatched as far as printing quality,” said Massimo Genio of Cerutti’s U.S. branch, “but the technology was out-of-reach for smaller customers—or for larger customers interested in short runs.” The latter appeal especially to manufacturers of retail products that depend heavily on impulse purchasing. “If you go to the supermarket, you need to be attracted by a packaging that is one day yellow, another day green, another day orange. We had to find an innovative

Smith, based in Norcross, Ga., said ICA and

way to be flexible, to give our customers the

Concetti have managed to flourish in the U.S.

possibility to be profitable even in a short-run

market despite competition from countries where

market, where a lot of their customers are moving.

labor is cheaper. “Labor costs are certainly a factor in

For example, Nabisco, Cadbury—all these big, big

determining cost and value,” he said. “However,

names—they tend to change their design more and

when buying a custom piece of packaging machinery,

more frequently. We had to give our customers a way

the technical side usually outweighs any labor

of handling those orders.”

savings that would only provide a cheaper cost. Our success is directly related to innovation.”

Cerutti’s solution, the R970, was the company’s featured product introduction this past May at DRUPA, the print-production industry’s quadrennial


Printing: Changing types

international trade show. The company wanted the

Avoiding downtime and mess aren’t a packaging

product to address three basic challenges, Genio said.

company’s only concerns. Adorning the packages

“First is the time you need to change from one

with eye-catching labels and colors can be a

production to the next. The second is the number of

budgetary challenge. The highest-quality printing

people you hold. The third is the number of

process is called rotogravure, and it’s also the most

components you have to handle doing this

changeover.” The R970, he said, succeeds in

Pietro Carnaghi’s vertical lathes, gantry-type

streamlining the short-run process on all three fronts.

milling machines, vertical grinding machines, and

Cerutti also makes publication press equipment,

fabricated machine parts include the defense

and one of its U.S. customers is Quad/Graphics, an

contractor Lockheed Martin Corp., the aircraft-engine

enormous Wisconsin-based press house used by

manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, and the construction-

popular magazines such as Newsweek, People, and

equipment company Caterpillar Inc.

Sports Illustrated. What attracts the printer of some of

To service such customers adequately, Pietro

America’s highest-circulation periodicals to an Italian

Carnaghi’s lathes do offer some of the world’s largest

company like Cerutti? According to Genio, it’s

capacities in machining, as well as the more standard

Cerutti’s commitment to keeping up with the

capacities used to make generators, steam turbines,

cutting edge of technology—but also the company’s

and general-mechanics products. But according to

structure and philosophy.

Giuliano Radice, U.S. sales manager for Pietro

“Having private ownership for three generations,

Carnaghi and the great-grandson of the man who

with the same family running the company, it’s a

started the company, what keeps customers coming

signal of continuity, which is very highly appreciated

back goes beyond simply shape, size, and power.

by the market,” Genio said. “The Cerutti family

“The U.S. market is very exemplifying of the high

always took pride in meeting and personally

added value that our technology provides,” Radice

knowing every customer they had—which is not so usual these days.”

The engines that could In 1504, Leonardo da Vinci was hard at work sketching plans for never-built flying machines. In 2004, Pietro Carnaghi S.p.A. ( is hard at work making vertical lathes used to build actual flying machines. The company, based in Villa Cortese, provides heavy-duty machine-tooling installations for the aerospace,




applications industries. Need a vertical lathe with a capacity of 6/8 meters of workpiece diameter? Not likely. Unless perhaps you happen to work for the aerospace manufacturer The Boeing Co., a longtime customer. Other large companies that depend on

Above: Cerutti, a printing equipment maker based in Casale Monferrato, has been working to make rotogravure a feasible option for more customers.




said. “I think one important aspect of the Italian culture

painter. When a servant showed up at Giotto’s Tuscan

is to propose not only the products, but to place them

home to request a sample work, the artist dipped his

side-by-side [in front of] the customer and actually

brush in paint and—in one, continuous stroke—

solve their production problems.”

produced a perfect circle. Though annoyed by the apparent act of contempt, the minion brought it back to his boss, who decided that any artist who could draw a

“[Italian producers] always fight to give a ‘plus,’ to push the technological level to be one step forward of our competitors. It is appreciated by the high-level end users that want to have the very latest, very best performing solutions.”

perfect circle freehand must be the most accomplished in the land. Giotto was hired on the spot. Whether the story is fact or fiction, what’s indisputable is how vividly it illustrates the appreciation for perfection that remains a defining characteristic of Italian culture. No wonder that Italy is home to so many manufacturers devoted to precision-oriented output. For example, the BLM Group (, headquartered in Cantú, is currently the largest supplier

What’s more, said Radice, the company is

of metal tube fabricating equipment in Europe. The

owned by a family that for generations has

company has made considerable strides penetrating the

recognized the importance of generous R&D

U.S. market since it set out to do so in 2001, and its

investment. That philosophy, he adds, helps Pietro


Carnaghi outpace the competition from countries

customers—including a market leader in the motorcycle

where labor is cheaper.












manufacturers that use BLM’s precision installations

conditions are not playing well in our favor,” Radice

include makers of hospital beds, wheelchairs, lawn and

said. “That’s why we always fight to give a ‘plus,’ to

gardening equipment, and snowmobiles.






push the technological level to be one step forward of

If you’ve never had to fabricate extremely precise

our competitors. It is appreciated by the high-level

tubes, you’re not alone. Suffice it to say that Giotto’s

end users that want to have the very latest, very best

precocious-eyeballing method wouldn’t have cut it

performing solutions.”

here. At the very basic level, it breaks down like this, said Jim Rutt, president and chief operating officer of



Totally Tubular

BLM Group USA, in Wixom, Mich. “Let’s say you

In the 14th century, legend has it that Pope Boniface

take a 2-inch-diameter tube and you try to put a

VIII began vetting candidates to be his new court

simple 90-degree bend in it. Because of the

characteristics of the material, when you bend it in the bender, then release it, it will tend to spring back so that the actual bend may be closer to, say, 89.5 degrees.” Good enough to land a court-artist gig, perhaps, but not to ensure accuracy in subsequent procedures. “So now, let’s say you need a quarter-inch-diameter hole in the tube that has to meet up—precisely—with another tube: If you had cut a hole in the tube before bending, the specifications would be off,” he said. The solution, the company realized, was to cut the hole after the bending process. Because






dimensional prebent tube is much easier than negotiating a bent one, BLM Group recently developed the Model LT905, an automated laserbased tube-cutting system that specializes in handling prebent tubes. “When we’re cutting tubes that have

Above: Pietro Carnaghi S.p.A. is hard at work making vertical lathes used to build actual flying machines.

been bent before the cutting process, the LT905 acts under computer control—it has a touch probe—and

with robot-automated grinding, handling, and

defines in place exactly where that tube is. So after it

polishing technologies. Nordmeccanica S.p.A.

touches both ends of our ‘90-degree’ tube, it knows

(, based in Piacenza, recently

that the actual degree of bend is actually only 89.5

helped the Bellwood, Ill., company Lawson Mardon USA

and can adjust the cutting accordingly.”

Inc. produce flatter, clearer food-product packaging to

The new technology has been a success, said Rutt.

meet its competition head-on. FATA Aluminium

Recently, a supplier of muffler and exhaust-system

S.p.A. (, based in Rivoli, was

parts to one well-known high-performance German

the only company in the foundry tooling and machinery

automaker has adopted the LT905 to ramp up the

industry whose casting lines could muster the daunting

precision of its fabricated-tube offerings.

performance and size specifications that General Motors Corp. demanded in a recent production overhaul.

And the innovation continues...







Lovati Fratelli S.r.l. (,

technological advances above and beyond their global

based near Milan, has found a way to bring age-old

competition is growing every day. And savvy U.S.

artisanal glassblowing techniques into the future

manufacturers are clearly beginning to catch on.



Keeping an

eye on supply

Visibility across the global supply chain isn’t an option—it’s an essential element in today’s business world. Ruari McCallion finds out how Italian machine manufacturers are accomplishing this feat.

chains across the globe—and the need to keep stocks to a minimum, in order to minimize the capital tied up in inventory—has emphasized the need for visibility, right from raw material to delivery of finished product into the customer’s hands. Nearly 60% of web-based customers



here’s a Disney song that tunefully tells us that it’s a

and partners now monitor the status of their orders

small world. And if that’s true in the entertainment

during shipping. But is it really essential or is it just a case

business, then it’s even more the case in industry and


manufacturing. There are those who would assure you

organizations just can’t let things take their course?




that it’s possible to run a ‘lights out’ factory in China from

“Part of it is the ‘Amazon effect’,” Mr. Heim said. “You

a desktop PC in Chattanooga. That may be stretching the

bought some books on the Net and you’re able to track

envelope a little, right now, but not much.

it all the way through from the warehouse to your front

“You can have a great deal of visibility to whatever

door. You expect to get the same thing in the

goes on—right to the factory floor. You can check an

workplace—especially as people try to drive inventory

order was received on such-and-such a date, was

out of the supply chain.” But supply chains used to be

shipped then, here’s the container and the tracking

very short, and a phone call would elicit information

record. That’s the power of the Web,” said Chris Heim,

about the whereabouts of an order from a vendor who

president of HighJump software, a 3M company. The

was based 20 miles away. An emergency order could be

demand is definitely there. The extension of supply

supplied, quite possibly, within a day, at a price. Vendors

may now be thousands of miles away, across an ocean or

huge effort to make every linkage—and the small guy in

two and half a continent.

China is never going to do it, he’ll never get there. The

“You have to have the visibility and you need a great

Web allows you to speak to each other.”

deal of planning,” Mr. Heim said. “If you have a 45-day

The question arises: does the level of visibility that’s

lead time, you need to know 45 days ahead what’s

now available convey an advantage, or has it become an

going on in your suppliers’ factories. The need is for

essential block on the structure of business? The reality

greater linkages and the problem is how those linkages

is that it depends on the nature of the business. If you’re

are established to get information automatically and

a third-party logistics provider, for example, then your

overcome the problems of human error, like forgetting

customers will expect you to be able to tell them what’s

to order.” The reality is that visibility is probably greater

happening with their consignments, at any time of the

now than it has ever been, even though the distances

day or night. So they need the tools to deliver on their

have become greater. It’s also the case that it can get

promise to be an extension of your business.

even better.

Organizations with maturity in the supply chain need to

Between OEM and Tier One, the connections are

have the visibility, also. Consider an auto manufacturer,

well established, most likely through EDI. But EDI is

relying on JIT and scheduled lineside delivery. The

expensive, and it gets more expensive the further back

whole process would quickly collapse into chaos without

the supply chain you go. EDI has its advantages: it’s

real-time, end to end visibility, 24/7 and Ford wouldn’t

secure, it’s instant and it’s as comprehensive as the

have been able to make the headway that has brought it

parties want it to be. But its security means that, the

back into strong profitability in the first quarter of 2004.

more customers a supplier has, the more it needs to

Not everyone is in the same position.


“The spares side of our operation is very important.

problematic, time consuming and tedious: there’s a lot of

There are machines of ours in use today that date back

commitment and investment involved in connecting

to 1974,” said Jackie Rose, spare parts manager for

different operating systems to each other. There is


another way: the Internet. The Web browser is the

headquarters and main manufacturing plant is located

common platform that software vendors have talked

near Venice, Italy. It deals in technology and equipment

about for years. Even little jobshops in the boondocks of

for polyurethane applications and its U.S. head office is

the developing world can communicate instantly,

in Cranberry Township, PA. The service and

through a desktop PC and the Internet. The perceived

maintenance operation depends upon technicians and

problem is security, of course.

service engineers who travel all across the U.S., Canada






(, whose global

“There has been a great deal of progress in security

and Mexico. New machines automatically get commis-

on the Internet,” Mr. Heim said. At a very basic level,

sioning and initial service and maintenance support and

people are prepared to share credit card information with

the company keeps stock of spares at Cranberry.

on-line shops and suppliers. “Yes, EDI is secure but it’s a

“Typically, our computer system plays a big role. It




sets minimum and maximum levels of inventory, we run

which is based in Duluth, Georgia. The U.S. operation is

weekly reports and restock when levels fall below

a distributor of specialist woodworking machinery,

minimum,” she said. Approximately 70% of the

ranging from standard equipment to high accuracy CNC

company’s spares inventory by U.S.$ value is supplied

machining centers. The lower end equipment is

from its Italian parent. “Some components are kind of

manufactured in Taiwan; the more complex products are

unique to our equipment. Regular orders are fulfilled on

produced by its parent company, SCM Group

a regular schedule: the computer program calculates

(, which is based in Rimini, Italy. “If

needs and places the order automatically. We use a Web-

a customer is investing $800,000 to $1 million in a piece

based system with our parent company and order

of machinery, the more they want customized, so we

directly through the Internet. An automatic report

can’t carry much inventory.” Sales orders and dis-

confirms our order to our purchasing agent and we

tribution are handled through business managers, each

receive shipments three times a month.” The level of

directly in touch with their production managers in Italy.

visibility isn’t at the ‘Amazon’ level but it probably doesn’t have to be—at the moment.


“Visibility from our end is limited: we can’t look at the shopfloor in Italy, but the Rimini factory can look at our

“We use two freight carriers and they send us pre-

order situation,” Dr. Checchi said. “Orders are generated

alerts, which advise the items that are coming and their

in different markets—here and across the world—and

tracking numbers. They give us a ‘heads up’ as soon as

worked back to scheduling in the factory. When we’re

the parent company advises of shipping,” Ms. Rose said.

involved in sales negotiations with a customer, we always

“We get confirmation and estimated delivery date and

inquire from Italy what the schedule is—it’s part of our

they’re normally accurate. If something is urgent, we use

offer to our customers, we get that information before the

e-mail to communicate.” The system works quite

order.” The distribution within the U.S. is the

smoothly and exceptions are dealt with through e-mail

responsibility of SCM Group USA and it is able to see

and phone. Trade routes between the US and Europe are

clearly what is going on. “Our regional managers work

pretty well established but new times bring new

with our regional distributors and deal with them at a

problems. There are anti-dumping laws that exclude

personal level. Orders come in electronically and are

certain items or require more documentation—especially

loaded directly onto our ERP system.”

on computer components and bearings, which also carry

Effective distribution is always dependent on a good

tariffs of anywhere between four per cent and 50%.

warehouse management system. Dichtomatik, which is

“There are stricter policies on certain components and

also European-owned, supplies custom-built rubber

we are at the mercy of our suppliers to ensure the

molded O-rings, for everything from a pen to heavy

documentation has all been completed,” she observed.

construction machinery, to the OEM market. It carries

“As we go higher up the market, our machines get

over 20,000 SKUs and holds over 6,500,000 units of

more customized,” said Dr. Giordano Checchi, CEO of

inventory at its Minneapolis facility, and the

SCM Group USA, Inc. (,

management of them is the responsibility of Dennis

be made very quickly, although complex models aren’t

Bollinger, director of distribution operations. “We want to keep our inventory to a minimum but

always easy to amend. Changing the shape and size of a

99.9% of our goods are imported. With a lead time of 60

product can take quite a lot of work.” But ‘quite a lot of

days, we have to maintain a large stock,” he said. “Our

work’ isn’t the same as it was 20 years ago, when

big customers give us annual forecasts but we also get

blueprints made their leisurely way from OEM to

people coming in ‘out of the blue’, so we cover with a

supplier and back again through the post or by courier.

little extra for them.” Suppliers send Dichtomatik an

“Shareware creates transparency and you can see who’s

electronic advice of shipping notice, with a complete list

holding everything up. When different people in

of items. When the container comes in, with 48 pallets

different places are interacting, you need to keep track of

on board, the ‘license plate’ is scanned; that confirms the

who changed what, and who was the last person to do

contents and automatically updates the central system,

something, what is the current model, and control


matters of access and authorization.”






Dichtomatik’s needs. “It goes into pick and pack instantly. We check in 350 to 500 orders a day, averaging three-and-a-half line items each, and we ship 100% on same-day turnaround. Five to 10 years ago, prior to the installation of our warehouse management system, it used to take five to six days to receive goods inwards. Now, we receive the container, quality control it and it takes three days at most. The greater efficiency, reliability and visibility has enabled us to triple sales, improve efficiency and reduce the labor cost element.” Global visibility isn’t just a question of monitoring goods through the distribution chain. Supplies that come from all over the world are being designed all over the world, also. Responsiveness to market demands requires

“If you have a 45-day lead time, you need to know 45 days ahead what’s going on in your suppliers’ factories. The need is for greater linkages and the problem is how those linkages are established to get information automatically and overcome the problems of human error, like forgetting to order.”

that products are constantly subject to redesign— whether to meet market demands or exploit opportunities to improve efficiencies.

Cross-border collaboration, over huge distances, is a reality. Airbus Industrie, a partnership involving Italy,

“3D modeling on computer is much more intense

Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain, and France, and

and it really delivers speed downstream,” said David

using suppliers from the U.S. and other parts of the

Raffo, principal of Raffo Design Associates, which is

world, uses Parametric Technology CAD. When Ferrari’s

based in Chester, England, and has clients all over

Grand Prix auto racing team began its resurgence, its car

Europe, in the USA and across the world. “Changes can

was designed in England and built in Italy. Menard




Engineering Limited has a virtual reality studio that can

Electronic Warfare System components and assem-

host presentations and launch events with participants

blies. Piaggio Aero is also providing high-speed

from all over the world. It’s clear that such international

machining and a Rudder Torque Tube. Meanwhile,

collaboration is only going to grow as time goes on.

Aerea is involved with launcher production, fuel-

For example, in 2002, Italy joined a number of nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada,

system valve manufacturing, as well as Fuselage Remote Interface Unit chassis machining.

Denmark, the Netherlands, and Norway, which are


Other Italian companies involved with the

participating in the development of the cutting-

development of the JSF include Marconi

edge F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft, as part

Communications S.p.A. (,

of an international team led by Lockheed Martin

which is providing emergency UHF radio systems, while

Aeronautics Co., a division of Lockheed Martin

Sirio Panel S.p.A. ( is making

Corp. These countries, since they are participating

cockpit panels and lights. Secondo Mona S.p.A.

in the decade-long System Development and

( is working on ice detection

Demonstration (SDD) phase of the JSF program, will

equipment, while another Italian company is building

have the opportunity to supply parts and systems,

life-support systems. Mecaer S.p.A. (

and influence the aircraft’s design and capabilities.







During the program’s SDD phase, Italy alone will

Aeronautiche) ( are working

contribute approximately $1 billion to the JSF’s

on various Nose Landing Gear components, Moog

development. Several Italian companies are collaborating

Italiana S.r.l ( on actuation com-

in the effort, and a number of Italian engineers and

ponents, and Oto Melara S.p.A. ( on

managers are currently on site at Lockheed Martin in Fort

gun production.

Worth, TX, where the principal design activities and final

World-spanning collaboration is becoming more

assembly are taking place. A leading company is Alenia

widespread, creating new challenges for supply chain

Aeronautica S.p.A. (,

visibility. “In five years time, I expect to see RFID allow us

who is working on composite wing production and is part

to track production from creation to consumption.

of the Integrated Product Team, which also includes

Demand signals will be flowing at all times and visibility

Italian companies Datamat S.p.A. (,

throughout the supply chain will reach all the way down

Galileo Avionica (, PIAGGIO

to individual packages. It will be like the nerve signals that


Industries ( and

travel up and down the human body, stimulating actions

AEREA S.p.A. (, providing engineering

and reactions, maybe sub-assembly in China, final

and design participation.

assembly in Mexico, with added parts from Central

Galileo is providing a number of components,

America,” Chris Heim said. “We won’t shorten shipping

including Electro-Optical Targeting System vacuum

time—but we’ll see a more and more complex supply

cells, Multi-Function Display components, and

chain and have the tools needed for complete visibility.”

Lean manufacturing offers global appeal

BLM’s equipment is like a work cell in and of itself

The positive aspects of lean manufacturing are truly international. Rich Weissman discusses how manufacturing companies from Italy such as BLM are contributing.


ean manufacturing is a phenomenon that continues

By maintaining a strong customer focus, evaluating

to gain momentum with companies around the

and adjusting manufacturing processes, integrating

globe, improving the operational, financial, and

the supply chain into operations, and improving










organizations. Manufacturing companies don’t become

experience the benefits of lean almost instantly. Lean

lean overnight, and many experts feel that some of the

success is best viewed incrementally. Many small

greatest rewards of lean lie in the journey of continuous

improvements add up quickly, allowing for a ramp up

improvement. Lean manufacturing is an evolutionary

of enthusiasm and the desire to see even more

process and a company wide positive attitude and

improvements. Lean is contagious.

honest self-analysis are important.






All companies can begin the lean process by

competitive priorities, including manufacturing products

concentrating on the critical areas of their business.

at the lowest total cost, delivery that meets customer




Key Elements of the Lean Manufacturing Process • Maintain a customer focus

helps eliminate waste and improve quality during the manufacturing phase. Improved product design centers on utilizing standard product configurations, reducing the amount of part numbers through standardization

• Design a process flow

and simplification, and incorporating process design with product design.

• Become compulsive on quality • Balance the production schedule

Once the customer order is booked, the focus turns to the manufacturing process. The key elements of lean manufacturing include designing a

• Incorporate a pull system

process flow, improving product quality, establishing a stable manufacturing schedule, utilizing a kanban

• Integrate the supply chain into operations • Reduce and manage inventories

or demand flow process, integrating the supply chain into operations, aggressively managing inventory, improving

• Improve product design through collaboration





employee involvement. The design of the manufacturing flow is often

• Encourage employee involvement

viewed as the critical component of lean manufacturing. It may also be the most disruptive to the factory. Many


requirements, high quality products and services,

factories are moving to cellular manufacturing, with its

efficient service levels, and organizational flexibility.

dedicated work areas that incorporate all of the tooling,

Lean manufacturing, with its emphasis of cost reduction

inventory and documentation necessary to build a

through the elimination of waste, process simplification,

product or sub assembly. Cellular manufacturing

and employee involvement, allows for companies to

typically increases manufacturing throughput, reduces

meet these competitive priorities.

manufacturing cycle time, and improves product quality,

The front end of lean manufacturing needs to focus

due in part to a specifically trained employee who

on the customer. Without completely understanding the

maintains and operates the work cell. Group technology,

business and technical requirements of their customers,

the grouping of like equipment in a machine shop, also

organizations cannot align their operations effectively.

assists in improving production flow. Maximizing the

The lean process begins before accepting the sales order.

floor layout in any manufacturing facility results in the

Through processes such as Quality Function Deployment

need for less manufacturing space, saving overhead costs

(QFD), a systematic way to capture and integrate

and reducing the need for facility expansion.

customer product requirements, specific criteria can be

Some manufacturers are not only lean, but they

integrated into the design of products. Completely

support lean manufacturing with the type of equipment

understanding product requirements at the design phase

they produce. BLM Group ( of

Cantù, Italy manufactures fabricating equipment used

reaching a crescendo during the last few days of the

in the recreational vehicle, health and fitness, and

month. The trend line actually looks like an inverted

medical equipment markets that bends, cuts, and forms

hockey stick. This causes excessive strain on employees

metal tubing. According to James Rutt, the president

and the manufacturing system, resulting in rushed

and chief operating officer of Wixon, Michigan based

shipments, shortcuts, poor quality, dissatisfied customers

BLM Group USA, a wholly owned subsidiary, “Our

and an impacted cash flow. The situation is usually

equipment is really like a work cell onto itself. Our

repeated monthly. Lean manufacturing calls for a level-

design philosophy is to consolidate as many tube

loaded schedule that meets customer demand no matter

fabricating steps into one machine as is possible.” Rutt

what the time of month. This allows for a measured

adds that their objective is to help customers address

material flow leading to managed inventory levels,

their lean initiatives by dramatically reducing direct

efficient equipment loading, reasonable supplier delivery

and indirect labor content, simplifying the production

schedules, and effective labor planning. Eliminating the

process flow, reducing work-in-process inventory, and

end of the month rush reduces organizational stress and

saving manufacturing floor space.

improves all aspects of the operation, with an especially

Improved product quality is usually an outcome of

favorable improvement in cash flow.

lean manufacturing. Lean forces a company to analyze and improve many manufacturing processes, and while doing so, firms often find process errors that lead to poor quality. During lean implementations, employees also become inspired to solve as many quality related problems as possible. By focusing on quality assurance rather than quality control, firms can determine root cause analysis and provide permanent corrective action to eliminate the defect. Using innovative techniques such as Six Sigma, kaizen, statistical process control (SPC) and mistake proofing, companies can aggressively seek to identify and solve

“We negotiated kanban based agreements for complex high tech vacuum systems with our operation in Torino, and that helped us solve many inventory and customer service problems...We were able to reduce order points and inventory while improving our customer satisfaction goals.”

quality problems, leading to reduced scrap and rework and improved customer satisfaction.

The smoothing of the factory from a scheduling and

Often, under performing companies will tend to

manufacturing aspect allows for smaller lot sizes,

have an unbalanced production schedule, resulting in a

another key aspect of lean manufacturing. Lean

“hockey stick” trend of monthly shipments. In this

organizations convert their manufacturing process from

scenario, there are few shipments early in the month,

a push system, one hoping to meet customer demand, to

and the shipment rate continues to increase weekly,

a pull system, actively reacting to customer demand.




With reduced manufacturing cycle times and a

says Sandy Selvey, the Varian Vacuum Technologies

streamlined manufacturing process, lean companies can

Supply Chain Manager. “We were able to reduce order

often build to customer order, or at least closer to

points and inventory while improving our customer

actual customer demand, than traditional batch

satisfaction goals.” Selvey says that most of the daily

manufacturing. Many companies use kanbans, a

communication with the plant in Italy, after the

Japanese term for signal, as the key to know when to

establishment of the kanban system, is electronic, which

build a product or replenish inventory. In a pull system,

certainly assists in overcoming time and communication

product is only supplied when a kanban signal is issued,

issues. “Having our factories transition to a pull system

allowing for reduced work in process inventory. Smaller

has greatly improved our relationship and operating

lot sizes also allow companies to be flexible in meeting

efficiencies with the plant in Torino,” says Selvey.

changing customer demand. With less material in production, defects are also caught earlier.

The performance of suppliers is directly linked to customer satisfaction. Without high performing suppliers, companies may be starved of quality products that are delivered on time and at the lowest total cost.

“In our industry, collaborating with suppliers is quite important. Our conclusion is that technology like this works well, will pay for itself quickly, and it will help us maintain our competitive position in the global automotive industry.”

Lean recognizes the importance of suppliers and advocates the inclusion of supplier performance metrics into operating plans. Once lean efforts have begun in the factory, suppliers are often asked to begin the lean process themselves in an effort to reduce their lead times, reduce costs, improve quality, and make smaller and more frequent deliveries to their customer. Often, first level suppliers to lean organizations have also embraced lean, but it is important for all members of the supply chain to do so as well, allowing for increasingly streamlined and aligned processes.


Varian Vacuum Technologies’ manufacturing facility

Once a company starts to become lean, related

in Turin, Italy, Varian S.p.A. (

operational improvements begin to gain momentum.

supports their Lexington, Massachusetts based sister

One area is inventory. A steady production schedule

division with lean based kanban and EDI programs. Lead

caused by factory smoothing and a closer relationship

times have been reduced from eight weeks to two weeks

with customers and suppliers allows for reduced

and inventory has been reduced by 30%. “We negotiated

inventory in all areas. A tighter production schedule

kanban based agreements for complex high tech vacuum

allows for reduced raw material inventory. A shortened

systems with our operation in Torino, and that helped us

manufacturing cycle time allows for reduced work in

solve many inventory and customer service problems,”

process inventories, and a customer based pull system

allows for reduced finished goods inventory. Lower

enthusiastically embracing the aspects of lean, most lean

inventories result in improved inventory turns, reduced

initiatives will fail. Employees in lean environments are

warehouse space, less wasted production floor space,

often empowered to make the required operations

and improved cash flow.

decisions to keep the factory running smoothly.

Improved product design, as a result of closer relationships and collaboration with customers and suppliers,





Collaboration calls for the integration of information and data from customers, manufacturing operations, and suppliers in order to improve the effectiveness of the overall manufacturing process. Collaborative manufacturing




“Our equipment is really like a work cell onto itself. Our design philosophy is to consolidate as many tube fabricating steps into one machine as is possible.”

communication throughout the supply and demand chains, reduces cycle times, shortens time to market, improves quality, and aids in the product development

Many companies utilize cross-functional and self-

process. Collaboration is often done electronically,

directed work teams to tackle the problems that lean

seamlessly sharing data in support of lean operations.

implementations encounter. In addition, strong

Collaboration is critical in the automotive

leadership is imperative. Senior management must be

industry. Magneti Marelli Powertrain S.p.A.

convinced that lean will work and understand and

(, the Milan, Italy based

support working through the obstacles of the never

manufacturer of high tech components and systems to

ending lean journey. Lean implementations often bring

automobile manufacturers such as Renault, Fiat Group

management and employees closer together as they

(, Ford and Toyota, uses design

share information, education, successes, and failures.

interoperability software supplied by Proficiency, Inc. the

Lean manufacturing is not a panacea, nor a fad.

Marlborough, Massachusetts based company for

It is a logical process to eliminate waste, streamline

supporting the exchange of CAD models. “In our

operations, improve relationships with customers

industry, collaborating with suppliers is quite important,”

and suppliers, and save money. Not all lean

says Ferruccio Bondesan, V.P. of Purchasing at Magneti

programs work, often failing due to lack of

Marelli Powertrain. “Our conclusion is that

management support, employee apathy and short-

technology like this works well, will pay for itself quickly,

term thinking. Lean is international in scope,

and it will help us maintain our competitive position in

especially in this time of international operations.

the global automotive industry.”

Lean works, and may soon be more than just a

Potentially the most important aspect of lean manufacturing is the employee. Without employees

phenomenon. It may be the only way for companies to compete in the global marketplace.




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listed by

Trade Show



Participating Partner Asso.

Show Location

Show Dates

SAIE 2004

The International Show of Building Technologies


Not In Attendance

Bologna, Italy

October 13-17, 2004


Exhibition of Packaging and Handling Technologies for the Mediterranean Food, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry



Naples, Italy

October 21-24, 2004


Exhibition of Technologies for the Mediterranean Printing, Publishing and Paper Converting Industry

Printing, Graphic and Converting


Naples, Italy

October 21-24, 2004

TANNING-TECH International exhibition of tanning machinery, accessories and systems 2004

Footwear, Leathergoods and Tanning


Bologna, Italy

October 26-29, 2004

SAMAB 2004

11th International Clothing Industry Machinery and Accessories Show

Textile Machinery

Not In Attendance

Milan, Italy

November 3-6, 2004

EIMA & EIMA Garden 2004

International Agriculture and Gardening Machinery Manufacturers Exhibition

Agriculture / Farm UNACOMA Machinery

Bologna, Italy

November 10-14, 2004

Plastics and Rubber


Bari, Italy

February 10-13, 2005

MACPLAS 2005 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber Machinery



Specialized International Exhibition for flat, bent and hollow glass manufacturing machinery, equipment and plants, glass manufactured and processed, glass products for industry



Milan, Italy

Ocotober 5-8, 2005


Exhibition of Machinery and Materials for the Graphic Arts, Publishing and Communication Industries

Printing, Graphic and Converting


Milan, Italy

October 11-15, 2005


Food Processing & Packaging Technology Exhibition

Food Technology

Not In Attendance

Parma, Italy

October 18-22, 2005

IKME 2005

International Exhibition of Finishing and Kniting Technologies

Textile Machinery


Milan, Italy

November 18-22, 2005


The Trade Fair for the world production of machine tools, systems, robots and automation products



Hannover, Germany Milan, Italy

Hannover - 2005 Hannover - 2007 Milan - 2009

Ipack-Ima 2006

International Exhibition for Packing, Packaging, Material Handling and Packaging/ Food Processing Machinery Food Technology


Milan, Italy

February 14-18, 2006

PLAST 2006

International Plastic and Rubber Industries' Exhibition

Plastics and Rubber


Milan, Italy

February 14-18, 2006


International Exhibition of Technologies for the Graphic Arts, Publishing, Paper and Converting Industries

Printing, Graphic and Converting


Milan, Italy



International Exhibition of Meat and Meat Processing Industries

Food Technology


Verona, Italy



sector Website



Zip Code


Telephone eng_default.asp

BolognaFiere S.p.A.

Viale della Fiera, 20



011-39-051- 282111 6374013 index.htm

Ipack-Ima S.r.l.

Corso Sempione, 4






Centro Mostre Specializzate, Corso Sempione, 4





Assomac Servizi S.r.l.

Via Matteotti, 4/A P.O.Box 113


Vigevano (PV) 0381-78883 0381-88602 SENAF Mestiere Fiere

Via Eritrea, 21/A





UNACOMA Service S.r.l.

Via Lazzaro Spallanzani, 22/A





Promaplast S.r.l.

Centro Direzionale Milanofiori, Palazzo F/3 Casella postale 24


Assago (MI)




Via Petitti, 16




011-39-0233005630 en/default.htm


Centro Mostre Specializzate, Corso Sempione, 4





Via Rizzi, 67/a


Baganzola (PR)Milano


011-390521996235 Fiere di Parma S.p.A.



Fiera Milano International S.p.A.

Domodossola, 1 Palazzina F






Viale Fulvio Testi, 128


Cinisello Balsamo (MI)


011-39-0226255890 index_eng.htm

Ipack-Ima S.r.l.

Corso Sempione, 4




011-39-0233619826 ?Cambia=ing


Centro Direzionale Milanofiori, Palazzo F/3


Assago (MI)


011-39-0257512490 index_eng.htm


Centro Mostre Specializzate, Corso Sempione, 4




011-39-02341677 geninfo.jsp?edizId=ec03&fieraId=ec


Via Caldera, 21-C







Innovation at work

in global

AGRICULTURE/FARM MACHINERY UNACOMA represents Italian manufacturers of tractors, agricultural machinery and gardening machinery. These Italian manufacturers produce everything from power mowers for the homeowner to tractors and harvesters used by the world’s leading agribusiness enterprises. UNACOMA members account for 90% of Italian farm machinery production. Italian farm equipment manufacturers rank first in the world in terms of the range of machines produced.

CERAMICS Italian manufacturers of machinery and equipment for ceramics have earned a world-class reputation for providing solutions that meet a vast range of customer needs—from traditional ceramics to the latest design trends. Customers around the globe choose machinery produced by members of ACIMAC, the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machinery and Equipment for the Ceramic Industry, because it is easy to program and simple to maintain; this machinery is also known for its ability to increase productivity and for its design flexibility.

EARTHMOVING MACHINERY COMAMOTER is the group of UNACOMA representing the Italian manufacturers of earthmoving machinery, attachments and components. COMAMOTER has approximately 40 members (manufacturing over 80% of the total output) who build high quality, reliable, heavy, medium and light equipment for worldwide use, valued at over 3 billion dollars a year. Italy exports more than $1 billion of earthmoving machinery, equipment and parts annually to more than 140 countries worldwide.

FOOD TECHNOLOGY ASSOFOODTEC (Incorporating UCMA)—the Italian Association of Machinery and Plant Manufacturers for Food Production, Processing and Preservation—has leveraged the Italian spirit of innovation into a global leadership position. ASSOFOODTEC operates within the Federation of Italian Mechanical and Engineering Associations (ANIMA), and its member turn out machines for global exports that are well known for technological superiority, durability and ingenuity.

FOOTWEAR, LEATHERGOODS AND TANNING ASSOMAC is the association of Italian manufacturers of footwear, leathergoods and tanning machinery— representing 190 Italian companies. Member manufacturers are world leaders in this sector, supplying over 50% of the world’s demand for footwear and leathergoods machines and over 80% of the demand for tanning machines. In 2002, 125 countries acquired Italian technology from this sector—representing 60% of Italy’s production volume of exported machines, with a value equal to $610 million

FOUNDRY AND METALLURGICAL MACHINERY AMAFOND is the Italian association of companies producing machinery, plants, furnaces and products for the foundry industry. Its 80 member companies provide machinery used in the manufacturing of everything from automobile engines and components to domestic appliances. AMAFOND credits the “Italian approach” to business—characterized by extra customer care and stronger personal relationships—as one of the reasons its member companies attract worldwide customers.

GLASS As an evolution of the Italian glass-making tradition, GIMAV—the Italian Association of Glass-Processing Machinery and Accessory Suppliers—represents Italian excellence in glass-making machinery today. This industry sector has expanded internationally by employing innovative technology that meets today’s marketplace needs. GIMAV’s 72 member companies are known for customizing machines to meet exacting end-user specifications— from high-rise building construction to fine arts applications.


markets MARBLE AND STONE One hundred and seventy-two companies form the foundation of Associazione Italiana MARMOMACCHINE, the association representing the Italian marble and stone machinery industries. These companies supply the advanced technology that makes Italy a global leader in the stone and manufactured stone industries. Italian machinery is engineered to be versatile and provide customers with unique solutions to process marble and stone at competitive prices.

METALWORKING UCIMU is the Italian Machine Tools, Robots and Automation Manufacturers’ Association. These 214 companies create machinery and components for industries from aerospace and automotive to appliances. Italian machine tool manufacturing firms are smaller than their international competitors. As a result, their flexibility and ability to respond quickly is unmatched by manufacturers from other countries. Leading global companies choose Italian machine tool machinery.

PACKAGING UCIMA groups the Italian Manufacturers of Automatic Packing and Packaging Machinery. Its members represent 65% of the total Italian production and, on average, 85% of Italian exports. One packaging machine out of every four in the world bears the wording “Made in Italy.” And the USA is the industry’s main outlet market of the sector. The worldwide success of the Italian packing and packaging industry is firmly rooted in a consolidated technological tradition and in the ability to find customized packaging

PLASTICS AND RUBBER The companies of ASSOCOMAPLAST, the Italian Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery and Molds Manufacturers’ Association, are globally renowned for their “turnkey solutions”—addressing customer needs through sophisticated machines and engineering. As a result, the Italian plastics and rubber processing machinery industry has seen steady growth since its inception in 1960. Italian machines are highly prized by the world’s most industrialized and economically advanced countries.

PRINTING, GRAPHIC AND CONVERTING ACIMGA represents the Italian manufacturers of machinery for the graphic, converting and paper industry. Members of this association are world leaders in making machinery for rotogravure and flexographic printing, paper and cardboard processing, and converting. Most of what is produced is absorbed by the packaging market with 60% of the industry’s turnover, followed by the graphic sector with 35%, then niche applications with around 5%.

TEXTILE MACHINERY ACIMIT is the Italian association representing 220 members who create textile machinery used throughout the world. Each member takes pride in helping their manufacturing customers spin “cloth into gold.” Italian textile machinery manufacturers meet the full spectrum of industry needs (spinning, weaving, knitting, finishing and laundry machines), and leading American clothing manufacturers rely on the quality of Italian high-tech machinery.

WOOD In every segment of woodworking, from sawmills to the industrial processing of solid wood and panel to finishing, the Italian industry is present with technological solutions capable of responding effectively to a multitude of user requirements. ACIMALL, the Italian Woodworking Machinery and Tools Manufacturers’ Association, with over 200 of the most qualified companies in their field, represents 80% of the whole industry, both in terms of employees and in turnover.



Thank you for your consideration to turn our innovation into your productivity! For information on the companies cited within this publication or any of our thousands of Italian manufacturers, you may contact them directly, through our partner associations or any Machines Italia Offices here in North America. Don’t forget to visit WWW.MACHINESITALIA.ORG for the latest updates on Italian innovation, flexibility and creativity ready to meet your company’s specific needs. ATLANTA c/o Italian Trade Commission 233 Peach Street N.E., Suite 2301 Atlanta, Georgia 30303 Tel: 888-ITALTRADE (482.5872) Fax: 404.525.5112 E-mail:

LOS ANGELES c/o Italian Trade Commission 1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 700 Los Angeles, California 90067 Tel: 888-ITALTRADE (482.5872) Fax: 310.203.8335 E-mail:

CHICAGO c/o Italian Trade Commission 401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 3030 Chicago, Illinois 60611 Tel: 888-ITALTRADE (482.5872) Fax: 312.264.6209 E-mail:

TORONTO c/o Italian Trade Commission 438 University Avenue, Suite 1818 P.O. Box 112 Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 2K8 Tel: 888-ITALTRADE (482.5872) Fax: 416.598.1610 E-mail:

MEXICO CITY c/o Instituto Italiano Para El Comercio Exterior Edificio Omega, Campos Eliseos N. 345 Colonia Polanco - 11560 Mexico D.F. Tel.: (01152 555) 2808425 2813950 - 2813957 Fax: (01152 555) 2802324 Toll free: (in Mexico City) 5281 50 10 or (outside Mexico City) 1.800.696.6032 E-mail:

Italian Innovation: A Manufacturing Renaissance  

Machines Italia 2004 explores the creativity, flexibility, and innovation of machine manufacturing in Italy. With famous names such as Ferra...