Issuu on Google+

291305.P001-004:Excellence

8/27/09

6:34 PM

Page 1

THE ITALIAN EDGE TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Published By: ITALIAN TRADE COMMISSION CHICAG O OFFICE 401 North Michigan Avenue Suite 3030

Chicago, IL

60611


291305.P001-004:Excellence

8/27/09

6:35 PM

Page 2

ON THE COVER Invoking the textile and automotive industries of Italy, our cover reflects some of the many facets of its technological excellence. Drawing on inimitable Italian fabrics, the wrapping frames a monochrome metallic background inspired by artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s work with a printed detail from Fiat's new 500 model. As a quintessential symbol of Italian ingenuity, Fiat’s technology was able to help Chrysler, an historical icon of America's traditions. We have selected an environmentally-sound material for the binding.

2

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P001-004.CRX:Excellence

9/8/09

5:55 PM

Page 3

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

THE ITALIAN EDGE

3


291305.P001-004.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

9:08 PM

Page 4

CREDITS All rights reserved This publication is a project by: The Italian Trade Commission – ICE

Rome Project Coordinator: Matteo Picariello

Chicago Team: Josephine Albanese, Corrado Cipollini, Bart Pascoli, Kate Roberts and Christopher Thompson

Production: EMC Media / Il Sole 24 Ore Juliet Faber

Translation Team: Brigitte Auteri, Giorgio Di Berto, Susan Chandler, Ruari McCallion, Miron Stefan and John Venerella

4

Chicago Project Coordinator: Pasquale Bova

Editorial: Nova Lab / Il Sole 24 Ore

Graphic Design: Pier Paolo Bozzano

© 2009 The Italian Trade Commission The editorial content of "The Italian Edge: Technology for Excellence" (including, without limitation, all information pertaining to the persons and organizations referenced therein, financial projections, analysis, research, conclusions and opinions) has been prepared by and represents the sole and exclusive work product, representations, views, conclusions and opinions of Nova Lab/Il Sole 24 Ore. The Italian Trade Commission disclaims and shall not be held responsible for any inaccuracies, quotations, citations or statements of fact made by Nova Lab/II Sole 24 Ore. You should not rely on "The Italian Edge: Technology for Excellence" for investment, tax or business planning advice. The “The Italian Edge: Technology for Excellence” is not produced, commissioned, sponsored or endorsed by any of the persons or entities referenced or depicted therein. All rights reserved. "The Italian Edge: Technology for Excellence" is subject to, without limitation, the copyright laws of the United States, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty and the Universal Copyright Convention.

Printed by: Meridian Printing

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, now known or hereinafter conceived, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Italian Trade Commission.


INTRODUCTION The tecnology behind “Made in Italy”

MACHINES TO EXCEL (MACHINE TOOLS)

The machine for bending tubes

From the shoe to the lamp: The uses and traditions of tools

Life saver: Equipment that tests dialysis pumps

The leading 400

The machine that wears shoes

Four wheels that never need towing

9/2/09 9:28 PM

11 13 14 18 20 23 24 27 28 30

1

400

PRESENTATION Umberto Vattani

TABLE OF CONTENTS

FOREWORD Nouriel Roubini

291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033 Page 5

5


SHAPING MATERIALS (MACHINES FOR PLASTIC)

34 36 40 42 43

ALL-ITALIAN BIOTECH (BIOTECHNOLOGIES)

THE ELEMENTS OF “MADE IN ITALY” (THE CHEMICAL INDUSTRY) Italian design in the pharmaceutical lab: The taxol molecule - Research and pharmacy

44

THE STORIES ARTEMIDE

The machine that molds toothbrushes

The leading 300

9:29 PM

The machine that packages food

THE STORIES ELICA

9/2/09

300

6

The machine that produces the parts for the Fiat 500

291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033 Page 6

46 50 54 56


The Mater-Bi niche: Total biodegradability

When bacteria take care of restoration

How chemistry applied to the construction industry made its appearance at Beijing 2008

Chemicals, plastics, and fibers

THE STORIES MAPEI

MACHINES THAT MOLD BEAUTY

Glass The aesthetics and energy of a material Ceramics and marble Workmanship of the past, techniques of the present Footwear Italy, the world player Textiles The history, the challenges, and globalization

291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033 8/27/09 6:10 PM Page 7

58 60 62 64 66 70 72 74 78 80

2

7


8

Food Secrets from the land of good food Wood New generation, ancient origins THE STORIES COTONIFICIO ALBINI THE STORIES ACQUA DI PARMA THE STORIES LORO PIANA THE STORIES VIBRAM THE STORIES FERRAGAMO THE STORIES NEXT TECHNOLOGY TECNOTESSILE Società Nazionale di Ricerca r.l. THE STORIES ILLYCAFFÈ THE STORIES DONNAFUGATA

291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033 9/2/09 9:30 PM Page 8

84 88 90 94 96 100 104 108 110 114


THE STORIES ARNALDO CAPRAI MACHINES FOR TRAVELING (NOT JUST STYLE, BUT ENGINES) THE STORIES MICRO-VETT THE STORIES DAINESE THE STORIES DALLARA THE STORIES DUCATI THE STORIES FERRETTI

List of Associations

List of Companies

291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033 8/27/09 6:10 PM Page 9

3

118 122 124 126 130 134 138 142 143 9


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:31 PM

Page 10

Nouriel Roubini, Professor of Economics at New York University, is on the 2009 Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people of the world. “He warned that there was a monstrous bubble in the housing market and that the bursting of that bubble would cause much of the financial system to collapse,� said the magazine. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

10

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P011-012:Excellence

8/27/09

6:40 PM

Page 11

FOREWORD NOURIEL ROUBINI It has always surprised me how the world has underestimated the ingenuity of Italian advanced industrial technology. And yet Italy has been able to compete and succeed in a worldwide market thanks to the innovations of its small-to-medium sized companies – only 25% of those employed in the manufacturing sectors work in companies with over 250 employees – and to the extraordinary technological advances, flexibility and creativity of its machine-tool producers and entrepreneurs. Italy does not have many large, multinational enterprises. We know about Fiat, especially now, in light of its recent intervention to support Chrysler, again through its exclusive and advanced small car manufacturing technology. We are also familiar with its oil company, Eni, and the utility, Enel. But the industrial texture of Italy has thrived on its mid-sized firms’ winning strategy of competing at the top end of small niche markets. By making acquisitions of competitors in their field, they have in many cases consolidated their market position to become world leaders. Occupying the top positions has created economies of scale and freed up resources for research to keep competition at bay. This industrial model has an interesting ripple effect: the fragmentation of small-to-medium sized companies translates into a systemic flexibility for Italy as a whole that protects it on the downside when change arrives. In other words, both experiments and adjustments will never be too costly. I find the Italian Trade Commission’s initiative to showcase these companies (and often, the families behind them) a valuable way to endorse the tradition in Italian industry that small is often beautiful, particularly when it comes to motivation and technological advancement.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

11


291305.P011-012.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

9:34 PM

Page 12

Umberto Vattani, President of the Italian Trade Commission (ICE), has been for many years in the Italian Diplomatic Service: twice Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, he has served as Ambassador in several countries. He is also President of The Venice International University (VIU) and of the Italy-Japan Foundation.

12

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033

8/27/09

6:11 PM

Page 13

PRESENTATION AMBASSADOR UMBERTO VATTANI PRESIDENT OF THE ITALIAN TRADE COMMISSION - ICE

This publication was developed to highlight some of the success stories of Italian technology and demonstrate the variety of efforts being made in innovation and applied research. Both of these factors have been instrumental in the development of Italy’s industrial system. Italy’s vocation for manufacturing is well known, but not everybody has had the opportunity to appreciate the role played by Italy’s industrial machinery and plants, which are leaders in the world. In the first issue of this publication, we take some of the best known “Made in Italy” brands as our point of departure, highlighting how these successes are not only due to the creativity and ingenuity of our world famous craftsmanship, but also to the availability of advanced, flexible technologies. Through interviews, photos, and reports, you will discover the small, medium and large enterprises that are the unseen face of many top-selling products, as well as the many “Made in Italy” industries, ranging from machinery to component manufacturing, from chemistry to electronics. The Italian Trade Commission welcomes the opportunity to promote the complex task of mapping out the companies who best exemplify excellence in their fields. We have entrusted it to the expertise of journalists from Italy’s major financial periodical, and we are grateful to them for having carried it out. In the next issues of this publication, we will focus on different sectors, continuing to build this valuable collection of materials and company stories. Besides those who work in related fields of technology—who will certainly find aspects familiar to them regarding Italy’s extraordinary and multifaceted nature—we are confident that these publications will appeal to the broadest range of readers. Especially students, who will unquestionably discover cues for a better understanding of Italy’s industrial structure, and who may wish to dedicate themselves to fields likely to offer them great satisfaction.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

13


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:42 PM

Page 14

W

ithin its borders Italy contains a universe of trades and arts. It is a country of artisans who give life to the ideas in their head by working with their hands. Behind “Made in Italy” shoes, or cars, or design, there hides a web of production composed of many smaller traditions. This web is an enormous asset for Italy and is a fundamental part of the country’s economy. This way of working is characterized by the many clusters of small and medium-sized companies distributed throughout Italy. It would be a mistake, however, to believe that behind all Italian products there are only small workshops. The true strength of “Made in Italy” — the thing that gave international recognition to the workmanship and art demonstrated by Master Geppetto, the father of living puppet Pinocchio—is technology. Manual craftsmanship has become integrated with high technology equipment to allow customization in style, and give the same, if not better, precision in the process of manufacturing. Constant emphasis on research allows today’s Italian industries to rely on highly sophisticated machinery and production means. It is from this fertile terrain that the technical knowledge and potential behind “Made in Italy” flow and is the reason it is known globally as a mark of superior quality. It is thanks to the manufacturing hotbeds and small to medium enterprises that, despite the recession, Italy has retained its prominent position in the international arena. According to the European Commission, clusters (defined as highly specialized production systems that are largely unique in a given geographical area) in Italy have maintained a strong position as they create jobs, increase export levels, and foster innovation. Italian clusters provide an interesting production mix: they do not concentrate only on machine building, as in Germany, and they do not focus exclusively on traditional goods, as in Spain. Here are a few examples to illustrate the efficiency of “Made in Italy”

14

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:42 PM

Page 15

INTRODUCTION THE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND “MADE IN ITALY” products. In the automotive sector, the most important cluster in Europe is in Stuttgart, Germany (136,353 employees), followed immediately by the one in Piedmont (85,915 employees). In the field of mechatronics, however, Italy is the leader in Europe: the most important area is in Lombardy (90,283 employees), followed by Stuttgart (82,471), Emilia-Romagna (60,723), and the Veneto (43,931). “The entire electronic components industry is extremely well-placed and very strong,” confirms Angelo Airaghi, president of the R&D Commission of ANIE (the Italian Federation of Electrotechnical and Electronic Industries). The components industry is a network of suppliers

On the left, the Fiat 500 attracts numerous visitors during the first public weekend of the 79th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, March 8, 2009 (AP Photo/Keystone, Salvatore Di Nolfi) Above, detail of the vehicle’s offside fender

15


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:44 PM

Page 16

and subcontractors who work on commission and who invest continually in innovation. This is witnessed by cases like Comerson, the company that has developed software capable of reconstructing details of images captured by video surveillance equipment. Another example is Magneti Marelli, which has pursued numerous lines of research on vehicle telematics products in the automotive field. The outcomes of this research have had applications for brakes, lights, and, most recently, for power steering. Furthermore, Lombardy also ranks top in Europe by number of employees (166,590) in the machine building sector. The metalworking and mechanical engineering industry is another interesting example: the 232,000 companies involved represent 4.5% of all the businesses in Italy, but account for 7.6% of Italy’s economy. These figures only partially reflect the constant work being carried out by thousands of engineers and technicians who daily try to adapt new technologies to the diverse production needs of Italian companies. According to information from ISTAT (National Institute of Statistics), in Italy there are 38 mechanical industry districts, or areas in which “a community of people and a population of industrial companies are mutually integrated.” Each is in service to the other; each exists as a function of the other. Mechanical industry districts are located mainly in the northwestern (17) and northeastern (16) areas of the country. These districts owe their vitality to the close ties they have developed with other large production sectors in Italy, such as the automotive and faucet industries. We should also note the significant contribution from builders of machines and materials for foundries made through export. This sector of the Italian mechanical industry, represented by Amafond, earns 70% of its profits from foreign sales – one of the

16

highest percentages compared to other divisions of the machine building industry. Yet it is made up of only 84 companies, with around 8,000 employees. The data relating to these companies export figures attest to the quality of Italy’s production system. They also showcase how much value the Italian sector has contributed on an international scale. But even beyond this, they underline the importance of craftsmanship as the central element in what it means to be Italian, harmoniously representing a culture of sustainable industry based on local specialism. Through all of this runs one common theme: the capacity for technological innovation.

Above: A decorated area within the headquarters of Bisazza in Vicenza Below: A Piaggio Vespa


he za

291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:45 PM

Page 17

Ingenuity and creativity are shown in a creation by fashion designer Giorgio Armani (AP Photo/Thibault Camus) and in Artemide’s installation at Bicocca (below) Near Right: Interior design Muri by Marazzi Group

17


291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033

8/27/09

6:12 PM

T

Page 18

he “Made in Italy� phenomenon owes its good fortune chiefly to mechanics, even more than robotics or electronics. Over the years, the most complex theories from physics and mathematics have been used in service of Italian craftsmanship, leading to the creation of sophisticated instruments for manufacturing. By definition, machine tools are designed to aid the handwork of any trade; as such, they have enabled both small-scale entrepreneurs and high-profile designers to give shape and body to their ideas, bringing them to life on an industrial scale. The quality of the final object, whether a shoe or a piece of high-end furniture, is central to the Italian production system. The little workshop of Master Geppetto has evolved into the large commercial facility found in the provinces, where technology in the hands of creative minds provides for continual improvement in product performance.

18

1.1


291305.P019.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

9:47 PM

Page 19

The machine for bending tubes From the shoe to the lamp: The uses and traditions of tools Life saver: Equipment that tests dialysis pumps The leading 400 The machine that wears shoes Four wheels that never need towing The machine that produces parts for the Fiat 500 THE STORIES ELICA

MACHINES TO EXCEL 19


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:49 PM

Page 20

THE MACHINE FOR

T

o make a faucet, for example, you need brass – but to cut brass to size, you need a laser cutter; and to work metals well, you need constant innovation. Such innovation has led to the development of thousands of types of faucets and valves such as plug cocks, screw taps, needle valves, single-lever mixer faucets, and gate valves. The technical characteristics of these products, as well as the multitude of their aesthetic variations, require constantly advancing technology. Consider, for instance, a tube-bending machine; its sole purpose is to shape metal into functional forms, but the Crippa Machines’ exhibit at the International Fair, Milan, 1959 Far Right: Aerospace parts company Aermacchi uses Crippa technology for aircraft systems

20

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033

8/27/09

6:12 PM

Page 21

BENDING TUBES slight nuances of its design has made Italian faucetry renowned throughout the world. An enclave within the Valsesia district of Piedmont, together with a small area near Lumezzane (outside Brescia), were among the first worldwide production centers for valves and faucets. They have turned Italy into a major international producer of brass bars with a yearly output of over 600,000 metric tons. This is all well known at Crippa S.p.A., an enterprise in the Como Province that has been developing and producing machines for bending and crafting metal tubes since 1948. Its client list in the decor field boasts the largest companies in Italian design. It also counts among its customers big names in the heating business, such as Riello and Carrier. Among the first in Italy to produce tube-bending machines, Crippa has continually invested in innovative technologies, culminating in the development of the world’s first electric tubebender, which today serves as the quality standard worldwide. In 2004, Crippa began securing substantial contracts in the heating, automotive, and furnishing sectors to develop integrated work cells. A team dedicated to the design of complex installations works on developing this category of product, including industrial robots and machines for bending or profiling tubes. “Rather than using individual machines and

Italy’s sophisticated tube-bending machinery has advanced the country’s international reputation as a premier developer of customized valves and faucets. Left : Crippa’s Six Cylinder Tube Collector Top Right : Milling Machine Tubes by Crippa

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

21


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:50 PM

Page 22

Agusta Aerospace’s Integrated Dynamic System

manual operators, today’s work cells operate through the simultaneous use of multiple machines with different functions,” explains Aurelio Crippa, the company’s president. “These are integrated to produce complex pieces in continuous cycles, achieving economies at a remarkable scale.” Crippa’s primary sector remains the automotive field. Among its important “Made in Italy” clients are the Fiat Group, Brembo, Alenia, and the Marina Militare (Italian Navy). The company recently provided Agusta with an electric five-axis tube-bending machine and a table for taking laser measurements of the bent tubes. In contrast, Aermacchi uses Crippa’s equipment to produce the ultralight MB 339 aircraft, which is used for training and combat by the acrobatic squadron of the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force). The company presently employs about 80 people and has a worldwide network of partners. For several years, Crippa has worked with the Polytechnic University of Milan, registering patents for around 10 of the inventions developed. Its technological department, comprising 15 units responsible for research and development, receives an investment of between 4 and 5% of annual sales.

22

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

I

9:50 PM

Page 23

n all their variations, machine tools are the real workhorses of the production process. Lathes, presses, lasers, robots, and machines for automation: these are the instruments that mold and fashion “Made in Italy” products. They are the high-tech devices that allow the Italian faucet, lamp or automobile to compete on the world market and give them an edge in specialized markets and product niches. Research has long been central to the field of mechanics–engineering and physics–but also electronics, automation, and numerical control. “It is only through our companies’ continual scientific progress that we still succeed in competing on a global scale,” says Giancarlo Losma, president of UCIMU–Sistemi per Produrre (the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products). This progress is the result of significant investments, years of research and interrelated areas of expertise; the three elements that find synthesis in various, often small, private laboratories throughout the country. In addition, the Italian mechanical industry has undertaken numerous cooperative ventures with research institutes. Synergies have been created with the Italian academic world but also with major US and Swiss educational institutions. Examples of successful Italian companies—those offering high technological standards—are many. For instance, UCIMU president’s eponymous company, Losma, in Curno (province of

Machine tools: the workhorses of productivity. Traditional automotive systems are adapted by Italian mechanics for application in other sectors such as medical products. Left: Losma’s emissions-reducing self-purification system treats air and fluids for machine tools

Bergamo), operates in the environmental protection sector, designing and producing systems that treat air and cool fluids for machine tools. As such, it is one of the few European companies that makes machines with two lines for purification (one for air and another for cooling fluids), which reduces polluting emissions. But Losma is just one example. The innovations offered by Italian machine tools are often hidden within a wide variety of production fields. There are even some market niches where Italian machine tools can truly boast a leadership position, including the aerospace industry, the production of prosthetics and medical products, and even wind farms. Giancarlo Losma explains, “The majority of blades and wind turbine towers installed in Europe were worked on by machines produced in the city of Varese or the Veneto region, while behind American helicopters, there is a Milan-based company.”

FROM THE SHOE TO THE LAMP: THE USESANDTRADITIONS OF TOOLS TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

23


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/8/09

11:25 AM

Page 24

LIFE SAVER: EQUIPMENT

M

asmec supplies its clients with test bench equipment, production lines for automotive injectors, and pumps for power steering or clutches. Among its clients we find names such as Magneti Marelli, Fiat, TRW, and Marzocchi Pompe. Yet the automotive sector is only one segment served by this company based in Bari (Puglia region). It has expanded, over the past few years especially, into the pharmaceutical industry – with excellent results; the sector already accounts for 10% of the company’s business. Major international players in the healthcare sector, such as Merck Serono S.p.A., use Masmec’s automated systems to assemble and test pharmaceutical dosing machines. A visual control system, deploying video cameras throughout the production chain, is used for consistency and precision control. Within the same field, the company’s equipment is used to inspect dialysis machines, focusing on the pump system. Its expertise also extends to the biomedical field, where it has developed a system for molecular analysis

24

Automotive Robotics: Serving the Biomedical Sector. Pictured: Masmec’s robotic system for DNA diagnosis. The company partners with leading European research centers specializing in the study of mechatronics


291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033

8/27/09

6:14 PM

Page 25

THAT TESTS DIALYSIS PUMPS

25


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:59 PM

Page 26

Healthcare giants like Merck rely on Masmec’s retooled automotive systems for pharmaceutical usage such as robotic systems for biopsies

26

of DNA and a robotic system for biopsies and thermal ablation of pulmonary tumors. Over time, the company has expanded and consolidated its areas of expertise. Today it has more than 100 employees, 80% of whom either have degrees or are specialized technicians overseeing the production process, from the design phase, through software development to installation. Since its inception, Masmec has invested continually in research and development, typically committing 15% of annual sales to its R&D unit, where some 20 people work. It presently studies innovative technologies that have applications for both the automotive sector and the biotech field. The progress also is due, in part, to key scientific partnerships with university centers like those in Glasgow, Lisbon, and Stockholm, all of which host leading-edge laboratories in the field of mechatronics, the synergistic combination of precision mechanical engineering, control engineering, systems design, and computer engineering. Research focuses mainly on the opportunities afforded by precision mechanics with the goal of developing systems that guarantee performance excellence, a high degree of flexibility and the ability to analyze errors.

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

9:59 PM

Page 27

THE LEADING

400

The Italian machine tool industry has always occupied a top position in its worldwide market sector. It currently consists of 400 companies and employs more than 33,000 people, with sales of about 6 billion Euros. The industry collectively exports more than half its products and ranks fourth in the world for production and third for exports. The UCIMU-Sistemi per Produrre Studies Department’s forecast for 2008 highlighted a 5% increase in production, compared to the previous year, bringing the total to 6.110 billion Euros. This increase was largely due to the strong level of exports, which reached a total of 3.320 billion Euros, up 7% from the previous year. The machine tool sector consists of a few large companies that are surrounded by a constellation of smaller firms, 78% of which have fewer than 100 employees. However, it is the larger, more structured companies (the remaining 22%) that really drive production and exports. Like the manufacturing industry they serve, the firms that make up the machine tool industry are located primarily in northern Italy.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

27


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

10:00 PM

Page 28

THE MACHINE

I

n addition to machine tools in the strictest sense, manufacturers also need systems that detect and set the geometric data that enable a machine to operate automatically. With the use of mechatronics, for example, it is possible to reproduce a foot to model a virtual shoe or to set the profile of the wings for a civilian aircraft in such a way as to facilitate mass production. Founded in Meda (near Milan) in 1983, Elbo Controlli makes this type of system its business. “We are dealing with preset systems that allow the operator to set the initial variables before the machine starts working,” sales director Roberto Moriondo explains. “The mechatronics base receives a video input from a sort of television camera that is used for processing the geometric information, the angular makeup. Compared to manual settings, the automated settings increase speed and accuracy as well as reducing both the probability and margin of error. Repeatability and reproducibility are key.”

28


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

10:00 PM

Page 29

THAT WEARS SHOES Elbo Controlli already has registered three patents and is the owner of a measuring system developed through the work of their researchers and a number of external scientists. It is capable of integrating research results from four fundamental disciplines: mechanics, optics, electronics, and computer science. “Our strong point,” says Moriondo, “is the use of unconventional granitic materials with low thermal drift. This allows us to maintain the initial geometric layout by impeding expansion due to frequent thermal excursion. In this way, the material does not overheat and margins of error are reduced. Over time, in contrast, a machine that is subject to thermal drift will alter its values of geometric compensation and so require frequent updating of its parameters.” The Meda-based company furnished aviation firm Avio S.p.A. (Turin) with a special package; a project designed in collaboration with Vega International (Turin) and Nikken Kosakusho ( Japan), a retailer of tool holders. The pulling force meter (PFM) devised by Elbo Controlli allows measurement of the “pull” strength of the various clamping components of the tool holders, guaranteeing precision in the modeling of the various components that make up Avio’s airplanes. Elbo Controlli also counts among its clients Brescia’s Lonati S.p.A., a world leader in machines for the production of stockings. It has 650 employees and more than 8,000 machines installed worldwide. This Lombardy company purchased two Ankh tool-presetting machines, which combine user-friendliness with high technology. Toè in Conegliano (Treviso province) purchased Elbo Controlli’s Khyan tool-presetting machine to install in its plant. Toè has 30 years’ experience in tool grinding and the production of tools for

Elbo Controlli’s patented measuring system integrates intelligence that spans mechanics, optics, electronics and computer science. It functions by checking values that aid in evaluating the precision and parameters of machine tool productivity Bottom: Hand Wheel Machine by Elbo Controlli

mechanics and woodworking. It also produces micro-tools for eyewear. Elbo Controlli is recognized by STANIMUC (STANdard per l’Industria Manifatturiera-Utilizzatori e Costruttori), the Italian organization dealing with the elaboration, promotion, and adoption of technical standards relating to the machine tool sector and production systems. This certification is worthy of note, even though there is not yet any internationally accepted standard for this class of machine. Sales director Moriondo concludes that, “In the future, Elbo Controlli will concentrate on making the data processed by the machine increasingly intelligible. The measurement systems check the concentricity or perpendicularity values, and then, in a second phase, a human-machine interface provides for a graphic representation of this data in the form of curves. By interpreting these, we can estimate the precision of the machine itself.”

29


291305.P001-033:291305.P001-033

8/27/09

6:15 PM

Page 30

FOUR WHEELS THAT

30


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

10:31 PM

Page 31

NEVER NEED TOWING

N

early half of all machine tool producers operate within the automotive field, as suppliers or subcontractors to large manufacturers of automobiles. As a result, they are feeling the effects of the economic crisis even more than those in other sectors: rivalry is strong and competition is tough in the international market. The success of Italian machine tool makers - distinguished leaders in the shaping of metals - is closely tied to the history of entrepreneurialism in northern Italy. “It comes down to a matter of industrial tradition,” says the president of UCIMU. “The excellence of our machine tooling has been fueled by the development of the automotive industry and, consequently, of industries linked to the production of vehicle bodies.” Each manufacturer, like Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Piaggio, to name but a few, requires custom components and machinery for various needs. As a result, the builders, suppliers,

Alfa Romeo, an Italian icon. Italian machine tool manufacurers are renowned for their prowess in customizing machines to suit end users. In the picture is an 8C Competizione

31


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/4/09

12:38 PM

Page 32

Abarth cars at the Geneva Auto Show, in 1956

and subcontractors learned to adapt over time. Just as in the automotive industry, other major sectors of “Made in Italy,” including faucetry, textiles, housewares, and furnishings, have pushed Italian businesses to increase customization. The working of metals, as well as of other materials, inevitably had to become more precise and elaborate in order to meet increasingly complex requests. Soaring technological standards, reliability, creativity, and a high degree of customization are characteristics that today distinguish the Italian machine tools industry, both at home and abroad. In contrast with foreign competitors, Italian manufacturers are known for their meticulous attention to the requirements of end-users, for whom they design entirely custom-tailored solutions. The president of UCIMU is convinced this is the future. Italian companies in this sector, “no longer turn to the mass production market,” he says. The key concept is quality, an objective that goes hand-in-hand with flexibility. Looking to the future, the new frontier is populated with eco-compatible machines that provide guaranteed energy savings.

32

The future of the machine tool industry lies in the eco-compatible machines that feature guaranteed energy savings

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P005-033.CRX:291305.P005-033

9/2/09

10:06 PM

Page 33

33


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

10:14 PM

Page 34

THE MACHINE THAT PRODUCES

F

iat and Ferrari, as seen through the eyes of the Vaccai & Bosi Group, are two of the great names in the Italian automotive industry. They are also linked through their use of the same metal cutting machinery. In fact, the supplier and subcontractor for both of these important “Made in Italy” companies is Prima Industrie S.p.A., located in Collegno (province of Turin). The structural parts that provide stability and rigidity to the chassis in modern cars, and which protect passengers in collisions, are increasingly constructed of hot-formed, high-resistance steel. Similar in certain respects to the “blue steel” traditionally used in springs and shocks, this material combines strong mechanical properties with ease of machining, which is made possible through the use of specialized laser cutters. With this in mind, Prima Industrie designed the trim cutting for the new Fiat 500’s “B-pillar” which includes support for the roof and the framing system to strengthen the doors. It also serves as a passive element of added safety in the case of side collisions. In order to manufacture the pillar, Prima Industrie uses its newest three-dimensional laser cutting system, the Rapido Evoluzione, which

34

boasts faster cuts along linear axes, allowing for a drastic reduction of production time and costs. The continuing force behind the creative process of research and development by Prima Industrie is the industrial environment in which the business operates. It is located in the Turin area, Italy’s automobile manufacturing capital, where designers like Pininfarina, Giugiaro, Bertone, and many more got started. “In creating new prototypes, company leaders focus constantly on innovation,” explains Domenico Appendino, Prima Industrie’s marketing director. Working with materials that are increasingly lighter and more resistant requires the development of new technologies. This is the starting principle for the Prima Industrie team: it uses machines that allow it to model thinner plates through the use of three-dimensional laser cutting. “We invented a robot to perform this type of cutting, which guarantees a greater degree of flexibility. Initially, it was used only in the aerospace industry,” says the marketing director, “Today, however, our machines are used not only in the automotive field, but even by artists who want to work materials in a way that involves personalizing the specifications of the incisions without using dies. Hence, a part of a lamp or of a table might come out of one of our machines.”

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/4/09

12:35 PM

Page 35

THE PARTS FOR THE FIAT 500 Prima’s Optimo Cutting Machine. The newest three-dimensional laser cutting system allows for faster cuts which slash production times and lower costs

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

35


Art, lighting, and automotive technology are all included under Elica’s technically engineered and innovatively designed range hoods. Based in Fabriano (the Marche region), the industrial group currently boasts over 60 patents and some 25 registered trademarks - figures that bear witness to Elica’s enormous technological success.

291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

36

9/2/09 10:15 PM Page 36

Kitchen Range Hoods


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

10:16 PM

Page 37

E L I C A

THE STORIES 37


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/2/09

10:16 PM

Page 38

The Satellite Orbiting Around Elica Elica is the company at the head of Elica Group, which makes range hoods for domestic use. It is the world’s foremost producer of kitchen range vent hoods and the market leader in terms of number of units sold. Elica Group also prides itself on being one of Europe’s leaders in the field of electric motors for domestic furnaces. Elica has been listed in the STAR (high performance equities) segment of the Italian stock exchange since November 2006. Seventy-five percent of the company’s business consists of supplying other organizations, mainly well-known household brands such as Whirlpool, Electrolux, Indesit, Fagor, Bosch-Siemens, General Electric, and Mabe. The remaining 25% comprises the company’s production directed toward the public, a segment in which Elica distinguishes itself. “We engage in some external collaboration and use selected suppliers who utilize advanced technologies and innovative materials,” said Elica Group CEO Andrea Sasso. “Our partnerships also involve the Marche Polytechnic University and the Polytechnic University of Milan. Furthermore, in working as suppliers we have the opportunity to work with the largest research centers of multinational companies, where we strive to adapt our innovative technologies to their needs.” Previous page: Elica’s Ola : a range hood product that creates elegance in the kitchen Bottom Left : Star by Elica, a dual-purpose lighting and air purification product Bottom Right : Vogue Hood in Leather

38

THE ITALIAN EDGE


a

291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

7:59 PM

Page 39

Below: Elica’s Machine Lab Left : Om Hood Special Edition Right : Elica’s Futura Splashboard

Veterinarian and Inventor The brand was created in 1970 by Ermanno Casoli, a highly enterprising Italian veterinarian who one day conceived of and built a useful kitchen product, which turned out to be a range hood. Shortly thereafter, he presented his project to Philips and obtained his first contract. This was the beginning of gradual but steady growth. Elica brought the range hood into Italian households and the brand spread throughout Europe. By 1978, Elica had 130 employees and annual sales of 3.5 billion Italian lire. Today his son, Francesco Casoli, who joined the business when he was just 18, heads the company. With artistic vision, supported by a strong commercial background, Francesco has created a wave of innovation. In 1999, he decided to launch a product line with the collaboration of David Lewis, a renowned international designer. “Today we have an internal team, the Elica Design Team, which has become fundamental to the company’s activity,” the CEO explains. “A nice suit, however, is not enough unless it’s backed by excellent technology.” In the late 1990s, Elica began pursuing a strategy of acquisitions and partnerships that remains active today. It was able to extend its activities into complementary sectors through the acquisition of companies ranging from Fime S.p.A., which produces motors and engines, to the very recent takeover of Gutmann, a German maker of high-end range hoods. Currently, the Group has eight branches worldwide, including locations in Poland, Mexico, and Germany. In March 2008, Elica and Artemide, a world leader in the lighting sector, closed a major three-year contract focused on the sole objective of entering a new market segment with Luxerion, the first line of multifunctional products to integrate design, lighting, and air purification. Artemide takes care of the design, production, and marketing of the entire line, while Elica provides the technology for moving and purifying air. “In venturing outside our sector,” Sasso states, “we made the choice of improving our products by acquiring innovative capabilities and cutting-edge technologies that had previously been tested in different fields, such as the automotive or lighting sectors, and then adapting them to our own needs.”

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

39


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/8/09

6:33 PM

Page 40

T

he first person to categorize prehistoric times into four main ages was Danish archeologist Christian Jürgensen Thomsen (1788–1865). He proposed his divisions on the basis of the materials used to shape common items of daily use, naming them the Stone, Copper, Bronze, and Iron Ages, respectively. If we wanted to define our era in terms of a single material, it would have to be Plastics. Today, with industrialization and the explosion of mass consumption, plastics such as rubber have become the most commonly used materials in the majority of objects surrounding us. This includes everything from the packaging tub for ice cream to the bristles on your toothbrush to fundamental parts of an automobile body. It is increasingly common to find, at the source of these products, know-how developed by Italian companies. In many instances, “Made in Italy” machines and devices are involved in the molding of plastics used by international packaging companies and major automobile producers. The companies that build machines and molds for plastics and rubber are united under Assocomaplast (the Italian Plastics and Rubber Processing Machinery and Molds Manufacturers’ Association). They constitute an important production sector of Italy’s economy, providing high-quality manufactured goods that can be tailored to the needs of an international clientele. Since the 1950s, this important part of Italy’s manufacturing industry has undergone constant evolution. It has now reached a level of technological sophistication that results in high productivity and the ability to customize machinery to meet vastly different requirements. The attention paid to the specific needs of the end-user has, as Assocomaplast President Riccardo

40

CHAPTER 1.2

Comerio affirms, “pushed forward the implementation of strategies of direct collaboration with the clients, studying together with them the most functional production solutions.” Over many years, the companies that build machines and molds for plastic products have set new records in technological innovation. In 1910, a number of Italian plants developed the first compression and transfer presses for the manufacture of electrical accessories made out of phenol-formaldehyde, one of the first synthetic substances. Next, Italy introduced the world’s first injection machine with a 5,000-ton closing force. It was constructed in the mid-1960s for the manufacture of large containers (Italy began production of this type of machine in 1940, building upon early German experiments dating back to 1923). The world’s largest thermoforming machine was also built in Italy. It is capable of processing plates larger than seven meters by three meters, which are used in the construction of leisure craft. This kind of device was first produced and marketed by Italian manufacturers in 1979, a number of years before the German competition, and ahead of the American and Japanese by even more. Italian producers have also managed to assert themselves within the specific niche of machines and systems for the mechanical recycling of thermoplastics and rubber. After having installed numerous complex systems in America and Europe, they saw demand accelerate for this type of product, especially in developing countries where an increase in the standard of living has been matched by a rise in ecological concern. Recycling is a boon from an economic point of view. Savings from using recycled, rather than new, materials increase the value of scrap materials because they are reinserted into the production process. This advance is a result of the sophistication achieved by Italian technology.


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/8/09

6:34 PM

Page 41

The machine that packages food The leading 300 The machine that molds toothbrushes THE STORIES ARTEMIDE

SHAPING MATERIALS MACHINES FOR PLASTIC 41


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

8:53 AM

Page 42

THE MACHINE THAT

B

MB S.p.A. was founded in 1967 in the Brescia area by the Bugatti family. From its beginnings, the company has distinguished itself with high quality products for molding plastics. BMB’s business spans two separate markets: one based on the fast molding of products with very thin walls, which are used in packaging; and the other based on a more technical molding process, used in the telecommunications and household appliance industries. The list of BMB’s clientele includes highly respected names such as Piberplast, a leader in the food packaging industry. There are more than 150 machines in Piberplast plants with the BMB label on them, each producing hundreds of ice cream containers every day. These then make their way to the plants of well-known European brands such as Cart d’Or, Algida, and Cremeria Motta. BMB machines also are used by Artsana, one of the leading manufacturers of children’s products, cosmetics, and healthcare accessories. Some of Artsana’s better-known brands include Chicco pacifiers, Prénatal children’s toys, Pic Indolor medical products, and Control condoms. BMB’s client list also includes Candy, Comapsud, and suppliers to other appliance manufacturers such as Merloni, and Electrolux. BMB’s technical molding systems are used to construct not only the internal tubs of the washing machines but also their front panels and the more visible external push buttons. Directly competing with German manufacturers, BMB consists of about 200 employees and a highly respected research team. The family-run firm brings about 400 machines to market yearly, with overall sales hovering around 80 million Euros, 60% of which come from exports.

42

PACKAGES FOOD


291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

8:02 PM

Page 43

THE LEADING

300

The Italian plastics and rubber processing machine industry is made up of slightly fewer than 300 companies. It has a workforce of around 12,500, including those employed by subsidiaries and suppliers, plus about 1,000 mold- and die-makers. Italy ranks second worldwide (after Germany) among countries exporting such machinery, handling about 12.3% of the total market in 2007. In 2008, however, the effects of the economic crisis definitely became apparent. Although sales contracted, production levels - equivalent to over 4.1 billion Euros annually - remained high, compared with previous periods. Exports reached 2.6 billion Euros in 2008, which was more than half of total production. It is difficult to make any sort of projection for 2009, given the decline in orders during the second half of 2008. Even with the most optimistic outlook, any percentage changes for the sector in 2009 will likely carry a negative sign.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

43


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:16 AM

Page 44

THE MACHINE THAT

F

rom household items to chairs signed by top Italian designers, there are various internationally known “Made in Italy” brands that use plastic in entirely original ways, thanks to advanced processing techniques borrowed from other production sectors. The common denominator among these companies, that which makes it all possible, is the machines. Specifically, the injection presses of Negri Bossi, a company in Cologno Monzese (outside Milan), are essential to giving life to designers’ artistic concepts. “The design on paper,” explains Negri Bossi’s sales manager Antonio Rampone, “takes its form thanks to our machines through the integration of various innovative materials and in keeping with increasingly specific profiles.” For the Fratelli Guzzini company, for example, the design and processing of materials are fundamental. Established in Recanati in 1912, this internationally renowned housewares brand uses advanced molding techniques and very expensive plastics to create precise forms. The same goes for Kartell, a leader in industrial design based in Noviglio (Milan province), whose partners include other important designers like Ettore Sottsass and Antonio Citterio. Both companies use Negri Bossi machines. Central to the production process is the selection of the proper profile for the “screw”, which rotates through the heating cylinder to melt the original plastic granules. Negri Bossi technicians focus on the plastification phase of raw materials, which occurs during heating but before they are injected at extreme pressures into the mold. For each type of material, precise parameters must be defined; otherwise, the plastic might lose the transparency required by the original product specifications, or worse, it might be burned. This process is based on the chemical and flow characteristics of the materials and varies according to the nature of the product being made. “Making an automobile headlight is different from making a chair,” explains Rampone. “If on the one hand there are some basic universal templates, on the other, for our clients, work on customization is necessary.” Detail of Negri Bossi’s Janus 370 press, a modular hydraulic hybrid

44


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/4/09

12:36 PM

Page 45

MOLDS TOOTHBRUSHES Negri Bossi : Injection Press Factory At Work. The company has adapted advanced processing techniques borrowed from other production sectors

Negri Bossi machines also are behind Durban’s and Emoform toothbrush brands produced by Ponzini, the Italian manufacturer of oral hygiene products and cosmetics. For such products, the precise manipulation of the plastic material is crucial to guarantee the soft feel of the grip, the flexibility of the toothbrush, the structures of the various bristles and even the electrical vibrations. “For Ponzini, we designed a machine with six separate injectors, to allow for the simultaneous production of family packs of four brushes, each with a different color grip,” says Negri Bossi’s sales manager. The company also does business in the automotive sector, supplying Fiat with an automated system for molding the bumpers for the new Lancia Delta. “The machine was dimensioned and calibrated in collaboration with the automobile manufacturer and customized on the basis of the operational layouts,” explains Rampone. “Here we’re talking about an injection press for thermoplastic molds that can handle up to 3,500 tons of closing pressure. Digital-control technologies increase the precision and homogeneity of the final products, besides allowing for a greater degree of customization on the design side.” For the Lancia Delta’s bumper mold, Negri Bossi created a new plastification screw profile and a special automation system integrated into the press.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

45


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

K

9:18 AM

Page 46

Piquadro HQ, Italy by Artemide, a lighting design company that develops products based on the therapeutic use of illumination and color and uses technology to mold novel materials into lamps

nown throughout the world for its philosophy of ”The Human Light,” Artemide focuses on humanity’s search for wellbeing. The true soul of the company lies in chromotherapy, the therapeutic use of light and color. It is Artemide’s strong commitment to research that has enabled it to become a major player in the market for high-end illumination for residential and commercial use. Its lamps, modeled from novel materials, are capable of generating a wide range of hues. “Artemide stands, first and foremost, for design,” declares production manager Alberto Scotti. “Creativity is our primary innovation. Having said that, we must use advanced technologies in order to give life to our ideas. These technologies were often developed in other sectors, like the automotive or aeronautics fields, and then adapted to our own needs. Our main task consists of seeking to translate the artistic concept into a finished product, using the most advanced molding technologies available on the market.”

46

THE ITALIAN EDGE

A


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:21 AM

Page 47

ARTEMIDE

THE STORIES TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

47


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:21 AM

Page 48

Creativity is synonymous with hi-tech “Once we receive a sketch from the designer, we then have to figure out how to create it,” notes Alberto Scotti. “Doing this often requires materials and innovative technologies that are not available on the market.” To be able to give form to the creative fantasies of the large firms that work with it,

Artemide must continue investing in research, borrowing the most advanced technologies in any and all industrial sectors. Its research, accordingly, is focused on molding processes that control the behavior of specific engineering plastics as well as advanced techniques for manipulating plastics and high-tech materials. Another line of research focuses on electronics, developing LEDs and further computerizing management of the product.

Left: Nike’s London HQ Clockwise from Top Right : Interior design of Helvetia Patria, Switzerland; Section detail of The New York Palace Hotel; Watt 13 Hotel, Milan; Artemide’s Cabildo Suspension; Talo Parete light

48

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

8:02 PM

Page 49

Elastoforming, for example, is a molding technique developed initially in the aeronautics sector for aluminum aircraft panels. The method uses very heavy presses to shape the sheet metal on a bed of rubber rather than a traditional mold. The machine for elastoforming, supplied to Artemide by a producer in the Triveneto area (the three regions of the Veneto, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Friuli-Venezia Giulia collectively), allows production of highly specific shapes with precise folds and subsections, more than would be possible with normal molds. “This technology is used to give life to Artemide’s Cadmo lamp,” explains Scotti. “It was the only way to model a very particular shape, a sort of totem-like floor lamp that develops in three dimensions.” It is the same with hydroforming, another technique used by Artemide to create their products. “This is a molding technique that uses water, allowing for the manufacture of lamps like the Aqua Ell, which looks like a sort of elliptical pumpkin with a corrugated surface,” explains the production manager. “In this case, it’s water pressure that shapes the sheet metal pieces, by pressing them, just as in other methods, against other surfaces.” This technology used for Artemide by a Lombardy supplier was developed initially for military purposes, specifically for molding bomb casings. It was the Giacinto Gismondi Research and Innovation Center that developed the software from which the Metamorfosi line was born. These lamps can intelligently manage chromatic gradations, allowing the blending of the primary colors so that the user can select the preferred light with a simple remote control. “This technology has allowed us to make a significant jump in the quality of our products. It was on this product line that we were able to base our concept of chromotherapy and develop a new

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

company philosophy focused on ”the human life” in relation to its well being,” Scotti concludes. “The Human Light,” which has since evolved into “My White Light,” was a groundbreaking invention that redefined lighting design in terms of the user’s well-being. The goal is simple and, at the same time, extraordinarily complex: to make lighting capable of improving quality of life by combining illumination engineering performance and flexible use with minimal consumption of natural resources.

49


291305.P034-063:Excellence

50

8/27/09

9:12 PM

Page 50

CHAPTER 1.3


291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

9:13 PM

Page 51

ALL-ITALIAN BIOTECH 51


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:22 AM

Page 52

Biotechnology has taken a preeminent position among Europe’s strategic priorities. Recognizing this, members of the European Union have begun an all-out competition for biotech development, in some cases encouraged by government incentives. In fact, the number of biotech industries in Italy has increased by 52% since 2001. During the last three years, five Italian biotech companies (Gentium, NicOx, BioXell, Newron Pharmaceuticals, Cosmo Pharmaceuticals) were listed on major foreign stock exchanges, while another, MolMed, was quoted in March 2008 on Borsa Italiana, the Milan-based Italian stock exchange. The data is very promising: 228 Italian companies are investing in research and development in various biotech areas. Almost 5 billion Euros

52

are generated from the sale of biotech products, and the sector grew by 11% in the past year. Investments in the R&D sector totaled about 1.3 billion Euros, an increase of 9% from the previous year. Italy currently has about 26,000 employees working in biotech, with 6,600 involved in research activities. When the biotech industry is broken down into segments, it is clear that the predominant focus is on healthcare, with 168 companies operating in that area. These firms are referred to as the “Red Biotech Companies.” By comparison, 30 companies work in agriculture, animal husbandry, or the veterinary, known as “Green Biotech Companies.” Another 19 operate in the industrial or environmental fields known as the “White Biotech

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:23 AM

Page 53

Companies” and 11 are oriented toward research and development in the field of bioinformatics. Italy’s biotech industry is earning an increasingly competitive position in the global marketplace. Assobiotec director Leonardo Vingiani points out that, “Until recently, Italy didn’t even show up as a blip on the radar screen among multinational pharmaceutical companies, whereas today Italian research is beginning to assert a unified presence that is recognizable.” The products and methods of Italy’s biotech industry are increasingly showing up in industry sectors, ranging from healthcare to agriculture to environmental cleanup. The number of products undergoing clinical development in the pharmaceutical field continues to

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

increase. There are 33 products in Phase 1 trials, 35 products in Phase 2, and 16 in Phase 3 (the phase directly preceding marketing). In addition, 63 products are in the preclinical development phase and 99 molecules are in the discovery phase, indicating a promising future for the sector. Indeed, the pharmaceutical sector is attracting a significant share of investments. According to calculations by Assobiotec’s Vingiani, “Between 2006 and 2008, we went from 30 medicinal products to 84, all as a result of Italian research.” In almost all of the cases, these products represent advancements in therapeutic areas such as cardiovascular disease and immune system disorders. In short, these discoveries may significantly improve the quality of our lives.

53


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:24 AM

Page 54

The Italian chemical industry is deeply intertwined with the success of “Made in Italy.” “We must remember what lies behind the excellence of many Italian products—from tiles to textiles, from shoes to furniture,” Federchimica president Giorgio Squinzi observes. “It is not only about great design capacity but also the technological brilliance that stems, more and more frequently, from interactions between the hundreds of chemical laboratories whose products are a testament to their innovative capacities. In other words, the chemical industry is the turbocharger of ‘Made in Italy’.” In 2008, enterprises in the industry achieved a combined value of about 56.5 billion Euros. The industry can be divided into three groups: medium-to-large sized companies (23%), small to medium-sized companies (41%), and the multinationals (36%). The workforce numbers approximately 123,000 employees (excluding the pharmaceutical sector), of whom one-fifth hold college degrees. Exports amount to 40% of the goods produced (22.5 billion Euros), with specialized chemistry the standout sector. “The technology of Italy’s chemical companies, which has made Italian products strong worldwide competitors, has been available now for some years on the global market,” Squinzi says. “Not only to clients in the historical markets of Europe and America, but also to emerging economies.” Pharmaceutical groups such as Bracco, ACS Dobfar, and Indena have been international for decades. In the textile industry, the recognized names are Bozzetto, Lamberti, RadiciGroup, and Sinterama. Among the top-earning companies in Italy are Mapei, a leader in the construction business, and M&G Group (Mossi & Ghisolfi), the world’s second largest producer of PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in everything from synthetic containers to beverage bottles.

54

1.4


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:24 AM

Page 55

Italian design in the pharmaceutical lab: The taxol molecule – Research and pharmacy The Mater-Bi niche: Total biodegradability When bacteria take care of restoration How chemistry applied to the construction industry made its appearance at Beijing 2008 Chemicals, plastics, and fibers THE STORIES MAPEI

THE ELEMENTS OF “MADE IN ITALY” 55


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/4/09

12:35 PM

Page 56

ITALIAN DESIGN IN THE PHARMACEUTICAL LAB

T

he taxol molecule forms the basis of the first anticancer drug to exceed $1 billion in sales. It was Indena that supplied it to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Indena is the world leader in the identification, development and production of plant-derived active ingredients for use by pharmaceutical, health food, and cosmetic companies. The core business of this Milan-based company lies in the industrial production of molecules which are then often patented by its clients. More recently, Indena has moved beyond process research and into product research, focusing its studies on patented molecules

for use in anticancer, antimicrobial and antiviral treatment, as well as therapies for the central nervous system. It now takes its discoveries all the way to Phase I and II clinical studies. “We’ve licensed three molecules in the field of oncology, one of which, a new taxane derivative, has almost completed Phase II of its clinical trials,” says Indena president Dario Bonacorsi. “There are also other molecules in the oncology sphere that are currently in the early stages of study, including an antineoplastic (anticancer) vaccine.” Nine percent of total sales revenues are reinvested into research, resulting in 150 registered patents and over 700 published scientific articles. This Milanese company is able to reduce costs and times for development processes, compared with other pharmaceutical businesses, by limiting their analyses to plants that have been previously identified as possessing specific characteristics. “We invest in the product’s preclinical and clinical development and have

56

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:25 AM

Page 57

THE TAXOL MOLECULE significantly reduced the costly screening phases that often turn out to be ineffective,” Bonacorsi explains. These studies are conducted in collaboration with more than 40 institutes and research centers around the world, including the University of Milan, the “Mario Negri” Institute for Pharmacological Research, and the National Institute for Tumors. Indena exports 90% of its production. Its research center is located in Settala, outside Milan, where the production process begins with the grinding process. Solvents are then used to extract a concentrated liquid, which is then purified. The plant where Indena produces its high-potency molecules (those that provide remarkable therapeutic results even at low dosages) has a flexible purification system based on chromatography columns, with an overall capacity of 18,000 liters. The production phases use cutting-edge equipment provided by Italian companies like 3V Cogeim of Bergamo, which is a world leader in the field

of filtration and treatment of waste. Another supplier is Euralpha in nearby Lainate, which specializes in “glove box” sealed handling systems. Comi Condor, a company based in Settimo Milanese (just outside Milan) supplies filtration centrifuges for fine chemical production. Tycon Technoglass of San Donà di Piave (in Venice province) was chosen to furnish Settala’s glass-lined reactors because of its years of experience in the production of laboratory reactors, agitation systems and heat exchangers. Indena’s finished product is subjected to a series of analyses that use cutting-edge technology and instrumentation, such as HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) and gas chromatography. More than thirty quality assurance checks are conducted through the entire production cycle, all in accordance with the pharmaceutical sector’s strict GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) norms.

Active ingredients derived from plants are processed into food and cosmetic products. Left to Right : Taxus, Gloriosa, Vitis

57


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

A

9:26 AM

Page 58

lthough the Italian biotech industry might still be small in comparison to those of other countries, such as Germany, the UK, or France, it can nonetheless claim significant ”quality of industry.” This ”quality” is the result of a dense fabric of small and medium-sized businesses that occupy small market niches that are unlikely to attract large enterprises. In many cases, they are high-risk, high-innovation spin-offs that emerged when larger industries decided to abandon avenues of research that were not directly related to their core business. They are highly flexible companies that are capable of entering the international market in specific production “niches.” In the field of plastics, for example, the Italian biotech industry has established important new milestones. Mater-Bi, the world’s first material to be completely biodegradable, is produced in Novamont Laboratories. It was founded in 1990 as a spin-off from Montedison Group and is located in Novara, Piedmont. This plastic material is exceptional

Biodegradable plastic: Novamont’s cups are produced using a corn-based compound

THE MATER-BI NICHE: 58

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:27 AM

Page 59

in that it was developed not out of chemical processes but from the use of biological products: specifically, corn. “This product is an absolute leader worldwide; it is even used in agricultural fertilizers,” Vingiani says. Its applications are among the most diverse, in keeping with the opportunities and availability of the raw material. Italy’s biotech industry further displays excellence in the field of technology platforms and diagnostic biosensors, with companies like Sorin, Diasorin, and Xeptagen. Alongside France, Italy has considerable experience in the production of advanced biotech ingredients for use in the cosmetics industry. Inside many products found in pharmacies or perfume shops all around the world, there are components that were created by the biotech industry, such as certain isozymes. Italian cosmetics companies that use biotechnologies in their product development include Artsana, Cosmint, Mascara Plus, Roeder, Lacma Antipiol, Johnson Diversey, Framesi, Mac Pharma, Gotha Cosmetics, Società Cosmetici, Silvio Mora, Intercos, Pidielle, Manetti & Roberts, and Synbiotec.

Biotechnology Leader Novamont’s Renewable Product Cycle

TOTAL BIODEGRADABILITY 59


291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

One of the iconic monuments of Rome, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini) in Piazza Navona, was the focus of a twoyear restoration process based on biotechnology. On the right, a detail of the PietĂ  Rondanini by Michelangelo

60

8:06 PM

Page 60


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:28 AM

Page 61

WHEN BACTERIA TAKE CARE OF RESTORATION

B

iotechnologies are being successfully put to use in the relatively new field of regeneration. Certain microorganisms have been identified for their biocalcifying properties – their ability to produce calcium carbonate, the main ingrediant of limestone and marble. These microorganisms can be used to break down the corrosive sulfates and nitrates that accumulate on stone monuments. One of the iconic monuments of Rome, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of the Four Rivers by Gian Lorenzo Bernini) in Piazza Navona, was returned to Romans and tourists alike after a two-year restoration process based on biotechnology. The restoration effort was made possible by research directed by the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro (Higher Institute of Conservation and Restoration). Its program included biocide treatments to destroy plant material and photosynthetic microorganisms and to clean surfaces of pollution deposits and “black crusting.” The treatments carefully removed calcareous deposits, replastered joints, breaks, and restored lines of discontinuity exposed metal bindings. Attention then turned to rebuilding of damaged support coverings; treatment of gaps; protection of surfaces; and repairs to damaged water spouts. The overall restoration cost 662,000 Euros, which was paid for entirely by the Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali (the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities). The University of Turin is undertaking research and experimentation in the field of biotech restoration, with a special focus on the biochemistry of microorganisms and on controlling deterioration of artwork. The University of Milan’s Agricultural Department has recently patented the cleaning method applied to the city’s cathedral and to Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pietà. The patent is registered as MI2006A000776, “Processo di biopulitura di superfici di manufatti di diversa natura chimica di edifici” (A process of bio-cleaning for man-made structural surfaces of various chemical natures).

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

61


291305.P034-063:Excellence

8/27/09

T

8:07 PM

Page 62

HOW CHEMISTRY APPLIED TO T MADE ITS APPEARANCE A

he Biocalce division of the Kerakoll Group started off in chemical laboratories and took flight in the construction field, just grazing the world of biotechnology. In this way, the Modena-based company has become a world leader in the application of chemistry to the building construction sector. Biocalce is Europe’s foremost producer of naturally-derived construction materials for use in the restoration of historically important pieces. Kerakoll materials have made possible the “natural” conservational recovery of some important Italian architectural artifacts, paying due respect to the existing structures and original materials. At the Royal Palace of Venaria at Venaria Reale (near Turin), inaugurated in October 2008 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the company tested new processing techniques and materials

62

with compositions that match the original. Only materials from the Biocalce product range were used for the eco-sustainable restoration of the structure at Venaria Reale, ranging from mortars of natural lime to the plasters used to restore the structure. Even the fine plaster finishings used for the surface leveling and decorations came from Biocalce. The all-natural product line recently introduced by Kerakoll includes lime mortars, plasters and paints, all of which are WTAcertified. WTA is the Belgium- and Netherlands-based International Association for Science and Technology of Building Maintenance and the Preservation of Monuments; Kerakoll makes the only product line approved as a suitable solution for the preservative restoration of historical buildings and monuments under the jurisdiction of the Superintendence for Architectural Assets. The same approach was used in completing the repairs to the main altar (Altare Maggiore) of Genoa’s Cathedral of San Lorenzo and in the summer 2007 restoration of

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P034-063.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

9:28 AM

Page 63

Milan’s Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio, which reopened the following September. Kerakoll Group is the world’s leading enterprise for products and services for the sustainable construction industry, historic restoration, and interior design. Total sales in 2008 approached 335 million Euros, 40% of which came from international contracts. The group includes 15 working companies and nine production plants that have generated over 900 thousand tons of finished products. The Group operates through three brand divisions: Kerakoll specializes in modern construction and contemporary architecture; Biocalce focuses on construction of sustainable buildings and historical restorations; and Kerakoll Design is the interior and decorative design division. Kerakoll was established in 1968 at Sassuolo, Modena, which is in the heart of the world’s most important ceramics district. It was

founded on the entrepreneurial initiative of Romano Sghedoni. Gian Luca Sghedoni, son of the founder and winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 award for Italy, now heads the Group. It is run with the support of a managerial staff that combines experience and technical expertise with an innovative but highly controlled approach. “If I believe in something, I will follow through with it to the end, no matter what the cost,” Sghedoni has declared, repeatedly. “In order to continue growing, one must know how to anticipate the future.” This is the philosophy he has used for years and it led all the way to Beijing, where the company contributed to the 2008 Olympics by paving Beijing’s landmark National Stadium, known as the “Bird’s Nest.” The commission amounted to 350,000 Euros.

O THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY E AT BEIJING 2008

Fireworks explode over Kerakoll’s "Bird's Nest" during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

63


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

64

9/3/09

10:14 AM

Page 64

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:59 AM

Page 65

CHEMICALS, PLASTICS, AND FIBERS

R

adiciGroup is an integrated and diversified group of manufacturing companies, with products ranging from chemicals to engineering plastics to synthetic yarns used to manufacture everything from clothing to appliances. Located in the province of Bergamo, it employs 3,500 people and finished 2008 with gross sales of 957 million Euros. Fourteen of RadiciGroup’s plants are located in Italy and account for 60% of the company’s production. The chemical business unit comprises three plants and two trading companies, which constitute an important upstream element for integrating the production chain. In the plastics unit, RadiciGroup specializes in polyamide- and polyester-based engineering plastics and offers a full range of services, including manufacturing, quality control, research, and technological support for new developments. With its network of commercial sites and five plants strategically located in Italy, Brazil, Germany, and China, RadiciGroup can quickly and effectively meet the needs of customers around the world. The company has 50 years of experience in synthetic fibers. Modern structures, advanced technologies and complete control of production processes enhance precision manufacturing of top-quality yarns for use in various sectors, such as automotive, clothing, furnishings, and contract and residential flooring. Each of its units has received quality certifications for its systems areas (ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO TS-16949) and products (Tex: Standard 100). A team of 40 people fuels the innovative processes of technology and new product development. Market demands stimulate collaboration with Italian academia, in basic research especially. Over the years, the Group has partnered with the University of Milan, Milan Polytechnic University, and the universities of Bologna, Brescia, and Genoa. RadiciGroup laboratories have notably patented innovations in the textile industry, such as special thermoplastic synthetic fibers and a production process for a mixture of cyclohexanone/cyclohexanol, chemicals used in the production of nylon.

65


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:53 PM

Page 66

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND INNOVATION

T

Mapei’s eco-sustaining flooring materials combine low emissions of volatile organic compounds with durable protective qualities. The firm’s Ultracoat products are water-based protectors for parquet flooring Top: Applying Mapei’s Ultramastic product Right: Mapei’s Kerpoxy Production

66

he “Low Dust Technology” developed by Mapei can reduce 90% of dust emissions resulting from mixing, processing, or using construction materials. The multinational, Milanbased company’s concern for the environment is certified by the ”Green Innovation” logo, a symbol that guarantees conformity to international ecosustainability norms. Ultracoat, for example, is a line of waterbased products that protect parquet flooring. The products feature very low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) but are able to offer lasting protection, even for floors subject to intense traffic. “Flexibility and adaptability have been the decisive elements of our success: we are world leaders in the floorings, coatings, and ceramics sector,” says Giorgio Squinzi, the sole director of Mapei and president of Federchimica. Sales revenues in 2008 reached 1.7 billion Euros. Output is divided into 15 product lines that span the entire range of construction needs, from the foundations to the roof. The company processes 16 thousand tons of materials a day and fulfills 80% of its orders within 48 hours. Mapei dedicates over 70% of its annual investment resources (about 85 million Euros) to research into eco-sustainable products. The majority of its machinery is developed in-house, by its own engineers. It


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:54 PM

Page 67

THE STORIES

M A P E I 67


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:54 PM

Page 68

has 10 R&D laboratories employing some 730 people. Three of the labs are in Italy: in Milan (Mapei S.p.A.); Treviso (Polyglass S.p.A.); and Villadossola, Piedmont (Vinavial S.p.A). Seven additional labs around the world are found in Toulouse (Mapei France S.A.); Wiesbaden, Germany (Sopro Bauchemie GmbH); Sagstua, Norway (Rescon Mapei AS); Laval, Quebec, Canada (Mapei Inc.); Deerfield Beach, Florida (Mapei Corp.); Dalton, Georgia (APAC); and Winter Haven, Florida (Polyglass USA, Inc.). The company’s ongoing innovative efforts require a constant flow of resources. In 2007, Mapei enhanced its plants that produce sealers, water-based emulsions and fluidizers at the Robbiano di Mediglia (province of Milan) production site. At its Latina plant, Mapei is supported in its research by partners in academia: Bocconi University in Milan and the National Research Center are two of the institutions that are collaborating on projects

68

THE ITALIAN EDGE

N

ra

day

N

Su ca th


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:15 AM

Page 69

NASCAR driver Robby Gordon drives through turn three during qualifiers for the NASCAR Pennsylvania 500 auto race in Long Pond, Pa., at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2007 (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

investments were made for premix and liquids installations. Italian universities provide a network of support for the company. Mapei is currently collaborating on projects with the Federico II University of Naples; the Polytechnic Universities of Milan and Turin; the Universities of Padua and Bologna; Bocconi University (Milan); and the National Research Center. Worldwide, Mapei is made up of

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

57 associated companies, with 55 production plants operating in 24 countries on five continents. “We are a global company and the US market holds great potential for us,” says Squinzi. “Eastern Europe and the Middle East are starting to appear over the horizon. Although they currently represent just 1% of sales, we expect that, within 10 to 15 years, China and the Far East will also become strategically important.”

Mapei is a trademark known to every Italian, not only because of its achievements on the industrial front, but mostly for Mapei Sport, a division that has propelled it to the forefront of cycling, motor racing and soccer. Mapei owns Sassuolo Calcio, an Italian second division league team

69


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:16 AM

Page 70

B

ehind any excellent product there is a technology concealed. Behind a fine suit, a delicious meal, a piece of designer furniture, an elegant shoe, there always is a machine, a production process, an entrepreneur, an idea. This rule holds for everything, and “Made in Italy” is no exception. After WWII, Germany was the undisputed leader in the production of machines used to make the best things in life. From textiles to ceramics, from glass to wood, the German manufacturing industry grew to dominate world markets, restoring the country’s image of efficiency and precision, which is still in place today. Italy, for its part, did not stand idly by, and within a few decades had made up for lost time. The worldwide market for machinery that produces goods today is valued at approximately 30 billion Euros; Italy and Germany together account for more than 70% of the total. Italy has had series of brilliant performances, achieving absolute leadership positions in various key manufacturing sectors such as the production of woodworking machines and food processing equipment. There are many more success stories. Wherever you look, whichever sector you take into consideration, the Italian machine-building industry is always present, competing with Germany, the US, Japan, and fast-rising China for leadership in the field. In 2007, the companies belonging to Federmacchine—Confidustria’s association of manufacturers of machinery destined for a variety of production sectors (including ceramics, wood, graphics and paper products, textiles, plastics and rubber, footwear, glass, packaging, automation, and farming equipment)—together generated sales in excess of 37 billion Euros, two-thirds of which derived from exports. The sector for food-processing machines contributed another 3.5 billion Euros, of which 2.2 billion derived from exports. No industrial system can produce consumer goods over a long period of time without developing excellence in production technologies. This is happening in China today and it happened years ago in Italy. Over the course of a few decades Italy’s large production districts from Sassuolo to Parma witnessed the birth and development of companies that provide consumer goods manufacturers with evermore sophisticated technologies and production models. These innovations were quickly exported, earning Italy an international reputation for excellence. Sometimes it was the client who requested a machine to help improve his product, stimulating the creativity of the supplier. Other times it was the supplier who proposed a new idea. Still other times an employee from a manufacturing company started his own business, perhaps along with a colleague, transforming a technological insight into a business that could be passed down through the family. These are processes that have repeated thousands of times over the course of recent decades, changing the face of Italy’s image worldwide, its economic structure, and the well being of its citizens.

70

CHAPTER 2.1

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:25 AM

Page 71

Glass The aesthetics and energy of a material Ceramics and marble Workmanship of the past, techniques of the present Footwear Italy, the world player Textiles The history, the challenges, and globalization Food Secrets from the land of good food Wood New generation, ancient origins THE STORIES COTONIFICIO ALBINI ACQUA DI PARMA LORO PIANA VIBRAM FERRAGAMO NEXT TECHNOLOGY TECNOTESSILE

MACHINES THAT MOLD BEAUTY TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

ILLYCAFFÈ DONNAFUGATA ARNALDO CAPRAI

71


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:56 PM

Page 72

THE AESTHETICS AND ENERGY OF A MATERIAL

O

ne of the must-see attractions for anyone visiting Italy’s art cities is the island of Murano. Some of the world’s most cherished glasswork comes from this island in the lagoon of Venice. But Murano is also the tip of the diamond for an industry that represents one of Italy’s top achievements in the world market. The processing of float glass, the kind used in building construction, home furnishings, and the automotive industry, takes place in two phases. The first is the production of sheets of glass. Here Italy stepped down some years ago from its role as a primary supplier— there are very few companies operating in this phase of the process, and most are not Italian. Even so, firms such as Manfredonia Vetro have broadened and globalized their activities. But in the second phase of production, Italian machines—those for grinding, producing double-pane and safety glass, along with those for silvering mirrors—hold the position of absolute leadership, partly due to the fact that this type of production is perfectly suited to the fragmented structure of Italian companies. The same holds true for machines used for grinding lenses and precision optics. “If any company, anywhere in the world, has the intention of elaborating glass in an expert manner, they cannot overlook Italian machinery,” explains Renata Gaffo, director of GIMAV, the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machinery, Equipment and Special Products for Glass Processing. “Nor can we forget the great attention today’s society pays to energy savings and environmental protection. Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal energy cannot do without glass and mirrors.” In 2007, sales by Italian manufacturers of glass-processing machinery totaled almost 1.4 billion Euros with more than 73% deriving from exports. There are many Italian companies active in this sector. Among these, one of the most prominent internationally is Fenzi S.p.A., located in Tribiano (province of Milan). After its startup in 1941 as a small factory, this company increasingly focused on the highly

72

specialized sphere of chemical products used for the second phase of float glass processing. It ended 2007 with sales of more than 200 million Euros. Italy’s technological leadership is also universally recognized in the other major branch of this sector: the hot processing of glass where all production phases are performed without letting the glass cool. The production of artistic handmade pieces is one of the more visible applications of this technique, but there are others that play a fundamental role in the production of many consumer goods we use daily. Not everybody knows, for example, that an important industrial process involved in creating nearly all the world’s stemware--the welding of the base to the stem--is carried out using high-tech machines from the Italian company Ocmi. The same company also holds world leadership in another important sector: machines for the automatic manufacturing of glass vials. A sophisticated installation produced by Ocmi involves an innovative process that allows vial producers to eliminate a very costly second sterilization, which is required by law in certain countries. Technologies such as these are fundamental to the production of high-quality glass products and are at the root of excellence in various “Made in Italy” champions. One of these is Bisazza, a jewel of Italian entrepreneurship that produces the world’s best glass mosaics. Sales topped 133 million Euros in 2007. Established in 1956, Bisazza uses the best of Italian technology to create its products, which are sold in major world markets. Piero Bisazza, the man who heads this family business, has preserved the history of the creation of the perfect mosaic. At the same time, he has been able to develop with the help of world renowned artists and designers, “That something extra which also comes from my classical education,” he recently stated. “That enables me to look at the contemporary from a different point of view. That’s why I love designers who know the past—Byzantium and Pompeii—and who are, at the same time, able to reinterpret it in an innovative way.” Bisazza is a company whose success is based largely on innovations that come through working with a pool of world famous designers and architects. And the company also is willing to explore unusual collaborations. For example, in 2008, it covered four Mini Cooper automobiles with mosaics. It also has worked closely with Lombard-

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:56 PM

Page 73

Bisazza, a jewel of Italian entrepreneurship that produces the world’s best glass mosaics

based elevator manufacturer IGV on its DomusLift product, a stateof-the-art home elevator. DomusLift represents the latest trends in the ultra-luxury market: Users can interact with a computer touchscreen connected to an MP3 player to program their favorite music, pairing it with lighting preferences. The elevator’s design was developed by Giugiaro Architettura, the finishings by Bisazza. At the IGV plant in Vignate, near Milan, 25 of 170 employees work full-time on R&D. IGV has trumped the competition partly on the basis of a silent motor developed in-house. The technology also does well abroad. Fifty-seven percent of the elevators head toward foreign markets such as Asia, the Middle East, the US, and Australia, but most sales are made in Europe. But to return to glass and to Murano, the island hosts a bureau called the Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro (“station for experimentation on glass”), whose goal is to study and promote the development of innovative technologies for processing glass, an example of Italian excellence that influences the artistic and industrial use of glass across the planet.

73


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:57 PM

Page 74

Right: Marazzi Group’s interior design system by David Chipperfield Below: Ceramics leader Sacmi’s Continua flooring production line, Sassuolo. Italian ceramics are a two billion Euro industry

WORKMANSHIP OF THE PAST, 74

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:25 AM

Page 75

C E R A M I C S & M A R B L E

“I

n the years following WWII, the ceramics industry was in German hands. Today, 60 years later, the top-notch machinery in the sector is all Italianmade.” These words by Paolo Gambuli, president of ACIMAC (the Association of Italian Manufacturers of Machinery and Equipment for Ceramics), summarize quite well the leadership position of Italian companies in this sector. This leadership revolves around one of Italy’s most successful industrial districts: Sassuolo in the heart of Emilia Romagna. It was in this region that companies such as Marazzi, Ragno, Cotto D’Este, and Graniti Fiandre started and flourished, leading to worldwide appreciation of Italian ceramic tiles. And it was here the best technologies were invented and developed for the production of ceramics, inventions that gave life to the most modern presses, glazing systems and kilns for firing. In 2007, the Italian ceramics sector generated almost 2 billion Euros in sales, up 20% from the previous year. More than 71% of sales came from exports. The undisputed leader in the industry is SACMI, an Emilia Romagna cooperative that over the years has become a giant in the field. In the process, it has acquired three German companies that still maintain an important presence in the sector. Presently, SACMI is responsible for about 40% of the country’s sales of ceramics-producing machinery. It also has developed many of the most advanced technologies in the sector. Results have been so promising, both within Italy and on an international level, that the company has decided to venture into other markets such as packaging and food. SACMI’s growth occurred through many acquisitions but also from solid investments in technology and innovation. Just to cite a few recent examples, there is the new robotic jewel created by Gaiotto Automation, one of the companies in the SACMI Group. Called the GA2000, it is a high-tech system for automated painting and was developed through a collaborative effort with Japan’s Motoman, a world leader in robots that paint cars. In Europe the robotics market is valued at about 40 million Euros, and through Gaiotto, SACMI aims to garner about 20% of that over the next few years.

TECHNIQUES OF THE PRESENT TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

75


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:47 AM

Page 76

SACMI also carries out advanced research in other areas such as the technology applied to processing foodstuffs. It has even developed an “electronic nose,” an instrument that attempts to reproduce the olfactory systems of humans and other vertebrates. The electronic nose is able to detect scents, but it also can determine levels of ripeness and whether residues of phytochemicals are present in fruit. It consists of a series of chemical sensors, each providing an electrical signal corresponding to its interaction with the volatile substances emitted by the fruit. Software then processes the data to produce a final report. For a few years, SACMI has been working on an electronic nose prototype in collaboration with the biotech unit of ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy, and the Environment). It will be used experimentally at the Oranfrizer plant in Scordia (province of Catania) to test its ability to ascertain the ripeness of citrus fruit. This procedure will help determine levels of anthocyanin, the source of the pigmentation in blood oranges, and will check for traces of phytochemicals. Returning to ceramics, SACMI, like other Italian companies in the sector including Siti-BT and System, has played an important role in the development of one of Italy’s most innovative contributions: grès porcelain, a porcelain product that bears a striking resemblance to natural stone such as marble and granite. The development of this technology, which permits the manufacture of tiles with a high level of slip resistance, dates back about 15 years. It is another technology born in the Sassuolo district, and its value derives from the production process. The firing of grès porcelain takes place at temperatures around 1350° Celsius (more than 2400°F) in kilns as long as 140 meters where the raw materials are slowly brought to the maximum temperature, maintained there for a short period, and then gradually cooled to room temperature. The firing process determines the quality of the final product, including levels of resistance and longevity. The birth of the grès porcelain market, which is now worldwide, has given life to a new industry that uses different types of clay, firing techniques, and machinery. It is a field in which Graniti Fiandre plays the leading role in marketing the finished product, and one where the Sassuolo district has long been the absolute and undisputed leader. 76

Sacmi’s “electronic nose” can detect scents and gauges levels of ripeness and the presence of phytochemicals in fruits Shown here, Sacmi’s reduced-energy FMP Kiln and PH7500 machinery

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:57 PM

Page 77

M A R B L E

T

he words marble and marble machines have long been associated with “Made in Italy” products. The ancient traditions of quarrying and sculpting natural stone are deeply rooted in the peninsula through works of art and architecture that the entire world recognizes as evidence of Italy’s eminence. The marble and granite sector along with related processing technology is one of the country’s top industries today. It is an industry where modern technologies have touched all production phases from excavation to manufacturing. During the last decade, the Italian makers of machines and installations for manipulating marble have introduced significant technological changes in the production process, changes that were required to keep up with the enormous demand for high-quality, standardized and readily available stone products. More recently, the sector has begun to use diamonds both in the quarrying and cutting phases. The application of diamonds has greatly reduced production times while simultaneously laying the foundation for new uses of the materials. The industry also is benefitting from new types of high-performance machinery and the addition of electronic components and computerized numeric controls (CNC). Thanks to these innovations, marble and granite as well as other authentic natural stones are no longer exclusively luxury materials and are now starting to be within reach of the average consumer. The Italian industry of technological stone processing equipment falls under the aegis of Confindustria’s association Marmomacchine, which unites more than 330 companies and 11,000 employees. It also promotes, supports, and defends Italy’s undisputed leadership in this sector. Indeed, Italy accounts for 65% of the world market with 66% of its machinery being exported to countries such as India, the US, Russia, Egypt, and Spain.

77


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

F

9/3/09

10:27 AM

O

C

Page 78

O

T

lustered largely in three concentrated and integrated production areas, 350 makers of machines that produce footwear and leather goods account for nearly 500 million Euros of business yearly, 350 million Euros of which come from exports. These numbers are evidence of the large economic impact of the leather goods machinery and systems sector, which has long been synonymous with Italy’s industrial excellence. It’s a sector that began to develop in the 1950s and today has achieved worldwide leadership through technology. More than half of the world’s machines for processing leather goods are Italian. Italy produces more than 65% of the machines for the tanning industry, which is linked to the footwear and leathergoods industries as well as to the sector for automobile interiors. There are countless instances when Italian industry has been able to combine technology and creativity. One example is the sports footwear company established in 1995 by entrepreneur Mario Poletti Polegato in Montebelluna (province of Treviso). The company created the celebrated “breathing sole,” which is impermeable to water but permeable to water vapor. It has become a huge international success story. Recently, Geox has invested heavily in research, registering dozens of international patents for processes used in the manufacturing of its shoes. The company, based in the Veneto region, reported sales in 2007 of 770.2 million Euros and posted a net income of 123 million Euros. Sixty percent of sales were abroad. That figure is expected to rise to 70% or 80%, Polegato recently explained, because of innovations such as the newly released Net line of sports footgear. Net footwear is equipped with a patented breathable netlike sole. “The patent at the basis of our entire line of sports shoes calls for the superposition of a net-like layer, membrane, and sole. It has been registered in all the major countries of the world,” explains Polegato. He expects the new

78

W

E

A

R

line to be formidable competition for major sports brands such as Nike and Adidas. Elsewhere, other Italian districts boast excellence in other technological areas. The district around Vigevano (province of Pavia), for example, specializes in the production of machinery for shoemaking, giving rise to a pool of companies that specialize in computer-assisted design and manufacturing systems (CAD/CAM). This provides footwear makers with the experience and capabilities of design software that was first created for the manufacturing environment. Companies such as Atom, Comelz and Torielli, to mention a few, have perfected original, cuttingedge systems that are currently being used by most of the biggest names in Italian shoemaking such as Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, as well as many leading international players such as the British brand Clark. The manufacturers of Italian shoemaking machinery always have used technology to outdo their competition. Recently, for example, they have been able to surpass fierce competition from China by producing machinery specifically designed to make women’s pointy-toe shoes. These devices permit shoe factories in many countries to wrap the vamp, which covers the top part of the foot, on the form with extreme precision, guaranteeing top quality while drastically reducing labor costs. Another element that has distinguished Italian technological excellence has been its lasts, the plastic structures modeled on the foot that are used to make shoes. An Italian company, New Last, has completely rethought the concept of lasts, which had been neglected for decades. Romagnol started producing a new line of CAD/CAM systems for footwear and a series of machines for production that are capable of producing tolerances of only onetenth of a millimeter. “New Last has permitted producers to achieve an unimaginable level of automation, consequently allowing them to cut labor costs, a key factor in being able to compete with countries like China or India where labor is much cheaper than in Western countries,” says Sergio Stella of ASSOMAC, the association of Italian producers of machinery for the footwear, leathergoods and tanning industries. New Last designed its new machines in close collaboration with

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:28 AM

Page 79

ITALY, THE WORLD PLAYER other last makers such as Romagnolo, which in turn adapted its production processes to align with the newly available technology. In fact, since its inception in 1996, New Last has operated on a policy of total openness and standardization in relation to its market. In this spirit, it worked closely with a Spanish competitor to perfect a new standard format for CAD/CAM software for footwear production called NH1. The format allows various software programs to communicate easily with one another, creating a significant synergy for all producers of footwear lasts. Among other examples of technological excellence in the field, it would be a mistake to overlook Vibram, the maker of high-tech rubber soles. Established in 1937 by Milan-born mountaineer Vitale Bramani (from which the brand name derives), the company posted profits of more than 65 million Euros in 2007 and has built a strong working relationship with the US. One of its main suppliers, Quapaug, is in fact American as is Timberland, one of its major clients. Every Timberland shoe has a Vibram sole. Recently, the collaboration resulted in a new, eco-friendly development: under a new partnership between the two companies, soles will be produced with 30% recycled rubber. Social responsibility and eco-friendliness are two central themes for the Vibram team so much so that each sole is printed with a message about the environmental impact of the shoe’s production. Another piece of “Made in Italy” is Mediterranea, the Italian company with the license to produce leather bags, key chains and wallets for Timberland throughout the world.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Geox’s Rubber Sole

79


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

T

T

10:52 AM

E

Page 80

X

T

extiles in all their possible variations represent one of the strongholds of “Made in Italy.” Despite mounting competition from China and other Far East countries, textile products remain an important asset of the Italian production system. The industry’s impact is even greater when one takes into account the machinery used to produce textiles. Italy is currently the world’s second largest producer of textile machines and the technological level of its production is considered even by its competition to be of the highest standard. In 2007, Italy produced textile machinery worth 2.8 billion Euros. Nearly 80% of that was exported to some 130 countries. The Italian industry maintains a recognized leadership position in manufacturing machines for the production of high-quality traditional textiles that are used by top Italian and international designers, among others. It also excels in the high-tech market for technical textiles and new materials. That sector is growing rapidly as demand increases from markets as diverse as automotive, healthcare, and sports and leisure. And as it grows, the area also is becoming eco-friendly with increased attention being paid to sustainability in terms of reducing energy and water consumption and recycling waste materials. The Italian company Dell’Orco Villani of Campi Bisenzio (province of Florence), recently developed a technology for making an exceptionally thin and highly resilient nylon yarn from discarded

I

L

E

S

office building carpeting. Cormatex, in turn, developed its Airlaid technology to make nonwoven fabric out of recycled automobile tires and various types of yarns. This system also is being used to produce automobile trim and heat- and sound-absorbent panels. With 20 employees and 6 million Euros in annual sales, Cormatex decided to diversify into new sectors. After beginning with cashmere, it turned to dealing with nonwoven fabrics where fibers are held together by chemical or thermal means. “We work closely with North Carolina State University, but the technology under the patent for the new machine was developed in our laboratories,” explains a company spokesperson. Still within the field of high tech, Comez in Cilavegna (province of Pavia) is a leader in the production of traditional crochet machines, but it is currently working with clients on the development of machines for textiles capable of releasing the correct dose of insulin to diabetics. “Within the Italian industry of textile machinery, this high technology sector is currently worth between 15 and 20 percent of total sales, and it continues to grow,” explains Federico Pellegata, director of ACIMIT, the association of Italian companies that produce textile machinery. “And Italian companies also maintain their leadership in the creation of machines for the production and ennoblement of yarns and textiles, ranging from the most ‘traditional’ to the most highly prized, those that are produced and utilized by historic “Made in Italy” brands like Loro Piana and Ermenegildo Zegna.” The collaboration between innovators in the fields of technology

THE HISTORY, THE CHALLENGES, AND G 80

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:53 AM

Page 81

A model wears a creation from the Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/Winter 2009/2010 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, March 1, 2009 (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

and textiles is a key element of Italy’s excellence in the textile sector. This is the case at Next Technology Tecnotessile Società Nazionale di Ricerca r.l., partially funded by the Ministry of Education and Research, which is making its way into sectors previously reserved exclusively for materials of chemical origin. Some examples include traditional fabrics that with the help of nanotechnology can purify air of carbon dioxide or prevent work overalls from getting dirty. And then there is a processing technique that creates a waterproof and breathable fabric similar to Gore-Tex except that it is made from all-natural materials. These creative ideas represent the sole means of survival for many small companies that can no longer compete in large-scale textile markets and must focus on innovation, low energy consumption and eco-friendliness. All this is taking place at a time when sales are merely lukewarm after years of contraction that was sparked by an influx of Chinese producers which reshaped the world textile industry completely. Also based in Prato with Next Technology Tecnotessile is Unitech, a company with nearly 20 million Euros in annual sales that specializes in taking fabrics to new levels. Thanks to its collaboration with Next Technology Tecnotessile, it has developed a plasma-technology machine for the production of membrane fabrics. “We make a great effort to remain competitive on a market that changes on a daily basis,” the founder explained recently, recalling how he decided to merge with a competitor in order to keep his business afloat. “Customer service, technical support, software: just having a good product is no longer enough. Without these capabilities, it is no longer possible to win over a client.”

D GLOBALIZATION 81


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:58 PM

Page 82

It’s no secret that over the past few years the European textile industry has struggled with fierce competition from the Far East. In order to compete, some companies have used a winning combination of high tech and a shorter supply chain. One interesting project in the sector is the Blulino brand, an alliance of various key European linen producers. The brand guarantees the traceability of the origins of the product, which carry the “Made in Europe” assurance of quality. The idea was born in Lombardy at the initiative of Linificio & Canapificio Nazionale S.p.A. in Fara Gera d’Adda (province of Bergamo). Linificio is part of the Marzotto Group, the Italian leader in industrial production of linen fiber and hemp spinning. With an annual production capacity of 1,500 tons, the company supplies 35% of the national market. “The idea arises from the need to resist what can be called a trivialization of the product,” Linificio company sales manager Cesare Losavio stated recently. “It’s this chasing after the lowest prices that’s pushing the market quality down.” The Blulino brand is the meeting point between French farmers of the Normandy region where Europe’s flax farms are concentrated; Linificio Nazionale, which produces the yarns; cotton mill Albini, a leader in producing shirting fabrics; and a number of weavers of apparel and domestic products. Through Blulino, companies can offer their clients a wide array of choice fabrics and yarns overseen through all phases of production: from the selection of raw materials, consisting only of the top pick from each harvest, to the processing of yarns using the most advanced techniques, all the way to the production of the topquality final products. In 2007, Linificio posted sales of 53.5 million Euros, of which 10% derived from the Blulino brand, while Marzotto Group’s core business, traditional raw-white yarns, was valued at nearly 52 million Euros. Linificio sales were expected to increase to 56 million in 2008, with exports accounting for about 55% of that. A coconut yarn that can absorb and neutralize environmental odors: It’s Cocona, a fiber derived from the transformation of agricultural and food leftovers that was developed by Sinterama, a company established in 1968 in Sandigliano (region of Piedmont) where the textile culture has deep roots. The Sinterama Group is currently the European leader in the production of colored polyester threads and yarns. Each year the company produces 30,000 tons of yarn in 400 different types for a wide range of uses: automotive, home furnishings, and clothing. Total sales in 2008 reached 120 million Euros. “In recent years, commodity products in our sector

82


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

9:58 PM

Page 83

have come under the control of the Asian companies. We’ve focused our attention on colored yarns with a high-service content,” says Sinterama President Paolo Piana. He adds, “We are presently working on three different fronts: on yarns, where we are constantly researching new and more sophisticated characteristics; on fabrics— the product of our clients—where we are looking to improve and expand the level of our performance; and finally, on our installations and the automation of our support systems, where we are working to satisfy demands for increasing quality standards and flexibility.” Six percent of sales are invested into research and development, but the innovative potential of the Biella-based company is based on a local network of textile machinery producers such as Obem. Obem, also based in Biella, specializes in the production of machines for dyeing fibers in a variety of forms from loose fibers to hanks. Obem has even developed its own internal software division for CAD/CAM management and support of its technologies. Headquartered in Bollate (province of Milan), Loris Bellini S.p.A. produces machinery for dyeing yarn packages, hanks, and pieces, as well as hosiery. It recently launched its new READY system (Rapid Economical Adapted Dyeing of Yarn) for dyeing carpet yarn on bobbins, which was developed together with Germany’s Dystar and other companies in the sector. Bellini exports 80% of its devices. Sinterama has a substantial global presence: 70 people, both salespeople and agents, follow more than 1,600 clients in 40 countries. Some 750 employees work in the company’s eight plants in Italy, France, the UK, Brazil, Turkey and China. Fifty percent of those are in Italy and another 25% are based in other European countries. A high degree of automation ensures high quality and flexibility in serving customers. “Sinterama can boast an important and far-reaching role in the Italian textile industry by virtue of its clientele. This partnership, focused on fulfilling the demands of a market that is among the most selective in the world and among the most advanced as far as technology and creativity are concerned, places us in a situation of necessary and continuous improvement,” says Piana. The company’s innovations also result from its continuing relationships with Italian universities. The FlexiFunBar research project of the European Union’s Sixth Framework Programme generated a partnership between Sinterama and the Polytechnic University of Turin. Within the context of the project Industry 2015: New Technologies for “Made in Italy”, Sinterama is collaborating with the Polytechnic Universities of Milan and Turin and the University of Perugia.

A model wears a creation as part of the Giorgio Armani Fall/Winter 2009/2010 fashion collection, presented in Milan, Italy, Feb. 27, 2009 (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

83


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:30 AM

Page 84

F O O D

T

he only way to learn how to build excellent machinery for the production of goods is through producing the goods themselves. This rule holds true for all production sectors, but it is especially true in the food industry. Behind this lies the reason for the excellence of Italian machinery for the production and preparation of foods. No other country comes close to offering such a wide variety of food products, and it is indeed in Italy’s renowned food-producing districts that some of the most advanced technologies exist for production, processing, preserving, and packaging food products. A prime example is Food Valley, located in Parma, home to some of Italy’s most famous foods, which include Parma ham (prosciutto di Parma) and Parmigiano-Reggiano, the original parmesan cheese. Food Valley’s technological excellence is focused on machinery for processing vegetables such as tomato sauce, a key ingredient in Italian cuisine. “Parma’s food processing machinery industry started with the sugar industry at the beginning of the 20th century and then evolved into the tomato processing sector,” explains Roberto Masini, professor at the State University of Parma. “Today, the district is the world leader in this sector and among the top in others as well, like aseptic food packaging.” Over the years, Parma’s Food Valley has become a center of worldwide attention. Italian company Rossi & Catelli S.p.A. plays a key role in the district, but there also are many multinationals from the Swedish Tetrapak to the American Food Machinery Corp.,

SECRETS FROM THE LAND OF G 84


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:31 AM

Page 85

which have moved their R&D centers to Parma because of its knowhow. Cibustec, Parma’s food machinery fair, is an event not to be missed by anyone in the industry. Rossi & Catelli posts annual sales of about 60 million Euros and employs more than 140. It recently delivered two systems for concentrating tomatoes to China’s Xinjiang Tunhe Chang Tong Tomato Products Co. Ltd. and Xinjiang Tunhe Wusu Tomato Products Co. Ltd., which are capable of processing, respectively, 4,300 and 2,200 tons of fresh tomatoes daily. Rossi & Catelli makes significant investments in high technology, and a few years ago it devised an innovative system for processing diced tomatoes and fruits called Macropak Magnum. The food machinery industry is extremely complex so much so that even related trade associations have a hard time keeping up with its variations. According to ASSOFOODTEC, the association that brings together the largest number of businesses in the sector, Italian companies generated 2007 sales of more than 3.5 billion Euros, 2.2 billion Euros of which derived from exports. These figures include machines that are very different in nature--from refrigerating units to ovens, from espresso machines to meat-processing equipment. On top of that, there are machines that process fruit, milk, and ice cream. For Italy, this ensemble of machinery represents a fundamental economic resource. For the rest of the world, it represents a source of technological excellence difficult to find elsewhere. In terms of sales proceeds, Italy is second only to Germany. That is a big change from a few decades ago when Italy was a follower and not a leader. Until World War II, Italian production of foodprocessing machinery was small but the upturn was swift and

effective. In the 1970s, the University of Milan founded DISTAM, the first department for food sciences in an Italian university. In the area of pasta-producing machinery, two Italian companies dominate the Italian market because of their investment in technology: Fava of Cento (province of Ferrara) and Pavan in Padua. Fava, which has been operating in the sector since 1937, has patented and built machines for the production of dry pasta, earning the trust of the largest producers in Italy and worldwide. A family-run company for three generations, Fava is headed by Enrico Fava and his son, Luigi. Since its inception Fava has been dedicated to research, turning a specialization in dry pasta into a strong point. In 2008, the company posted sales of 72 million Euros for its high-tech lines of dry pasta machines. Sales were strong in major pasta-producing countries such as Italy, Spain, France, and the United States. Other important markets include the principal countries of North Africa. Exports account for more than 80% of sales with emerging markets in the Middle East and elsewhere fueling growth. Pavan has been investing for decades in R&D and technology, optimizing its processes and systems for drying at very high temperatures. It has long supplied the machinery for Barilla and other multinational producers. In time, the logic of the production chain won out, and now producers of machinery and foodstuffs are working together in harmony. The Pavan Group of Padua exports more than 95% of its production with a diversified portfolio that ranges from dried and fresh pastas to precooked and frozen meals. It also processes cereals

F GOOD FOOD TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

85


291305.P064-099.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/4/09

12:46 PM

Page 86

and is involved in creating packaging. Its reference market is composed of some 1,000 producers, big multinational businesses such as Kraft, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Barilla, Kellogg's, Conagra, Molinos, Rio de la Plata, Procter & Gamble, and Rana. Pavan’s machinery is produced in 120 countries, and the company has branches in Poland, Russia, the US, Mexico, and Argentina. In 2008, the Pavan Group, headed by CEO Andrea Cavagnis, reported sales of 90 million Euros and a consolidated profit of 6.7 million Euros, a 46% increase. During the previous five years, sales have expanded by 66%. Continued investment in innovative technology is one factor that keeps the group’s companies so competitive on the world market. In a slightly different direction, Storci, a company based in Parma that is part of the Fava Group, has developed a specialty in the area of fresh pasta and bakery goods. Storci recently has developed new machinery allowing production of bread and pizza dough in continuous cycles, which preserves its natural characteristics. The technical and high-tech improvements also lower energy consumption. Together, Fava and Storci use cutting-edge technology to build some of the most important machinery for production of couscous, an important staple in North Africa and the Middle East. Italy also maintains a strong leadership position in the sector of packaging machinery where producers are united under the aegis of UCIMA, the Italian Manufacturers of Automatic Packing and Packaging Machinery Association. Exports approached 90% of the total sales in 2008, which totaled more than 3.6 billion Euros. Combined, Italian companies hold 26% of the world market, compared with 33% by German companies. “Italy’s success is based on two factors,” explains Guido Corbella, CEO of Italy’s leading trade show in the sector, Ipack-Ima. “Firstly, because we orient ourselves toward small- and medium-sized businesses, we are great at working closely with clients, developing machinery that fits their specific needs. Secondly, we’ve been able to create an

86

Pavan Tecnologie conducts research into the agroindustrial sector and offers training in new processing techniques at its School of Food Technologies

integrated district in Emilia Romagna where the packaging machinery producers dialogue closely with the packaging producers. The key to the quality of our R&D lies in just this dialogue, and has generated a large number of successes.” The blister pack – that combination of plastic and paper used for packaging medicines – was invented by IMA, a company in Bologna. Italian producers of machinery for farming, gardening, and earth moving are represented by the association UNACOMA. Once again, they come in second place on the world market, this time behind the US. Annual sales in 2008 amounted to 13 billion Euros, 70% of which derived from exports to developed countries with their own very qualified players. Sixty percent of exports went to Europe while 10 percent were directed to the United States. Italian companies lead the world in terms of the variety of products, a consequence of their having remained connected closely to their respective territories. Around the rice paddies of Piedmont, for example, companies that prospered were the ones that developed machinery for harvesting and processing rice. That trend holds true even today. Recently the University of Palermo and several companies promoted a research program for new machinery capable of adapting to crops typical of the small islands around Sicily such as straw wine from Pantelleria and capers. It is a small step from packaging machines to machinery for the graphic arts industry, which is represented by the trade association ACIMGA. And in fact, Italy is a world leader in this sector as well with exports totaling 78% of total sales, which approached 1.7 billion Euros in 2008. It is a market that continues to grow albeit slowly due to the financial crisis. Italy also commands a leadership position in machinery for rotogravure and flexographic printing, as well as converting machines for paper, cardboard and other materials. The majority of production is absorbed by the packaging market while the smaller graphics sector accounts for nearly 35%.

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/4/09

12:47 PM

Page 87

In 1937, an original idea of founder, Augusto Fava, created the first continuous short goods dryer: the "Trabatto" (shaker pre-dryer), marking the beginning of Fava's dryer manufacturing activity. High temperature drying technology represents the most important technological innovation in pasta production to date

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

87


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:00 PM

Page 88

NEW

D

espite the development of new construction materials, wood remains a fundamental resource for residential and commercial builders. In fact, the last decade has been a period where the uses of wood have expanded far beyond the traditional. Wood is a resource that has always been a strong suit for Italian companies, which have developed new technologies for producing door and window frames, furniture, roofing, stairways, and flooring—any sort of product that uses wood as an integral component. Italian expertise extends all the way to veneers of prized woods no more than a few tenths of a millimeter thick used for covering panels made from salvaged or recycled woods. Essentially, wood processing takes place in two phases. During the first, panels are made from solid wood or chipboard; during the second, these intermediate materials are further processed into furniture, window and door frames, flooring, etc. Italian companies are no longer very active in the first phase but they

GENERATION, dominate in machinery for the second. Two Italian groups, SCM of Rimini and Biesse of Pesaro (region of the Marche), dominate this sector with combined annual sales of 1 billion Euros, about 40% of the entire country’s production. The sector of woodworking machine makers, like other Italian industries, is composed of a few big businesses and many smaller companies. They export more than 80% of their production, mostly to Europe but also to Russia, Canada, and the US. Italian machinery, second only to the German industry in terms of sales, is used by major furniture builders around the world including Sweden’s Ikea. The sector comprises some 300 companies with 12,000 employees and 2008 sales amounting to 1.85 billion Euros, according to ACIMALL, the Confindustria association representing the category. As with some other sectors, the history of Italian woodworking machinery is fairly recent. The sector started developing in the 1950s, but grew quickly through the introduction of technology related both to the product and to its processing. For example, the first CNC drilling-and-milling system was developed in Italy, revolutionizing the sector in the 1970s. Production sectors such as chair and table

W O 88

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:32 AM

Page 89

ANCIENT manufacturing, which involves sectioning, drilling, and surface finishing, are examples of areas where Italy excels. If Italy’s wood furniture sector is among the first in the world today, part of the credit goes to the companies that developed and marketed new technology and were able to grow by providing the right solutions to meet customer demand. A more recent example comes from Delmac, a company recently incorporated into the SCM giant, which has developed and perfected a revolutionary system for furniture production called “Strip Processing”. Using this technology, the furniture elements are manufactured in strips in a high production setting and then cut on demand into smaller parts. The base strips can easily be stored in a warehouse – saving space and management costs. Custom furniture sizes can be marketed and assembled on demand yet taking advantage of economic processing methods. Delmac has successfully installed this technology in both foreign companies initially and today, it is now commonly used by many Italian furniture brands. Another recent innovation by a leading Italian importer in the USA - Delmac Machinery Group and Busellato S.p.A. is a process called “Linear Flow” and is based on

O

ORIGINS using a CNC router for nesting all furniture parts. This technology recently won the Sequoia Award for Machinery Productivity at the recent AWFS Tradeshow in Las Vegas. SCM leadership is driving a district that is cited as an example of excellence even abroad. The industrial district for woodworking machinery in the province of Rimini has recently given rise to a new, extremely specialized college degree that concentrates heavily on high technology. In the capital of the Emilia Romagna region, an agreement between the University of Bologna and industrial trade associations permits the granting of mechanical engineering degrees with specialization in this particular sector. The three-year program is offered by the engineering department and is co-financed by the industrial trade associations with the goal of providing highly qualified personnel needed in the sector. In recent years, Italy has developed expertise in numerous other areas complementary to the woodworking sector. Among them are companies involved in painting, coating, and lacquering, which are part of the cooperative CEFLA (also in Emilia Romagna), which has taken on a leading role, dominating foreign markets as well.

D

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

89


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:01 PM

Page 90

What matters in a shirt With sales totaling 169 million Euros in 2007, 20 million meters of fabric and over 1,400 employees, Cotonificio Albini is the undisputed leader of Europe’s cotton and linen shirt market. The company was established in 1876 in Bergamo and has been able to reach these heights through keeping constant watch on innovation for its products, production and distribution processes. “In a market like ours, process innovation is fundamental,” explains company CEO Silvio Albini. “We take advantage of the most cutting edge computer technologies to improve our factories. We work closely with machinery manufacturers, like the Promatec Group of Bergamo, to create equipment that is always new, always on the cutting edge. It is only through this type of effort that we are able to produce 14,000 different varieties of cotton and other fabrics in a given year.”

90

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:01 PM

Page 91

COTONIFICIO A L B I N I

THE STORIES TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

91


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:01 PM

Page 92

The weaving loom is one of the central elements of the textile sector’s production process. Collaboration between those who produce the yarns and those who produce the looms is one of the cornerstones of innovation. The process is being improved constantly. There is often collaboration in designing the details of processing equipment, whether it is focusing on the improvement of an individual process or even working on existing parts of the machinery to make the entire production process more efficient and dynamic. Constant product innovation is Cotonificio Albini’s other strong point. A few years ago, for example, the company was the first in the world to start using compact yarns, taking advantage of a groundbreaking spinning technology developed in a Swiss university laboratory; all of its equipment was upgraded shortly afterwards. Through their pioneering spirit, they were able to achieve a refinement of both design and spinning that was previously impossible, while substantially increasing the fabrics’ resistance. Not long after, a large number of competitors chose to follow suit but the competitive advantage Cotonificio Albini gained from their early decision can still be seen in today’s financial results.

Today’s Weaving Loom. Cutting-edge spinning technology creates strong, compact yarns Right: Example of woven Albini fabric

92

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:01 PM

Page 93

Cotonificio Albini has always performed scrupulous research on their raw materials, even to the point of personally picking crops that will best suit their production needs, as was the case in the Blulino project. At the center of the project was an alliance between various figures in the European linen industry. The project began in Lombardy, Italy, on the initiative of a number of companies, including

The research

Cotonificio Albini and Linificio & Canapificio Nazionale, in Fara Gera d’Adda. The Blulino is now a mark of “Made in Europe” excellence in quality and traceability, bringing together flax growers from Normandy, Northern France, where most of Europe’s flax farms are found; the Linificio Nazionale, yarns producers; the Albini cotton mill; and a number of weavers for clothing and domestic products. Through Blulino, companies can offer their clients a wide array of choice fabrics and yarns that are overseen through all phases of production: from the selection of the best raw materials, to the processing of yarns using the most advanced techniques, all the way to the production of the top quality final products. The attention paid to the selection of raw materials lends itself naturally

to collaboration with the world of universities and research. A new degree in textile engineering from the University of Bergamo is being promoted by Cotonificio Albini and other fabric businesses in the area. This degree program is currently producing new specialists who are joining local production network upon graduation. “This enables us to significantly improve the scientific training of our technicians,” Silvio Albini says. The company has also begun working closely with the Polytechnic University of Milan to develop forecasting models that will allow the company to respond better to market demands.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

93


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:58 AM

Page 94

TRADITION AND FLIGHTS FORWARD

“A

cqua di Parma’s success is inextricably linked to the preservation of tradition.” says Paola Paganini, Group Program Manager for Acqua di Parma. “But in today’s complex global market, this objective can only be obtained by using avant-garde methods and technology.” This successful Italian company has been recognized for its leadership in the luxury sector for decades. Acquired in 2001 by the LVMH Group, the company has always kept the recipe for its cologne a secret, handing it down from generation to generation. The fragrance is chosen by VIPs around the world including numerous movie stars, including Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner, Kate Moss and Cameron Diaz. Today, however, the systems the company uses to produce that same cologne and its other products, which are sold by 1,700 select retailers worldwide, have substantially changed. The selection of essences, for example, is carried out in partnership with some of the greatest specialist multinationals in the sector. Tradition and modernity go side by side for Acqua di Parma, with a line of products that both respect the history of the brand and threads to new territories

94

NATURE The essences used by Acqua di Parma are, and will always be, rigorously natural, but today’s technology allows the use of more sophisticated raw materials. “Today we can make use of a bergamot that is much purer and more highly prized than we could in the past,” explains Paola Paganini, “At the same time, we can still guarantee the same level of cleanness and hygiene demanded by our clients.” Established in 1916, the Acqua di Parma brand has expanded over the years with the Home Fragrances Collection of perfumed candles for the home, the Home Collection of linen and terrycloth bath sets, Travel Collection leather accessories, Collezione Barbiere products and accessories for shaving, and the Blu Mediterraneo and Blu Mediterraneo Italian Resort lines of fragrances and cosmetics inspired by the most exclusive natural scenery of the Mediterranean. Acqua di Parma has always remained faithful to its roots and to the alchemy of an ancient wisdom. Fragrances are still distilled by hand, just as the packaging is also designed by hand. They are produced by artisans who use the same methods as those used in the past.


291305.P064-099:Excellence

8/27/09

10:01 PM

Page 95

ACQUA DI PARMA

THE STORIES 95


291305.P064-099.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/8/09

6:50 PM

Page 96

THE VALUE OF THE FABRIC

“I

n the luxury fabrics sector, if the products require high technology, then the processes used to produce them do even more so,” states Pier Luigi Loro Piana, CEO for his eponymous brand. The company has been synonymous with utmost quality for over twenty years and sales exceeded 420 million Euros in 2008. It has provided wool and cashmere textiles to the most sophisticated and demanding clients for six generations. It is the world’s largest single purchaser of finest wools and the largest processor of cashmere. One of the more recent and outstanding innovations to come out of Loro Piana’s incessant research is Storm System Treatment. This is a new processing procedure that has allowed wool, cotton, and cashmere to be reintroduced to the sector of sporting and extreme apparel, which had previously been dominated by synthetic fabrics.

96


291305.P064-099:Excellence

9/8/09

6:52 PM

Page 97

LORO

PIANA

THE STORIES 97


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:34 AM

Page 98

The Patents An exclusive patent dating back to the early 1990s, Storm System is a treatment technique that protects the body from the elements to maintain a state of absolute well-being, without altering the feel or characteristics of the highly prized fibers. The system consists of two forms of protection: the Rain

System waterproofing treatment and a series of absorbent membranes, which render the fabric water and wind resistant, yet breathable. When it is applied to the fabric’s surface, the Rain System Treatment forms an invisible coating around each fiber. This coating makes water slide off the surface of the fabric, while also protecting it from dust, dirt, and liquid stains. Coats and jackets made out of traditional fabrics can be made as resistant to wind Baby cashmere is not easy to find. It is obtained from the underfleece of Hyrcus goat kids. The fiber is gathered by means of a delicate and completely harmless combing that is only done once in a goat’s life between three and twelve months. A set of pictures illustrates the process

98


291305.P064-099.CRX:Excellence

9/3/09

10:35 AM

Page 99

and water as technological synthetics. In order to realize this system, Loro Piana developed original production installations and built completely new machinery. Loro Piana has always been set apart by its innovation in production processes. It was the first in the sector able to handle spinning and spooling using a single machine. Loro Piana was ahead of its domestic and foreign competition when it introduced automated unloading and advanced automation of packaging in its spinning line. Over twenty years ago, the company introduced robotics in its plants, using technology that had, up to that point, only been used in the automotive sector. Such innovations have contributed considerably to the improvement of processing procedures, making it more competitive and allowing it to produce better products. Loro Piana uses raw materials suppliers from across the world, selecting from among the finest on the planet and making quality assurance checks at every step. A few years ago, the company registered the Zelander brand, signing an agreement with a group of New Zealand producers. They now produce their wool exclusively for the Loro Piana and, as part of this contract, they select specific animals to produce wool with an optimal length-tofineness ratio.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Environment Loro Piana pays close attention to environmental issues. In the 1980s it installed the first cogeneration unit in the historic Quarona plant. A new unit, currently under construction, will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 40% in a few years’ time. In the 1990s, the company worked with the University of Turin to develop an innovative system based on active carbon absorption, which allows the return of waste-water directly into a river without any risk of pollution.

99


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:16 AM

Page 100

THE MAN AND HIS DISCOVERY Vibram’s story begins about 70 years ago when its founder, Vitale Bramani, had an idea. He was an enthusiastic mountain climber who once witnessed the death of several friends in an accident. He decided to develop a rubber sole that would prevent climbers from slipping on ice. The idea quickly turned into a patent (something rare, for those days) and the patent turned into a company. Mold Of Vibram’s rubber-based reinforced insole. The company’s philosophy rests upon its founder’s commitment to eco-friendliness and social responsibility

100


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:40 AM

Page 101

VIB R AM

THE STORIES 101


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:40 AM

Page 102

Vibram today is a world leader in the production of soles for outdoor footwear, producing 35 million pairs every year. Sales total 70 million Euros, which rise to 100 million with the American licensee, Quabaug. Today, Vibram has no rivals on the market. “There are many suppliers of rubber soles around the world,” explains Antonello Ghignone, who is in charge of the company’s R&D division. “But Vibram is the only company in the sector that has, as one of its assets, a brand name that is recognized worldwide. We have had to turn down numerous requests by shoemakers who would like to place their name next to ours on the sole.” The company supplies soles to numerous global brands of outdoor wear, including Timberland, whose relationship with Vibram is continually evolving. A new partnership between the two anticipates

102

production of soles using 30% recycled rubber. Social responsibility and ecofriendliness are two central themes for the Vibram team: they even print the environmental impact of the production of the shoes on each sole.

The technologies The company, based in Albizzate (in Varese, Italy) manufactures its product using technology it had developed itself, along with the support of partners in several countries. Forty percent of the soles come from Chinese plants, with the remainder coming from Europe and the United States. They are produced using a sulfur vulcanization of rubber, to which reinforcing agents and a few additives, are added. Italian suppliers produce the molds to Vibram’s original specifications and designs. By contrast, the

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:41 AM

Page 103

machinery used by the company is quite standard. The company also collaborates actively with the Polytechnic University of Milan and with the State University of Pavia. Vibram also works with the Italian National Research Center’s Institute for Technology and Automation (ITIA) to integrate shoemaking production processes throughout Europe, so as to make them more standardized and easier to customize. When asked about the company’s biggest competitors, Antonello Ghignone stated wryly, “Vibram’s greatest rivals are our own clients, in the sense that any one of them has the possibility, at any time, to investigate suppliers who provide cheaper products of a lower quality. Because of this, we are condemned to continue offering increasingly efficient and excellent soles,” concluded Ghignone, whose strategy seems to find support in the company’s figures.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Vibram’s internationally-recognized brand is linked to its proprietary rubber sole, which is designed with sulfar and other additives including 30% recycled materials The company's premium collection, known as FiveFingers, is a line of barefoot performance footwear that utilizes the technology of the Vibram sole and was originally conceived for outdoor sports. Now the products are worn by climbers, fitness enthusiasts, runners as well as water sports lovers and are known for their warmth and their grip, performance and control

103


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:41 AM

Page 104

MACHINES AND IDEAS When Salvatore Ferragamo returned to Italy from the United States in 1927, he brought with him his extraordinary creativity and an idea for the most advanced production strategies. This idea influenced not only the company he was about to create, but also the many craftsmen who worked with him. Since then, the company has always struck exactly the right balance between creativity and innovation, registering more than 400 patents: a record in the world’s fashion market. In 2008, Ferragamo posted sales of 691 million Euros, with operating profits of 64 million Euros, and net profits of 39 million Euros. But the scale of this company can only really be understood by visiting its historical archive in Florence. “We have 13,000 models of shoes here, which document the history of footwear and fashion,” explains Stefania Ricci, archive director. “The innovations introduced by Ferragamo are countless. They go from wedges in 1937 to special heels with a shell-shaped sole inspired by Native American moccasins. They include the celebrated gold shoes of the 1950s and the latest anti-shock heels. Innovations introduced during wartime, such as nylon and cellophane shoes, are part of the archive. They received the prestigious Neiman Marcus award, the Oscar of the fashion world.” Salvatore Ferragamo: master shoe builder. His vision led to the company’s registering 400 design patents, a fashion industry record, and its winning the coveted Neiman Marcus award

104

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:43 AM

Page 105

THE STORIES

FERRAGAMO 105


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/4/09

1:08 PM

Page 106

Ferragamo’s attitude toward innovation also influences the other sectors in which the company presently operates. In the leather goods division, for example, they launched a line of highly ecofriendly and sustainable handbags in spring of 2009. The new Eco Ferragamo collection of handbags is produced using systems that don’t have any environmental impact, as certified by the SG-Mark Institute. The entire product line is produced with an innovative ecological tanning process that does not require the use of metals. Dyeing takes place using tannins of plant origin exclusively obtained by processing tree bark. The majority of the raw materials used in the production of these bags originate in Italy, as Italian tanners are amongst the best in the world. The Eco handbags are only the latest in a series of innovations where research on materials has played a fundamental role. Since the 1990s, Ferragamo has been creating a handbag with a handle that is made using a different material each year: wood, Plexiglas, carbon. Production of the handles is always studied down to the smallest detail, and sometimes requires the commissioning of adhoc machinery from external suppliers.

Shoes remain the company's core business and its creative engine. Their high quality is based on the maker's attention to model construction and to its dedication to the manual tradition that continues to be a feature of the production cycle

Ferragmo’s designs have been synonymous with footwear innovation for decades. In wartime, the company pioneered the use of cellophane in its models instead of shoe leather. Far Right: Ferragamo’s design for WedgeHell, 1937 Near Right: Stilettos, 1958

106

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:45 AM

Page 107

Salvatore Ferragamo has long sought a good relationship with the academic world. As early as 1998, the company had instituted an international competition dedicated to students in universities and art schools, asking them to design creative and ergonomic shoes, paying special attention to the materials. Ferragamo currently has continuing relationships with many universities and academies, among which are the Polimoda in Florence and the Polytechnic University of Milan.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

107


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:43 AM

Page 108

“We have created anti-smog fabrics and shirts that release minerals and vitamins to people playing sports, as well as clothing that can repel insects or dirt,” says Solitario Nesti, the company’s director general. “We achieved this by altering the chemical structure of the fabrics in such a way that they are able to absorb the active ingredient and then release it gradually.” Next Technology Tecnotessile also promotes innovation within its collaborating companies, such as Unitech, a company specializing in enhancing fabrics. It has developed plasma-technology machinery to produce membrane fabrics capable of

substituting acoustic speakers. Among Next Technology Tecnotessile’s successful synergies is Annapurna, a small business also located in Prato, near Florence, with yearly sales of 10 million Euros. One of its specialties is the spinning of two-ply threads—two threads are twisted together to provide the weight and thinness of a singleply thread but with added strength and elasticity. At the last edition of the Pitti Immagine fashion trade show, Annapurna presented its mosquito repelling’ ensemble, the Golf-Kit: a polo shirt with a pocket and a vest fitted with a ball pouch on the back, made of cashmere and cotton.

108

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:46 AM

The company sponsors research in the textile sector to create new fabrics and machinery that alters and anhances threads for clothing, featuring properties including UV protection or antismog

Page 109

Next Technology Tecnotessile is also working toward the development and marketing of a T-shirt made of a textile embedded with titanium dioxide nanoparticles. This would mean the T-shirt would be capable of protecting the person wearing it from UV rays, an idea developed from various lines of research on nanotechnologies carried out with the help of funds from the European Union and the Region of Tuscany. The results achieved to date are very promising. At Prato, they found the means to anchor nanoparticles permanently to the fabric. As the nanoparticles will never be in

THE STORIES

NEXT TECHNOLOGY TECNOTESSILE

Società Nazionale di Ricerca r.l.

Left: Creating a fabric using new waterproofing technology. Other projects are in development to produce dirt-resistant and mosquito-proof fabrics

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

a solid state when the material is being handled, the textiles produce no health threat to those coming into contact with them. “Taking advantage of technology patented by the Colorobbia Group, we were able to apply the nanoparticles after dispersing them in an aqueous solution,” Nesti explains. By dipping the fabric into this solution, the nanomolecules (covered by a polymer film) attach themselves to the surface of the fabric. At that point, the article of clothing acquires properties to shield UV rays or to impede proliferation of bacteria, all without any further precautions by the wearer.

109


291305.P100-143:Excellence

110

8/28/09

10:23 AM

Page 110

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:49 AM

Page 111

THE STORIES

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

111


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:49 AM

Page 112

“It is not difficult to identify some thirty substances that will negatively influence our perception of a cup of espresso,” says Furio Suggi Liverani, director of research and innovation at Illycaffè. “But understanding what stimulates positive sensations is very complex.” Illycaffè has been committed to the appreciation of coffee since 1933. In 2008 the company’s sales were 280 million Euros, with net profits of 8 million. In 75 years, Illycaffè has registered 201 patents, the majority being for the production process technology that was developed in-house. The selecting machines are further evolutions of systems over the past 20 years. Each bean is analyzed individually by a computer using laser beam refraction, allowing rejection of any that do not conform to qualitative standards. The successive phase of toasting, as well, utilizes machinery produced by Italian companies. Exports by Italian companies active in this sector of the industry have reached an overall value of 200 million Euros. The technologies for pressurization patented by Illy in 1936 enable the company to sell coffee to clients involving transportation over long distances. In recent years, scientists have discovered that procedures of pressurization preserve freshness and increase quality, owing to the counterbalancing effect generated by the inert gases. There are four main packaging formats for the product: the 250-gram package for home use; the 3-kilogram canister; and pods and capsules for commercial uses. The company’s quality control process follows the Kaizen philosophy (from Japanese kai, ”continuous”, and zen,

The company's philosophy expands beyond the importance of selecting the highest quality coffee beans and its prized expertise in their roasting and grinding. Coffee lovers are educated to choose the most appropriate coffee-machine for their needs (see above), on the basis that 'the better the coffeemaker, the better the coffee you'll make'.

112

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:50 AM

Page 113

Illy’s technology uses laser beam refraction to individually select coffee beans that conform to its processing standards. At the next phase, its pressurization technique permits the transportation of coffees to clients over long distances without compromising quality. In Trieste, a network of companies collaborate on the logistics, processing and marketing of espresso Illy’s pre-measured espresso pods or capsules are designed for speed – each one can produce a fresh cup within 30 seconds after insertion into a compatible machine such as these (left). Extraction occurs inside the capsule so that the coffee never comes into contact with the machine Illy commissions artists to create its series of collector cups (below). Works by Julian Schnabel, Jeff Koons, Joep van Lieshout and Simon Pearce are among the range

”improvement, wisdom”). There are 783 Illy employees around the world, with 28 managers, 72 marketing specialists, and 14 people involved in R&D at the headquarters in Italy. Recognized officially by the Province of Trieste in 2006, the coffee district brings together a group of companies specializing in logistics, processing, decaffeination, roasting, and chemical analysis. This network of Italian companies also relies on collaboration by strategic partners. For example, the University of Trieste’s Department of Life Sciences houses the world’s largest collection of coffee plants. The city’s port on the Adriatic is one of the busiest on the Mediterranean and is the gateway to eastern Europe. Over half of Illy’s sales are exports: every day their coffee is served in more than 140 countries. The “Università del caffè” (Coffee Universities) established in 15 different countries contribute to the global diffusion of a culture, to the spreading of know-how, with students numbering almost 10,000. “The goal of our strategy has been broadened, from the semi-finished product to the cup of espresso. We need to consider the service, the environment, the perception of quality. Ours is a holistic approach,” says Andrea Illy, president of the company. These aspects have become the philosophical pillars of Espressamente Illy, the chain of Italian-style cafes now present in 30 countries. TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

113


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

D

11:44 AM

Page 114

onnafugata’s adventure into the world of wine began in the historic cellars of the Rallo family in Marsala, built in 1851, and in a vineyard in Contessa Entellina (province of Palermo) in the heart of western Sicily. The same family has led the business along the road of quality and attention to detail for over 150 years, always keeping their belief in the potential of their native land for producing good quality wines. The vineyard is now run by Giacomo Rallo (the fourth-generation of the oldest Sicilian family engaged in viniculture), along with his wife Gabriella and their sons Josè and Antonio. The name Donnafugata (literally “fleeing woman”) refers to the story of Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, wife of Ferdinand IV of Bourbon. The Queen fled the court of Naples on the arrival of Napoleon’s troops at the beginning of the nineteenth century to take refuge in Sicily, in the Palazzo Filangeri di Cutò in Santa Margherita Belice. It was the writer Giuseppe Tomasi of Lampedusa in his novel The Leopard, who first employed the name Donnafugata to refer to the palace at Santa Margherita and the countryside estates of the prince of Salina, home today to the company’s vineyards. This adventure was the inspiration for the image of the woman’s head with her hair blowing in the wind, which appears on each bottle of Donnafugata ‘Mille e una Notte’ wine. Donnafugata’s entire current production comes from 328 hectares (810 acres), 260 hectares (642 acres) of which are located at Contessa Entellina. The other 68 hectares (168 acres) are located on Pantelleria. Overall sales in 2007 amounted to 16.7 million Euros, of which about 25% came from exports. Donnafugata’s technical staff boast fields of expertise that are wide and varied, yet complementary. The team includes an oenologist, an agricultural scientist, a chemist and a biologist, as well as numerous sector specialists who act as consultants. It is truly a mix of proficiencies, which blend together to give life to an excellent wine.

114


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:51 AM

Page 115

DONNAFUGATA

THE STORIES 115


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:51 AM

Page 116

Donnafugata’s estate in Contessa Entellina is located in the province of Palermo, in the heart of western Sicily, where vineyards have been an integral part of the landscape for thousands of years. Here grow not only native varieties (Ansonica, white Catarratto, Nero d’Avola, red Perricone), but also international variants (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay) that have demonstrated their ability to adapt to the characteristics of the territory. Syrah and Viognier were also added in recent years, giving life to two new wines in 2006: the white Polena (Catarratto, Viognier) and the red Sherazade (Nero d’Avola, Syrah). Contessa Entellina was established as a DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata, the Italian category of quality and origin assurance) in 1994 on the initiative of Donnafugata. Donnafugata has managed an agricultural estate on the island of Pantelleria since 1989. It consists of 68 hectares (168 acres), planted with the Zibibbo varietal (a variety of Muscat of Alexandria). The opening of a new winemaking cellar in 2006 has permitted Donnafugata to process the Zibibbo grapes in a manner that allows respect for the different viticultural norms from which the grapes derive – variations of altitude, sun exposure and age of vine. In fact, the different batches of grapes can be processed separately in the cellar until the final mixing. Some of the Zibibbo vines on Pantelleria are over a century old. Lastly, the Marsala cellars, built in 1851, are today home to a solid enterprise targeted towards excellence. It is here that the output from Pantelleria and from Contessa Entellina converge for refining and bottling. The processes in the cellar use simple technology and are always respectful of the intrinsic qualities of the musts and of the wines. The structure is equipped with insulated, temperature-controlled environments, in order to obtain the maximum energy savings possible, in line with the company’s policies regarding the environment.

116

Above: Night harvesting (here, by machine) helps to decrease fermentation of the grapes during transportation Experience and capability have always been an added bonus at Donnafugata. Donnafugata’s managers, right, are Giacomo and Gabriella Rallo Below: Graphic design for product label

Donnafugata’s philosophy in the search for quality and attention to detail has made it one of the key players of the Italian wine renaissance. “The production process now follows standards that are recognized internationally,” Rallo explains. “The objective has become that of preserving the product and the tradition that are linked to a brand in a way that will exalt it. Everything relies on the vineyards, on the cultivation phase. In the cellar, the product can only get worse, not better. Today, all quality cellars rely on systems for temperature control; the new frontier is research in the vineyard.” A number of projects, mostly supported by local institutions, aim to select the best of the native varieties. Thanks to genetics, it is possible to select those plants most suitable for producing the desired quality. In Sicily currently there are mass selections of Nero d’Avola and, on Pantelleria, of Zibibbo. Some experiments are also giving life to a few cloned selections, where each plant has the same DNA. “Thus far in Italy, we concentrated more on the larger grape, on the bigger bunch, because this type of culture gave better results and the quantity was considered more advantageous economically,” Rallo adds. “Today, however, even the small grape can be synonymous with quality and consequently successful for a company in the wine sector. Clone selections are made by institutes or universities; the company does not have the resources to carry out

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:44 AM

Page 117

Respect for the environment and promotion of the territory are values in which Donnafugata believes and find their maximum expression on Pantelleria

this type of research. Consequently, we have to rely on programs funded by public agencies, attempting to collaborate with them during their research and granting access to the soil for testing.” Another avenue being pursued by research centers is that of ’micro-winemaking’. These are helpful for maintaining as much data as possible, and then refining the production process on a larger scale. It is, after all, experimentation that allows for improvement and preservation of quality. Donnafugata appears to have understood this for some time now: they did not hesitate before making their land available for testing these new techniques. “We’re waiting for the conclusions of the research so we can plant an experimental vineyard,” Rallo says. “Last year, our investments in new vineyards equaled approximately 20% of sales, which are 16.7 million Euros.”

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

The success of Sicilian wine is, in short, entirely due to the quality of the vine, which preserves its properties. The other factors that determine the final result are the irrigation methods, pruning, and the choice of timing for the harvest. ”In this case,” Rallo concludes, “we rely on the chemical analysis of the must, but also on the sensory characteristics, of the taste of the grape.” Since 1983, the company has promoted an intelligent use of cooling technology for the control of temperature in fermenting the must. It was decided to cool the grapes to 10°C (50° F) to prevent volatilization of the aromas during the pressing phase. This remained the case until 1998, when harvesting the Chardonnay by nighttime was first tried in an effort to avoid risk of undesired fermentation during transportation from vineyard to cellar. This also allowed savings of 70% of the energy used for refrigerating before soft pressing. Night harvesting is now one of the feathers in the company’s cap, not only because of the publicity it attracts, but also for the beneficial effect it has on the final product. “For white grapes, the night is the best time to harvest,” Rallo explains. “During the summer we have a temperature difference of about 16°C (60° F) between day and night, so this method makes it possible to save a lot of energy. This way, we actually favor the product’s natural sedimentation and avoid the spontaneous fermentations and oxidations that would occur at 30°C (86°F) during the day.” Donnafugata’s starlit harvests have enabled Sicily to take a place beside winemaking regions that have even longer traditions, like Tuscany, Piedmont, or the Veneto. This is also due, in part, to the company’s innate ability to find new approaches to generating interest in wines and to pursue innovations in keeping with the leading market trends. Similarly, the company’s management has invested over the past few years in the building of a new 1,600-square meter underground cellar, where the optimal climatic conditions will cut down on cooling costs. Construction was completed in Marsala in 2007. Donnafugata decided to invest in clean energy, installing the first solar power system in Contessa Entellina in 2002. Together with a new installation that will be completed at the end of 2008, this will cover 70% of the winemaking cellar’s energy needs. A solar panel system was installed on the roofs of the historic Marsala cellars in 2007.

117


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:45 AM

Page 118

A WINE THAT TASTES OF THE FUTURE What does the wine of the future taste like? The Sagrantino wine from the Arnaldo Caprai vineyard has been trying to answer this question for some years, experimenting with the effects of the predicted future climate around the company’s vineyards in Montefalco (province of Perugia). The effects of climate change that have been forecast for the planet for the next fifty years are being researched on the vines, in an effort to anticipate the characteristics of future vintages. Luigi Mariani is an influential agricultural meteorologist and lecturer at the University of Milan, who has been collaborating on the company’s scientific research for some time. Arnaldo Caprai’s research program is the only one of its kind in the world, involving a simulation of the effects of climate-induced overheating of the vines. The vine trellises are covered with fabric to increase the temperature of the plants. An aluminum mirror increases the amount of solar radiation the plants receive, which influences the process of photosynthesis. With this analysis, the company reaffirms its commitment to the research that has always been an integral part of the company. That it is an “enlightened” company was recently testified to by their decision to print a series of famous quotations about wine on the corks of the best bottles of Sagrantino. As Pascal once said, “There is more wisdom in a bottle of wine than in all the books that men have written.” Arnaldo Caprai emphasizes the vines’ origins and the environment where they grow. The grower’s respect for territory inspires a work ethic that is mindful of the local Montefalco ecosystem

118

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:53 AM

Page 119

A R N A L D O C A P R A I

THE STORIES 119


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:45 AM

Page 120

Over the last decade, Arnaldo Caprai has devoted resources to the research of genetic modifications to its grapes to realize a strain that produces quality wine but retains the variability that is the natural characteristic of a vine. It remains committed to the pursuit of innovation and research in the agronomic and enological sector and to communicating the culture and identity of its region... while supporting the local environment

120

Arnaldo Caprai is currently headed by Marco Caprai, who accepted his father’s offer to take over the family business in 1998, shortly after receiving his degree in political science. The estate was already a recognized leader in the production of Sagrantino di Montefalco wine, a prestigious red wine made with Sagrantino grapes. For over four hundred years this variety has grown only in the Montefalco area. In 1990, there were only 400,000 bottles sold. Today, thanks to continuous investment in research and innovation, the sales proceeds have more than doubled – something which is almost exclusively attributable to the product’s quality. In 1970, there were fewer than 10 hectares (25 acres) of Sagrantino vines left; today, there are over 700 hectares (1730 acres). “When I chose to take over the company, only two years had passed since the methanol wine scandal: dozens were poisoned, 19 died, it was a huge blow to the sector,” Marco Caprai says. “Today, by contrast, Italy produces 37% less than it did at that time but the quality has increased dramatically.” At that time, Caprai and his associates began to survey the Sagrantino vines that had survived in the Montefalco area, and then moved on to cloning. The work was carried out in collaboration with the Agriculture Department of the State University of Milan and care was taken to preserve the different varieties. Since then, about 30 hectares (74 acres) have been dedicated exclusively to research. Every year, 3% to 4% of profits are reinvested into experimentation, particularly toward the development of native varieties.

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:46 AM

From 1990 to 1993, the company researched the typical production areas of the vines (Montefalco, Bevagna, and Gualdo Cattaneo), attempting to identify the plants the Sagrantino variety had come from. The project was carried out in conjunction with the University of Milan’s Agriculture Department (Istituto di Coltivazioni Arboree) and the Umbria Sitech Technology Park. This search for the progenitor plants enabled the greatest possible recovery of the natural variety that had been lost through previous mass selections. Presumed clones were derived from these progenitor plants and, in 1994, experimental plots were started with this material in two climatically different zones. After having mapped the DNA to check for possible similarities or differences, the grapes of the clones were subjected to the microwinemaking process at the Agrarian Institution and Wine Academy of San Michele all’Adige (Istituto Agrario di San Michele all’Adige) in the province of Trento. The characteristics of the resultant wines were evaluated, in order to identify the most interesting group of clones from the point of view of improving the quality of the Sagrantino grape. Over the last decade, much additional effort was devoted to a project for genetic improvement by clone selection, in order to obtain a quality wine while maintaining the variability characteristic of this varietal. This initiative was intended to select and propagate the plants that could best satisfy production requirements, as well as the rigid parameters established by the

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Page 121

DOCG standard. As a part of this broad program for the genetic improvement of the Sagrantino grape, a project was initiated in 1998 to study the genetic variability of individual plants obtained from seeds present in clusters of ripening grapes, and thus originated through a process of natural self-fecundation. Self-pollination, in the first generations, produces an increase of the variability and the appearance of new morphological characteristics, such as compactness of the bunch

and the genetic makeup of certain productive characteristics of the grapes. This technique made it possible to isolate several interesting characteristics, not only relating to the quality of the product but also to other aspects that are more strictly agricultural. Future study will make it possible to evaluate the ample variability that still is present but not yet expressed, making use of a modern method of genetic improvement respecting biodiversity and naturally occurring selection.

Arnaldo Caprai has been a pioneer in the development of cloning techniques to maximise the quality of the Sagrantino grape

121


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:46 AM

The automotive industry accounts for approximately 11% of Italy’s gross domestic product and 9% of its exports. The sector consists of 275,000 employees, which becomes 400,000 when salespeople and technical support personnel are included. It is Italy’s leading private sector in terms of research and development investments, with 2.5 to 3 billion Euros yearly. According to a survey by the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), there are altogether 38 mechanical industry districts, areas where a “community of people and a population of industrial companies are mutually integrated.” Seventeen are in the northwest, 16 in the northeast, 4 in central Italy, and one in southern Italy. Of particular interest is the mechatronics, or ‘hi-mech’, district in Emilia Romagna, which includes 28,000 companies who rely on 30 university departments for research and development.

Page 122

Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Ducati – all are status symbols representing pinnacles of excellence. Altogether, 1.28 million vehicles were built in Italy in 2007, the same year Fiat became one of the world’s top ten producers. Italy’s component production sector, made up of 2,800 companies and with overall sales of 46 billion Euros, has a leading role. Europe is its principal market but, in recent years, eastern European countries, such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland, have also affirmed themselves as competitors. The ”Made in Italy” brand plays a key role. “It is important to keep Italy’s research and development centers because they contribute a significant slice to added value,” says Eugenio Razelli, president of ANFIA (the National Association of Automotive Industry Companies). “Companies such as Marelli, Pirelli, Brembo, Cobra, and Landi are on the cutting edge in

MACHINES FOR TRAVELING

122

CHAPTER 3.1

innovative sectors that research ways to reduce consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. And active safety is also a new frontier.” Italian excellence also travels on two wheels. “Technology, design, and craftsmanship are the three characteristics that make our bicycles and motorcycles part of the world’s collective idea of ‘Made in Italy’,” observes Constantino Ruggiero, director general of ANCMA (the Italian Motorcycle Manufacturers’ Association). The Italian nautical industry is at the cutting edge of R&D and can rely not only on its traditional ‘culture of the sea’, but also on the technician’s and craftsman’s knowhow, which is encountered all the way up and down the peninsula. There are 25,000 workers involved in the shipbuilding industry, including shipyards, accessories, and engines. Over the last two years, the nautical sector grew by 25%.

NOT JUST

THE ITALIAN EDGE

S


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:55 AM

Page 123

THE STORIES MICRO-VETT DAINESE DALLARA DUCATI FERRETTI

STYLE, BUT ENGINES

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

123


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

T

11:47 AM

Page 124

A QUESTION OF PROTOTYPES

he latest technological challenge for Micro-Vett is a prototype for a three-wheel electric scooter, provisionally called “Moose.” The body line and chassis were conceived by the engineers and designers of the Exnovo studio in Rimini. The same studio provided research on functional and dynamic aspects, such as the oscillation and inclination of the rear wheels, which must be able to ensure stability while turning. It carries lithium batteries, which are stored under the seat. Current performance statistics indicate an average life span of 150,000 kilometers (over 90,000 miles) with approximately 1,500 recharges. Since 1986, Micro-Vett has produced more than 5,000 electrical and hybrid vehicles, starting with the models of three Italian companies (Fiat, Piaggio, and Iveco) and developed in collaboration with local and international research centers. Based in Imola (Emilia-Romagna region), the company’s 2008 sales totaled 15 million Euros, twice the figure achieved

in 2006. Each year, its plant produces 700 vehicles, working their production line (12 pieces of machinery, including bridges and hoists) to 80% of its capacity. The equipment for “in progress” control of components was developed within the company, as were the work cells for preparation and control of batteries and cabling. “These are technologies that make the difference between us and our competition,” says Micro-Vett vice president Massimiliano Di Gioia. Of the 45 employees, ten work in R&D activities. The team has obtained type approval for a wide array of vehicles suitable for the needs of private, public, and commercial transportation. The Porter Electric, for example, is the top selling electrical vehicle in Italy. Purchased by some 350 clients throughout the world, its customers include Poste Italiane (the Italian postal service), Disneyland, and DHL. The Iveco Daily is the most widely used vehicle for commercial transport on the peninsula: Micro-Vett’s Daily Bimodale van can transport up to a ton of cargo and is also available as a 22-seater school bus, or as the Combi version.

EMILIA-ROMAGNA AND MECHATRONICS Micro-Vett is immersed in the Emilia-Romagna mechatronics district: an ensemble of small- and medium-sized companies specializing in design and production of components for the automotive industry. Zapi, one of the suppliers for the Imola-based company, was established in 1975 in Poviglio (Reggio Emilia province) and now employs 350 people. In 2007, it produced 350,000 controllers and 200,000 inverters, attesting to its leadership position on a European level. The technological heart of the area is made up of a network of about ten excellent laboratories, linked with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, University of Bologna, University of Parma, University of Ferrara and to other domestic research centers, such as Italy’s National Research Center. “Zero emissions means energy savings:

124

while the efficiency of an endothermic (traditional reciprocating) engine is 21-22%, electric engines can reach as high as 80-90%,” reports Micro-Vett president Gaetano Di Gioia. The most receptive markets in Europe for electric vehicles are Spain, France, and the Scandinavian countries. Micro-Vett can rely on projects for sustainable transport in nearly every region of Italy. The City of Reggio Emilia, for example, purchased 371 electric vehicles, which it uses for public transportation, administrative activities, and homecare assistance. The City of Bergamo has 140; it uses them for public space maintenance and other services. Urban centers in southern Italy have also shown an interest in electric vehicles: Catania bought 22 for maintenance services, and Lecce acquired 34 for city cleaning needs.

Micro-Vett’s technology was at the forefront of an award-winning mobility project in Reggio Emilia, where nearly 400 electric vehicles were traded for traditional motors to improve the region’s air quality and lower costs Since then, other European cities including Stockholm have followed the council’s lead in the deployment of electric commercial vehicles to protect the environment


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:56 AM

Page 125

M I C R O 窶天 E T T

THE STORIES 125


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:57 AM

Page 126

KEEP AN EYE ON THAT HELMET!

S

The company studied the ergonomics of suits for motorcycle riders in the correct saddle position and derived the concept of composite protection, based on the body parts to be protected. Its first back protector offered spinal protection for riders, but as riding styles changed, knees were the most at risk from scraping along the ground Its T-Age suit was the first leather suit to win the acclaimed ADI Compasso d'Oro Golden Compass design award Later the company’s signature aerodynamic hump, the culmination of several phases of innovative design, was modified to fit Dainese’s patented airbag

126

afety and comfort: the Infinity helmet allows communication between several bikers on a group trip without the need for external devices. Within a 400-meter (1,300-foot) radius, up to three people can talk together and the reception is theoretically unlimited. The “road use” interphone is coupled with a Bluetooth system that allows connection to a cell phone: you just press a button on the outside of the helmet to answer incoming calls or get GPS directions. “By the end of 2007, 600 helmets in the beta test phase had been sold,” said Andrea Ambrogi, manager for the Infinity project. “Customers’ recommendations helped us to improve signal quality and battery life.” A leading company in sports apparel and safety equipment, Dainese had sales reaching 108 million Euros by the end of 2007. The motorcycle division produces 70% of the sales, but proceeds from winter and water sports and mountain biking are also increasing. Dainese , which was established in 1972 in Vicenza (region of Veneto), produces 5,000 articles of clothing each year. They were the first in the world to launch protective gear for motorcyclists and, in subsequent years, introduced advanced materials like Kevlar and carbon fiber. The company is concerned about the environment. The eco-friendly “white tanning” process employed for producing their “LTD1” jacket avoids use of formaldehydes or heavy metals like chrome.

D


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:57 AM

Page 127

D A I N E S E

THE STORIES TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

127


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

Dainese’s Headquarters in Vicenza, Northern Italy (Photo Paul Warchol) On the right, manager Lino Dainese

128

9:57 AM

Page 128

The cutting of fabrics is increasingly making use of avant-garde technologies. Teseo, for example, is a machine that is able to cut several different material colors at once, a feature that makes it ideal for clothing to be produced in limited series. It was built by an Italian company based in the region of the Marche, known for its manufacturing vocation. Teseo S.r.l. was one of the first companies in the world to launch CAD (computer assisted design) software for footwear; it now markets CAD/CAM systems in 61 countries. The first action after the cutting of materials is the finishing of the leather. Next comes the perforation phase, an operation that makes the article of clothing more resistant but without sacrificing breathability. The machinery used by the company can perform either total perforation (meaning on the entire piece of leather) or localized perforation, which makes use of a system patented by Dainese. Ensuing processes include hot stamping and laser cutting and embroidering of elastic bands. The assembly of the article, on the other hand, is organized around a “work cell” structure: the workers are each specialized in the treatment of a single portion of the model, thus improving efficiency (by increase of deftness and speed of movements) and quality. The entire production process at Dainese is driven by the philosophy of Kaizen, a Japanese word that means “continuous improvement”. The company has no warehouses for intermediate storage along the production path. Internal flows are optimized, which facilitates a leaner structure because workers’ wait times and movements are minimized. The Kaizen method is also adopted in quality control procedures.

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:58 AM

Page 129

Embroidery machine at work

Dainese has 450 employees in total, including 133 managers and 120 production workers. Its R&D center, “D-Tech”, is located in Molvena (province of Vicenza). The 54-member team collaborates regularly with the Polytechnic University of Milan and with CEFRIEL, the technology transfer institution. The company’s distribution network is worldwide, with more than 2,300 stores, of which 200 are “shop-inshops” - dedicated sections in department stores. Fifty are single brand franchises and a dozen are directly managed flagship stores, called “D-stores”. The community of Dainese enthusiasts meets online at the D-club website: there are 41,000 registered members and the company’s web pages register over 8 million hits a month.

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

Dainese’s first helmet design, Ergon, was later translated into a product for other highimpact sports, such as snowboarding, skiing and kayaking

129


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:47 AM

Page 130

DESIGNING

Dallara designs in 3D using the most advanced computer-aided design softward to build a fully integrated 360-degree model to understand how the prototype will look and perform prior to manufacturing any component. It is a flexible approach that allows for the rapid incorporation of design changes without costly overruns

130

Dallara’s two wind tunnels occupy a surface area larger than Milan’s famous San Siro stadium. Technicians use them to test cars using scale models that are anywhere from 40 to 60% of original size. The structures were built by Dallara, a leader in designing and producing cars for Formula 3, the American IndyCar Racing League, the GP2 series, and single brand championships. Founded in 1972 by engineer Giampaolo Dallara after key experiences with Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini, the company’s yearly sales now top 56 million Euros. Its headquarters is at Varano Melegari (province of Parma), among Emilia-Romagna’s extensive network of companies specializing in mechanical industries. The creation of new vehicles requires the creation and development of four virtual models on a computer. The first is the aerodynamics test: it unites information from the wind tunnel and CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), specialized software for display and analysis of extremely detailed road test data. The next pass involves a simulation on the world’s circuit tracks. Analysis of the automobile data allows optimizing design toward achieving the best mean performances during races. After structural calculations and crash tests using the third virtual model, the fourth phase uses Pro/Engineer software to create the final design.

THE ITALIAN EDGE

D


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

9:59 AM

Page 131

THE STORIES

D A L L A R A 131


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:47 AM

Page 132

THE CAR WITHOUT PROTOTYPES “We are so confident in our designs that we move directly to production of the cars, without making prototypes. This year, we built 60 cars for the Formula 3 before we ever even started a single one up,” says Dallara CEO Andrea Pontremoli. Sixty aerospace, aeronautical, and mechanical engineers work in the company’s R&D lab. Among them we find Dialma Zinelli, recipient of Oxford’s prestigious World Motorsport Symposium Award for Racecar Aerodynamicist. There is also close collaboration with Italian academia. Crash tests for the chassis are performed at the Polytechnic University of Milan and the wind tunnel test area was developed in collaboration with the University of Pisa. Dallara has 180 employees altogether. As well as those with college degrees, one-

third are upper/secondary graduates or expert technicians, and the remainder are highly specialized workmen, such as assemblers, laminators, or metal carpenters. The Varano Melegari area has a certain peculiarity: the top “Made in Italy” automobile brands; Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and Ducati are all there, located within a radius of a few hundred miles. “Each company is both supplier and client to every other company,” says Pontremoli. The contribution from the network of Italian suppliers is strategic. For its carbon fiber composites, Dallara has established relationships with companies like Carbon Dream (Florence), Camattini (Collecchio, just south of Parma) and Bercella (Varano Melegari). The

Dallara’s facilities for designing, building and supporting the world’s most competitive race cars rival those of many Formula 1 teams

132

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

12:03 PM

Page 133

Dallara’s technology includes a vast database of track, wind tunnel and R&D data to supplement CAD-generated virtual designs in each phase of the pre-build process

five-axis milling machines are produced by Jobs, a 200-employee, Piacenza-based company that exports 80% of its machinery. Dallara’s scale models are produced using Italian-made stereolithography systems (a sort of three-dimensional printing system). In just 24 hours, they can create a high-precision model by making laser incisions on photosynthetic resin. Dallara has also adapted existing software to better suit its needs. Their ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system was developed with an opensource program, because the carbon fibers composites must be kept cool and may have an expiration date. From this perspective, Dallara’s supply chain thus unites requirements typically imposed by both the mechanical and foodstuffs sectors. Even the software used for calculating roundtrip lap time was developed in-house. Simulation of races on “virtual” circuits allows for modifications before the cars are even built. Dallara sells 90% of its production abroad: 40% is sold to the United States, 40% to other European countries, 9% in Italy, and 11% in other countries, particularly Japan and Malaysia.

133


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

12:07 PM

Page 134

TECHNOLOGY ON THE TRACK

D

ucati’s Hypermotard 1100 is a gem for true two-wheel enthusiasts. Lightning acceleration and handling ability unite with a 90 horsepower engine to give a top speed of 220 km/h (over 135 mph). It has been producing sporting motorcycles since the 1950s. Established in Borgo Panigale (outside Bologna), Ducati is deeply rooted in Emilia-Romagna, the same region that gave rise to Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. In 2007, Ducati passed the benchmark of 40,000 motorcycles sold, achieving 397 million Euros in sales, which was an increase of 30% over the previous year. Its range is aimed at a number of different market segments: Superbike, Desmosedici RR, Monster, Multistrada, SportClassic, and Streetfighter. Added to its sales in the motorcycle sector, the company is also successful in marketing spare parts, accessories, and apparel.

Above and on the right, Ducati’s classic Hypermotard

134

D THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:31 AM

Page 135

THE STORIES

D U C A T I TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

135


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:48 AM

Page 136

The Hypermotard project clearly illustrates the technological excellence of the Italian automotive industry. Using 45-mm diameter throttle bodies, the injection system was designed by Magneti Marelli, a world leader in the areas of powertrains, lighting, and electronic systems. With 27,000 employees and 9 research centers, the group’s yearly sales have reached 5 billion Euros. Hypermotard’s front suspension, consisting of a 50mm upside-down fork with an anti-friction carbon-based coating, was developed by Bologna-based company Marzocchio, which specializes in suspension systems for two-wheel vehicles. The forged light alloy rims were created by the Varese-based company Marchesini. They are considerably lighter than usual, which reduces moment of inertia and unsprung mass. For braking, the Hypermotard relies on radially mounted 4-piston calipers on the front discs and on the rear monodisc designed by Brembo, a Bergamobased world leader in braking systems. Brembo also supplies braking systems for vehicles in the Formula 1 and MotoGP championships.

Ducati's engines are built on a reputation not just for engineering: their sound will identify a Ducati bike even before it appears

136

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:01 AM

Page 137

The uniqueness of the Ducati brand is the result of some very specific technical solutions: the desmodromic engine valve control system, the tubular steel trellis frame and the L-twin cylinder engine

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT The R&D sector is strategic for Ducati. It employs nearly 200 people ranging from certified technicians to engineers, supported by an investment of 7% of sales proceeds. Eighteen to 24 months may pass from original conception of a new motorcycle project, to the moment when the product appears in stores. The evolution of the vehicle is precise and meticulous, down to the smallest detail. After analysis of the clientele’s needs and meetings with the marketing department, R&D technicians create two-dimensional and three-dimensional sketches. Next, a life-size model is created and undergoes an engineering phase, using three-dimensional models developed by CAD software. The next stage is the creation of a prototype. Finally, after functional testing of the vehicle, production can begin. With the help of the Internet, the company’s rapport with clientele and enthusiasts is constant. On Ducati.com, the community of users can express themselves, propose ideas and discuss any and all topics relating to motorcycles, Ducati bikes in particular. “On the website, we find suggestions and ideas every day,” says marketing director, Andrea Sgorati. “We have to know how to listen to both strong and weak signals, and how to interpret them. For example, as we moved from prototype to production of Hypermotard we took advice we received on the aesthetics and the value of the product very much into account.” Twelve million people visited Ducati.com in one year and there are 250,000 registered members in the online community. Ducati exports 75% of its production. Sales have increased dramatically in Great Britain (36%), Germany (10.7%), Italy (10.4%), in northern Europe (27.7%), and in the United States (22.4%). TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

137


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:02 AM

Page 138

F

THE YACHT IN THE LAB Mochi Craft’s Long Range 23, the world’s first hybrid propulsion yacht measuring over 20 m (over 65 feet), was designed at the AYT (Advanced Yacht Technology) center, Ferretti Group’s engineering division. Two banks of lithium ion batteries located in the engine room can substitute for the diesel engine. The boat can leave port, enter into protected areas, and navigate close to the shoreline without polluting. The Ferretti 90’ Pershing

138

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:02 AM

Page 139

F E R R E T T I

THE STORIES TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

139


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:03 AM

Page 140

“The Hybrid propulsion system is already preset to be able to use hydrogen fuel cells as soon as those become available on the consumer market,” AYT head Andrea Frabetti explains. In recent years the Ferretti Group team, composed of 90 engineers, architects, and technicians, has also developed other strategic innovations. The Fer.Wey (Ferretti Wave Efficient Yacht) hull, for instance, ensures greater stability for the craft because of reduced water resistance from the hull and the absence of variations in the trim. Ferretti Group celebrated its first 40 years of business in 2008. It now has around 3,000 employees and a production value of over 1 billion Euros. The Group’s nine brands (Ferretti Yachts, Pershing, Itama, American Bertram, Riva, Apreamare, Mochi Craft, Custom Line and CRN) offer a wide array of types, including flybridge, open, “gozzi sorrentini,” lobster, sport fisherman, and mega-yachts. The most important piece of machinery used in production of every Ferretti craft is the “Poseidon,” a five-axis pantograph. It is one of the largest and most advanced in Europe and is designed for production of the wood models of all new vessels. Equipped with cutting-edge technology that can satisfy the growing demand for increasingly complex shapes, the machine’s dimensions allow for production of hulls for boats as long as 30 meters (almost 100 ft). The Poseidon system was designed specifically for Ferretti by CMS S.p.A. (Construction of Specialized Machinery) located in Zogno (province of Bergamo). CMS specializes in the production of Ferretti’s long range Mochi craft, right. Its ARG (Anti Rolling Gyro) technology, developed with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, helps to decrease roll and guarantees maximum comfort during cruising; the "Smart Command" Easy Dock and Auto Troll of ZF assures maximum control of the vessel and the management of the integrated system of the Gi8 and NAVIOP enables total control of the yacht operations from a single screen.

140

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

11:49 AM

Page 141

thermoforming machines, cutting robots, and waterjet cutting systems that are used in the construction of space shuttles, military and civilian aircraft, and Formula 1 racing cars, as well as yachts. Seventy percent of CMS’s sales derive from exports. Besides the Poseidon, other machining centers such as the Ares, Cronos, and the Mbb and Fxb, represent avant-garde technologies for working aluminum, light alloys and composite materials. In the Ferretti Group, all phases are performed with great attention to detail and continual striving for maximum quality, from design, to the engineering, to production, and on to final testing. But Ferretti, located in Forlì (province of EmiliaRomagna), can also rely on added value from other companies of the Ferretti Group that are highly

specialized in sectors complementary to nautical. Zago S.p.A. designs and produces furnishings for the nautical sector, especially for yachts over 100 feet. Another Forlì company, Diesse Arredamenti S.p.A., provides furnishings for watercraft, as well as for hotels, pharmacies, and public spaces. For its glassreinforced plastic (fiberglass) components, Ferretti Group calls upon Resin Sistem in Fano (region of the Marche). Ferretti Group’s distribution system is active in 80 countries, with a network of over 85 dealers who guarantee clients the highest quality services in marinas throughout the world. Europe and the United States represent steady markets, but the Group is also present in Asia, with a representative and promotional office in Shanghai.

Right: Ferretti’s 92’ Riva ‘Duchessa’. The Ferretti fiveaxis pantograph is the template hull for all its yacht designs, one of Europe’s most advanced for the crafting of wooden vessels of varying sizes

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

141


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/3/09

We thank the following Italian Manufacturing Associations

11:49 AM

Page 142

LIST OF ASSOCIATIONS ACIMAC – ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS OF MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT FOR CERAMICS ACIMALL – ITALIAN WOODWORKING MACHINERY AND TOOLS MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION ACIMGA – ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION OF MACHINERY FOR THE GRAPHIC, CONVERTING AND PAPER INDUSTRY ACIMIT – ITALIAN TEXTILE MACHINERY ASSOCIATION AMAFOND – ITALIAN FOUNDRY MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION ANCMA – NATIONAL MOTORCYCLE MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION ANFIA – ITALIAN ASSOCIATION OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ANIE – ITALIAN FEDERATION OF ELECTROTECHNICAL AND ELECTRONIC INDUSTRIES ASSOBIOTEC – NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR DEVELOPMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY ASSOCOMAPLAST – ITALIAN PLASTICS AND RUBBER PROCESSING MACHINERY AND MOULDS MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION ASSOFOODTEC – ITALIAN ASSOCIATION OF MACHINERY AND PLANT MANUFACTURERS FOR FOOD PRODUCTION, PROCESSING AND PRESERVATION ASSOMAC – NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS OF FOOTWEAR, LEATHERGOODS, TANNERY MACHINES AND ACCESSORIES CONFINDUSTRIA - ITALIAN CONFEDERATION OF INDUSTRY CONFINDUSTRIA MARMOMACCHINE – ITALIAN ASSOCIATION FOR THE MARBLE AND STONE MACHINERY INDUSTRIES FEDERCHIMICA – ITALIAN FEDERATION OF CHEMICAL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS FEDERMACCHINE – NATIONAL FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF MANUFACTURERS OF CAPITAL GOODS INTENDED FOR INDUSTRIAL AND HANDICRAFTS MANUFACTURING PROCESSES GIMAV – ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION OF MACHINERY, ACCESSORIES AND SPECIAL PRODUCTS FOR GLASS PROCESSING UCIMA – ITALIAN PACKAGING MACHINERY MANUFACTURERS’ ASSOCIATION UCIMU–SISTEMI PER PRODURRE – ASSOCIATION OF ITALIAN MANUFACTURERS OF MACHINE TOOLS, ROBOTS, AUTOMATION SYSTEMS AND ANCILLARY PRODUCTS UNACOMA – NATIONAL UNION OF AGRICULTURAL MACHINE MANUFACTURERS

142

THE ITALIAN EDGE


291305.P100-143.CRX.qxp:Excellence

9/8/09

11:27 AM

Page 143

LIST OF COMPANIES ACQUA DI PARMA ACS DOBFAR AERMACCHI ALENIA ALFA ROMEO ALGIDA ANNAPURNA ARNALDO CAPRAI ARTEMIDE ARTSANA ATOM AGUSTA AVIO BARILLA BERCELLA BIESSE BIOXELL BISAZZA BMB BOZZETTO BRACCO BREMBO BUSELLATO CAMATTINI CANDY CARBON DREAM CARRIER CART D’OR CEFLA CMS COBRA COLOROBBIA GROUP COMAPSUD COMELZ COMERSON COMEZ COMI CONDOR CORMATEX COSMINT COSMO PHARMACEUTICALS COTONIFICIO ALBINI COTTO D’ESTE CRIPPA

TECHNOLOGY FOR EXCELLENCE

DAINESE DALLARA DELL’ORCO VILLANI DELMAC DIASORIN DIESSE ARREDAMENTI DOLCE & GABBANA DONNAFUGATA DUCATI ELBO CONTROLLI ELECTROLUX ELICA GROUP ERMENEGILDO ZEGNA EURALPHA FAGOR FAVA FENZI FERRAGAMO FERRARI FERRETTI GROUP FIAT FIME FOOD VALLEY FRAMESI FRATELLI GUZZINI GAIOTTO AUTOMATION GENTIUM GEOX GIUGIARO ARCHITETTURA GOTHA COSMETICS GRANITI FIANDRE GRUPPO LVMH GRUPPO MARZOTTO GRUPPO MOSSI & GHISOLFI GUCCI GUTMANN IGV ILLYCAFFÈ IMA INDENA INDESIT INTERCOS IVECO

JOBS KARTELL KERAKOLL LACMA ANTIPIOL LA CREMERIA MOTTA LAMBERTI LAMBORGHINI LANDI LINIFICIO E CANAPIFICIO NAZIONALE LONATI LORIS BELLINI LORO PIANA LOSMA MAC PHARMA MAGNETI MARELLI MANETTI & ROBERTS MANFREDONIA VETRO MAPEI MARAZZI MARCHESINI MARELLI MARZOCCHIO MARZOCCHI POMPE MASCARA PLUS MASERATI MASMEC MEDITERRANEA MERCK SERONO MERLONI MICRO-VETT MOLMED MONTEDISON GROUP MOTOMAN NEGRI BOSSI NEW LAST NEWRON PHARMACEUTICALS NEXT TECHNOLOGY TECNOTESSILE Società Nazionale di Ricerca r.l. NICOX

NOVAMONT LABORATORIES OBEM OCMI PAVAN PIAGGIO PIBERPLAST PIDIELLE PIRELLI PONZINI PRÉNATAL PRIMA INDUSTRIE PROMATEC GROUP RADICIGROUP RAGNO RANA RESIN SISTEM RIELLO ROEDER ROMAGNOLO ROSSI E CATELLI SACMI SCM SILVIO MORA SINTERAMA SITI- BT SOCIETÀ COSMETICI SORIN STORCI SYNBIOTEC SYSTEM TESEO TOÈ TORIELLI TYCON TECHNOGLASS UNITECH VACCAI & BOSI VEGA INTERNATIONAL VIBRAM WHIRLPOOL XEPTAGEN ZAGO ZAPI 3V COGEIM

143


291305.P100-143:Excellence

8/28/09

10:05 AM

Page 144


The Italian Edge: Technology For Excellence