In 1995, Habasit acquired one of its suppliers, a rather small company in Vigliano, Italy which soon became a key production unit for the company. With a strong pre-acquisition history of cooperation between the two businesses, many members of this formerly family-run operation remained with the business to work for Habasit. “It was a very smooth transition,” explains Luca Collinetti, the current Plant Manager and son of one of the founders. “We grew together with the company. The opportunity that Habasit gave us was to grow in terms of knowledge and responsibility. From my point of view, it was a winning decision.”Straightforward production
Habasit’s Vigliano site has since become one of the group’s most efficient production units for fabric-based belting. In 1998, Habasit invested in the plant by building a brand-new factory which was constructed according to lean management principles and with the latest cutting-edge technology in mind.
“The site has a very clear and straightforward material flow,” says Marcus Mölkner, Habasit`s Head of Group Manufacturing. “The raw materials come in on one side and the finished product leaves the facility on the other.” The building is divided into four departments: the mixing department, different coating lines, lamination and cutting-inspection & delivery. The plant also has an active R&D department that launches a double digit number of new products per year. Marcus Mölkner explains that due to the site`s recent construction, the flow of material is not complicated by numerous building additions. This is a big advantage compared to similar yet older plants that have needed to be extended or adapted over time and where the production flow was affected due to limitations in the layout of the facility.Still growing
The Vigliano site is strategically located with Milan Airport just an hour away and only two hours from the main commercial Port of Genoa. As the largest plant within Habasit to produce PVC-coated light fabric conveyor belts, their products are exported around the world. It is a competitive and demanding market since the belts are used in almost every industry from general conveyors, to food, fitness, textile, tobacco, airport, marble and ceramics. Marcus Mölkner says that although the market is a challenging one, the site maintains a competitive edge with such a high level of productivity. The plant also produces TPO, TPEE and TPU belting and the diversity of the portfolio is always growing.
Significantly, since Habasit acquired the company, the annual revenue generated has increased more than tenfold. With a committed team with many longtime colleagues who have been with the company for several years, even decades and most of the machines being run on three shifts, Luca Collinetti says they have still not reached their highest production capacity.
Growth is nothing new for the staff at Vigliano. They are equipped, more than most, to adapt to the transformations of an ever-expanding market. Their strength is in flexibility and the simplicity of their flow. (ST)