The Bologna-based company is fast approaching the 60 years mark, along with the third Matteuzzi generation, a dynasty dedicated to working with tires
Production cost reductions, a healthier and safer workplace along with a greater production quality by minimizing physical exertion. This is the philosophy – and at times the results – that has always motivated the activities of Matteuzzi Srl of Calderara di Reno, near Bologna, an Italian company and worldwide exporter of equipment dedicated to tire manufacturers, whether new or retreads. A business which, nearly sixty years after its foundation, still leads the way in the industrial automation sector, anticipating at times the needs of the manufacturers themselves.
As early as 1956, with a simple solution spraying tank, the concept of simplification to brushing operations was introduced for the first time, essential finishing touch to be applied on the buffed tread of truck tires. “They were repetitive gestures," says Claudio Matteuzzi, " carried out manually one tire at a time, stroke by stroke. A gesture that was greatly facilitated with the aid of a simple spraying device, equipped with two rotating arms that smoothly turned the wheel, enabling a quick spray coating of the liquid solution ". The beginning of a success story in the tire world.
Then came the 540/2 inspection spreader of 1966, a machine dedicated to casing inspection, producing significant time savings at detecting anomalies and punctures. Curiously, the seemingly meaningless number indicated that the machine could work tires with a 540 mm cross-section, but it was later discovered that the number matched well with the weight of the machine, 540 kg. The success of this series, though, was no coincidence, the first Matteuzzi machine to be exported on all major foreign markets, first in a range that is today quantified in over 3,500 items scattered in manufacturing facilities around the world.
A milestone for Matteuzzi’s activity was reached in 1989, when a computerized buffing machine named RAS 90 made its appearance, first for transport vehicles only and soon after that also for automobiles, capable of precise and constant inspection on treading operations, establishing new quality standards. Among the first to use sensors and computerized systems to support the eye in many production processes, Matteuzzi promoted a series of innovations: first a computer-controlled system followed by an alphanumeric system, reaching down to our days where, with few substantial changes besides a more advanced and performing software with touch screen display, the RAS 90 DC4 ULTRA shows small developments in its mechanical lay-out over its predecessor.
"Once, the more specialized workers were responsible, with just a visual support and their own experience, to determine the quality of the finish of a tire, one by one, often decreeing the perceived and real quality of the production as a whole" says Claudio Matteuzzi. "Nowadays, these older workers cannot count on a similar generational change to hand down their experience, replaced by increasingly precise and automated machines, able to relieve fatigue, work faster and be more profitable."
A globally recognized prestige, gained over many decades, especially for its automated buffing machines, followed by a full range of equipment for manufacturing and retreading, inspection, painting and pre-treatment of the tread. From an initial evolution of the company based almost entirely on the retreaded market, to today’s balance between machines for both new and retreads, the company has been riding the tide in today’s global industry.
The current scenario is very different from last century. New commercial opportunities now exist in the Far East, with a large number of emerging industrial competitors dedicated to manufacturing new tires, especially in Asia and Russia, not to mention South America, reinforcing the retreading sector, especially for the transport industry, thanks also to environmental policies (besides cost reduction and resource management) promoted in Western markets.
The memory of the founder Giulio Matteuzzi, who passed away in 1971, is well etched in the DNA of a company that the heirs are managing with ever-growing success. The contraction of the European market has not had an impact here: the effects of the stagnant economy are absorbed by a policy of globalization, with 95% of its products destined for export, a trend established already at the start of the company’s activity. A vocation that began in the 60s, with the first machines sold in Germany and later overseas, thanks to the interest of a major American operator, which contributed to Matteuzzi’s arrival on the New Continent. The second generation, represented by Giulio’s sons, Claudio and Emilio and his wife Sandra, has recently been joined by the third, with Elisa and Alberto managing respectively administration and marketing.
Substantially distributed on three lines – machines for new tires manufacture, machines and complete tire retreading plants, pre-cured tread finishing machines - both for new tires as well as retreads, Matteuzzi offers machines and equipment suitable for tires designed to equip trucks, light trucks, cars, SUVs and 4x4, earthmoving and aviation, proposing solutions in all major areas of work.
In a manufacturing facility of about 2,500 covered sqm, where some thirty employees show their expertise, after moving in 1979 from the original site, and where the current production, entirely manufactured at the Matteuzzi headquarters on the outskirts of Bologna, boasts a catalog of over 200 models, from simple tools to complex machinery (with the high-end products reaching 300,000 Euro), an offer that can be implemented also with personalized solutions, tailored to meet every specific requirement proposed by the customer.
With an estimated turnover of 18 million euro (data from 2013), the current business volume remains essentially stable, with good prospects for the future, thanks to an important scouting work on emerging markets. But research and development is where a good portion of Matteuzzi’s resources are being devoted, approximately 15% of its turnover in designing new prototypes, in order to continue on the path of innovation for an industry in constant search for state-of-the-art solutions and production, as required by the tire sector.
"New tire manufacturers are prepared to invest massively in new technologies, to improve the quality and features of its productions. Increasingly automated processes for high quality products coupled to production cost reduction: it’s the result of that first spraying machine that, more than half a century ago, my father introduced in a process, until then run manually ". An intuition that has paved the way for the evolution of tire manufacturing processes, past and present.
THE FUTURE IS HERE
Innovation, for Matteuzzi, was always an unavoidable guideline. The ensemble of the various processing systems, automation and application of information technology to mechanical devices, allowed the Bologna-based company to be globally identified by the same manufacturing processes, in which the contribution of machines manufactured by Matteuzzi accompanies much of the global production of tires, both new and retreaded.
A technical evolution that followed step-by-step the scouting of new markets and industrial realities, since the company’s beginning, with the first participations in international exhibitions making know Italian creativity abroad. Essen (Germany) in 1968, then Cleveland and Louisville (Usa) in the following year, which coincided with Matteuzzi’s arrival on the American market. These were the first steps that have brought the company to its present day status, ready with new proposals for the next home exhibitions, such as the Autopromotec 2015 show to be held in Bologna.