From the core of Umbria (Italy) to internationalization: the evolution of MeccanotecnicaUmbra in fifty years of activity is a successful story grounded on the passion for quality, on innovation and the constant and serious commitment to build a sound credibility in Italy and in the world.
Credibility, care of details, propensity for innovation, ethics, global vision and at the same time faithfulness to its cultural roots: these are the ingredients of the success of MeccanotecnicaUmbra, a company that has progressively grown since the second half of the Sixties, increasingly becoming a sound partner, able to grant high quality standards to customers. Established in the core of Umbria, at Campello sul Clitunno, stemming from the passion and the entrepreneurship of the three founder members (Alberto Pacifici, Fulvio Ginobri and Concezio Strappelli), today MTU is a multinational reality, operating in several sectors, including automotive, household appliances, civil and industrial plants, chemical and pharmaceutical industry, food, renewable energies and so on.
In almost fifty years, MeccanotecnicaUmbra has become one of the market protagonists – in Italy and abroad – in the design, production and marketing of sealing systems: in particular, the company manufactures mechanical seals with rings of silicon carbide, carbon and PTFE-based composite materials (the latter with registered Mecflon mark), standing out for the excellence of its production. Concerning the household appliance market, MTU implements small-size seals for dishwashers, boilers and other appliances whose applications are characterized by critical operating conditions.
An exciting course
1966: it is the beginning of a course that starts from Umbria to extend, with concentric circles, towards the success on a global scale. It is an exciting story, because it springs from the enthusiasm and the good will of three friends, committed to accomplish a complex project that will change their lives. «In those Sixties – explains Pacifici – each dream seemed to come true. Even the impossible ones. Alberto Pacifici, Fulvio Ginobri and Concezio Strappelli: three friends, many projects and endless discussions. We had no experience. And neither a lot of money. But entrepreneurship supported us. Or perhaps the recklessness. The idea took shape gradually: setting up an enterprise at Campello. To create workplaces, hopes and well-being. To leave a mark on the territory for Umbria’s people”.
The foundation of the company in 1966 was achieved also thanks to the support by Maria Sole Agnelli, at that time major of Campello, who strived for the settlement of an industrial area in the Umbria city and for the opening of an institute dedicated to the education of mechanical workers and who established a contact between the founders of MeccanotecnicaUmbra and Fiat top management. «We worked at Montecatini – remembers Fulvio Ginobri -. We dreamt our own company and precisely Strappelli said fortuitously a phrase that we pondered for several days and then changed our lives. He stated that one of his friends, Serafino Palestini, had a company (Elettrolitica Basso Nera) that produced carbon rings. And the ring is the core of the mechanical seal. The idea of the business was then conceived». From 1967 (the year in which the first production plant started running), to 1980 MeccanotecnicaUmbra lives its “productive apprenticeship”. In 1973, Rovero Campello was appointed president of the company, becoming one of its key protagonists and strengthening the relationship with Fiat. Besides, still in the early Seventies, MTU achieves an important goal: the validation of its products by the Turin automotive company.
In the Seventies and Eighties, they organize the sales network, with an immediate vision of foreign markets as boost for the enterprise’s development: the growth on the markets is attained together with a simultaneous progressive rise of the technical know-how. «In the early Eighties – explains Pacifici – the level of the overall production almost reached 5 billion Euros. The export share accounted for 27% of the global turnover. Relevant figures that projected MeccanotecnicaUmbra at the third place among sector companies in Italy and let it win the Export 80 Award, sponsored by the economic weekly magazine “Il Mondo” for Italian manufacturing realities with the highest turnover increment for foreign markets. Two years later, in 1982, together with Umbria Export, we travelled in Far East nations for the first time, visiting Taiwan».
The company’s turnover constantly grows, as well as the production, and in the early Nineties it becomes necessary to modify the corporate asset, to support the development at best: MeccanotecnicaUmbra so becomes a Joint-Stock Company, creating the preliminary conditions for the production internationalization, which will take place in the 2000s. In November 1999, they start the project for the establishment of a manufacturing plant in Brazil, resulting in the set-up of Mecanotecnica do Brasil, and in 2004 they start working at the foundation of a productive pole in China. In 2007, they lay the bases to undertake two new challenges: the takeover of the Swedish company Huhnseal (operating in the design and production of mechanical seals for heavy industrial applications, with customized technical solutions) and the establishment of a manufacturing site in India. Initially, in the Subcontinent, they established a joint-venture with Hi-Tec India (belonging to the Japanese Group Arai) and afterwards MTU becomes the sole owner of the Indian company. Moreover, the business lands also in the important American continent: in 2009, in fact, they start the negotiations for the takeover of Cyclam and then they set up the company Meccanotecnica Usa & Mexico.
Today MeccanotecnicaUmbra is a multinational Group, with a presence in the main world markets: starting from the 4 initial employees, the company engages now about 700 workers and attains a turnover that exceeds 75 million Euros. The Group’s commitment for the future is thinking globally without anyway giving up the strict relation with the territory of origin, keeping the high product quality level constant and pursuing the innovation course.
Innovating to gain a competitive edge
Since the beginning, MeccanotecnicaUmbra has made innovation one of the determining factors for the company’s growth. Innovation is aimed at the constant improvement of products and services and is witnessed by registered patents (10 currently in force) and by the investments in research and development. The first important step taken by the company towards innovation occurred in 1980 with the purchase of forefront machinery for the in-house production of carbon rings. «1980 was a decisive year – states Pacifici -. It was January: that month, on 30th , we signed the procedures started long time before with the manufacturer of the longed for machinery, Elettrocarbonium in Milan. All took place in the established terms: in thirty days, they delivered us the first lot, a plant composed by four presses, six series of dies and a lapping machine, for a total cost of 299 million liras. In the 1980-year we scored the achievement of a competitive edge towards our competitors. Since then, we have constantly upgraded the production chain, following the guideline that has always driven us: the product quality».
The Eighties were characterized by MTU’s strong commitment to innovation: in 1984, for instance, MeccanotecnicaUmbra starts a research project for the creation of a new type of front mechanical seal for circulation pumps of the motor coolant for the automotive industry. Today the company’s Research&Development sector takes up a dedicated area of 2,000 square metres, with 100 testing stations: they constantly study new solutions and they implement new research projects, cooperating with national and international universities and organizations. MeccanotecnicaUmbra has established collaborations with L’Aquila and Perugia Universities, with the research centres Enea Roma, Eni Novara, Cnr Brindisi and Istec Faenza.
The Research&Development department is completed by the technical office, which supervises the design of seals and coordinates the industrialization of products, providing assistance to customers. To enable R&D activities, the company invests on average 4-5% of its turnover: it is a strategic choice, determinant to implement increasingly high-quality and high-tech products. A further strategic choice is the personnel’s training, with the proposal of updating courses in areas such as productive processes, quality, safety, environment and so on. Since the beginning of the activity, human resources have played an essential role for MTU’s capability of being an innovative reality, able to enhance single employees’ skills. «We have improved, always. We have invested in research and in new technologies – stated Fulvio Ginobri -. In these areas, entrepreneurs have to deal with the biggest hindrances, which can be overcome by upgrading equipment as much as possible, through the sophistication of robotics and creating operational futuristic solutions. In other words, constant upgrading is a must. Upgrading is all. We have always focused on it and we still do that. And then education. I always say that we have built a factory but we have ‘fabricated’ people. First, we learnt the work and then we explained it to the others. Even when we engaged the first engineers. Now, however, they have something to teach to me. To see them at work is a satisfaction. They are young and competent, each of them in his sector: from the implementation to the innovation of products, up to the new patents that are a wealth for all companies».
Quality, safety and environment
MeccanotecnicaUmbra deems the quality pursuit as the instrument for the constant improvement of all corporate processes, approaching customers as a reliable partner, committed to satisfy their expectations and requirements. Pursuit of quality, technical competence and service are the base elements of the business strategy that has led MTU to attain outstanding results: already since the half of the Nineties, the company’s Quality Management System has conformed to the requisites of the ISO 9001 regulation. In 2003, that System has been evaluated as compliant with what provided for by the technical specification ISO/TS 16949, concerning the automotive industry. Moreover, MeccanotecnicaUmbra has also worked at the protection of the internal and external environment. In 1999, it achieved the certification of the Environmental Management System according to the requisites of the ISO 14001 regulation. In 2007, they took a further step forward that witnesses the social responsibility and the company’s willingness of matching economic outcomes and environment protection: they joined EMAS Community Regulation. Besides, the maturity reached in recent years has allowed the Group to implement an Environment and Safety Integrated System (SGI), aimed at the constant improvement of the environmental, health, safety performances in workplaces. Finally, the latest goals achieved by MTU include the introduction of the Safety System OHSAS 18001, whose certification was attained in 2014.
The main achievements of MTU
Transformation into Joint Stock Company: 1992
Penetration into the South American market: 2000
Penetration into the Chinese market: 2005
Takeover of Huhnseal (Sweden): 2008
Penetration into the American market: 2010
Penetration into the Indian market: 2011