Founded on 2nd December 1919 in Imola by nine mechanics and blacksmiths, SACMI is now an international Group with 4,500 employees and the leading provider to the ceramics, packaging, beverage-closures, metals and advanced materials industries
It was 2nd December 1919 when, out of the rubble of the Great War, nine unemployed mechanics and blacksmiths from Imola established the Società Anonima Cooperativa Meccanici Imola. One hundred years on, the SACMI Group employs 4500 people, holds that very same number of patents and is the leading international provider of machines and complete plants for the ceramics, packaging, beverage-closures, metals and advanced materials industries.
“The SACMI story is an extraordinary tale. It mirrors the industrial growth of both Italy and the town of Imola, home to cooperative movement that has given substance to a dream, that of creating shared well-being through work”, points out Paolo Mongardi, President of SACMI Imola. It's extraordinary because the company has always faced the future with far-sightedness, combining innovation and a strong focus on customer care with a set of core values - cooperation, solidarity, community - that still shape our decisions today.
“That's why”, continues the president, “we’ve chosen to accompany these centenary celebrations with a series of training meetings focusing on change, especially issues concerning the 4.0 digitization of production and services”. Those meetings were attended by over 2400 people, “a clear sign of both the workers' and the local community's awareness of what's at stake: change needs to be harnessed and planned with that same foresight shown by our founding fathers”.
Robotics and automation, enabling technologies, sustainability and new materials: these are just some of the challenges that lie ahead. And, thanks to constant investment in research and the far-reaching reorganisation of governance enacted in recent years, that future is already here. “SACMI is a cooperative. As such it belongs to no-one but is, rather, a collective asset to be nurtured and passed on to future generations. That means looking far ahead, all the way to 2030. It means deciding what we want to be, thinking about the challenges that await us and how we can prepare today to seize all the opportunities of tomorrow”.
A few examples are in order, the first being the partnership signed at the beginning of the year with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the world's biggest, most advanced international academic facility doing applied industrial research. This partnership puts the SACMI Group in close contact with almost 2,000 start-ups around the world that work on cutting-edge technologies in areas of keen interest to our company. More locally, the new SACMI Innovation Lab is dedicated to the implementation of ground-breaking 4.0 enabling technologies in both our own company and the wider SME community in Emilia-Romagna.
Another key factor is training: “SACMI took on its first qualified engineer back in the 1950s and today there are over 200 engineers working at the Imola plant alone”. Today, such a move might seem obvious, but back then it was part of a strategic shift that would allow SACMI to spread its wings on world markets”. It's an approach that explains why SACMI has - aided by record-breaking performance - taken on, in recent years, more than 500 people in the Imola area alone, the vast majority of them graduates. Hence our constant support for schools and universities, from the Alberghetti High School in Imola to the University of Bologna, with which we co-manage the Bi-Rex consortium, the first national 4,0 competence centre.
“Today, we pay tribute to our founders' courage, their ability to bring out the true cooperative spirit that allowed us to write this incredible 100-year story. Yet our most important goal”, concludes the President, Paolo Mongardi, “is to lead the company into its second century by making the most of all the excellence and talent our community has to offer and by sharing our experience with the leading players of regional and national manufacturing. Our history shows us that real development only occurs when people become the focus of manufacturing. And the drive towards Industry 4.0 does nothing but enhance that outlook, continuously strengthening our skills while ensuring customers can count on new, sustainable, high quality products and services”.
SACMI was founded in Imola on 2nd December 1919. By the mid-1930s it had already developed its first own-brand machines. After the Second World War came the leap forward into ceramics and packaging with the development of the first tile press and the first complete crown cap manufacturing solution, areas in which the company still leads the world today.
In the 1960s the Group - which had already been exporting more than 80% of its output on a stable basis for some years - became truly international while maintaining its strategic and productive core in Italy. Steadily, the Group made the leap from machine maker to plant engineering provider, covering every stage of the process from raw material preparation to finished product logistics.
In the 2000s SACMI was quick to seize the opportunities offered by progressive digitization of factory processes. It launched comprehensive new solutions - such as the SACMI Continua+ line for large slabs - and channelled more and more resources into customer services. Recent years have seen us focus on research and development into new materials, products and processes with reduced environmental impact.
Between 2014 and 2019, SACMI achieved some of the best results in its history. The year 2018 generated revenues of over 1.4 billion euro and saw the number of employees worldwide pass the 4,500 mark. Over that same period investment in research - over 220 million euro - and the protection of intellectual property remained strong and steady (since its founding SACMI and other Group companies have filed 4,500 patents, in practice one for each employee).
Today, SACMI Imola employs about 1,200 people. The Group headquarters in via Selice Provinciale 17A, Imola, remains the hub of all strategic, high-added-value operations. It is also home to the SACMI Research Center, established in 1989, which now has a nearly 300-strong team of technicians, engineers and researchers.
The parent company, SACMI Imola, controls over 80 manufacturing and service companies in 30 countries worldwide. The SACMI brand and logo are recognised in over 100 countries.