The delegation of US and Canadian students, winners of the 2018 Italian Technology Awards (organized by ITA – Italian Trade Agency as part of the Machines Italia project), accompanied by two of their professors, were hosted in Italy 4-11 November.
After an initial study day in Como, at Villa Del Grumello, and a visit to ComoNExT, Digital Innovation Hub and startup incubator, the Glassworking Group, made up of students Zachary Ackerman and Jessie Kaczmarek from Robert Morris University, Moon, Pennsylvania, accompanied by Professor Arif Sirinterlikci; and Gabriel Alejandro Peña Tijerina, from Concordia University, Montreal, accompanied by Professor Carmela Cucuzzella, began their tour of several GIMAV member companies.
The first visit took place at Neptun srl in Rovello Porro (Como), the morning of 7 November, led by Matteo Rolla, Managing Director, who remarks: “We were thrilled to participate in this program because, if we want to maintain the vitality of our industry, handfuls of seeds must be sown for one to take root. Given the background of the delegation, we provided a general description of the ‘pre-processing’ area where the Neptun lines are located. Then we used slides and videos to delve deeper into the concepts and various applications of edging and arrising, drilling and milling and, finally, washing, as a crucial prerequisite to other processes, like lamination, IG units, screen printing, tempering, painting, solar, and ultra-thin glass with technological coatings. In the Q&A session that followed, Neptun’s approach to automation, control of flaws and integration of the various production processes were of particular interest, especially to the faculty participants. The most impressive part of the visit was the machine shop, where we explained how our machines are produced, from construction to the software tests. Lastly, the delegation observed straight-line processing and washing machines in action.
For us, the greatest satisfaction was their amazement over the production, in a single pass, of a polished bevel with 2mm edge on 25 mm glass, starting from a raw edge. From the surprise on their faces, I am pleased to conclude that there is a bit of magic in our industry.”
The journey among Italian glass processing excellences continued in the afternoon in Milan, at OCMI-OTG SpA.
“As always, OCMI was thrilled to take part in the Italian Technology Awards program and to showcase an especially fascinating niche in the Hollow Glass sector, that of pharmaceutical glass,” states Alessandro Crescentini, Spare Parts Manager of OCMI-OTG. “Considerable attention was focused on the raw materials needed to produce pharmaceutical containers from borosilicate glass tube and to the special processing it undergoes, certainly unique compared to other hollow glass companies.
Despite the brief amount of time available, the discussion centered around several aspects of the business. Of particular interest was product quality control conducted in real time through camera-driven inspection systems, using custom software developed by OCMI.
The timing of the visit was favourable, with several machines being assembled or ready for shipping. Our guests were able to view the various processing stations, from loading the glass tube to packaging the finished product.
We were glad to be able to show the delegation a high-productivity machine for sealing soda-lime glass stemware, the signature product of OCMI-OTG’s Tableware division.”
On 8 November, the Glassworking Group traveled to the Veneto region with a morning visit to ADI srl, in Thiene.
“Confident of the value of this program, we were pleased to host the delegation of American students, in terms of training future managers and to expose them to companies that are quite different from those in America”, states Dino Zandonella Necca, CEO of ADI srl, who welcomed and accompanied the delegation. Zandonella Necca first introduced the company, part of the Surfaces Group, and then led the group on visits to two of ADI’s three factories in Thiene that represent the core of its production.
Afterward, diamond tool technology was explained in detail, as was the concept of Total Cost of Ownership.
“We were extremely pleased with the lively interest in the topics discussed, clearly evident in the students’ and professors’ expressions, above all in light of their professional expectations.”
The group then traveled to Trento to visit Deltamax Automazione srl, hosted by Piero Consolati. The visit included a detailed analysis of the Deltamax Artificial Vision glass inspection products with an overview of the most advanced and innovative technologies employed in these systems. The tour continued at the Finglas glass processing plant, where the guests were able to view the Deltamax Artificial Vision GlassInspector systems in operation.
Concluding the educational tour, on 9 November, the delegation visited the Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro headquarters on Murano (Venice). International research center and specialized analysis lab, the SSV provides technical-scientific support to the entire glass supply chain, serving glass manufacturers, processers and users, as well as manufacturers of raw materials, refractories and systems for the glass industry.
During a visit to its laboratories, led by Roberto Falcone, the delegation received a detailed view of the different activities carried out by SSV and the state-of-the-art instruments and equipment that allow the Institute to offer a range of analyses unique in the glass industry. The visit to SSV, the largest European lab for the analysis of the properties of glass and all the materials related to its production, was a pivotal experience for the delegation, one that allowed them to acquire a more complete understanding of Italian excellence in the many and varied entities that comprise the glass arena.
“The decision to participate for the third time in the Italian Technology Awards was a natural one. This outstanding activity, organized to perfection by ITA, allows students from around the globe to experience an often unknown world, like that of machinery and, specifically, to see in person the uniqueness of Italian-made glass industry products,” states GIMAV Director Laura Biason. “Each year our members are more and more eager to host the delegations of students and professors and it is increasingly difficult to choose from among the many offers, given the short amount of time available and the distances to be traveled during the days set aside for this. We thank our members for the warm welcome extended to the guests, for the time dedicated to them and for the passion conveyed in illustrating their activities. Every year the feedback from the students and faculty is enthusiastic, and this reaffirms the importance of the program and motivates us to continue on this path of hospitality and partnership with international universities.”