This article takes us through the 40 years of activity of Adelio Lattuada – one of Italy’s most well-known and appreciated machinery manufacturers the world over. And to learn about the company we spoke to the people really involved – the family that founded Adelio Lattuada, and the second generation who have been an active and stable presence in the company now for 15 years.
Glass-Technology International (GTI):
This year is important for Adelio Lattuada as you are celebrating 40 years of activity. How did this important ‘adventure’ start?
I started as a technician for another company of this sector, and travelling to and speaking to clients I decided to start up my own company, especially because a number of clients were actually looking for a particular machine that did not exist on the market at that time. When I showed a couple of clients the designs and layout of this machines they put their orders in!
From then on we started on production of our first machines – the Delta automatic corner processing machine – followed by the straight line edger, the beveller, the double-edgers, as well as washing machines and, last but not least, drilling machines.
I am head of the administration and purchasing departments. At the beginning, it was with great pride that I watched my husband working on the designs of machinery in the evening, working side-by-side with him in this ‘adventure’. The first years, being a smaller company, we had the chance to be really satisfied with our first machinery sales, the first times at trade shows, etc.
At the beginning, my job was mainly connected to communication while now, I am also in charge of technical documentation of our machines, along with personnel management.
The company is almost a ‘second home’ for me, also because Adelio Lattuada was set up before I was born and a lot of my memories from childhood are about it. And now that I have an active part here it is a natural part of my life.
After my position in the company covering development and technical aspects, I am now head of the commercial department, in direct contact with our clients. I do, however, have a supervisory role with regards to R&D and automation, working alongside the ad hoc manager of these departments.
As for my sister Michela, in a lot of my memories I considered the company like a big family. Becoming an active part of the company was a logical step, also because I ‘lived’ the company starting from when I was a child.
Which machines did the company produce at the beginning other than the corner processing machines?
Right at the beginning, After corner grinding machines, Adelio Lattuada started to focus on grinding, which immediately became – and still is – the company’s core business. From that moment on, Adelio Lattuada developed numerous models of straight line edgers, with arris, pencil edge, OG or with variable angle. The next step was the development of our bevellers and double edgers, thus responding to all the needs and demands regarding grinding.
Over time we have created the widest range of grinding machines on today’s market, including machines able to carry out vertical grinding of glass up to 100mm thick, as well as the biggest grinder ever built: 25 metres long and 6 metres high.
At the same time, through growth and development, the company also added washing machines such as those for vertical washing and complementary washing machinery, as well as drills and corner processing machines, all in production right now.
Today’s product range includes more than 60 different models of grinders and bevellers – why so many?
Our core business is and has always been grinding, on which we have decided to become top-level specialists, to supply our clients with the right machines for their production and processing needs, customized to the utmost.
Our list of optional equipment is long and this means that the work of each and every person over the years who have developed in-depth knowledge of our machines is fundamental, especially if we consider that the list is often updated and integrated to be able to respond to the ever-changing market demands, but also to be able to anticipate these same needs.
In 2017 Lattuada North America was opened – why did you make this important decision and step? Can we expect more of these types of developments?
We have always invested in the North American market and, over the last 10 years, we have strengthened our presence in the US, also thanks to the excellent work of our agents there, which has led to important multi-national groups now becoming part of our client database.
We therefore decided to establish this new company to be able to respond to this key market, also to highlight the quality of our products.
And thanks to this new company, we are now in a position to offer all our pre- and post-sales services directly from the US, along with highly qualified and professional technical service. The new company means that our American clients will now have the following important advantages:
- No more problems connected to transport of products
- Our machines will be invoice directly from the US, thus eliminating currency exchange issues
- ad hoc services for the US
- technical services always available without difficulties connected to time zones
- spare parts will also soon be supplied directly from the US company
What can you tell us about the new machine – a washing machine? And why did you choose to make this type of machine? Will there be other new machines in the near future?
Washing machines are, in reality, not a new product for us as we actually started to produce them in 2001. The ‘push’, as often happens, came from our clients who were looking for washing machines to put in-line with our grinders and bevellers, and therefore have a single supplier and reference company with the consequent advantages that this brings.
Over the years, the models that we produce have increased up to having a complete range of vertical washers, with both closed and open top, ranging from a basic model with manual change in speed, and processable glass thickness of from 3 to 15mm, up to more important models with automatic/motorized adjustment both of speed and glass thickness, and the possibility of processing glass of up to 3,300mm, with thicknesses up to 80mm.
And here we can speak about our personal record – the production of a washing machine for glass sheets of 18 metres.
After 40 years, the new generation is taking more and more control of the company; how are things going, and which roles do the founders and new generation of the company have?
There wasn’t really a precise time or moment of entering the family company; it was more a gradual process towards a logical and natural situation. Before becoming a definite part of the company and ‘living’ this situation every day, I gained other work experience that I brought with me into the company. I also worked alongside my mother, helping her, as well as going to trade shows in Italy and abroad, working with those who were to become my colleagues. My brother and I therefore literally grew up in and with the company.
Working in a family company like ours, I had the chance to work in a number of different departments, discovering how the company ‘worked’ and was run – a fundamental part of working in a company owned by your family – and gaining the experience, trust and respect of those working here.
During school holidays I was often here in the company, as well as at trade shows – like Michela. After finishing my studies, I also wanted to get some different types of work experience and when I decided on what I wanted to do with my future, working in the company was the most logical step to take.
Michela and Nicola:
We believe we must be ‘innovators in continuity’, and when we started to work here in the company it was not with the idea of changing things or imposing our ideas – on the contrary! We are closely connected to what has always been and is still the philosophy behind us as a company. Our aim is, and has always been, that of adding value a vision of the resources that we have, and which takes into account our growth in a context where we have developed means of communication that offer a thousand possibilities and that we try to make the most of.
Nowadays, the reasons behind a generational change of a company must be – first and foremost –continuity, and the positive result of an explicit decision of the family to maintain a role with respect to the company itself. What are your opinions?
Michela and Nicola:
In our case, succession was both a natural consequence and a precise dcecision. When you ‘live’ in your family’s company starting from being a child, there is no ‘forcing’ involved, as the company has always been considered as your second home.
A generational change in a company is never easy, because you need to combine the ‘business’ vision of those who started with today’s different vision, integrating them and taking the best from both.
What can we expect to see from Adelio Lattuada this year at glasstec?
We will be focussing a lot on automation and, in particular on our ‘Lattuada Robotic Solution’. This involves new integration solutions, flexible and customized, with advantages such as: increase automation levels, flexibility, productivity, optimize production and reduce costs.
Strong points of the Lattuada Robotic Solution’ include:
- Automatic and integrated glass measurement
- Automatic adjustment of the working speed based on the dimensions of the glass
- Continuous production for greater productivity (compared to the ‘fixed distance’ solution)
- Possibility of rotating the glass by 90° or 180°
The most common use is that of a robot and two Lattuada grinders and, this year at glasstec we will demonstrate – with live demos – this solution.
Customized modules and software can be requested to obtain the best possible results.
These robots also require more automated machinery and for this we have added some features to the list of optional equipment (others will be introduced soon), among which:
- automatic compensation of polishing wheels usage
- automatic adjustment of pressure and speed according to glass thickness settings
- processing steps managed by PC
- remote assistance and support
- possibility of transferring both panel and PLC commands onto a PC/Tablet
We will, of course, be celebrating our 40th anniversary every day at our stand at glasstec (Hall 16 E40), as well as hosting a special event one of the evenings.
Adelio Lattuada Srl