Modena is a famous engineering town located in the central northern part of Italy close to Bologna. It is home to automotive thoroughbred Ferrari and countless other precision engineering based companies. Rizzi 1857 have been associated with the town for 145 years at their site in the centre of the town.

After a long history with the town, the company moved out to the suburbs in April 2001 into arguably the most modern tannery machinery factory in the world. The new 13,000 sq m site includes a 7,000 sq m factory and office building with planning permission to extend the site by a further 3,000 sq m if required.

The new factory has been designed and purpose built to manufacture Rizzi’s extensive range of tannery machinery. Rizzi manufacture approximately 150 machines a year which include fleshing, splitting, shaving, sammying, vacuum drying and a new throughfeed sammying device.

The vacuum drying machines are built at a separate factory close to Vicenza. From their range, Rizzi offer various sizes of equipment from small skins to sides and full hides.

Their most popular model is their 3 metre shaving machine. The new factory is turning out three to five machines a week on average at the moment but there is the capacity to produce more.

Penta throughfeed sammying

At the time of the visit by Leather International, Rizzi had completed construction of their prototype five-roller, throughfeed sammying machine. The new machine which will be called the Penta and has been designed to be used on wet-blue. Tannery trials are due to take place at a factory in Arzignano. More technical information will be included in a forthcoming edition.

Major investment

‘The old building did not belong to us and was becoming old and dangerous. The owners of the company decided to move to a new factory with modern equipment to allow the company to grow in the future’, says Luca De Marchi, commercial director. Rizzi 1857 have invested a total of €7.5 million on the new site and all 100 employees from the former factory have remained with the company.

The insides of the new factory are full of cutting-edge engineering equipment, tools and spare parts storage facilities. For example, Rizzi have invested over US$1 million in a new tooling machine from the Italian company Mandelli.

The fully automatic device is able to choose from over 600 individual tools stored at the rear of the machine and cut machinery parts set by computer. ‘We have a programme for each of our spare parts. A single operator sets the correct programme and the rest is carried out automatically’, says De Marchi.

‘We now have the space to organise ourselves at the new factory and our whole operation is much more efficient. Some old equipment has been blended in with the new as it cannot be easily replaced’, he added.