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24 April 2002

The Chiampo area and the upper Agno valley in Italy are internationally known as centres for leading manufacturers of tannery equipment. SpA are one of these. With a turnover of L29 billion (US$13 million), the Trissino company, founded in 1971, have become a world leader in the production of equipment for roller finishing of leather, imitation leather and synthetic materials. Since 1993, have been under the direction of engineer Gianni Maitan. He has seen the company grow from a turnover of L6 billion to the current figure of L29 billion, and in a matter of a few years, he has renewed the company's entire range of machines and launched innovative high tech products onto the market. According to Maitan: 'The key to's success is the high quality of their entire staff and of their new organisational model: all company processes are orientated towards perception of potential customers' needs and rapid, economical, efficacious translation into a product which will satisfy them, which is then monitored and improved on an ongoing basis. This involves the entire company, so that our entire staff is motivated and involved.' are a leader in the field of tannery machines and current figures seem to indicate that the market is at a standstill. Asked how did he see the situation?, Maitan explained: 'The industry is subject to periodic cycles lasting four to five years. 'We have in fact seen some crisis in the sector within the last year or year and a half. But we haven't encountered any difficulty or suffered any damage. The reason for this is that our company offers innovative high tech products which combine high performance permitting more and more sophisticated types of work with significant savings on chemical products, producing an economic benefit for the tannery and reducing its environmental impact. Another key to our success is our highly qualified post-sales service, ready to intervene rapidly anywhere in the world at any time.' In April 1999, became the first manufacturer of tannery machinery to obtain ISO 9002 quality certification. 'And in July 2001, we became one of only a handful in Italy to obtain ISO 14001 Environmental Certification. We see quality as essential. It's basic to our work. All models stand out for their high precision of construction, use of high quality materials, and ease and permanence of adjustment, guaranteeing rapid, easy operation and permitting full use of a machine's entire productive capacity with great dependability over the years.' From coating machines to laboratory machines, produce a wide range of models. But which is regarded as their most important product? Maitan continues: 'We now produce roller finishing machines for sides and leather for home furnishings, complete roller finishing lines for leather and imitation leather, foaming machines, laboratory machines, drying tunnels, hide detachment devices, spreaders and engraved cylinders. 'Since last year, when we purchased FBP and took over some of the company's staff, we have begun designing and producing hide movement and storage equipment. But our principal product is roller coating machines: machines which can work in synchro mode for design effects or in reverse for coverage, with patented devices permitting rapid transition from one mode to the other.' Asked what are the main advantages of roller finishing, Maitan responded: 'We can sum them up in six points. First of all, there is a 40-60% reduction in use of chemical products as compared to traditional spray systems. And then there's the ease of application and perfect repeatability of the process, as well as the possibility of carefully controlling quantities applied. The result is an improvement in the quality of the hides produced: softer hides which are not hardened due to the low percentage of water in the product. And finally, there is reduced operating and maintenance costs and low environmental impact.' are now working on a European research project, CRAFT - 1999 - 70371 'Water free retanning dyeing and fatliquoring of leather'. 'This innovative project, which began in February 2000 and is due to conclude in mid-2003, aims to cut water consumption during dyeing and fatliquoring drastically', concludes Maitan. 'Three research institutes and ten tanneries in Europe are working on the project, which is expected to produce significant environmental and economic benefits for tanneries when completed.' Gianni Maitan took a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Padua in 1977. He taught physics at Ipsia Lampertico Secondary School in Vicenza and jointly presented three graduating theses in mechanical engineering at the University of Padua. From 1979 to 1992, he was employed by Nuovo Pignone Smit, initially as an engineer, and later as head of research and development. In July 1992, Maitan was hired by as technical and production manager. He has been general manager since July 1993.

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