Renew yourselves, while remaining oneself

Change without betraying one’s origins. Opening up to a vision of the future that embraces digital and efficient tools, without losing sight of the value of people and relationships. Guests of Servotecnica, we spoke with Sabrina Bistoletti, Matteo Salgarello and Alessandro Gomarasca to understand how the company intends to do this.

When we arrived in Nova Milanese, Servotecnica’s beautiful headquarters were waiting for us on a street at the edge of town. The hustle and bustle of vehicles gives an idea of the level of activity in the area and we at ItaliaImballaggio wasted no time in entering the front door.

On the left is the reception desk, while at the foot of the stairs leading to the upper floor, Sabrina Bistoletti, Sales Analyst and Communication Manager, is smilingly waiting for us:

«Welcome to our offices, which we have recently redesigned in order to welcome partners, customers and guests in the best possible way and to clearly convey our identity and our way of working».

Servotecnica was born as a family business thanks to the initiative of two partners (Emilio Bistoletti and Adriano Salgarello) and today it is led by their sons: a second generation that has a clear understanding of the importance of keeping alive the warmth of human relationships in carrying out a project or a business.

At the same time, the company wants to grow and equip itself with all the most modern tools to better plan development strategies and ensure the best possible service to customers. The showroom, the new test laboratory and the creation of an aggregated database: what we discovered during our visit to Servotecnica seems to be going in the right direction.

The showroom

Sabrina proudly accompanies us in a large space where the main items distributed or produced by Servotecnica are on display: motion control, drives, actuators, slip rings with working demo boxes. Everything at your fingertips.

«We wanted this gallery - explains the Communication Manager - not only to effectively present our extensive catalog, and therefore, indirectly, who we are. We created a place where we can meet partners and customers, to do business or prepare a project, having the products in front of our eyes, touching concretely what we talk about and the quality that comes from it. Involving people, making them understand that they are in expert and careful hands is essential and the new showroom is our “business card”».

A place of honor among the products on display goes to the company’s signature slip rings (see box on the shoulder).

The testing laboratory

From quality control to prototype simulation: as we enter the lab, the words of the company’s product development manager, Alessandro Gomarasca, make it clear how much the company focuses on this aspect.

«We can conduct many specific analyses on a real piece that is returned to us by the customer, to understand the entity of a fault or assess the degree of wear. Or simulate in the design phase the behavior in different configurations and situations using dedicated benches such as the one for linear motors with different types of feedback and drives. It is clear that the environmental conditions of the application can be difficult to replicate in the laboratory, but we adopt some standards to anticipate possible problems and solve them even before they occur to the customer, in a sort of predictive maintenance. Each test aims to find the ideal solution to avoid anomalies on the customer’s machine».

Electrical tests, certification of full compatibility with the Ethernet protocol, product traceability: nothing is left to chance and everything can be shared, in digital format, with the customer.

«In the medical sector, for example, we deliver a test report for each unit sold according to the sector’s requirements

Digitization, databases and... human relations

Matteo Salgarello, CEO, acknowledges that

«back in the day, we were incredibly lucky or far-sighted: in fact, we took the necessary steps to digitize all internal processes as early as 2019 so, when the pandemic broke out, we were ready to work remotely».

In the months of forced lockdown, Servotecnica in fact operated without interruption to ensure continuity of supply to some customers in the primary supply chain, without resorting to social shock absorbers and trying to protect its employees as much as possible.

«2020 was obviously a special year, during which we focused on commercial and investment strategies. For example, we strengthened our presence in Germany and the United States, so as to better promote the Servotecnica brand to local manufacturers: a policy, this, that has paid off, if we look at the closing results for 2021 similar to the pre-Covid era. For 2022, the number of orders acquired bodes well, although the situation of geopolitical instability could still reserve unpleasant surprises…».

Alessandro Gomarasca resumes:

«For our part, we have learned to react to complex situations, such as the difficulty of supplying components, with rationality: this problem especially affects our production line of custom engines, built to customer specifications from a blank sheet of paper. We have therefore notified customers well in advance and agreed on a structured planning for the next few years: the companies we work with are solid and able to plan in the light of external variables».

In addition to this, customer satisfaction also depends on another service, the warehouse, which Servotecnica has always held in high regard, as Salgarello points out: «We guaranteed it in the past, when it was rather mistreated. It has an important cost but also a high value for customers and we have all understood it now: it seemed obvious to have short delivery times, but it’s not like that».

The rational approach, together with the desire to grow, also emerges from the company’s next step on the road to digitalization:

«We want to create a database - illustrates Salgarello - that can collect data from the various platforms we use, mainly ERP and CRM on the customer side, perhaps also cross-referencing document management and advertising. Having data available and being able to merge them is now fundamental, especially when the markets of interest increase.

We must equip ourselves with tools that allow for adequate reporting, greater sensitivity to the work of the branches and facilitate customer relations. In this way, we can make well-founded forecasts and take appropriate decisions accordingly, without forgetting one thing, however: data alone are not enough... They can provide the starting point for an idea or perhaps confirm a theory, but it is the contribution and involvement of people that always makes the difference.

On the other hand - concludes Salgarello - our commitment today stems from the pride of being part of a company that has marked the history of motion control in Italy, and whose strong point is quality service combined with technology. Tenacity and the will to improve are the founding elements of our success».


From distributors to producers: focus on slip rings

The exclusive distribution in Italy of the products of foreign companies in the automation sector remains the fulcrum of Servotecnica’s activity, which for several years has also been developing its own brand products - in particular manifolds, motors, brushless micromotors, flats and, soon, drives - which are marketed both in Italy and abroad through a network of distributors created ad hoc.

«Among the first devices we developed internally - says Sabrina Bistoletti - are slip rings, those electromechanical devices that allow the transmission of power and electrical signals continuously from a static part to a rotating part or vice versa and significantly simplify the assembly and mounting phases, avoiding the use of articulated systems with complex wiring. We became producers of them almost by necessity: for years we successfully distributed a brand, which then decided to open a branch in Italy. So, in order not to lose an article in the catalog and, above all, the good market we had created, we decided to make the “quality leap”.

Alessando Gomarasca explains: «Slip rings are perhaps the most flexible product in our current portfolio, designed to be modular and customizable. There are, however, standards: for example, in the packaging machine sector, one of the most widely used slip rings is the SVTS B 01. Particularly on flowpacks, it is the standard model and the least modifiable. We sell about 6/7 thousand pieces per year and we always have a stock of at least 200 pieces. They are economical units, with a limited lifespan (6/12 months) and easy to replace, since they do not have cables but plug and play connectors. We serve customers all over the world, who are well aware of the need to change this component on a regular basis - Gomarasca points out - specially designed with certain characteristics. Quite different, however, are the slip rings used on the carousels of the filling and labeling lines. These are larger units than the previous ones, with cables and connectors made specifically for the customer. Above all, they are units built to last and to which maximum reliability is required, also because they are located in the heart of the machine: the tests we carry out in our laboratory are therefore a crucial step in verifying their congruity».