MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina

Slimpa spa

Historical Profile

The entrepreneurial training and the establishment of the business

After receiving his degree in mechanical engineering, and following a brief stint at the hydroelectric plant at Toce Falls, Oreste Fasani, born in 1903, was hired as a foreman at the aviation company SIAI Marchetti, in Sesto Calende.

In 1942, the difficulties of the war and the daily risks associated with continuous bombardment, in an area considered to be of strategic value due to the type of military production performed locally, convinced Oreste to leave his job and, along with his brother, Arturo, also a former SIAI employee, to establish a small, independent enterprise for the production of electromechanical components for lifts. The business was initially located in the basement of the habitation owned by Arturo's wife, and was later moved to the premises of an old pasta factory, now Villa Ossola. The components were supplied to the company Bassetti elevatori in Milan (Mr. Bassetti was a neighbour of Fasani). Over time, the workload increased and the brothers recruited their first labourers. Subsequently, due to the need for additional space, the business activities were moved to a building adjacent to the house where the Fasani brothers' parents lived. Meanwhile, his work activities led Oreste Fasani to make the acquaintance of engineer Alfredo Spagnolo, owner and managing director of the company Fiam - Fabbrica Italiana Ascensori e Montacarichi (The Italian Lift and Hoist Factory).

This acquaintance resulted in the development of a close working relationship and, in 1950, led to the establishment of the company Slimp - Stampaggio Lavorazione Italiana Materie Plastiche ed affini (Italian Plastic Moulding and Processing), which was formed by the two Fasani brothers, along with Spagnolo himself.

The president of the new company was Alberto Panzanini, while Oreste Fasani held the position of managing director.

Slimp was founded in order to satisfy the need, perceived by Spagnolo, for the development of the lift component sector, above all with regards to relays and safety devices. Fiam's objective was to develop dedicated products which were better than those available on the market, and at lower prices; for its part, Slimp would not be required to bear any costs for purchase orders nor to attempt to develop its own market outlet, as its components would be passed directly to Fiam, which, in turn, would handle the sales of the lifts themselves.

In fact, although the ownership between the two companies was divided, Slimp would effectively act as the component division for Fiam, which had the exclusive rights to its products.

In 1958, the expansion of the business led to a new change in venue, with the construction of a production facility in what was then the outskirts of Leggiuno. In 1959, Alberto Panzanini, who at this point had become technical director of Fiam, resigned from his position as company president.

The sixties and seventies

During the 1960s, that which up until then had remained an artisan craft, took on a number of industrial characteristics with the expansion and improvement of the production processes. By this time, in fact, Slimpa had its own technical department and was equipped with the necessary equipment and facilities, including electroplating and plastic moulding, to perform its own complete production cycles. At the time, this decision made perfect sense, considering the difficulties that the company would have faced in obtaining the finished parts necessary for its own production, as it was situated in a location which was far from any major industrial centres. It had already faced considerable difficulties in autonomously creating a network of suppliers of raw materials, such as plastic. During these years of the building boom, Slimpa developed a machinery automation process which enabled it to manufacture all of the control panels required by Fiam. Although the company had a total of 40 employees at the beginning of the 1960s, this number doubled by the end of the decade. As Oreste Fasani had specifically decided to create jobs for the people of his town, of which he later became mayor for nearly fifteen years, all of the staff was recruited from the town of Leggiuno and its surround communities.

Between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the company insisted on the continued development of process automations in order to reduce costs: these automations, however, were not exaggerated, as they mainly involved investments in equipment for individual machines, rather than the machinery in its entirety, so as to be able to use the same units for various processing stages, based on the immediate necessities.

During the 1970s, a number of problems arose in relation to technological changes, which gradually led to an increased overall use of electronic components, rather than electromechanical ones.

In 1974, a new business rotation saw Eng. Spagnolo's son-in-law, Stefano Bracaglia, assume the role of president, while Oreste Fasani maintained his position as managing director.

In 1976, the share capital was increased to 20 million lire and the new board of directors was made up of Mario Danti, Oreste Catinelli and Bracaglia's wife, Enrica Spagnolo, while Oreste Fasani assumed the role of company president.

From 1977 to the present

In 1977, Oreste and Arturo Fasani withdrew from the company and the board of directors was reduced to two members: Alfredo Spagnolo, as president, and Nicola Russo, as managing director. In 1979, the ownership of the company was transferred to Fiam Partecipazioni. That same year, the company began the production of microprocessor boards, which was followed by electronic circuit board production and switchboard assembly, and the main offices were moved from Fiam di Pero to Leggiuno. The production of certain electromechanical items, therefore, had to be discontinued in favour of the new electronic products. This, however, did not result in any change in the number of employees, as the company limited itself to replacing retired staff members with personnel in possession of the new qualifications being sought, which mainly included electronics experts. In 1986, the company's business purpose came to include the sales of lifts, elevators, escalators and moving walkways, as well as general lifting and transport equipment. In 1987, the company became part of Kone Group, a large multinational Finnish company with 18,000 employees and 2,000 billion lire in sales, one of the worldwide leaders in the lift and escalator market. Giuseppe Confalonieri became company president, while Sergio Salvetti replaced Angelo Poletti as managing director. In the mid-1990s, Slimp underwent another period of transformation.

The electronics manufacturing that had characterized the company up until that time was initially concentrated within the parent company in Finland and was later developed through outsourcing.

The company took on the responsibility of providing the electrical control system for the MonoSpace™ lift (launched on the market in 1997) for all of Kone Group's markets and went on to specialize in the assembly of switchboards and button panels, as well as in pick and pack operations involving electrical components.

The remarkable success of the MonoSpace™ led to the expansion of the business which, despite the elimination of certain processes, resulted in a continuous increase in personnel and the opening of a local unit in Gemonio in the year 2000, which was later closed at the end of 2004.

In January of 2005, the company's production activities were moved to a new facility in Cadrezzate, and the offices followed in June of the same year.

In 2006, Slimp became a joint stock company. The following year, the expansion of the production facility was completed and the premises in Leggiuno were closed.

From the mid-1990s up until today, the position of company president has been held in succession by Felice Confalonieri, Giampietro Rambaldi, Franco Bergamini and Angelo Ferrè, who also simultaneously held the post of managing director. In recent years, the company has placed considerable emphasis on the development of its processes and has obtained the certification of its quality systems, in accordance with the ISO 9001-2000 standard, its environmental protection systems, in accordance with the ISO 14000-2004 standard, and its workplace health and safety systems, in accordance with the OSHAS 18001 standard.

In 2007, the company's total sales exceeded the amount € 90 Million; the production facility in Cadrezzate employs 186 people and has a total area of 17,000 square meters, 7,000 of which are covered.