There is nothing as exciting as seeing your own child growing and thriving, becoming truly successful. And the same thing holds true for companies as well. To celebrate Vega’s 30th anniversary, we decided to interview its “father”, Aldo Formenti.
(Professional) Lifeline of Aldo Formenti (Founder of VEGA S.R.L.)
1968-1972: technical operator at FIPI spa (a company producing hydraulic presses for leather shearing)
1972-1973: production director in a die-casting company
1973-1980: commercial expert at CPOAC (a company producing hydraulic components)
My ‘calling’ has always been listening to my customers’ needs and requests, and then working hard to satisfy them in the best possible way. In fact, having some experience in the field of aluminum die-casting molds, hydraulic and pneumatic cylinders, and presses, led me to ponder and ask myself for years why no big cylinder-producing company had yet thought of creating cylinders with magnetic sensors. This question kept haunting me for years, especially because I was selling pneumatic cylinders with magnetic sensors, but my customers were often asking for hydraulic cylinders with magnetic sensors.
1985: with great effort, and a lot of confidence, I had some punching devices for cutting magnetic plasto-ferrite made, with a properly oriented magnetism in order to insert it in the shape of rings into the rods of hydraulic cylinders. In this way, not only the cylinder barrel is sent out, but also the magnetic field needed to cause the sensor to work. Naturally, the cylinder barrels had to be made of non-magnetic materials, and for this reason a concentric, non-magnetic AISI 316 with internal lapping was chosen. But purchasing a whole set of barrels required investments that were definitely beyond my reach. So, I decided to ask for bank financing, thought it could prove to be a major hazard for me. But I had such a great confidence in my project of distributing my hydraulic cylinders with magnetic sensors all over the world that I felt so galvanized.
In fact, in April 1987, I gave birth to the first world company producing hydraulic cylinders with magnetic sensors—VEGA S.R.L.
When the world of plastic injection molds found out about my project, the first productions in series began.
While personally visiting my customers in Ancona, Italy, in 1989, they asked me for “bar of soap” cylinders (today called “Block Cylinders”), and the following year, while in France, they asked me for similar cylinders but with a longer stroke.
In 1991, we started producing 250CBM cylinders, while, in 1992, we began the production of V220CBL.
During those years, direct contact with customers enriched me a lot professionally, first teaching me how to use MICROSTATION and then SOLIDWORKS, two programs used in mechanical designing. All this experience allowed me to offer my customers the first online cylinder configurator, released in 1995. Thanks to this configurator, Vega customers could download from our websites several 2D (and, since 2002, also 3D) designs.
Granted, there have been innumerable challenges to be faced—technical, financial, productive and logistical—in order to cope with an ever more globalize world market.
Since early ’90s, my greatest desire has been to “ride” globalization, that is, making our solution based on automation with magnetic sensors known all over the world.
For this reason, we shared exhibitions in many Eastern counties, as well as in Australia, India and United States. All this was possible thanks to local retailers, and it also gave us the opportunity of opening an office in Guangzhou, China, with a in loco Vega member.
Another important moment in the life of Vega was overcoming the great economic crisis that took place in 2008. This critical period moved us to decrease our production by 30% in order to block sales to customers with low financial solvency.
During the last years, market challenges have become ever more difficult to face—prices and delivery times are constantly decreasing, while there is an ever-growing request for precise, well-made and varied products. This led us to product decentralizations in many counties.
It’s been a few months now that we entered into our fourth decade of activity, and our dream is still the same—surprising our customers with cutting-edge technical solutions, given them the tools needed to compete with their competitors.