Making the Difference: The Italian Style at ACHEMA 2015

The well-known trade show for the process industry gave us the chance to meet with Salvatore Lardieri, CEO at CO.RA, who describes the company with a look at its past and future goals and innovations

  • Making the Difference: The Italian Style at ACHEMA 2015
    Making the Difference: The Italian Style at ACHEMA 2015
  • Making the Difference: The Italian Style at ACHEMA 2015
    Making the Difference: The Italian Style at ACHEMA 2015

PCN Europe: Could you tell our readers something about CO.RA?

Mr. Lardieri: CO.RA was established thirty years ago with the aim of creating a product line for the pharmaceutical industry. To meet this goal, we launched on the market our Clamped Butterfly Valve, Sole Valve, a concept that revolutionized the habits within the pharmaceutical sector. Thanks to the invention of Sole Valve and the patent we obtained, we immediately gained transparency within the pharmaceutical industry at an international level. In fact, today CO.RA is well-known all over the world as a symbol of butterfly valve producer par excellence. Today, customers looking for our products search for "CO.RA Valve", as our groundbreaking Sole Valve is commonly called. This product has some specific technical features: it is easy to dismantle and clean, and it is ideal for pharmaceutical granular products. This gave us a big edge over our competitors who appeared on the market afterwards.

PCN Europe: Are there any other significant moments in CO.RA's history?

Mr. Lardieri: There have been significant moments for all the products we launched afterwards. Every year, CO.RA presents its brand on the market with an innovative product. For example, in 2000 we created a gallery in the style of the Tuscan Renaissance, where we matched to each painting selected a new product developed. We started in 1985 with Sole Valve, or CO.RA Valve, and we got to 2000, when we launched five new products at the same time, five patents we released to celebrate that important year. Among the innovations introduced on that occasion, there were the Double Valve and the Vacuum Rotary Valve. We aim at creating brand awareness by promoting our products with style and taste of design.

PCN Europe: How was the "The Tree of Solutions" idea born? What feedback did you receive on it?

Mr. Lardieri: We created "The Tree of Solutions" with the aim to be consistent with CO.RA's style and philosophy. We always try to amaze and to catch our clients' attention with something different and refined. We developed this tree in order to easily represent our whole product range and we decided to combine different technologies - mechanical, chemical and information technology - together. We noticed that this invention attracted the visitors' interest during ACHEMA, because we have been able to present our products while involving the clients by inviting them to play with different types of technologies. In just a few minutes, the client had the chance to see our whole production without getting bored.

PCN Europe: What does ACHEMA represent to you and what is the added value this fair can bring to your company?

Mr. Lardieri: For us, ACHEMA has always represented the significant opportunity to introduce on the international market the whole range of CO.RA's products and innovations, but above all it is a chance to introduce our company to OEM companies. If an important manufacturer uses our products, it is apparent that we have a double-income: firstly, because the OEM factory will install our products on each machine; and secondly because these machines are sold to the final customer. ACHEMA also represents a unique opportunity to gather together with our agents, distributors and partners. We also meet the engineering companies at ACHEMA, but most important are the final consumers, so in our case the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industries. Unfortunately, these sectors were a bit absent during the last edition of the fair.

PCN Europe: Companies nowadays must be able to offer complete solutions, following the client very closely in the after-sales. How do you manage the after-sales phase?

Mr. Lardieri: After-sales is our strength: We believe that acting fast to solve clients' problems means earning prestige and respect. For this reason, we are organized internally with a Customer Facing and a Sales Department that work side by side to immediately intervene and assist the client in the after-sales. We usually step in with our technicians and engineers, always with the support of the local agent, if it is necessary. That's because it is important to give the customer the impression of being assisted and placed at the center of our attention, even if it is only for a replacement drum.

PCN Europe: One of your last innovations is the Duk System, engineered for an important Italian pharmaceutical company. Could you tell us something about this system and any possible feedback from the companies where it is in use?

Mr. Lardieri: The Duk is a drum lifting and positioning system. Designing this product, we have been able to combine different needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Obviously, there are many mechanical lifts on the market, but sometimes operators need a small, flexible system, easy to handle and move. Also, we developed the Duk entirely in stainless steel AISI 304 and we can also make it in stainless steel AISI 316, depending on client's needs. It can be moved from one floor surface to another as it can go into lifts and through doors, so the system can easily carry drums within the different departments. It is small and rugged: It can lift up to 200-300kg at a height of 3m maximum, even if it is 1.90m high. We made the Duk with the correct width that makes it possible to carry it through a door of 80cm and we did this to satisfy the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. We decided to create this mechanical instrument with no electrical parts so it can be used also during emergencies: There's no need of wiring, pneumatic and electric drive, it has been engineered to be moved manually. And above all, today's regulations forbid a single person to lift more than 25 kg manually, so using the Duk the operator can lift 20, 30 or 50 kg at 2 or 2,5 m high without the help of another person. We received extremely positive feedback from our customers, and considering we produced about 500 Duk Systems in a year, the results have been really exciting so far.

PCN Europe: What is the company's vision for the future?

Mr. Lardieri: In the coming years, CO.RA wants to specialize more and more in developing concrete solutions in the same fashion as the ones previously described. Ten years ago, we created the Technology Center. We built this state-of-the-art center to let our customers see the prototypes we are developing. We would like to enhance this Technology Center and make it suitable to their needs. The other aspect we want is to get the client to see first-hand is how we produce our products, since we manufacture every component internally, in particular gaskets and elastomer components inside our clean room. We want to promote our company's features and unique characteristics more strongly, to let people experience with their own eyes the groundbreaking work done at CO.RA