Pierluigi Vanzetti is foremost an engineer and initially started out in the automotive industry in northern Italy. He became interested in the industrial gas business from an engineering perspective and at the age of 27, established Vanzetti Engineering in a small town called Moretta.

According to Mr Vanzetti, the business started off from the design and manufacturing of CO2 transfer pumps. He said: \\$quot;It was my business 'spirit' that pushed me to establish the company on my own in the first instance. I understood the Italian market and the unsatisfied demand for this product.\\$quot;

Vanzetti Engineering has become one of the town's most notable industrial employers but is still a family run gas equipment manufacturer and 50-year old Pierluigi Vanzetti heads this up as chairman and CEO with a work force of 40.

In the following years the company started expanding its product and model range and entered the fire-fighting equipment market. Vanzetti continued: \\$quot;We started manufacturing units to refill fire extinguishers as well as to test and undertake maintenance of cylinders and extinguishers. However, one of our main product lines has always remained CO2 transfer and filling pumps and associated equipment.\\$quot;

Towards the end of the 1980's Vanzetti realised that the multinational companies were looking into other technologies. \\$quot;I travelled around Italy and the rest of Europe in order to understand the specific needs of the larger industrial gas companies and spotted the opportunity to develop industrial gas filling processes using palletised cylinders. The first real milestone was eventually achieved in 1987 when we installed a complete filling station for Adria, based in Italy.\\$quot;

Multiple cylinder filling units///

International growth through major gas giants

Vanzetti Engineering, which was established in 1983, has rapidly grown to become one of the leading manufacturers of cryogenic pumps and equipment in Europe. Through its three main subsidiaries \\$quot;“ Vanzetti America, Vanzetti Germany and Vanzetti Engineering Service \\$quot;“ the company has been reporting a steady growth of about five per cent per year. However, Vanzetti expects the growth to be greater this year due to its investments in South America.

When asked the reasons for the success, Vanzetti pinpoints his active involvement in the day to day running of the company and constant investments in human resources and capital. \\$quot;I support my staff but I also vigorously visit our key customers and have a presence in the most important international trade shows and exhibitions.\\$quot; In addition, the company has also grown through product development and acquisition of technology.

He continued: \\$quot;In 2004, we realised it was important to not only develop technology but also acquire good or leading edge companies to enhance our portfolio and so we acquired for example F-Tech, a Swiss based company engaged in the design, production and service of cryogenic pumps. This enabled us to obtain the technology and know-how to produce cryogenic centrifugal and reciprocating pumps. Now the manufacturing of cryogenic pumps is carried out completely in Italy and the product completes our filling station range perfectly.\\$quot;

Primarily, Vanzetti Engineering\\$quot;s growth came within the Italian borders. Over the past few years Vanzetti Engineering has, however, become well known internationally through building good relationships with the major gas companies such as Air Liquide, Air Products, Praxair, Messer, Linde Gas and BOC. This has helped Vanzetti Engineering to establish contacts with their subsidiaries around the world.

\\$quot;After Italy, we focused on France, Spain, Greece and more recently on the North American and the Middle Eastern markets. Today, 60 per cent of our production is exported to these countries and regions and we have even taken orders from the fast growing Far Eastern markets. Our latest excursion is South America,\\$quot; he explained.

Mobile filling station with fixed tank///

A new focus for Vanzetti Engineering

The reorganisation gives priority to \\$quot;internationalisation\\$quot; of the company, high quality and product safety.

The industrial gas market, involving both gas and equipment companies, has been facing a number of challenges in the market over the past few years and Vanzetti Engineering has had to respond to these. The 26-year-old company is currently going through a major internal reorganisation involving both the structure of the company and so called \\$quot;˜product philosophy\\$quot;.

Vanzetti explained: \\$quot;The mission of the new Vanzetti Engineering is to strengthen products in terms of a wider range but also by supplying customers with products featuring higher functionalities due to ever increasing costs associated with servicing products. Our products also need to be stronger in terms of quality and safety.

\\$quot;The main change, however, is the establishment of a new business unit, Vanzetti Engineering Fire and Testing Department. This branch is completely independent of the rest of the company\\$quot;s activity and business units and will have its own dedicated staff and responsibilities.

\\$quot;In this way the company\\$quot;s core business will be solely focused on design and manufacturing of industrial gas equipment and LNG systems.\\$quot;

First in South America

Pierluigi Vanzetti considers the European market buoyant but competitive. To keep ahead of the game, Vanzetti Engineering is driven to undertake more research and develop in new technologies. The company is also seeking new challenges in other regions \\$quot;“ notably in South America.

\\$quot;Our main competitors \\$quot;“ Cryostar, Cryomec and ACD have already gone abroad to develop foreign markets, however, non of them have established a production plant in South America.

\\$quot;South America, especially Brazil, is a growing market and a big challenge for us. We have made a massive effort in the creation of Vanzetti America in order to take advantage of the big opportunities in this region.\\$quot;

Vanzetti further explained: \\$quot;At the moment there are no competitors production sites in the region and we are going to be the first one. We recently opened a new office in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which is managed by the local staff.\\$quot;

Naturally Vanzetti Engineering finds central Europe interesting and the company has agents developing commercial contacts and distributors reselling its equipment there. Far East is also of interest to the company but as this market is growing rapidly and the competition is stronger, Vanzetti fears for the local manufacturers\\$quot; attempt of potentially trying to copy and re-produce its equipment.

Ever closer liaison with the majors

The immediate future for Vanzetti Engineering, as we have heard is finalising a major reorganisation within the company but Vanzetti says that the company will continue to develop closer links with the major gas companies as their needs are always changing.

\\$quot;In the past, gas companies used to have internal engineers and technicians who managed the installations of equipment and adapted it to the company\\$quot;s requirements. The companies are changing and some of these international groups are outsourcing such services. In this way \\$quot;˜supply of services\\$quot; has to be even more complete and complex and we are optimising this offering to customers.

\\$quot;Also I have noticed that complete equipment solutions and systems are sought after more often. Therefore we are going to be offering compact \\$quot;˜machines\\$quot; to do the filling of industrial gases.\\$quot;

However, while Vanzetti Engineering courts the major gas companies, which is where the company attains most of its business, the company considers the smaller gas company with equal importance as these companies are also trying to improve and develop their businesses to compete against the majors and must reach the same levels of technology and safety to do so on equal terms.

General thoughts about the industry

\\$quot;Our industry is very safety conscious and that applies right across the board from small companies through to the multi-nationals. Engineering and equipment companies such as Vanzetti Engineering cannot forget the importance of safety in the work place and at their customer\\$quot;s sites and we are pleased that the world is beginning to harmonise standards across the regions. It will take time but it is moving in the right direction.

\\$quot;In general the growth in Western Europe is slow, especially compared to Eastern Europe and Far East. In these two areas there are good opportunities for equipment manufacturers such as Vanzetti Engineering,\\$quot; says the 50-year old engineer from Moretta.