One September, Carbis Loadtec welcomed two engineers from a well-known pharmaceutical brand to their Italian factory for a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for two stainless steel pneumatic top loading arms, two stainless steel bottom loading arms and four folding stairs.
The visit was scheduled to last one day (an afternoon and the following morning) which would give enough time for any demonstrations and observations to be undertaken..
Flights from Dublin to Bologna are not that frequent. So, unfortunately, the engineers had to stay in historic sunny Bologna for an extra two nights.
The FAT itself went very smoothly. A full set of certificates and documentation was made available at the test and all parties were very pleased with the results.
The issue then arose that we had two days to kill in Bologna before the flights home.
What could three engineers possibly find to do in a sleepy, arable farming region hemmed in by the Apennine mountains to the south and an endless patchwork of fields stretching all the way to Milan in the north?
Well, we had a plan for that contingency. Something that would appeal to the engineer in everyone.
The first stop, after an evening sampling the best regional food and wine that Bologna had to offer, was the the Righini Museum. Hidden in a castle about 20 minutes away from the factory is one of the most important private car collections in the world. We had a private tour. Inside this ancient castle, amongst many others, were the first (ever) Mercedes Benz (Benz Patent-Motorwagen); the car that beat the 1924 world land speed record achieving 145.89 mph; the car belonging to the King of Italy; the first ever car built by Ferrari which is one of two (the other one was destroyed in a crash decades ago) and sat in a corner, Mussolini’s convertible. The cars housed here are a fraction of what the humble and approachable Sig Righini owns and looks after. It was an honour and a privilege to visit these caverns of the rarest cars. Before too long it was time to move on, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we were in a reflective mood after what amounted to being the industrial design equivalent of a religious experience.
After another lunch experiencing more regional cuisine we set off for the Lamborghini Factory. If the Righini Collection was the entire automotive history of the previous century, the Lamborghini factory was the future. After a tour around the museum, gawping at the real life cars that shaped the imagination of teenage boys since the 1960’s, we were given a private tour of the Aventador production line. 2.4 cars are produced every day so the production staff have time to get it right. The tour guide told us “we don’t rush, we make them perfect.” All around us were components that individually cost more than a regular car, waiting to be expertly assembled into their luxurious new form.
The mentality of perfection, attention to detail and pride in their work is something that the engineering community shares in the region and our factory is placed centrally in the triangle formed by Ducati, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Maserati and Pagani. It's in what they do and how they think. There are worse places to have a manufacturing facility.
That evening was spent strolling around the city. Bologna is a stunning place. It isn’t the first Italian city people name when reeling off their bucket list destinations, but it deserves to be.
This blog piece was written by Robert Keeler, a Carbis Loadtec Regional Sales Manager.