Piovan opens new North America HQ, prepares for stock offering

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Photo by Caroline Seidel The old, left, and new Easytherm from Piovan at Fakuma 2018 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Just prior to Fakuma, Universal Dynamics Inc., part of global auxiliary equipment company Piovan SpA, completed its move into a new headquarters in Fredericksburg, Va.

The move more than doubles the company's production capacity in North America and allows it to start making some products locally that it has been importing from Europe or Brazil.

"We're now much more aggressive about selling our product. Everybody has been invigorated," Piovan Chief Marketing Officer Giorgio Santella said. "It is a very clear strategy: producing locally for the local market."

Meanwhile, Piovan is planning an initial public offering, a first for the 84-year-old privately held company.

"The listing will allow us to continue our growth," Santella said. The company is owned by President and CEO Nicola Piovan.

Piovan, which is based in Santa Maria di Salva, Italy, announced plans for the IPO on the Milan stock exchange on Sept. 24. The company plans to sell 30-35 percent of its capital through a private placement to investors in Italy and institutional investors abroad.

Piovan had 2017 sales of 213.3 million euros ($251 million). For the first six months of 2018, the company generated sales of 127.4 million euros ($150 million).

The company bought U.S. auxiliary maker Universal Dynamics Inc. in 2008. Piovan now has seven global manufacturing sites. Una-Dyn employs about 140 and had 2017 sales of about $57 million.

Piovan first revealed plans for the Fredericksburg move in 2016. Una-Dyn had been based near Washington, D.C., in Woodbridge, Va. But the parent company had ambitious plans for growth in North America, and that location had drawbacks.

"The old plant grew in the best possible way it could. We were limited by space ​ and also by the design of those buildings," Santella said.

The massive factory floor in Fredericksburg was designed with lean techniques to maximize efficiency.

"All of the best practices from the existing locations of Piovan in Italy, in Germany, in Brazil and in China have all been implemented here," Santella said.

"Why did we move? We were constrained by production capabilities in terms of volume," said Una-Dyn President Bill Goldfarb. "The industry [was demanding] more than we could produce. We actually had to turn orders away."

Una-Dyn doesn't stock standard products, and response times for some products had been as high as 20 weeks. Now lead times start at six weeks, "and we can accomplish two weeks very easily," Santella said.

Una-Dyn now has space to make blenders in the United States, including Piovan's Quantum series, and an expanded range of dryers. The plant also added production of shredders, granulators and process water equipment to its range of products.

Goldfarb called the project "Industrialization for U.S. consumption of Piovan products."

At Fakuma, the company is talking about its wide range of auxiliary equipment, including storage, conveying, blending, drying and size-reduction equipment, along with supervisory software solutions made with Industry 4.0 capability.

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