PLANT takes on SAES Getters Spa - Plant Magazine Article
Posted by Machines Italia | 21 May 2012
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The company, a Milan-based innovation think-tank that specializes in the production of components for ultra-high vacuum and gas purification applications for industrial customers invests at least 10% of its revenues in research and innovation annually, a practice it says saved the company.
In 2009, SAES Getters recorded its worst sales in the 70 year history of the company, $164 million. It attributes that rough year to changes in technologies of one of its major industrial sectors. When consumer electronics companies were producing liquid crystal displays (LCD), SAES Getters provided vaccuum sealants and ultra pure gases that kept the liquid crystals found televisions and computer monitors alive. But, when the LCD industry made the move towards organic light emitting diode displays, SAES Getters’ business sunk to virtually zero because their components were no longer necessary. When LCD was in its hay-day, SAES Getters was producing getter and metal dispensers for the flat screen and cathode ray tubes within them.
Instead of tanking, however, the company went to work and stuck to its innovation-centric practices, developing more materials, such as shape memory alloys, and entering new markets such as automotive and renewable energy. “We’re still here because of our continuous R&D and innovation practices,” says Giulio Canale, managing director of SAES Getters. It seems that practice paid off. In 2011, the company was able to rebound, earning more than $190 million thanks to its recent focus on building its shape memory alloy business.
The company, founded in 1947, now boasts an arsenal of more 300 patents. Canale says the company produces between eight and 10 inventions a year, mainly inside its 35,000 square foot corporate headquarters on the outskirts of Milan.
The tour that followed the earlier press conference during a recent visit by journalists from Canada and the US, part of a media delegation hosted by Machines Italia and the Italian Trade Commission, was truly impressive. Unfortunately, because of the uber-secretive nature of the things the company is doing inside, photos and video coverage was not allowed. And to be honest, understandably so.
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