Venerable manufacturer prides itself on full control of motor, gearbox and brakes, with high flexibility and traceability.
by Lee Freeland
Alberto Sassi S.p.A. has been manufacturing traction systems for lifts in Bologna since 1946. When ELEVATOR WORLD’s T. Bruce MacKinnon visited the company earlier this year, Veronica Franzoni, owner and marketing & communication manager, explained:
“My grandfather was Alberto Sassi. He started in his house following the complete destruction of World War II with a machine to make glass. He then got a contract to make models for lifts. It was a very strange thing for that period, but I think it was a successful idea. He built and then enlarged the building over time. Our facilities for in-house, large-scale machining and other elements of production now encompass four blocks. Our mission is to bring everything in-house and to complete all the parts for both geared and gearless motors inside, so we invested money in machine centers to make brakes and all related components here. We are grateful my grandfather decided to continue manufacturing so many elevator components, then reinvest in the company. It has become a family tradition that we try to continue in the best way. We believe in this company and will try our best to see it continue to grow.”
When the company began manufacturing electric motors in 1965, it was the only one of its kind in Europe. By 1982, when it opened a 30-m-tall test tower, it had become a world leader in its field. Export Manager Francesco Zenoni added:
“About 15 years ago, we began producing gearless. Over time, the gearless became more popular. We employ more electrical engineers than mechanics now. Twenty years ago, we began manufacturing disc brakes for safety brakes and gears. We are still one of the only companies that produces brakes for both geared and gearless machines. Everybody knows that if you buy a gearless brake from Sassi, you can come back here to get answers on and support for it.”
Alberto Sassi acquired Gibierre S.r.l to also manufacture all the electrical motors the former produced. As the new millennium dawned, it proved to be a momentous time for Alberto Sassi, as it streamlined its management structure into the overall Sassi Holding, which separated Alberto Sassi (production and sales activities) from the real estate and investment operation. Sassi Holding also includes lift gearbox manufacturer/supplier Alberto Sassi Spain in Guarnizo, Spain; SLS Sassi Lift Systems Ltd. (formerly Liftmaterial (GB), Ltd.), a U.K. trading company; and elevator electronic component manufacturer/supplier SMS – Sistemi e Microsistemi SRL, also in Bologna. The next year, it acquired FAYMESA S.L. (now ALBERTO SASSI ESPANA SL), a Spanish company specializing in the manufacture of gearboxes for lifts.
Alberto Sassi’s foray into the gearless market began in 2004 with models totally designed and produced in-house.
The line grew to several models for a variety of applications, all focusing on lightness, noiselessness and high energy efficiency.
In 2006, it built new adjacent industrial premises and fully incorporated Gibierre.
The company is still one of the world’s largest manufacturers of geared and gearless motors for lifts, producing nearly 30,000 a year. It employs 170 in four production areas encompassing 18,000 m2: one for offices and assembly, one for shipping, one for machine tools and the most recent (built in 2016) for electric motor production. Many of the lifts it began producing nearly 70 years ago still run.
Alberto Sassi has a specialist laboratory to analyze samples of raw materials received from suppliers before using them, and advanced robots help give it the agility to design solutions on demand for many applications. This is also accompanied by a constant commitment to the training of technicians and workers. The company strives to play the role of partner to its customers and is able to support in presales and post-sales phases, and even the regulatory front, where it offers added value in the institutional offices and industry associations.