Continuous innovation since 1919

From a small mechanical workshop to a global player in industrial plant engineering

SACMI was founded in 1919 by the courage and determination of 9 people who shared an ideal: improving living conditions through work.

With a share capital of 4,500 Italian lire (today just over 2 euros) and a staff of 9 people, including mechanics and blacksmiths, in 1919 the “Società Anonima Cooperativa Meccanici Imola” embarked on the path that, through a strong push towards the internationalization of the markets and a constant process of innovation and production differentiation, would take it among the world leaders in industrial plant engineering. 

Early years


Founded in the aftermath of the First World War, in an extremely difficult phase for the Italian economy and society, SACMI initially concentrated on the mechanical repair of “locomotives, threshing machines, agricultural and wine-making machines”, expanding its business during the 1920s to other carpentry works and getting to produce, already in the mid 1930s, the first machines under its own brand (an automatic cleaning-sorting machine for oranges).

War and Liberation


The years of the war saw SACMI – like other Italian companies – engaged in the production of war material, an activity that contributes to raising the production standards and skills of the personnel employed. After the Liberation of the city of Imola – on 14 April 1945 – production resumed: the first prototype of a friction press for ceramics with manual controls, made directly in SACMI, dates back to this period. 

Boom years


In the new SACMI headquarters in Viale De Amicis, the machines were started up in early January 1949. Between 1949 and 1951 the first complete prototype of a press for crown caps is made, while in the ceramic sector, in addition to the continuous press improvement, other machines for the complete control of the production cycle were built, such as drum mills, the first enamellers, deburring belts and moulds. A more rational arrangement and the addition of other equipment allowed SACMI to increase the skills already acquired in the development of ceramic presses, starting to apply the first concepts that would lead, in a few years, to their complete automation. 

As early as the 1950s, the two main lines of SACMI development began to emerge clearly, alongside the rising Italian industrial districts of ceramics and packaging. 

The race towards foreign markets


A strong policy of expansion beyond national borders characterised the 1960s and 1970s, through the strengthening of exports, the acquisition of companies and business units and the establishment of new subsidiaries. In 1963, the SACMI Cooperative purchased a 4 hectare plot of land in via Selice Provinciale in Imola. The new headquarters, inaugurated 4 years later, still houses the headquarters of the parent company. Towards the end of the 1970s, SACMI exports reached 80 countries around the world. It was precisely from foreign markets that SACMI came to position itself more and more not only as a supplier of “stand-alone” machines but also, and above all, as a complete plant engineering company: it was at this stage that radical innovations for the ceramic process, such as the development of the first mills for continuous grinding, came to light.

The SACMI Research Center and entry into new businesses


1989 was a key year for SACMI: at the end of a decade of continuous expansion on the domestic and foreign markets, the Cooperative opened its own Research Centre in Imola with physical and chemical laboratories, technological laboratories for packaging, experimental departments for testing prototypes and a specific pilot plant for ceramics. During the 1990s, the Centre's laboratories were the site of the creation of the CCM prototype (continuous compression moulding), an extremely innovative technology in the plastic caps sector that SACMI would have used as a model all over the world. Between the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, the establishment of new companies (SACMI Labelling, Filling) and the definitive consolidation of CCM technology marked the Group's entry into the beverage sector. With the acquisition of Sama, Laeis and Riedhammer, SACMI also grows in Sanitaryware and enters the business of Refractories and Tableware.

The new millennium and the race towards the centenary


Since the mid-2000's, the search for increasingly high-performance technological and plant solutions has been accompanied by the need to develop production processes that are less energy-intensive and more respectful of the environment. The SACMI H.E.R.O. project (High Efficiency Resource Optimizer) is born in this context to reduce consumption and increase efficiency on the whole range of machines, starting from the furnaces (EKO line). The decade then marked a further expansion of SACMI's business, first in the Food-Chocolate sector (with Carle&Montanari, a company with over a century of history already acquired in 2002 and, subsequently, OPM and FIMA) and then in the Metals sector (cookware, metal forming, powder metals). As far as Ceramics is concerned, which remains the Group's largest and most important business, SACMI is developing increasingly powerful and high-performance presses and is launching Continua technology (from 2014 Continua+), a revolution in the way of producing large decorated ceramic slabs.



Thanks to its extensive know-how in machines and plants, SACMI had already developed the first line supervisor concept in the 1980s. For this reason, the company was particularly ready to intercept and relaunch the new opportunities of Industry 4.0. Developing, on the one hand, SACMI H.E.R.E. (Human Expertise for Reactive Engineering), the platform designed to implement services and solutions for monitoring, maintenance and predictive diagnostics. On the other hand, by putting in place a cultural and organisational transformation that has seen, among other things, the implementation of a new model of governance, the establishment of a new Customer Service Division, a decisive investment in Human Resources that also involves the creation of new research facilities, such as SACMI Innovation Lab. Also in recent years, then, strategic acquisitions continue, from Defranceschi (historical Italian protagonist in technologies for wine cellars) to Eurofilter (filtering and purification systems). Number one in the world in supplies for the ceramic industry, SACMI has recently launched Deep Digital on the market, the new frontier of digital ceramic decoration, which joins the new 4.0 management systems of production flows and warehouse.

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