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Meet the new Petroncini.

This spring the old Petroncini plant location in the heart of Bologna will fall silent; after almost. three-quarters of a century the seemingly endless parade of new coffee roasters will come to a halt. At the same time, the new Petroncini, several kilometers distant, and even further away in spirit and potential, will begin another era in service to coffee.

As dramatic as the change will be for Petroncini, it is actually but yet another phase of a process that began almost two years ago when the company joined Italy's PLANT Group. Few could know more of this than Federica Biondini, company president. She has been instrumental in the metamorphosis of Petroncini from a typical small family-owned Italian company, with a tradition for dependability in a limited range of coffee roasters, into an affliate of one of Europe's rising Groups, energized by large resources and technical support and with the ability to service the entire spectrum of shop and industrial coffee processing needs.

Those who witnessed the first public display of the new Petroncini continuous batch roaster (250 kg/hr) and new roller grinder at the Milan coffee salon last October got a good glimpse of what Petroncini can now offer in technological power. To be blunt, the new Petroncini has enviable R&D muscle, and the Eagerness to employ it for coffee.

The company was founded by Biondini's uncle in 1919; she herself has been in management for the past 12 year. Until the merger with Plant Group, the company was operating in extremely cramped quarters--hardly more than a large workshop--and was confined by limited resources to an emphasis on medium to small-size roasting units. In the late 80's for example, the company began producing the Crumb, an elegant small shop roaster in one kilo to 2.5 kg range. The continuing success of the Crumb is such that to date more than 200 units have already been sold outside of Italy.

However, following Biondini's sale of the controlling interest in Petroncini to Plant Group in 1990 whichin turn is a subsidiary of TBE, the company has concentrated on adding a new expertise in large scale industrial coffee processing--siloing, blending, conveying, and roasting technologies. The resulting enlarged machine and integrated systems range means that Petroncini can now handle all coffee processing phases from arrival of the green beans at plant through to delivering the roasted ground coffee to the packaging unit.

The swift development of Petroncini into a company with specialties and exciting ideas in both large and small coffee process is made particularly credible due to the strength and reputation of sister companies within the Group--most notably of Govoni S.p.A. Govoni's leadership role in engineering and research and development, in plastic, food, chemistry industries, is an invaluable resource to Petroncini. The move this spring brings Petroncini not only to a large new facility, but one in close proximity to Govoni's hi-tech campus-like cluster of R&D buildings where coffee research is now an ongoing responsibility in million dollar labs. Plant Group gathers 12 companies with specialties in designing and manufacturing equipment for the food, chemical and packaging industries.

As Biondini explains, it was the allure of this strength in engineering and technical support that drew Petroncini into the Group, more so even than the fact the Group has its own worldwide commercial network. Petroncini now has immediate presence through Group offices and subsidiaries in such diverse locals as Isle de France, Moscow and Oilville, Virginia. The Plant Group manager responsible for Petroncini external commercial development is Silvio Bertolotti, while Ing. Claudio Giberti is the managing director of the new Petroncini.

Petroncini is market leader in coffee processing machinery in Italy, and is rapidly expanding abroad. Last year, due in part to the large turkey project realized by Petroncini for COEXCAFE LTDA in Colombia, more than 50% of turnover came from outside Italy. It is for growth that Petroncini has joined the Plant Group, for growth too that is moving from Bologna to San Agostino, in the Ferrara region. The San Agostino facility gives Petroncini about 7,500 sq meters in height to accommodate silo construction and testing. From here, that long Petroncini parade of machinery and systems for the coffee industry will be fully able to pick up its pace once more and proceed on its way in style.
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Title Annotation:Italy's coffee maker company
Author:Bell, Jonathan
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1992
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