Cimolai represents a group, led by Mr Luigi Cimolai, that has diversified its activities in the field of Industrial, Civil, Military, Naval and Oil & Gas engineering, employing more than 3,000 people including executives, clerks and workers, and that also operates in the field of plant engineering, curtain walls, specialised roofing and high technology machines for the transport and lifting of extraordinary constructions.

Interview with Simone Zanetti, Sales Manager Pipes Division at Cimolai Spa.

Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities.

Simone Zanetti: The group is constantly looking to the future, able to offer innovative tailor-made solutions with a flexible and dynamic structure able to meet any challenge that the market presents, also thanks to important investments and the continuous training of its technicians.

There are many works that make the Cimolai name great; among the most important are the luice gates of the New Panama Canal and the new Terminal at Fiumicino Airport in Rome. Cimolai also operates overseas where in New York we find the WTC Transport Hub, Tower A, the Shed, the Vessel and the Perelman Art Center.  Some of the more prominent stadiums worked on by the company include the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the Olympic Stadium in Athens, the Dynamo stadium in Moscow, the coverage of the central court of the Roland Garros stadium in Paris and the Al Bayt stadium in Qatar which will host the 2022 World Cup.

It is not only the stadiums that characterise the company’s activities but also its infrastructures, true works of art such as the mobile bridge in Bordeaux which possesses a central span that can rise more than 40 m to allow ships to pass through, and the viaducts in Reggio Emilia designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava, with whom there is a prolific collaboration such as in the recent construction of the Crati bridge in Cosenza. 

Among the most complex projects ever undertaken is the construction of the ELT (Extremely Large Telescope), the largest telescope in the world, with a primary mirror 39 metres in diameter, which will be located in the Atacama Desert in Chile. Finally, the company has cultivated a strong link with the shipbuilding market, acquiring several cruise ship hulls (such as the Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, already completed, or the upcoming Seabourn Venture, which will be launched in the Atacama Desert in Chile).

E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

S.Z: Cimolai is a Private Company operating worldwide in the design, supply and erection of complex steel structures for many sectors including Civil application, Sustainable Energy and Oil&Gas industries, these being either commodities (i.e. pipes, plate girders) or complete assemblies for On-Offshore uses.

The Company specializes in the study of dedicated design solutions, Building Information Modelling management and interfaces, definition of design detailing, fatigue verification, analysis of special transportation/handling systems, definition of erection methods. 

Cimolai’s experience drives the projects to cost-effective solutions, both in terms of production and erection. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products? What are the ranges of products?

S.Z: Since 2003 Cimolai spa has equipped itself with its own pipes factory to meet the increasing demand of carbon steel pipes for its international structural projects. Specifically, at that time, Cimolai was involved in the construction of the Athens Olympic stadium for the Olympic games of 2004 and the vision of Mr Luigi Cimolai to maximize the internal production chain and to minimize as much as possible the dependence to external suppliers was the keystone for this step of investment. Thanks to the competent, constant and valuable work and passion of Mr Carmelo Bottecchia, the current CEO of Cimolai, and his team, step by step and year by year the production of Longitudinal Submerged Welded (LSAW) carbon steel pipes started on 2003 mainly for internal projects begun to have its own life as commodity for the international market of structures, oil&gas, process equipment achieving the main international standard and accreditation like EN 10219, EN 1090, DNV-GL-OS-C401, Norsok M101, EN 10225, API 2B, EEMUA 158, API 5L, ASME codes, client project specifications.

Material yield strength from 275 to 830 MPa

The current production of longitudinal welded pipes embraces the following Production Dimensions:      

  • OD 18 ÷ 80 inch, 
  • WT 9,53 ÷ 90 mm 
  • single length up to 15.000 mm 
  • with an overall capability of about 25-30k tons per year of production of pipes.

The choice of the pipe mill position was also visionary. The possibility to have its own quay inside the plant is strategic for the handling and shipping of the complete assembled steel structure elements.

Regarding the civil application the trend is to review the engineering/architectural conception to minimize the ambient impacts maintaining a high level of security and granting the greater possible costs savings. Regarding the energy market, if in the recent period the discovery of deeper and deeper oil/gas fields with more acid components was suggesting to use severe sour-gas steel and cladded materials, the new frontiers of the energy market which are focused to renewable energy, Hydrogen uses, LNG and CO2 capture is changing the global strategies and approaches with effects to new engineering studies regarding the kind of steel and the commodities (pipes/PG or caissons) to be used in order to grant the highest quality and safety (especially for the Hydrogen uses) and the higher possible level of costs saving.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

S.Z: The current situation has been affected by the war in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions to Russia as many other markets. A lot of operative and active projects in the Russia have been suspended with effect to the purchasing of materials, missing the Ukrainian steel the prices of the steel increased in an unpredictable manner with relevant stops of the projects which were to be resumed after the two years of pandemic affects.  In addictions to what said on point 3&4 above, the actual studies are focused to the LNG developments and renewable sectors.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

S.Z: Regarding pipes, no special innovations have been recorded. The latest innovative pipes have been the cladded pipes.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2022?

S.Z: This is quite unpredictable. In case the prices of the steel would return to a more stable and cheaper levels and the new supply chains of raw materials in substitution of the Ukrainian sources will be consolidated there could be the possible release of some projects which were at the final stage before the Ukraine crises explosion. Of course, a big variable could be the recent effects that the costs of energy will have on the European economy and production activities and the relevant solutions that will be taken about that.