Sargomma Srl Società Benefit is specialized in the design, development and production of rubber and plastic components. As a “Benefit Company”, the company commits to integrate sustainability, talent and territory development into their strategy. Sargomma’s strategy is also focused on product quality and customer care, and they work closely with the manufacturers to co-create tailor made rubber and plastic solutions with a wide and innovative expertise in materials and manufacturing techniques. Interview with Brigitte Sardo, General Manager at Sargomma. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Brigitte Sardo: We mainly operate in the automotive, agriculture, earth-moving and nautical sectors, with a growing and varied machinery asset. With more than 40 years of experience, we export 1/3 of our production worldwide and collaborate with important partners in the EU. E.E: What’s the news about new products? B.S: We are a manufacturing B2B company working according to our customers’ specifications and drawings. Our innovation is currently more focused on materials and productive technologies rather than on the product itself. The advent of electric engines, while determining lower CO2 emissions during the use-phase (expected decrease from 80% to less than 40% by 2040), will proportionally increase the relevance of the CO2 footprint of the vehicle’s production process and, consequently, of the actions and impact of all the components’ manufacturers, such as Sargomma. This is the reason why, thanks to our R&D and Logistics Operation department, we are trying to make processes more efficient, fast and therefore sustainable (e.g. where possible, we choose the less polluting manufacturing technology or the one that generates less waste). At the same time, at a material level we are studying the possibility of using “recycled” rubber compounds and bioplastics inside our traditional production. E.E: What are the ranges of products? B.S: We combine multiple technologies to create hybrid, complex and assembled rubber and plastic components, and we are experts in: Moulding and co-mouldingDie cutting and water jet cuttingExtrusion and pre-formingRapid prototyping E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? B.S: The market of rubber and plastic components for the earth moving and automotive sector is an almost saturated one, rich in high-level competitors, especially in best cost countries. Just to give an order of magnitude, between 2011 and 2020, the market size of the Chinese synthetic rubber manufacturing market (the market leader) grew from 16.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2011 to a peak of 30.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. In 2021, the industry is projected to have a market value of 31.7 billion U.S. dollars. Despite this, Sargomma can rely on its expertise, a high-quality production, specialization in small series as well as innovative R&D projects, which have determined a turnover increase even in the last two difficult years. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? B.S: During the last 3 years, we have seen a growth in the request for conductive rubber and silicone components, according to the growth of the e-engines market. At the same time, our customers are becoming more and more aware of environmental topics and consequently they ask for lower-impact materials and processes. Another interesting trend can be found in the requests for faster solutions to ensure continuity in the production. This trend is mainly due to the raw-materials crisis that has developed during and after the Covid-19 pandemic and that has determined longer lead-time for components and semi-finished products, which led to a new interest for local suppliers in order to shorten the supply chain. Anyway, we strongly believe that great opportunities can arise from the crisis if one is able to seize them and keep up with the demands of a global market, such as the one in which Sargomma operates. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? B.S: Being a B2B manufacturing company working according to our customers’ specifications and drawings, our contribution to innovation is more related to materials’ and production technologies’ selection in a constant co-design activity with our customers. We always maintain a proactive attitude in our work. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? B.S: With the acquisition of 11.300 sqm in the former Pininfarina plant in 2021, Sargomma aims at unifying its product lines under the same roof with the goal of increasing its market competitiveness and entering innovative & sustainable sectors with a diversification process in fields such as food and interior design. The plant and the office buildings are currently under remodeling, with the introduction of a lean production layout and an integrated supply chain approach.