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Roberto Boccalini interview

This time we go for a chat directly in Omag’s production area, on the machine. Roberto is involved in the testing of packaging machines and performing installation at customer sites, both in Italy and abroad. It’s a dynamic job, one that requires you to always be ready to go if the customer needs you. But it’s also a role that always presents you with new challenges. We talk about it with Roberto.

Name: Roberto Boccalini

Class: 1987

Origin: Gabicce Mare

Passionate about water sports. Loves lasagna and is slightly superstitious.

Roberto, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you come to Omag?

As a child (I was no more than 3-4 years old), I looked forward to Saturday afternoons to spend some time with my dad and uncle. My family had a company that manufactured woodworking machinery, just across the street from the historic Omag headquarters in Gabicce Mare, where the machine workshop is today.

And so Saturday afternoons I would spend with them, I liked to observe and imitate what they were doing. I would wander around welding machines, grinders, drills…I was very curious about them. I would observe and study the movements of the various operators because the imperative was «just look, don’t touch!»

When I finally graduated as a mechanical expert, I officially joined the company, starting first in the carpentry department and then moving on to machine assembly and finally installing machines from end customers.

My father always tried to teach me as much as he could, so he often took me with him during meetings and sales negotiations. These occasions made me realize how important it is to establish a relationship of trust with the customer based on partnership. Which is then a lesson I have found again here in Omag years later; the sale is only the first step in the relationship you establish with the customer, which lasts for years.

At some point the family business closed, and joining Omag was quite natural for me. Having always seen the company across the street from mine, it didn’t feel like I was leaving one family to join another. I saw the evolution of the company over the years, followed its path, and so it immediately felt like a home-like environment, as if I hadn’t changed families but as if I was expanding my own.

I’ve always wondered what was in those big wooden crates coming out of the factory across the street, and I finally got te chance to find out.

Roberto Boccalini

From the day you discovered the contents of the wooden crates to today, six years have passed. What are you involved in? Do you enjoy it?

Today I am part of the testing area.

After an initial period spent in the assembly department, where I learned how to assemble the various assemblies that go into packaging machines, I moved on to the testing department, where the machines come to life.

I started by testing and installing from various customers first simpler stand-alone packaging machines until today, where I am in charge of installing prototype machines and lines. Sometimes real challenges, but that’s the beauty of it!

What I like is that there is a lot of communication and mutual listening between the various departments, especially between ours and the machanical engineering department. Since I often deal with the testing of prototypes, I have the habit of writing down (strictly by hand) reports and possible improvements to be applied on the packaging machine so that I can give input to those in charge of design. Thanks to this continuous feedback it often happens that very few months later I find the requested modification applied on the packaging machine, just as it happened to me today.

 

Tell us about some particular projects you’ve pursued. Do you have a favorite one?

I often deal with pioneering projects so each one in its own way has stuck with me. I worked on the testing of the first line with forming and closing machine totally made in Omag, our first approach to secondary packaging. But also to the development of horizontal packaging machines with the integration of the zipper closure. And again to a line composed of several robots for a large international customer, an application that had never been seen before.

Here, perhaps the latter is one of the projects that has stuck with me the most: a new and very special project, a challenge entrusted to me and brought home successfully, so much so that the customer is considering buying a second identical line!

Future plans?

Who can tell? It may happen that we have to pack a backpack on the fly and leave the next day.

No, seriously: unforeseen events aside, which we always try to handle as quickly and efficiently as possible, there are many activities scheduled. Starting with major FAT and SATs already scheduled for the coming months to new prototype developments already on the calendar.

I would like to have more and more time to devote to training the new guys. Because every packaging machine is different, I am a big believer in training and try as much as possible to pass on my know-how to newcomers as well so that they can acquire the skills to do their jobs better. I think time «spent» teaching is never time wasted, just like my dad used to do with me.

I like to think of my role as constantly evolving, as in a real family: first you are a son, then you become a father, and then again a grandfather.

Roberto Boccalini

We would like to thank Roberto for taking the time to explain more about his work. We look forward to seeing you very soon with the next interview.

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