Our company was born in 1982 by the need of our customers to get in touch with specialist suppliers, able to realize con-veyor systems used in the graphic industry.
Nowadays Solema is the leader company in industrial automation that proposes innovative machines in graphic art and paperboard converting.
All our products are studied and designed internally by our technical office. High integration allows us to use elements and components realized inside our company: the electrical devices and the software of the machines are developed by our engineers, as well as the electric power units installed on the machines.
The internal management of design, production and assembly allows us a complete control on the productive process, and the constant collaboration between the technical and the sales department guarantees solutions able to meet the industry's three crucial needs: optimize resources, optimize spaces, optimize times.
On 2002 we opened a sister Company in North America, in the Midwest (Crawfordsville, Indiana) to provide sales, installations, spare parts and services for all our North American customers.
The location has proven to be very well chosen, also in 2013 when we acquired the business unit of the company Roda manufacturing machinery for paperboard pads and partitions.
Solema USA is today the sales coordinator for the full Solema product range in the North American market for both Graphic art and Paper Board Industry.
This, in a nutshell, was our raison d'être right from the start. Along with a full range of "transport" devices in the strictest sense of the word - conveyors and curves - even the first machines were starting to be designed. Beginning with the FastBook book block feeder, our calling card throughout the world.
In binderies, machines were in fact often loaded by hand, with operators spending their entire shift inserting book blocks into the relative station. Why not automate the process? We needed to design a machine that was able to handle semi- finished books in different formats and which was flexible enough to be able to work with all types of perfect binders.
For us, being at Drupa has never been a point of question. So, while 1990 was the year we made our first appearance with a partner, "in cohabitation" so to speak, 1995 was the year we decided we wanted to stand out.
All of our increasingly sophisticated machines each made their appearance, edition after edition, at the German showcase.
So, in 1996, our designers materialised a concept... the simplicity of which was disarming: 'How can we ensure utmost freedom of movement for the forklifts in the bookbinding department?' 'Easy, by moving the transport system up to a height of 4 metres. A bit like an overpass on highways.' Saturno and Shuttle were the two machines that brought the book piles up high, onto the overhead conveyors.
The desire to identify a properly structured location dedicated entirely to production, was becoming increasingly felt and more and more pressing. In 1999, we resolved it in Torre de' Roveri, setting up our own production department. If we can call ourselves a "reactive company" today, it is no doubt also due to this moment in our history when we became independent for the production of components in iron, aluminium and PVC.
Our market, which was still in its infancy, was showing interesting margins for expansion, in both Europe and North America. These were the premises that led to the opening, in January 2002, of Solema USA, an operation propitiated by the successful collaboration with Mr. C. Scott Ellis, a then- profound connoisseur of the North American Graphic Arts market.
The overseas support quickly proved invaluable both as selling and service point and, later, as showroom.
One of the traits characterising our way of designing machinery was our utmost attention, right from the outset, to compactness, to containing the overall dimensions by limiting them to what was strictly necessary. And Pluton's compact size was no doubt one of the trump cards of this palletizer. Its remarkable flexibility of use combined with delicate product handling mechanisms has ensured its success over the years, to the point where Pluton has become the Solema machine par excellence.
Around 2010, bookbinding automation companies sought to expand their technological portfolio to also include solutions for the packaging sector.
We, in 2013, expanded our offer to include some of the most efficient paperboard processing machines, "inheriting", so to say, well-established projects.
The Packaging Line is a production philosophy dedicated to binding environments, which could not have come about in any other context. The underlying idea is that all finishing processes involved in packaging books should be moved to a second step, after their actual production.
It was no longer a question of machines, therefore, but rather how to use them in an entirely new way.
In hindsight, all of our design work over the years can be interpreted in terms of modularity, which in one way or another has always been a latent feature of our products; what were conveyors and curves if not "modules" in customised layouts?
In 2018, we built upon this design approach to connect with Uni.Co, a composable or "modular" machine dedicated to cutting and punching paperboard.
Our latest strategic choice in chronological order dates back to 2019: the integration of robotic technology into our products. We were therefore able to develop products in parallel to the existing range, and thus offer the two alternatives.
For example, for the depalletising of book pallets we had Venus, designed to work processing layers, while Alpha681 is its robotic counterpart.