Design of an automated sequencing conveyor and relationships of mutual trust

Metalprogetti is a leader in the design and manufacture of automated systems for the handling and storing of garments — hanging or folded — and various light-weight products. Founded in 1980, the company has grown rapidly and achieved great success throughout the world; listening to customers has been the key, guiding us toward the discovery of new solutions. In fact, this very attention to the issues inherent to individual businesses has inspired, and continues to inspire, the company to invest considerable resources in the design of automated dynamic picking systems for various items. Today, it produces around 700 systems each year, of various sizes and complexity, which are able to handle and manage millions of items.

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A revolutionary idea for hanging garments

Metalprogetti was founded in the late 1970s, when the company founder had a flash of genius during a trade show for products, services and equipment for laundries. Looking at the escalators, the first basic systems for movement and the growing attention paid to shop layout, he thought it would be possible to produce automation for the storage of hanging garments, combining aesthetic sophistication and technological development. Thanks to his technical skills in production processes and support from family members and collaborators, he invented Quick: a modern, effective system for the management of hanging garments at dry cleaners. In the first year he was able to produce 60 models; just the beginning of a great success story.

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Automation becomes fashionable

In 1985, Metalprogetti built its own production plant; in the same year, its products and services entered the fashion sector. This move inspired the company to raise the bar and, from the initial storage systems for hanging garments, it moved into automation. In the years which followed, this became the company’s core business, with increasingly sophisticated systems. This enabled it to specialize, providing solutions to automatically manage delicate work processes such as the sorting of individual garments for specific sequences from large heterogeneous sets of garments.

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Early 1990s
Textile maintenance is automated

In the early 1990s, the fields of application for Metalprogetti’s automatic systems expanded into the textile maintenance sector. The new systems optimized industrial laundries (which were able to undertake the cleaning of professional garments from hospitals, tourist facilities and industry) and dry cleaners (turning them into 24 hour-a-day operations, even running unmanned, optimizing storage capacity, batch recomposition and garment monitoring).

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The Geneva Hospital: an “ATM” for scrubs and the revolution in uniform management

The first automated uniform dispenser system was the result of a lucky coincidence. In 1996, one of the officials at Geneva University Hospital (HUG) noted one of Metalprogetti’s automatic garment pick-up systems at a laundry and imagined replicating it inside the hospital to optimize pre-shift management of work uniforms; he then contacted the company and presented the case of the Swiss hospital, clarifying its needs. At the time, Metalprogetti did not have a system ready to meet these needs; however, within a few months of working with and carefully listening to the customer, it was able to develop and install the system that HUG needed, a system that is still in operation today: the Battista 2000. Later, this system was expanded and developed into a full line of systems dedicated to on-the-job management of personal and professional clothing, called the B2K.

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Conquering the American market

The new millennium opened with a new and enormous challenge: conquering the American market. A new world where Metalprogetti systems could find large-scale buyers interested in automating garment management, increasing productivity and wisely investing their company’s economic resources. A great opportunity was represented by the Clean Show, a biennial trade fair dedicated to textile maintenance; Metalprogetti’s advanced systems aroused great interest, so much so that one potential customer, Steven Phillips, spent almost the entire three days at the Italian company’s stand and decided to purchase a system. This was the first Metalprogetti product sold in the United States, the forerunner of a solid and long-lasting international business relationship.

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Creation of Showlab

In 2011 Metalprogetti opened Showlab, an area dedicated to vendors and potential customers, where they can see all the systems in action through simulations that faithfully reconstruct the different operating contexts. The aim was to provide the most realistic demonstration possible of the impact Metalprogetti systems can have on manufacturing processes, but also to underscore the evolution of the systems designed, reflecting the progress made in corporate research and experience.

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Dynamic picking with E.Leclerc

In 2014 Metalprogetti entered a major collaboration with the large-scale French retail brand E.Leclerc. E.Leclerc is the leading drive-through supermarket chain, allowing customers to place orders on-line and find them already bagged for pick-up two hours later. In the Umbrian company, E.Leclerc found the ideal technical partner to automate item picking and thus optimize order preparation. This experience led to the creation of Trident, the exclusive horizontal rotating storage system with several independent levels, opening the way to dynamic picking.

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Efficiency is a subtle balance
between mechanical precision,
technological innovation
and human ingenuity.
Augusto Santicchi
Our customers’ success is our success
Guaranteed results
"After a long and careful analysis of the project, Metalprogetti supplied a proposal which was considered as being suitable and feasible considering the number of employees to be handled and the space available. Actually, it meant realizing a prototype of a new system"
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Our references
Leclerc 2
Lavanderia Tierre