You say Brugola and think of Car - FASTENER EUROPE MAGAZINE
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You say Brugola and think of Car

by Marco A. Guerritore
Editor in Chief Italian Fasteners magazine


Over the years, everything has been said and written about the Brugola Company. It’s not surprising, considering how much the company has contributed significantly to raising the profile of Italian fasteners globally.

Another distinguishing hallmark of Brugola is its development of a special screw during its initial years, one that has achieved legendary status – the iconic hexagon socket screw, famously named after its manufacturer and is still marketed as the “Brugola screw.”

Today, Brugola “O.E.B.” is a much more intricate and multifaceted entity than it was in the past, and it is constantly evolving due to forward-thinking management strategies.

To better understand the evolution of this industrial reality, it is necessary to carefully analyse the personalities of the owners and their management contributions.

It all began in 1926 when Egidio Brugola founded “O.E.B.” (Officine Egidio Brugola) to produce washers, special rings for engines and related components.

Egidio had a deep passion for mechanics, exhibiting exceptional expertise and ingenious insights in the field.

The founder’s primary focus was to define and consolidate the product range.

From 1964, the company's management gradually fell into the hands of Giannantonio Brugola, then a mere 21-year-old, who carried forward the founder’s legacy with an innovative spirit and in sync with the changing times.

The Company inherited by Giannantonio Brugola had an extensive range of products and went through a significant period of renewal, which laid the foundations for establishing a prominent presence in the automotive sector.

The definitive change in production at “O.E.B.” occurred in the 1980s when the emphasis shifted towards manufacturing special screws for the automotive industry. This strategic move enabled Brugola to gradually solidify its position as a leading manufacturer of “critical” screws for endothermic engines, seizing an opportunity offered by favourable circumstances and Giannantonio’s astute strategic vision.

The advent of robotics in automobile manufacturing heralded the “Zero Defect” concept, which ushered in an era of “total quality”. As a result, there was a need to look for new methods and technologies that would ensure maximum safety in terms of zero waste.

To solve this important and difficult problem, under Giannantonio Brugola’s guidance, the company conducted studies and research focused on sophisticated control technologies that would assess any alterations that might occur in a screw during the various manufacturing stages.

After Giannantonio passed away, his son Jody, who was still very young, took over the complete management of the family business. He was already familiar with the company because he had been working there for some time prior to this.

Jody followed his father’s manufacturing approach, consolidating the position of Brugola products in the global automotive industry and proudly maintaining their “Made in Italy” distinction, among other achievements.

With great satisfaction, he surpassed the goal of 175 million euros in turnover in 2022 and aims to push the company towards a consolidated turnover of 200 million euros.

Jody’s accomplishments also include initiating two new areas of focus: the launch of an impactful sustainability campaign and projects aimed at reducing CO2 emissions and an expansion of the company’s production area through strategic hiring to strengthen the workforce.

Jody’s dedicated efforts, leading to significant achievements, have received broad public recognition. This is highlighted by his nomination as a “Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic” at the remarkably young age of 38.

Q: President Brugola, how do you view the future of the Italian fasteners industry in this rapidly changing world?

A: A bright future lies ahead for the world of fasteners. Screws have been essential components of endothermic engines for decades and are now proving to be indispensable components of electric platforms.

This might require smaller and thinner fasteners for the new platforms.

Q: In your opinion, what implications do you foresee for the fastener industry in a scenario where the cars of tomorrow are solely electric?

A: As mentioned earlier, fasteners will remain important regardless of the type of engine, whether electric, endothermic or hybrid.

While I believe hybrid and endothermic engines will continue to be key players in the coming years, the hydrogen engine might emerge as a solution for the future of the automotive industry.

Q: Do you foresee a future for the use of critical screw technology in endothermic engines?

A: Absolutely. I believe the endothermic engine will still be around in the next few years. While we will continue manufacturing critical screws, for several years now, we have also been focusing on developing new special components for cars. This will enable us to expand our product range in order to meet evolving market demands.

Q: Will the current crisis in the German market negatively impact the Italian fastener industry?

A: Germany is certainly an important market for the automotive industry, and a downturn there could impact the entire supply chain, not just the fastener industry.

At the moment, numbers and sales remain stable. We will monitor the evolution of the sales trend, which also includes electric platforms, the only ones that are not performing as well as expected in Germany.

Q: In terms of pollution, what percentage do you realistically attribute to the industrial sector compared to the rest of the world?

A: The automotive industry contributes to 6% of global emissions. Recent advancements in electric and hybrid technologies have notably reduced pollution levels.

Q: Brugola O.E.B.’s commitment to corporate sustainability and, particularly, the problem of CO2 pollution is commendable.

What exactly is your “Forever Bambu” project?

A: The “Forever Bambù” initiative piqued my interest right away due to bamboo’s remarkable carbon dioxide absorption capacity, which is 36 times greater than that of other plants. It can also be used as a raw material in a variety of industries.

Hence, we have partnered with this European leader in the cultivation of giant bamboo to offset our company’s CO2 emissions. This activity aligns with our sustainability policies, aimed at decreasing our environmental footprint.

Q: 42,793 tonnes of fasteners were manufactured in 2022, equal to a turnover of more than € 175 million. What are the company’s goals for 2024?

A: Our goal is to achieve a 10% annual growth target by developing new products and expanding our customer base.

The target for 2024 is 46,000 tonnes.

Q: In addition to internal growth, will Brugola also adopt an acquisition strategy in the future?

A: While I am always open to future scenarios, at this time, we are not considering acquisitions as a means of growth. Personally, I lean towards maintaining a family business model since it allows us to make quick and flexible decisions.

Brugola OEB has grown significantly in recent years, partly due to the US subsidiary, and my goal is to maintain this growth trend, which requires ongoing commitment and significant investments.

Q: You plan on expanding your company’s workforce while implementing production automation. Do you foresee any conflicts between these two strategies?

A: I believe that the human element will always play a fundamental role in the manufacturing of fasteners, even as we continue to strive for new forms of automation within our industry.

I don’t believe they have to be at odds. On the contrary, automation and new technology can help to improve working conditions and increase resource efficiency.

Q: You are also the President of UPIVEB, the organisation responsible for publishing this magazine, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary in May 2024.

“Italian Fasteners” has maintained the same organisational structure, content style and graphic layout your father, Giannantonio Brugola, established when it was first launched. Do you believe any changes should be made to the magazine?

A: In the coming years, our publishing group aims to launch a magazine with a more European focus, collaborating more extensively with other countries and fastener manufacturers. The objective is to improve both the magazine’s content and graphics. We have been actively working on these improvements for a while, and the first changes will be visible in the coming months.

The upcoming changes won’t alter the spirit of the magazine, which will continue to reflect the modern vision established by Cavalier Giannantonio Brugola.