Trevi Benne, still a vibrant pioneerPublished 9/3 at 12:22
It all started in Italy in the early 1990s when a father and his three sons laid the foundation of what today is Trevi Benne S.p.A. - a €30M business producing various hydraulic attachments with 80% of its business coming from exports.
Italy excels at being a large producer of excavator attachments and also a strong producer of attachments for demolition, sorting, scrap handling and recycling tasks. One of PDi Magazine’s oldest advertisers, and one that the magazine has reported on many times, is the company Trevi Benne located in Noventa Vicentina in Northern Italy.
5,500 buckets and 1,200 demolition attachments per year
Although Trevi Benne was founded in 1992 and will soon mark almost 30 years of experience in its field of operations, it still has the pioneer attitude of a young and vibrant company, eager to develop and find new revolutionary attachment solutions for its clients. Trevi Benne has always been a family owned company, with the business starting in the village of Agugliaro not far from Noventa Vicentina where their factory is located today. The company is today led by CEO Luca Vaccaro and managing director Michele Botton. The company has currently 105 employees, consisting of 29 people in management, sales, marketing and administration; 62 in R&D and production, 8 in purchasing and quality control, and finally 6 working with logistics, spare parts and warehousing.
In 1992 everything started with only 10 employees, including the founder and his three sons, working from a total production area of 2,700m² (compared to today’s 27,000m² of commercial, technical and production facilities). The company has annual revenues of over €30M, with over 80% of its production being exported to over 50 different countries working with more than 100 dealers.
Besides the R&D sales and financial departments, the production department consists of 16 work stations for demolition and recycling attachments, and 20 work stations for bucket production. The majority of the components are produced in house, but some parts are produced by eight nearby satellite partners. Annually Trevi Benne produces some 5,500 buckets and attachments and 1,200 demolition and recycling attachments, with the company using around 4,500t of steel per year.
In 1999 Trevi Benne moved from the facility in Agugliaro to a 9,000m² facility in Noventa Vicentina. In 2007, when celebrating 15 years in business, the company moved again to a new 13,000m² production centre, technical offices and warehouse. In 2015 a new commercial building and administrative offices of 450m² where opened and in 2017, another 900m² production extension was completed dedicated to demolition equipment production. Now in 2021 another expansion project is underway for the future construction of a new annexed production plant of almost 2,000m².
Buckets and quick coupling systems
Everything started with the construction of Trevi Benne’s first digging and loading buckets for excavators and quick coupling systems for buckets and equipment for loaders. Trevi Benne even received an award at the SaMoTer show in 1993 for its self-locking quick coupling system for excavators, and the invention and patent for the first BVR screening bucket in 1994. In the same year, the first demolition attachments were developed and manufactured.
The company has grown and developed greatly since its beginning however. “Many problems emerged in the realisation of the first models. Above all is the inability to purchase the correct wear resistant materials and the lack of knowledge of the behaviour of the materials themselves in the actual demolition phase,” explains Trevi Benne marketing manager Christian Tadiotto, who has been with the company since 1997, starting as a 24 year old. “Then we can add inexperience in design, in the study of kinematics, in calculations of resistance of materials to the stresses of demolition and the difficulty of finding reliable components. All these factors made our first approach to the world of demolition complicated. It was only in 1996 that the company, with three years of experience, not only in production but also going out personally on the field, began a near standard production of the first primary demolition crushers and the first stationary and rotating pulverisers.”
After some hard years at the beginning, things started to develop faster and faster. The product range was built on and expanded continuously. Today, production is split in two main categories: Category 1 is attachments for demolition, recycling, handling, metal cutting and forestry. Category 2 is attachments for earthmoving, including excavator and loader buckets, quick couplers and heavy duty buckets for the mining segment. “For the line of demolition and recycling attachments, we have 26 complete series of attachments with a total of 170 different models. In terms of weight it starts with the smallest PMZ 02C grapple of 145kg to the primary crusher HC 250, weighing 27,300kg,” informs Christian.
Buckets for excavators and loaders, quick couplers and in general all equipment for earthmoving machines, are classified into different classes referring to the weight of the operating machine, although there is no real standard product from Trevi Benne. Each type of bucket and various other equipment can be customised, using different components and materials according to the user's requests and needs. With a catalogue of over 120 pages, and more than 5,500 buckets produced per year, it is obviously difficult to determine the right number of models. “We can only say that from a mini excavator of 1.5t to the 500t mining excavator, we can produce everything,” explains Christian.
Producing what the customer needs
Trevi Benne is a manufacturer that builds what the customer needs, with there being many bespoke attachments built over the years. Tailor made production represents some 20% of the company’s turnover (a very significantly percentage). “We are not series builders and we do not have an organised production process for repetitive serial production. However, thanks to our efficient warehouse management and the interchangeability of some standard components, for example the rotation units for the demolition and recycling attachments, teeth, bored adapter plate, cylinders, etc, we can optimise production and manage almost in a standard way many parts of the equipment,” says Christian.
One of the most ambitious projects completed was the construction of the HC 250 primary crusher weighing 27.5t, the biggest ever. “It was a huge challenge from every point of view. It started with an informal request in November 2017 and ended with the delivery in August 2018, passing through meetings with engineers, preliminary projects, estimates and order confirmation. All this having to strictly comply with four specific customer requests which were that the attachment’s weight should be suitable for a customised 300t excavator, the attachment should have a high penetration jaw profile without blades, it should have a jaw opening of 3m opening and force at the tip of 400t,” explains Christian.
After 120h hours of projecting time, 120h mechanical machining, 50h of assembling and 250h of welding, the result turned out to be ‘amazing’. “It was a monster jaw of 5,000mm in length with a jaw opening of 3,100mm and a tip force of 425t. I have never before seen something like it,” says Christian.
Strong continuous growth with exports dominating
Trevi Benne’s responsiveness and ability to listen to client needs has helped a lot over the years. A clear sign of that is the strong growth rate experienced over the years. A good example is that between 2014 and 2019 the company doubled turnover from €15M to over €30M. Due in the main to the pandemic and forced closure of the factory for six weeks, turnover declined slightly in 2020, down to approximately €29M. Despite that, Trevi Benne managed to reach a prestigious record in 2020, delivering its 10,000th concrete pulveriser.
As mentioned, the export share for Trevi Benne is today 80%, with the remaining 20% being sold domestically. In Italy the products are sold directly to machine dealers, authorised workshops and to large demolition contractors. The currently biggest markets in chronologic order are France, Italy, USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Scandinavia and the Northern European region, Australia and so on. Around 100 exclusive dealers target demolition and recycling customers, scrap yard companies, rental companies, building and construction contractors and customers in the mining and quarry businesses. The goal now is to consolidate and strengthen the Trevi Benne brand, particularly in some European markets that in the last two years have produced mixed results. “It is equally clear that with the current coronavirus situation it is complicated to make strategies, budgets and medium and long term plans. The absence of trade fairs and the inability to move freely to work and visit customers and distributors complicates the normal business relationship and the interaction that is always created by a real and not virtual visit,” says Christian.
‘Can’t wait to get back to normal’
Finally, it is worth mentioning how the coronavirus has affected Trevi Benne and Italy as a whole. Despite the general opinion that the market in 2019 were going into recession, Trevi Benne had a very good 2019, and the first two months in 2020 were showing an increase in sales of 10%. The expectations for 2020 seemed very good. But then Italy was the first country after China to be hit hard by the pandemic. “We have added new terms in our vocabulary that have now become common place like lockdown, assembly, night curfew, safety distance, etc. You are never ready to give up your habits, to wear protections, to face such an enemy especially because you cannot look at him in the face, discover his weaknesses and beat him completely. The first wave was very tough: clubs, public buildings, schools, companies, cinemas, restaurants all closed. Difficult to digest and even more difficult to count the victims daily,” says Christian.
After a year where the professional sales work mainly has consisted of numerous webinars, video talks, video conferences, etc., Christian and his colleagues are waiting to take up travelling and meet customers in real life again. Christian is also waiting for when the exhibitions will open up their doors again. He has wonderful memories of the last exhibition he attended, Conexpo in Las Vegas, March 2020. After that everything was locked down.
Christian is very optimistic about the market when the pandemic has been conquered. “I always think that after a period of difficulty, deprivation or suffering, there is the desire and an immeasurable will to get to work and to restart again. I believe the market will react positively, companies will return to investing, major demolition and redevelopment works will finally be started or restarted. I am very optimistic about the future for us as company and the industry as whole.”
The question does arise about competition from other manufacturers, and has that changed during the pandemic? Christian believes things are the same: “Competition itself is not a bad thing. It is almost part of the market equation. The competition often pushes you to want to improve your product, to look for alternative solutions, different approaches to make yourself more visible and attractive to the buyer. We produce niche products and the competition is often very fierce and aggressive. In Italy there are really many manufacturers of crushers, hydraulic hammers, buckets and equipment for excavators. Many of them have important corporate structures, well-structured sales networks and high management costs; and then there are many companies almost at an artisanal level. Fortunately, price is not always the main discriminant when doing business.
In our profession, anyone who buys demolition equipment knows exactly what he wants. If you work in a dealership and sell cars, your customer is unlikely to be an expert in engines, chassis, mechanics and performance. But in our world, the user is truly an expert and often knows more than us how the attachment should work. When our customers buy, they do so not only by looking at the price but by evaluating the technical characteristics, technology and obviously the brand. As for foreign competitors, I can say that obviously there are (some) and (they) are well represented on the Italian market. But the local user has a lot of faith in made in Italy products and obviously assistance, speed in finding spare parts, with service being a fundamental value in choosing the right equipment,” concludes Christian Tadiotto, marketing manager, Trevi Benne.