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12 January 2022
Treviso's MGG expands to serve North American brush manufacturing market

By Barbara Ganz, Il Sole 24 Ore

Treviso's brush district, which is centered around the Conegliano area, is home to about ten brush factories, subcontractors for Italian and European brand, and other companies supplying resins as well as plastic, metal and wooden components.

MGG was established in 1989 and the company started out offering maintenance services to local companies for brush producing machines that, at the time, were almost all made by a German company. Over time, this became a specialization to the point that today most of the world's brushes, from Europe to the USA and Brazil, are produced with MGG machinery; exports exceed 80%, a percentage that only decreased in 2021 due to local demand in Italy created by the incentives for industry 4.0 that have pushed many companies to invest in equipment. "We currently have a 12-month lead time, and orders are increasing" explains MGG founder Gianfranco Marcon, now joined by CEO Loris Maestrutti. Brushes are a niche market that has grown enormously, also as a result of the pandemic: with more time spent at home, between lockdowns and quarantines, many people have chosen to remodel their home interiors, starting with painting.

In Italy, MGG is the primary supplier for brush manufacturers including Pennellificio 2000, Pennelli Cinghiale, Pennelli Rex, Pennelli Boldrini and Pennellificio Gieffe.
And, this effect has gone beyond Italy's borders: in September 2021 the company opened a subsidiary: MGG North America Inc. The goal of this new venture is to also develop advanced industrial automation solutions for the North American market. The headquarters is located in Houston, Texas, while the operating unit is in North Carolina. The North American operations are headed up by CEO and partner Alberto Voltolina, an engineer with extensive experience in the USA. A first order for a complete production line for the United States has already been commissioned.

The new headquarters will make it easy to service the US market both for the brush sector and for industrial automation in other sectors, which is the second focus of MGG's activity. MGG also specializes in developing solutions (quality control and optical systems, robotics, algorithms and industry 4.0 solutions) applicable to different types of manufacturing processes.
MGG has also made a name for itself abroad, thanks to trade fairs such as Freiburg's Interbrush where, MGG met their first Chilean customer in 1996.

The company has 40 employees in Conegliano and continues to grow; every phase is concentrated, from the conception to the development of hardware and software up to the production of mechanical components. MGG is also a center of excellence in the field of research and technological innovation - in which the company invests over 15% of its annual turnover, which has reached 7 million - focused on automated brush production. A product that has evolved together with the company: "Today 80% of the bristles used are synthetic, for quality reasons, due to needs related to water-based paints, and for cost control. Our machines can produce over 1400 pieces per hour, due to technological innovation and high performance robots that, thanks to an optical control system, orient the ferrule for assembly in the desired way", explains Marcon.

The company also holds numerous patents, while pandemic-related difficulties have been overcome with innovative solutions: "Typically we provide turnkey systems, with assembly and testing. When flights were suspended, we moved around Europe by car or van, while elsewhere we were able to support our clients thanks to tutorials and 3D glasses that allowed us to train staff who were far away and even follow the different phases, including maintenance, remotely". Among the latest innovations the company now offers a virtual configurator, this means that potential customers can put together the desired production line and see the result, a bit like what happens when consumers choose an engine type and the finishes for a new car.

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