Not only numbers matter, but the people. To serve the customers, not only make a profit. Quality above all. Strong values cultivated since 1982 when the founder of the company Lino Petenà, a simple plumber with a heart of gold, wanted to revolutionize Italian market. He began his collaboration with a German company, with the intention of introducing his domestic market to a new system of pipes and fittings for sanitary installations in random copolymer polypropylene (PP-R) while assuring workplaces to more than 100 families. His dream lives on and if you want to know more, come and meet Aquatechnik!
When the company just started, it was a common practice to use products such as cast iron tanks, heaters and radiators, lead drains etc. made of heavy materials . When we look at the sanitary sector, plants mainly used galvanized iron pipes and black iron welded for heating. Synthetic materials were just a distant project yet to be implemented. The President of the company, Lino Petenà, knew it was the right moment to propose new solutions to the Italian market and to make a revolutionary change nobody has ever done before. Digging into company’s history, one of the biggest steps was taken in 1998 when Aquatechnik detached itself from the company to which it initially belonged and became not only independent, but also a direct competitor of the former parent company. Very brave and risky move which happened to be one of the best decisions for the future, because it helped the company to overcome the construction crisis in 2008 and many other obstacles that appeared on the way. With the strength gained through the years, the company has established its position not only in Italy where 70% of its operations take place, but also on the global market. There are some expansion plans on the horizon and they include foreign markets such as North America, Japan and Russia. However the limits are not set so in the future products might be accessible to even wider clientele. The most important thing is to continue to grow in the sector and to become more and more specialized and competitive. Working with selected partners surely helps, because strong partnerships guarantee reliability and highest possible quality. The raw materials that Aquatechnik uses are made by the most important world producers like Borealis, Basell, Clariant, Solvay.
In the search of the right PP-R material
As the synthetic material has changed the world of installations, the fusio-technik introduced by Aquatechnik has become revolutionary. Since PP-R (Polypropylene Random) material is not exposed to corrosive phenomena, the life expectancy of the systems has significantly increased. The usage of new material, due to its lightness, has made the transport and handling on site so much easier. Not only that. The ease and speed of processing thanks to the low temperature polyfusion that has replaced the flame welding, has improved the quality of the installation, but also the quality of life of the installer. It was a long journey for the company to find the right material to use while manufacturing their products. The main criteria was to search for increasingly performing materials therefore the PP-R has undergone significant changes over the years which resulted in a dramatic quality improvement. At first the company moved to the PP-R Super 80 to improve the mechanical strength of the pipes and the resulting resistance to pressure and temperature. Then the series of fibre-reinforced pipes were introduced, which gave a further advantage in terms of mechanical resistance. The introduction of an intermediate layer loaded with special fibres has allowed, at the same pressure, to reduce the wall thicknesses with consequent increase of the passage section and the significant reduction of the linear expansion due to the temperature. All the attention put into developing new materials has stimulated the development of other ranges in synthetics. It is when the safety system was invented, composed of a series of fittings in polymeric material to be used in combination with multi-layer pipes. Thanks to its exclusive assembly system, worthy of patent, it became the company’s flagship material. The very recent addition to the materials used in the production is PP-R WOR (White Oxidation Resistance), a material with special additives that provide greater resistance to chemical oxidation.
Strict quality control
To ensure the best product that one can get, it is vital to conduct quality control right from the first steps of the production. Detailed checks begin when raw materials arrive at the production plant. The transformation processes of polymeric materials take place through the passage from the solid state in the form of granules to the molten state where the material takes the form of pipe (in extruder) or fitting (in injection molding presses) and then return to the solid state with the cooling at room temperature of the manufactured product. All those steps are conducted under a watchful eye of the quality team. During the subsequent production phases, there is a total control of the production process against accidental factors that could negatively affect the properties of the manufactured products. The possibility of working with tested and constant processes guarantees the production of products with defined characteristics and in compliance with the highest product standards. The final control stage is aimed at verifying the characteristics of finished parts in accordance with specific product standards, for which they are certified by third parties, to ensure reliable products and quality. To do all this, it is necessary to have an advanced laboratory. Aquatechnik has completed the creation of a new laboratory and the establishment of a new technical structure with more extensive skills. It makes possible to evaluate rheology of polymeric materials, mechanical characteristics such as resistance to impact, elastic return over time and dimensional stability, chemical characteristics such as fibre and filler content, residual stresses and cross-linking percentage of PEX (cross-linked polyethylene), morphological structure of the matrix by means of microscopy to evaluate the dispersion of the additives, the junction of the flows, the presence of surface defects or defects present in the thickness of the manufactured article and the fractographic analysis, hydraulic characteristics of the systems through tests of resistance to internal pressure, resistance to overpressure by water hammer and thermal cycles, physical characteristics such as hardness and density, dimensional and geometrical characteristics of parts and threaded inserts. Diversity of the processes conducted within the laboratory has allowed Aquatechnik to certify its products according to the standards recognized by the most important International Homologation Bodies. The latest certificate that the company has been awarded with after a long period of activity for the implementation of the Environmental Management System, is the IT 19/0554 certificate according to the environmental standard ISO 14001 from the Swiss certification body SGS, which testifies to the commitment and attention of Aquatechnik to operate in full respect of the environment.
Strong belief in innovation
Aquatechnik believes in their own materials, thus everything that is made and then sold to the customers is manufactured in-house in Magnago, a place in the province of Milan where the company’s headquaters is located. Being on the Italian ground enhances the link with the local community and cultivates ‘made in Italy’ pride the company is known for. Strong belief in innovation is represented in many ways. Fair amount of financial resources has been committed in five training centers throughout Italy and Laboratory/Research Center in which the company invests from 5 to 10% of its yearly turnover. Aquatechnik is committed to constant research of materials and products. For some years now it has been involved in the production of BIM models of its products, providing designers and installers with revite-format drawings that allow them to carry out integrated plant design according to this new methodology. The fact of being a family business brings great advantages both in terms of speed and flexibility. Human factor is equally important. The company prides itelf on maintaining close relationships with employees, suppliers and customers. Over the course of many years Aquatechnik has learned that the key to success is to keep evolving, keep investing and taking risks. Of course every investment is carefully planned and there are already long terms plans which we may hear about in the nearest future.