It was in a shed in the centre of Lecco, in Via Sirtori, that the history of Electro Adda engines began seventy years ago. Here, starting in 1948, twins Antonio and Luigi Riva, two drops of water in appearance as well as in entrepreneurial passion, opened their first workshop for the repair and construction of special motors.
Having grown while maintaining its identity as a family company, today it is a historical and authoritative reality, consistent with its founding values, devoted to innovation and research and driven by a passion that continues to be the real driving force of its activity. Electro Adda’s is an exemplary journey that has seen the company develop over time, from a craft workshop to a major international industry, an acknowledged emblem of Made in Italy in the electric motors sector.
In 1953, Elettromeccanica Lecchese already had around thirty employees, most of them from Galbiate and Lecco, and many relatives.
Elettromeccanica Lecchese became more and more specialised in the construction of low-power motors, not exceeding 3 HP, for manufacturers of operating machines: lathes, milling machines, pasta and carpentry machines, machines for the production of silk or nylon stockings.
Commercial success led Elettromeccanica Lecchese to look for a new, larger production facility to relocate to. And, in 1954, having found land in Belledo, a new factory was built.
“Luigi Riva, returning from Milan, saw a former weaving factory in Beverate, empty with part of the sheds recently built and in immediate use, others dilapidated and obsolete, to be demolished to build new ones. Said. Done. The purchase was decided’.
The deed, drawn up by the Notary Pietro Gaetani, is registered on 4 September 1968 and concerns the constitution, between Antonio Riva, Luigi Riva, Alfredo Colombo, Giovanni Riva and Angelo Corti, of the joint-stock company Electro Adda SpA costruzioni elettromeccaniche. President of the company, whose share capital % subscribed in equal parts is 1 million Lire, is Antonio Riva; managing director Luigi Riva; the other partners join the Board of Directors.
With the move to Beverate, the two companies – Elettromeccanica Lecchese and Electro Adda – coexist in the market, thanks in part to the adoption of communication technologies that allow them to communicate via the first modems. The Group’s activities and production were also significantly expanded, ranging from three-phase motors to fixed-brush motors and brake motors. Success is based on a careful sales policy, where word of mouth is flanked by an adequate distribution organisation.
The 1970s also saw the emergence of some competition between the two production complexes and, in parallel with the growth of employees, the first manifestations of trade union conflict, in a national context characterised by high tensions between capital and labour, companies and workers.
The 1980s coincided with the outbreak, even in the Lecco area, of a general economic crisis that even the strongest and most dynamic companies were forced to deal with. In 1984, the crisis led to the decision to proceed with an overall reorganisation, which resulted in the relocation of all production to Beverate and the subsequent definitive closure of the Elettromeccanica Lecchese plant in 1987.
Despite the crisis, Electro Adda continued to invest. In Beverate, in particular, an “imposing” Test Room is set up for data collection equipment for electric motors, whether static or dynamic, prototype or series, to guarantee quality. The test data must correspond to the construction parameters indicated; furthermore, special attention is paid to the finish of the materials used, so that the motors are conspicuous and ‘tailor-made’.
During these years, an important transfer of powers and responsabilities took place at Electro Adda Spa, with the entry of the second entrepreneurial generation at the top. Thanks also to this reorganisation Electro Adda resumed its journey with new momentum. Testimony to this are the numerous important participations in all the main trade fairs, both national and international, of the different sectors of the mechanical industry towards which its production is directed: from machine tools to those for marble and wood processing.
Remarkable are the successes that Electro Adda’s production meets in the most demanding and competitive markets, such as those in Germany, which are dominated by some of the big industry giants. During these years, sales units were also opened in Germany, Adda Antriebstechnick, and in Modena.
The globalisation process involving a large part of the European metalworking industry in the first years of the new millennium also affected Electro Adda. The need to remain competitive in certain market niches where the cost of the product, determined by the cost of labour, was excessively high, aggravated by a significant increase in raw materials, led Electro Adda to choose to delocalise part of its production abroad.
The production of low-power motors is concentrated in China and Romania, while the production of higher-power and more complex motors is maintained in Italy, as well as the design and testing of all motors. The objective of relaunching the company and guaranteeing its continuity is nevertheless achieved.
The last 10 years have been characterised by a further upswing in company activity. Parallel to the entry of some third-generation entrepreneurs, a series of investments are made to renew production, testing and control equipment to make it state-of-the-art and up to the ever-increasing demands of the market.
The introduction of robots and the automation of certain processes is accompanied by the introduction of the Toyota method aimed at improving production efficiency and, at the same time, increasing the skills of the personnel. The relationship with the world of schools and universities becomes increasingly strong, with a gradual inclusion of young people.
The design department is strengthened and new equipment is introduced in the testing room. In addition to the more established markets, Electro Adda is also targeting new markets, starting with those where the energy efficiency of its motors can be more appreciated, acquiring important orders.