In early September Loadtec welcomed two engineers from a well-known pharmaceutical brand to the Zip-Load factory for a Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) for their two stainless steel pneumatic top loading arms, two stainless steel bottom loading arms and four folding stairs.
The visit was scheduled to last one day (an afternoon and the following morning) which would give enough time for any snags to be worked out before the flights home.
Flights from Dublin to Bologna were not as frequent as they might have been so unfortunately, the engineers had to stay in historic sunny Bologna for an extra two nights.
The FAT itself went off without a hitch, only minor comments which were rectified before the flight home. A full set of certificates and documentation was made available at the test and all parties were very pleased with the results.
The issue then arose that we had two days to kill in Bologna before the flights home.
What could three engineers possibly find to do in the sleepy arable farming region hemmed in by the Apennine mountains to the south and an endless patchwork of fields stretching all the way to Milan in the north?
Luckily for us Marco Filippi, Sales Manager at Zipfluid had a full schedule arranged.
The first stop, after an evening sampling the best regional food and wine that Bologna had to offer, was the the Righini Museum. Hidden in a castle about 20 minutes away from the factory is one of the most important private car collections in the world. We got a private tour. Inside this ancient castle were the first Mercedes Benz (Benz Patent-Motorwagen), the car that beat the 1924 world land speed record achieving 145.89 mph, the car belonging to the King of Italy and sat in a corner, Mussolini’s convertible. The cars housed here are a fraction of what the humble and approachable Sig Righini owns and looks after. It was an honour and a privilege to visit. Before too long it was time to move on, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we were in a reflective mood after what amounted to being the industrial design equivalent of a religious experience.
After another lunch experiencing more regional cuisine we set off for the Lamborghini Factory. If the Righini Collection was the entire automotive history of the previous century, the Lamborghini factory was the future. After a tour around the museum, gawping at the real life cars that shaped the imagination of teenage boys since the 1960’s. We were given a private tour of the Aventador production line. 2.4 cars are produced every day so the production staff have time to get it right. The tour guide told us “we don’t rush, we make them perfect”. All around us were components that individually cost more than a regular car, waiting to be expertly assembled into their luxurious new form.
That evening was spent strolling around the city. Bologna is a stunning place. It isn’t the first Italian city people name when reeling off their bucket list destinations, but it deserves to be.