Danieli is a leading supplier of metal processing technology covering all applications from ore to finished flat and long products. The company ranks among the three largest manufacturers in the sector worldwide and has particularly strong positions in minimills, long product casting and rolling plants and flat products and iron ore equipment.
“We back our customers’ competitiveness through high-quality, high-performance processing and automation solutions,” Group COO Franco Alzetta, who has been with Danieli since 1985, describes the mission of the globally operating supplier of steelmaking plants and equipment.
To stay ahead of the competition, Danieli is pursuing a strategy of constant innovation and technological development. “We call it innovaction: innovation in action,” explains Mr. Alzetta. “On average, we invest 140 million EUR in research and development each year, or 5% of our turnover. This is 50-60% more than the industry average.”
The latest result of Danieli’s focus on innovation is a new, next-generation technology for the endless processing of both flat and long products which will save customers a lot of time and money. “Our goal is always to reduce both our customers’ capital expenditure and operating costs,” says Mr. Alzetta.
What else distinguishes Danieli from most of its competitors is its extensive coverage of the value chain? Unlike other equipment suppliers, the company manufactures the majority of components and plants itself instead of sourcing in.
“This gives us complete control over the entire manufacturing process and makes us a highly reliable, quality supplier,” explains Mr. Alzetta.
Last but not least, Danieli treats its customers as long-term partners that often get more than agreed in the contract. Danieli is rich in tradition: the company was founded under the name of Angelini Steelworks in Brescia by brothers Mario and Timo Danieli in 1914 – 101 years ago.
At that time, it was one of the first businesses in Italy using electric arc furnaces in steelmaking. In 1955, the second generation took over management responsibility:
Luigi Danieli enhanced automation and laid the foundation for the successful minimill concept which is used all over the world today. At the beginning of the 1970s, Danieli had 160 employees. Only six years later, the company’s workforce had grown to 1,500.
“In 1976, we acquired an order for a complete, turnkey steel plant in Eastern Germany,” Mr. Alzetta explains the amazing development. “This was our first large project. Before, we had only been supplying equipment and machinery, but not whole mills.” Further large-scale, turnkey projects around the world, from the USA to the Far East, followed in the 1980s and provided the basis for the Group’s continued expansion.
In 1980, Cecilia Danieli became Managing Director, and Gianpietro Benedetti was appointed Director of Engineering. In the early 1980s, Danieli invested heavily in applied research and developed into a leading supplier of equipment for long products as a result.
In the 1990s, Danieli acquired several competitors with marketleading positions in their home countries, including companies in the USA, Sweden and France and later also in Germany and the UK.
“The acquisitions enabled us to extend our competence to cover the complete spectrum of metal and steel processing technologies,” states Mr. Alzetta. “This way, we created the prerequisites for competing with the large German and Japanese multinationals.”
In the early 1990s, Cecilia Danieli was appointed Chairman of the Board and Gianpietro Benedetti became President and CEO of the continuously expanding group.
In 1999, Cecilia Danieli, who had been known as Italy’s Lady of Steel, died at the age of 56. By 2000, Danieli had grown to 3,500 employees and a turnover of 930 million EUR. Since then, the Italian company has developed into a major global player with 11,000 employees worldwide and annual revenues of three billion EUR.
“On the one hand, this is due to our constant expansion of our technological competence by acquiring market-leading competitors,” Mr. Alzetta explains the exceptional growth. “On the other hand, we implemented a major internationalization strategy, establishing engineering centers, manufacturing plants and business and technology units across the globe.”
Today, Danieli has factories in Italy, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Russia, China, India and Thailand as well as 17 design and engineering centers, and sales and service offices all over the world. The company, which is public with shares listed at Milan Stock Market, is 67% controlled by SIND Company, which is in turn owned 50% each by the Danieli and Benedetti families, and is evolving most dynamically in Asia. “China, India and South East Asia alone account for 55% of global steel production,” says Mr. Alzetta.
Covering the entire spectrum of metal processing technologies, Danieli offers a broad range of equipment and plants, including ore processing plants, electric steelmaking systems, flat product casting, rolling and processing equipment, integrated steelmaking plants, heat treatment furnaces, long product rolling mills, extrusion and forging plants, conditioning, drawing and finishing lines, industrial hydraulic equipment, process control systems, cranes and steel recycling plants.
Danieli’s strength lies in complete, turnkey plants. “Turnkey projects provide the customer with the security of a fixed price and a guaranteed delivery date,” explains Mr. Alzetta. “We have a global reputation for being a reliable partner with decades of experience in handling large-scale, technically sophisticated projects.”
Danieli is also particularly strong in equipment for long products. “This was our historic activity, and we are still the global number one in this segment today,” says Mr. Alzetta.
The most important target market for Danieli is the steel industry. But the aluminium industry is catching up rapidly. “We expect the aluminium sector to account for 10 to 15% of our overall revenues in the coming years,” states Mr. Alzetta. “Aluminium is a global growth market, thanks to its light weight and excellent resistance.”
To win new customers, Danieli participates in tenders worldwide. The company also exhibits at major industry events in Europe, the USA, Asia and the Middle East. To grow its global market position further, Danieli is focusing on developing the nonferrous metals segment, particularly aluminium, enhancing its after sales services, consolidating and expanding its activities in managing turnkey projects and continuing to develop and introduce new, innovative processing technologies.
In addition, the Italian company is changing its marketing strategy from a technology-oriented towards a market-oriented approach. “In the beginning, we only had two different technologies,” explains Mr. Alzetta. “Today, we have 16, all of which are covered by one sales representative responsible for specific market accounts. This way, the customer has a single contact for all applications and technologies.”