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The master of alloys

Portrait

The fusion of metals and alloys was at the beginning of Legor’s corporate activities back in 1979. “My father and his partner worked for the goldsmith sector, which dominated the region,” says CEO Massimo Poliero.

However, the two entrepreneurs concentrated not only on the artisan production of master alloys for the gold and jewellery industry but also developed ideas on sales and provided market analysis. At that time, this was a completely new approach, which turned into a long-standing success.

Over the years, industrialization and increasing product quality enabled the emergence of Legor as a strong force to be reckoned with in the metallurgy market. New techniques and quality improvements were determining factors for a thriving business and favoured corporate growth.

“Master alloys and other metals for gold and silver, for instance, are still our main focus,” adds Mr. Poliero. “However, this activity was not enough for us, and today, we operate five key divisions covering master alloys, plating, machinery and tools, brazing and dental.”

Master alloys are still Legor’s most important focus, generating about 70% of total turnover with the production and sale of master alloys for the goldsmith and silverware business. The divisions have developed gradually. Legor now offers about 300 master alloys.

For the galvanic sector, it provides superficial finishing for costume jewellery in the haute couture and fashion business, which it first introduced in 2000. In 2001, Legor acquired a production company, F.O.V., which supplied machinery and tools to the goldsmith industry in the region.

“The new addition gave us the opportunity to strengthen our position as a comprehensive consultant that was at home in production itself but who could also provide all the necessary machinery for the master alloy production processes,” explains Mr. Poliero.

In the following years, orthodontics and dentistry emerged as a new customer group with huge potential, with Legor producing both precious and non-precious alloys for dental applications. In 2012, the company introduced welding on a silver and copper base. The company really defines itself as a global specialist.

Apart from its three domestic locations in Valenza, Arezzo and Bressanvido, it operates six international branches, located in Hong Kong, Bangkok, China, Istanbul, Moscow, and Long Island City and New Mexico in the USA. Legor employs a workforce of 150 people, of whom 90 work at its Italian headquarters in Bressanvido, generating a turnover of 50 million EUR and exporting about 80% of its entire production.

A strong focus is on R&D and product innovation. “We cooperate closely with our customers, as many companies are looking for a project partner. While they have the idea, we can produce exclusively according to their detailed specifications,” stresses Mr. Poliero.

In the master alloy division, Legor completes the precious metal, often 18 karat gold, and supplies the rest to come up with 1,000, keeping a close eye on mechanical characteristics and vivid colours, as the colours derive from the supplied master alloys.

In the past, Legor reduced nickel use due to changing legal and health regulations. “We developed a nickel-safe product with a lower nickel content on the surface,” says Mr. Poliero. “The karat content in gold varies from one country to the next, with countries in Northern Europe having a lower content, for example 9 in the UK, between 9 and 14 in Germany, 10 to 14 in the USA, or 18 in Spain, France and Italy, in contrast to 21 to 22 karats in Arab countries.”

Alloys vary according to the final application or use in the gold and jewellery market. “There are alloys that give a more compact or a less porous surface. In particular an alloy without defects on the surface is a real advantage. We have increased our activities in the fashion sector, and therefore, we can also propose products in this direction,” states Mr. Poliero. “For instance, we have introduced products with less expensive materials but with more aesthetic appeal.”

For the galvanic sector, Legor offers superior surface finishing on finished products, including silverware, costume jewellery and alloyed products made of a precious metal.

“Our finishing provides a uniformity or evenness in the final colour which is far shinier than the original material. It is also an ideal solution for products with lower karats. Preventing tarnishing and better aesthetics are other influencing factors,” says Mr. Poliero. “For example, white gold in its natural state is very different from the gold we know. Therefore, it requires extra treatment, which is called rhodium, to give it a nice colour that comes with hardness and brightness. Brass, bronze and silver receive a treatment so that they do not change in colour, as these materials generally oxidize. Gold is the most used material for the surface in this field.”

The commercialization of machines and material for silverware and gold work is another mainstay of the Legor Group, supplying polishing, brushing and milling machines as well as tools like tables, ultrasounds and deoxidizers for everyday products.

The catalogue for machinery and tooling alone comprises about 5,000 to 6,000 products. Legor sees itself as a ‘pocket multinational company’ that is much smaller in size than many other multinationals but equally strong. However, it is eager to grow and gain a bigger market share and to remain a 360° service provider to its customers.

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