One of the oldest in Italy, the charming, Etruscan village of Cortona, is majestically located on the southern slope of Monte Sant Egidio, which dominates the Valdichiana valley. With its medieval architecture of hilly and narrow, winding streets the place counts among the tourist hotspots in the eastern Tuscany being a great home base to see many nearby located cities including Florence (130 km), Perugia (55km), Pisa (190km), Siena, Arezzo, and, of course, lots of vineyards. But Cortona is not only famous for its tourist attractions. The place is also an industrial location, being, among others, home to MB Elettronica. In the sixty years of its existence the company that started as a family-run business has managed to reach a leading position in the market of design and assembly of electronic boards, in the creation of rapid prototyping and much more… Manufacturing Journal had the opportunity to speak to the managing director of the successful company - Roberto Banelli.
The origins of the company, its main products, and its position on the today’s markets
The company was founded back in 1961 under the name of Cafel S.r.l. and at the beginning it was mainly dealing with the assembly of radio cassette players and record players… The entrepreneurship and strong passion of its founder, Francesco Banelli, were the main reasons for the company’s success and led the small business to develop and grow rapidly. The new, continuously implemented investments brought it with the time to the point where it is at the moment- among the three most important EMSs in Italy. In 1988, Francesco came up with the idea of establishing MB Elettronica, which began to specialize in manufacturing specific products for rail, defence, and telecommunication industry… Very soon the international recognition came, and the first certifications were granted: in 2009 - ISO 9001 and in 2012 the prize for the Best Supplier in the “Innovation Award”.
Today the main operation segments and expertise of the company include fields like space, defence, railway, security, and telecommunications as well as media and automotive, the leading sector being though the railway, medical and telecommunications. The company delivers different kinds of products: cards for braking systems for trains or civil aircraft, telecommunication equipment, it produces simple electronic boards and finished devices. It also supports its customers with the after-sales processes, dealing with repair and offering redesigning and re -engineering services.
Nowadays the company operates worldwide, its main market remaining though Italy, where up to about 85% of its products are sold. The remaining 15% are exported worldwide to the markets like Germany, Holland, Hungary, England, and outside Europe - also China.
Innovations & Development and plans for the years to come
MB Elettronics deals with the whole production process, starting from the concept and design, prototyping, manufacturing, producing, and redesigning up to maintenance and repairing as well as finally the delivery of the finished product. During the process various tests and verifications are continuously carried out to meet the expectations of the clients. MB Elettronica fits very well into the industry 4.0 trend investing in the latest technologies and solutions. The whole production process can be tracked online, and it is possible to see the progress made and intervene immediately when necessary.
The company aims at becoming a leader in the branch of electronic services and solutions, which means working only with qualified and selected partners. The last years brought the company some excellent growth, this being from 13 million in 2013 up to 50 million in 2021. The aim would be to reach a turnover of 70 million in 2022. There are also plans for expanding into new markets and embracing new directions- here one should mention in the first place the European markets, mainly the German one.
Although the worldwide developments of the last few years also brought some changes, which affected both customers and the company, the enterprise could master the challenge, responding to the needs of the customers, who, facing the economic volatility, began to select suppliers with well-defined characteristics, mainly in terms of quality and service. Many customers started coming back to Italy after having worked with low-cost countries- the trend here shows investing in quality and service even at the expense of higher costs.
The source of pride - certifications, awards & engagement in social projects
Social solidarity has always been one the company’s main topics, one tries to give back the support that once one has got from the society. During the long years of its existence MB Elettronics has been supporting various sports and local charity organizations. Here we can mention such names as “Godo Baseball’’, “A.C. Florentina” and “Bambini delle Fate Foundation”, which finances numerous projects of associations and hospitals, supporting children and young people with autism and other disabilities and their families.
MB Elettronics is also an employee -friendly enterprise - the security of the working environment has always been one of its most important priorities. The company invests in education of its staff- quality standards and excellence in manufacturing and in product control phases is something that needs skilled employees. The continual improvement of both products and staff preparation is one of the clues and methods of how the company guarantees its excellent expertise. At the same time, it is of course also the way to comply with the client’s needs and expectations.
The enterprise can be proud of being acknowledged by many international certification bodies, here we can mention for example the IPC and the ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization) certificates. Among the certifications that assure this quality and make the name of the MB Elettronics one should also mention NADCAP CHA, NADCAP PBA for the boards and cabling, then CSQ ISO 9001, RINA ISO 9001, RINA EN 9100, IATF 16949, ISO 13485 (manufacturing of electronic boards for use in medical devices), IRIS Certification (for the manufacturers in the railway industry), ISO/IEC 27100 and the prestigious recognition Cribis Prime Company Certification, issued to those who constantly maintain high reliability. All of these make MB Elettronics one of the most certified companies in Italy.
And - last but not least- it is not only the brand that makes the name of the company, but it is also, and perhaps in the first place, the satisfied employees. At this point we can quote the Managing Director: “the biggest pride is to see so many young people entering the company in the morning, with the smile of someone who really wants to do this job”.