A major player in the lighting sector, AEC has been an experimental workshop of ideas and innovation for over 60 years. In fact, since 1957 the Company has been able to achieve great international fame in the public lighting: sector: Milan, Berlin, London, Oslo, Auckland and Dubai are just some of the prestigious cities illuminated by AEC Illuminazione. Today the company is an important example of Italian industrial excellence, known and appreciated all over the world. The corporate philosophy, based on the concept of “Total Quality System”, provides the concentration of all the design and production phases in the Italian headquarters: from research and development to the design and industrialization of the product, up to its distribution. Latest generation machinery, large investments, state-of-the-art laboratories and sophisticated automation processes characterize the production units of AEC Illuminazione, which distinguish it as unique excellence in the sector. The company is present in over 40 countries around the world.
Especially for Manufacturing Journal Magazine, an interview about the AEC Illuminazione company was given by Mr. Alessandro Cini - General manager.
AEC Illuminazione has been a leader in the street, urban, tunnel and industrial interior lighting market for over 60 years. Could you tell us more about the history of AEC Illuminazione?
AEC Illuminazione has specialized in street lighting since the early 1980s. This specialization was started by my father Cino Cini and today it is not only a success story, but also a family business model Made in Italy - strongly connected with our territory. We have capitalized on the know-how acquired in over 60 years of experience in international competition in all fields of lighting and today we know how to respond with enthusiasm and competence to the challenges of the global market. The original factory was in the village center but the development of business and production brought us here in 1990 and since then we have never stopped growing, reaching, in stages, the 87,000 square meters of today’s headquarters.
What, in your opinion, are the main reasons for the company’s success?
Certainly, our constant attention and dedication to innovation and product design. Our company philosophy is based on a “Total Quality System” that centralizes all phases of the production cycle at the headquarters, from design through industrialization to distribution. AEC constantly invests in advanced technologies, which translates into continuous modernization of structures, designs and processes.
How many people does the company currently employ?
AEC today has 260 employees, of which 140 work in production and 120 in offices. The average age of the employees is 35. People are the most important and the greatest capital for our company. For this reason, our company invests heavily in personnel. Meetings, webinars and training courses are often organized.
Does AEC Illuminazione fit into the industry 4.0 trend and invest in the latest technologies and solutions?
AEC constantly invests in advanced technologies as well as in the continuous upgrade of its structures, designs and processes. To support the growth of recent years and quickly adapt to market changes, in 2018 we embarked on an end-to-end supply chain digitalization process, today cited as a case study in the most important sector conferences. up to integrating all departments and business processes in the Erp system: from the new Crm software to the Plm system for the collection of metadata on the product life cycle, from logistics, for the real-time management of automatic warehouses, to digitized production lines and connected to the management system.
Could you tell us about your R&D facilities?
To be able to develop our technological progress more effectively - we have opened a research center where we have placed the most futuristic technologies in this sector. In the 3 thousand square meters of the Lab, currently under surveillance by third parties such as Dekra, Ul and Accredia, we have inserted state-of-the-art equipment, such as the two Ulbricht spheres, an anechoic chamber, thermal chambers for temperature tests, 3D printers and rooms for verification of electromagnetic compatibility.
What sector have you mainly focused your attention on in recent years?
In recent years, we have devoted much attention to the sports lighting sector, presenting new projectors for lighting large stadiums.
Quality is a priority for AEC Illuminazione. Your company works only with selected suppliers and partners. Are there any of them who deserve special mention as the most important partners?
Yes, quality is absolutely a priority for us. For this we rely on high-level companies in the sector. To name a few: ABB for all robotics, 3M for adhesive solutions and HP for 3D printing.
Why do customers choose products with the AEC logo?
The AEC brand is certainly chosen for the quality, the design and the efficiency of every product. We have always invested heavily in the design of the product to find the right functional balance between these two aspects.
Where are your main sales markets?
Today we work a lot in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. At European level, I would especially like to mention the Scandinavian countries such as Norway, Sweden, Finland. At the same time, we carry out projects in cities such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The constant development of the company is the key to success. Are you currently implementing any important investments?
The development of AEC in recent years has certainly been driven by investments in new technological infrastructure, both in the production departments and at the level of management software. We invested in new machines and company management systems, which allowed us to make a great leap in quality and “lay the foundations” for an important and increasingly competitive future. Our investments are still continued and are oriented towards new infrastructure. We are currently expanding our company’s plant by building a new plant connected with the production department.
What are the company’s achievements so far are you most proud of?
What we are proud of is for sure the fact that our products have been chosen by many important cities in the world. We illuminated many famous cities, incl. London, Helsinki, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Berlin. We also entered the world of sports lighting and illuminated the important stadiums of the A series. All this made us proud of our team and the choices we have made so far.