The inauguration presided over by Annarita Pilotti, President of Assocalzaturifici, and by the Mayor of Vigevano, Andrea Sala, saw the participation of the Association’s entire Board of Directors and of the local and sector press. “I would like to thank member of the board Massimo Martinoli and Ms. Paola Crespi, head of the CIMAC Business Unit, who discovered this structure. – declares Annarita Pilotti – It took us a while to get to this point: initially, with Mayor Sala, we were considering the spaces of the ex-slaughterhouse. But its restoration would have been too expensive and taken too much time. This headquarters is instead in line with the activities of CIMAC and allows a much bigger area to be dedicated to the laboratories which, in the old structure, were quite tight. We’ve passed from 950 to 2,200 square metres of surface area: a space that is wide enough to allow everyone to work better. I would also like to point out that CIMAC over the last four years has increased its turnover by 40%. The new headquarters is accordingly the pride and joy of the Association, a flower that must be carefully looked after and tended to so it can grow”.
The Head of the Centre’s Fashion Area, Pietro Biglia, took the public present at the inauguration on a guided tour of the laboratories. After having passed the lobby, where there is a reception desk and the registration of materials, next is a huge open space where it is possible to access different laboratories dedicated to different kinds of analyses: “We call it the Agora: – explains Pietro Biglia –this is where all material datasheets are registered and where we draw up the results of our tests and evaluations: we in fact prefer to explain our testing and results in detail, so we can offer a better service to companies. From the Agora, it is possible to access different laboratories where – just like a CSI of footwear – we affect tests, undertake analyses, and do experiments…” Every laboratory is identified by a different colour: yellow identifies the fashion laboratory, which oversees testing and certifications for fashion products, including not just footwear, but also bags, accessories, and apparel. Among the machines, there is also a state-of-the-art dynamometer. The two red laboratories are instead dedicated to safety products and the analysis of PPE and its certifications. In the first one, mechano-physical tests are undertaken, while the second is dedicated to chemical analyses. Light blue is the colour of the laboratory that affects test to ensure consumer safety, with analyses of substances that could be hazardous or cause allergic reactions. This kind of analysis allows companies to comply not only with REACH standards, but also with other kinds of safety standards currently in force, like the ones in the USA and China. “The support of CIMAC – declares Pietro Biglia – is essential to companies that want to export and be compliant with regulations in every part of the world”. Finally, in the other yellow laboratory, or rather the “institutional” laboratory, tests regarding resistance to use in footwear are undertaken not only to evaluate performance, but also to analyse the degree of comfort. Additionally, an entire area is dedicated to the fire resistance of safety footwear and apparel.
At the end of the visit, everyone returned to the Agora for a group picture with Annarita Pilotti, the heads of CIMAC Giuseppe Bellotti (Technical Director) and Pietro Biglia, and all the analysts of the centre. The enthusiasm of the group was clear to be seen, along with the desire to face future challenges together, including an opening up to other kinds of fashion products, from footwear to bags and apparel; tests and analyses that do not limit themselves to numbers, but rather focus on an explanation of the data; and certifications and consultancy services to ensure companies are always compliant both in Italy and around the world. Now, let’s get back to work!