Via Leopardi 1
Bosisio Parini, 23842
Telephone: (+39 31) 8781-11
Fax: (+39 31) 8783-12
Web site: http://www.rodacciai.com
Sales: €520 million ($600 million) (2017)
NAICS: 331110 Iron and Steel Mills and Ferroalloy Manufacturing; 331221 Rolled Steel Shape Manufacturing
The Gruppo Rodasteel Corporation, formerly known as Rodacciai S.p.A., is one of Italy's last-remaining independent, integrated steel companies. It is also among Europe's leading drawing mill operators, manufacturing cold-finished long products at its home base in Bosisio Parini, in Lecco province. The company operates its own 350-meter-long automated rolling mill in Sirone, producing hot-rolled bars and coils as feedstock for its drawing mill, as well as for third-party customers. Combined, these sites encompass a covered surface of nearly 1 million square feet and a total surface of 2.7 million square feet. Besides its Italian operations, the company owns Aceros Inoxidables Olarra, a stainless steel producer in Loiu, near Bilbao, Spain. Rodasteel produces four main steel types: free-cutting steels, stainless steels, carbon steels, and alloy steels. Each year, it produces and sells more than 300,000 tons of hot-rolled bars, cold-drawn bars, ground bars, smooth-turned bars, wire, welding consumables, steel rebar, and, under the Rodinox brand, stainless steel reinforcing bars. The company's steel bar production ranges in size from 25 millimeters (mm) to 105 mm, while its steel roll production ranges in size from 9 mm to 62 mm. Rodasteel claims to be the only company in the world to produce 62 mm steel rolls. Italy remains the company's largest market, accounting for 55 percent of total sales in 2017. The company has an extensive sales network throughout the European Union. In the United States, it operates through Roda Specialty Steel, which has sales offices in Illinois, New Jersey, and California. Owned by the founding Roda family, Rodasteel is led by company president Gianluca Roda and his sons Giorgio and Andrea.
Like its counterparts elsewhere in the steel industry, Roda initially focused exclusively on the single mill process. However, in 1960 Roda took the unusual step of adding a hot rolling mill as well, launching construction of the new operation in Pusiano. Rolling mills used rollers to reshape heated steel, producing the bars and rolls used by cold drawing mills. Roda's rolling mill came online in 1965, and positioned Roda as one of only a few integrated steel products manufacturers.
The addition of the rolling mill was to play a crucial part in Roda's long-lasting success and in its ability to remain an independent, family-owned company amid the consolidation of the Italian and international steel industries. Having its own rolling mill provided Roda's drawing mill with a greater deal of flexibility and reactivity. In particular, the company was able to adapt its rolling mill production in response to the drawing mill's own production needs.
Roda's position as an integrated and diversified steel products producer enabled it to grow strongly during the boom years of the 1960s. The expansion of the group's product line to include steel bars and steel rounds led it to change its name, to Roda Accaiai S.p.A. in 1969. By that point the company had already launched a major investment to greatly expand its production capacity. For this, the company moved its drawing mill to a new headquarters in Bosisio Parini in 1991. The move not only expanded the company's production capacity but also brought it closer to Milan, the industrial capital of Italy.
Demand for Roda's cold-drawn steel products rose through the decade despite the difficult economic conditions brought on by the Arab oil embargo and the subsequent dramatic rise in oil prices. To meet its own demand for rolled steel products, the company decided to carry out a new major investment, this time moving its rolled steel production to a new rolling mill in Sirone, near Bosisio Parini.
Completed in 1982, the site took advantage of emerging computer-assisted manufacturing technologies to boast a high-speed, fully automated continuous rolling mill, with a total length of 350 meters. The Sirone mill was to remain one of the most sophisticated hot rolling mills in Italy, and allowed Roda to carry out a new expansion of its product lines. These included the ability to produce steel rolls as large as 62 mm in diameter, establishing Roda as the only company in the world capable of producing that size.
The expanded capacity allowed Roda to begin supplying third-party customers in addition to its own drawing mill. Roda's expanding capabilities helped the company to develop a strong export business, as it became a prominent supplier of both cold-drawn and hot-rolled steel products to other European markets. The company also took its first steps into the United States, developing relationships with a number of prominent steel distributors beginning in 1990. That same year the company changed its name to Rodacciai S.p.A.
Rodacciai remained a family-owned company, entirely controlled by Giuseppe Roda, who was joined by his son, Gianluca Roda. Rodacciai expanded into a new steel products category in 1994 through the acquisition of Spain's Aceros Inoxidables Olarra SA and its plant in Loiu, near the Bilbao industrial port. Olarra had been founded in 1955 and during the 1960s had helped pioneer the argon-oxygen-decarburization method of producing stainless steel. The company installed its own horizontal continuous casting line and completed its first stainless steel casting in 1963. Stainless steel became Olarra's specialty over the next decades. As part of Rodacciai, Olarra's production expanded to more than 105,000 tons per year.
Roda Specialty Steels soon completed its national expansion, adding a sales office and warehouse in Paramount, California. It focused on supplying precision stainless round bars, as well as square and hexagon bars, including Roda's own Roda Precision Machining–branded stainless steel bars. At the same time, Roda Specialty Steels expanded its catalog to include more than 110,000 items, including alloy bars from Rodacciai and stainless steel bars from Olarra, as well as steel products from primarily third-party European producers. The midwestern markets grew into the U.S. subsidiary's largest, at 50 percent of sales, followed by the Dayton, New Jersey, office at 28 percent and the California office at 21 percent.
Giuseppe Roda's death in 2007 marked a turning point in Rodacciai's evolution. Now led by Gianluca Roda, the company launched a major investment that year to update and expand its Sirone rolling mill. Among other features, the company refitted much of its production, including a new bar-in-coil line ordered from Italy's Danieli in 2008. The new equipment, delivered in late 2009, added hexagon coil capacity up to 52.5 mm and round coil capacity up to 64 mm in diameter. The company was also able to produce single coils that weighed as much as three metric tons, while boosting its output to 100 metric tons per hour.
Rodacciai's investment program came as the company bore the brunt of the global economic crisis in 2008. Its primary market, Italy, also remained severely weakened into the next decade. However, Gianluca Roda had quickly taken steps to restructure the company's operations to ensure its survival. That same year the company introduced a sustained and radical corporate reorganization, abandoning many of its traditional business practices.
As part of its regeneration program, Rodacciai adopted the lean manufacturing systems originally developed by Japan's Toyota Corporation. The company's restructuring embraced not only its production systems but also its supply chain and sales operations. Facing resistance from a number of its employees, many of whom had been with the company for decades, Rodacciai instituted incentives to encourage the voluntary departure of some 60 employees. It then brought in a younger generation of employees, who were trained from the start in the company's new manufacturing processes. Training initiatives also became a fixture of Rodacciai's business model, as it provided more than 3,700 hours per year in training in subjects ranging from environmental safety, to business management, to organization principles.
Rodacciai's regeneration program was completed in 2014. By that point the company had made two other significant investments. The first of these was the upgrading of its drawing mill, which saw the installation of new machinery and equipment to modernize its production and boost its production efficiency.
The second investment involved the purchase of the Novara-based Novacciai in 2012. Founded in 1984, Novacciai specialized in the production of “bright” products, including drawn, peeled, and ground bars used for chrome plating, which was in turn used in the production of pistons and hydraulic pumps, and for other engineering-intensive applications. The company was acquired by the Cogne Group in 2000. Cogne eventually decided to sell the Novara-based business to raise funds for its own restructuring.
Rodacciai promptly launched an investment into the Novara plant, expanding its production surface to a total of 20,000 square meters. Novacciai also expanded its capacity, to 4,000 metric tons per year of high-precision smooth-turned and ground bars using both stainless and alloy steels, including large-scale round bars that reached as much as 200 mm in diameter. The upgrade was completed in 2014, in time for Novacciai's 30th anniversary celebration. However, Rodacciai soon pulled an about-face, selling Novacciai to the Ori Martin group in November 2016.
The sale came soon after Bosisio Parini helped Rodacciai celebrate its 60th anniversary by renaming the street leading to its headquarters after Giuseppe Roda. The following year Rodacciai changed its own name to Gruppo Rodasteel Corporation. However, its Italian steel manufacturing operations retained the Rodacciai name.
In the meantime, Rodasteel's regeneration program had enabled the company to continue growing strongly. By 2018 it had expanded its total steel sales to nearly 345,000 tons, which represented an increase of 9.5 percent over the previous year. With steel prices growing strongly that year, the increase helped lift the company's revenues by more than 16 percent, to €520 million ($600 million), while its net profits grew to €25 million. Rodasteel had reason for optimism, as it reported an increase in its order book for 2018 as well. The company appeared to have forged a firm foundation for future growth into the next decade and beyond.
M. L. Cohen
Roda Specialty Steel Inc.; Aceros Inoxidables Olarra SA (Spain).
Bars; Stainless Rebar; Welding Consumables; Wire.
ArcelorMittal S.A.; SSAB Europe Oy; VÍTKOVICE STEEL, a.s.
“Così la Rodacciai è cresciuta in 60 anni.” La Provincia di Lecco, October 14, 2016.
“Italy's Rodacciai Upgrades Bar Rolling Mill.” SteelBB, December 18, 2008.
Middelbeek, Elfi. “Cogne Sells Bright Bar Business to Rodacciai.” Metal Bulletin, August 3, 2012.
“Rodacciai: 2017, Anno di Soddisfazioni.” Sider Web, February 15, 2018. Accessed August 15, 2018. https://www.siderweb.com/articoli/news/699210-rodacciai-2017-anno-disoddisfazioni .
“Toward a Stainless Future.” Platinum Business Leaders, July 2017, 18.