NEXUS, development and social ethics, two sides of the same coin

nexus sede di montorso vicentino
NEXUS combines process digitization and robotics with a close eye on social issues and enhancement of the territory. 

“The future of our sector will be increasingly influenced by two pivotal trends, that is, digitization and robotics, to which our company has been thoroughly committed for quite some time and, now, results are proving us right.” This is the opinion of Mirco Roncolato and Luca Fracasso, NEXUS’ co-owners and business partners, company based in Montorso Vicentino, in the Arzignano leather district (Vicenza province), and involved in the design and manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment for the automation of systems and machines mainly intended for the tanning, but also for other business fields, in full compliance with the Industry 4.0 standards.

Luca Fracasso and Mirco Roncolato nexus
Luca Fracasso and Mirco Roncolato

Established in 1998, NEXUS features a staff of technicians boasting a long-standing experience in the automation sector: currently, the workforce is made up of 22 employees, a number steadily on the rise in the last few years and set to further increase in the upcoming future, despite the health emergency that has only slowed down foreign markets. The Veneto-based company can rely on a high-profile technical staff, whose experience – acquired over years spent looking for cutting-edge solutions designed to guarantee the utmost customer satisfaction -, resulted in the supply of a renowned service. The Saia-Burgess system integrator, provided from 2005 to 2013, bore witness to the technical expertise nurtured and shown through time, then further upgraded in the last decade with other innovations. With these credentials, NEXUS has grown into a reliable partner for the production of plants and machinery for the industrial world, putting at the clientele’s disposal its know-how in order to find bespoke solutions for each single need. In late November, we met Roncolato (who is also the head of the manager area) and Fracasso at the corporate headquarters in Montorso Vicentino: during the interview, they talked about the company’s social commitment as well, resulting in partnerships with schools and universities.

What are your prospects concerning the future of your core sector? “By now, it is fairly clear that the whole system is moving towards digitization, it is no coincidence that the IT solutions we provide are in great demand. In our opinion, the Industry 4.0 evolution has been just a foretaste of the entire system: those taking advantage of it in the right way, regardless of the hyper amortization, the latter an economic opportunity to be seized, are now reaping the benefits. More specifically, those applying digitization to the production processes are increasingly aware of its usefulness in all circumstances and, therefore, they are turning to us.” 

Automation and digitization: what is their role in your company? “They are pivotal almost at all levels, so much so that we can easily say that they were both developed in-house. For example, let’s talk about processing reports: once, the hours required to carry out an operation were written down on notepads. Now, on the other hand, thanks to a specific app, all the technicians, via their smartphones, can promptly take note of everything. This give us the opportunity to monitor all activities in real time as well as those taking place in the previous days, thus managing to track down the information required about time, customers, and much more. Therefore, we started with in-house tests and then we have chosen to provide our customers will all these projects.” 

In your opinion, will there be another trend standing out in 2021 and in the following years? “Definitely everything revolving around robotics, as it is growing steadily. We are noticing a rise in the demand as well. As for the tanning industry, these types of processes are still at an early stage: nevertheless, we are working on many solutions that will require robotization. For example, if we carry out coating operations on leather, using stronger chemicals, the situation might be dangerous for the employees because, even though they wear a face mask, they work close to the material. However, if we use a robot instead, the problem is solved. It is pivotal step in order to fully guarantee the technicians’ safety: we are working on this.” 

For several years, NEXUS has been committed to social issues via partnerships with the education world: can you tell us something about your latest experiences? “The most recent one was the collaboration with the tanning institute “Galilei” based in Arzignano that, in turn, had an agreement with Gea Tannery, prominent enterprise in the automotive sector headquartered in Zermeghedo, owner of the valley’s most advanced facility. Theory lectures were undertaken in-house, focused on drums automation, in compliance with the ISO regulations required by automotive certifications. After a few hours of lesson, we visited the plant, where students had the chance to see the situation first-hand.” 

What was the students’ feedback? “Kids were really interested since they had the opportunity to see the starting point, the design and the manufacturing phases. Basically, they managed to learn more about the whole cycle on site. Actually, that was not the first time we hosted local high-school students: it had already happened in the past with the same tanning institute as well as with the industrial technical institute “Marzotto” based in Valdagno, concerning the IT section, and with the technical institute “Ceccato” in Montecchio Maggiore.” 

What other ties do you have with the school world and with the education sector in general? “On a local level, we work together with kindergartens as well as with middle schools, joining a project kicked off a couple of years ago that entails the purchase of digital whiteboards, then provided to the students. Moreover, we have been hosting, for a few years, Campus projects with the University of Padua: in 2020, due to Covid-19 outbreak, Erasmus Plus (internationally identified as Erasmus+) was cancelled. We hope this initiative will be rescheduled in 2021, since it allows foreign students to visit NEXUS for a couple of months in order to get some practice.” What are the benefits guaranteed by this type of agreements? “From an economic point of view, there is no profit. If anything, there are costs that we are willing to shoulder. Besides the ties with universities, we believe that, somehow, this attitude is a social duty for the whole territory as well.” www.nexus-rmg.com

Mirco-Roncolato-giunta-comunale
Mirco Roncolato, first from the right, is part of the town council.

A highlight: who is Mirco Roncolato? Technician, council member, family man: NEXUS’ co-owner outlined more in detail his choices Entrepreneur, town councillor in Montorso Vicentino, and family man. These are the three “roles” played daily by Mirco Roncolato, elected, for the second consecutive term, as councillor in Montorso, the town where his company is also headquartered. A heartfelt decision that entails considerable sacrifices, in order to perfectly balance all his responsibilities – personal, professional and political. “In the town council,” explained Roncolato, “I deal with sport issues, one of my biggest passions, but also with social and family policies. However, I believe that social fabric is an absolute priority,.”

Can you tell us more about said choice? “In such a small town, you take on this responsibility out of pure passion: there is no economic benefit. However, for me, money is just a consequence of the things we do, certainly not a goal. I apply the same philosophy to my business activities. Obviously, it is useful, but nothing more than a tool.”

How do you manage to deal with these three roles? “It is no easy feat, often days seems to last forever: you must be able to match up your schedules. My role as council member is demanding, because, as I am part of the majority group, I must take part also in several meetings. We are lucky to have a close-knit team, made up by a civic list, we are not backed by political parties. The key rule is that everyone must be aware of everything: this is the main reason that spurred me to stand as a candidate for the second time.”