Italian battery firms are suspending production as the country’s government issued an order for all non-essential business to close in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The country’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday, 21 March that all Italian businesses must close until 3 April, with the exception of those essential to maintaining the country’s supply chain.
Sovema, a supplier of lead-acid battery machinery based in Verona, Italy, is one of those companies that has suspended production until Monday, 6 April. However, its engineering, service, and sales departments are still operating full time.
A statement read: “The global pandemic requires finding new ways to maintain our business relations; we are eager to go back to our normal operation. We should be aware that the general slowdown the world is facing could be an opportunity to focus with more engagement on the strategic plans for the next years.
“Engineering design proceeds smoothly, and you can easily reach our sales and service staff via e-mail to get quotations, assistance and any information you may need.”
La Pneumetica, which produces equipment for battery producers, has closed until 6 April. The company’s Manuela Mombelli told BEST: “In this moment we are applying agility work from home and we are giving a support at our customers for spare parts sales and technical issues.
“Concerning the affect of this situation on our company in the short time we forecast to postpone some of the works in progress. For the long term, in this moment, it’s really difficult to make any forecast but we’ve a solid financial structure and we are able to support ourselves through this crisis for some months.”
OMI is continuing to support its customers remotely, and is trying to ensure spare and consumable parts are shipped as normal, but couriers are progressively reducing their service, in Italy and abroad, said the battery formation company’s Melissa Maggioni. She told BEST: “This is no longer a Chinese or Italian problem, it is a world issue: I’m receiving messages from many customers all over the world and they confirm all countries are progressively adopting Italian measurement.
“Batteries are a primary commodity so I’m confident that this business will recover fast, after the emergency. We hope our customers will be far-sighted and will continue their investment in new technologies: this is the right moment.”
An STC spokesman told BEST: “Our team members are OK and trying to keep safe ourselves and our families. The situation is evolving on a daily basis with good news, bad news, stop and go and we are reorganising our activities in order to cope with new directives issued by government and sanitary authorities and meet at the same time our commitments.”
Battery moulding company Biasin is still working, and is authorised to still produce and ship mostly to the aftermarket, as well as a small share to OEMs. The company’s Giuseppe Gallo told BEST: “Some of our customers are of course stopped, others are still open. The really affected are now the ones serving OEMs: since car facilities are getting stopped, we expect a flexion curve in the next 2-3 months.
“About the forecast, we’d need a crystal ball… at once the lock down could be activated also for us.”
Fernando Marfisi from machinary firm CAM SRL told BEST : “Just like many other companies, CAM has been heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although production has been halted, our office personnel are working from remote during business hours. We are certain that we will be back soon.”