Many years ago, during the engineering studying period in the university of Bologna, a young student was looking for a new idea for the final course project and he started to make a research in many industry fields in order to identify a "problem" and develop the solution for it.
The illumination came due the family's expertise in the field of the paper industry, that inspired him to know exactly what industries need and what to devise for a new way of working. Combining the knowledge coming from the family's long experience with actuality, and observing in particular the laminating and packaging industry, he noticed that the actual process for producing simple products such as a barcode label was actually very complicated and required high investments, complex machines, space and handwork.
This sector was "closed" due the lacking of literature about it, and also the lack of low cost solutions for new business.
With the typical open mind of a student looking for innovation and willing to experiment, he got stimulated not only by the new technologies but also by his grandfather who himself 60 years before worked in the field of the machining industry (the old school). He arrived to the conclusion that simplicity would be the answer to stimulate this slice of the market.
From that moment this young student started to develop the first project only designated to the new "small entrepreneur" from the label industry. The main features of this new project were:
1 -Simplified production process
2- Low investment
3 -Low operation costs
After 6 months the project of the new machine was ready. As the project was a bit out of the univesity subjects and focus in that moment, he was unable to use the univerity installations for developing it.
Without financial and technical support it was difficult to build the first prototype and the project ran the risk to be abandoned.
In spite of the negative opinions of colleagues, teachers and friends, he decided to build it by himself, in the basement of his little appartment.
The small investment was spent in some tools, a little old metal lathe and many nights without sleep.
Some months passed and finally the new machine was ready. It was a remarkable small equipment to produce stock labels for barcode printers, able to work in the incredible speed of 200 meters per minute using a rotary cutting tool, all mechanichally controlled, all in less than 1,5 squared meters of space and 0,4Kw of power consumption.
The second chapter of this story is about the difficulties in commercializing this equipment due the necessity of having a registered VAT code, the need of an expensive business consultant, the complex Italian burocracy and the heavy rules applied to the industry from the government, were factors that pull up the costs to the stars discouraging any investor to run a new manufacturing business.
The young man decided to move foward, without any support from anyone. In spite of everything, after 5 other months and a heavy burocracy, the first machine was sold to a small customer in Central America.
The rest is history.