Pakelo Lubricants among the food-grade lubricant suppliers for AIA

Read time: 5 min
Published: 05 June 2023

Interview with Ivano Pesavento, Maintenance Coordinator for AIA’s food facilities

AIA needs no introduction; it is an authentic bastion of the Italian food industry with numerous production facilities throughout Italy. We are all very familiar with and have used products like aeQuilibrium, BonRoll and Wudy to name but a few, but not many of us will realise the level of technology behind their systems. If you stop to consider, for example, that all the production is just in time, then you begin to understand how indicators such as efficiency, line availability and restart are crucial for the business continuity that focuses primarily on product quality and safety. An important part of the control activity involves both prescriptive and predictive maintenance of the systems. Pakelo, which has been one of the Veronesi Group’s suppliers of food lubricants for many years, discussed these sensitive issues with Ivano Pesavento, Maintenance Coordinator for the Group’s AIA food facilities.

Mr. Pesavento, tell us about your role as Maintenance Coordinator for AIA

I joined the company in 1993 when I finished my studies. After training in production in the San Martino Buon Albergo facility in the province of Verona, I switched to the electronics-related technical department. Over the years, I have held various roles from Department Maintenance Manager to Facility Maintenance Manager. Then from 2016 onwards, I have taken over as Maintenance Coordinator for all the Group’s food facilities and head up the Maintenance Engineering team within the Technical Management department. So, in addition to maintenance management and liaising with the individual Facility Maintenance Managers, I am also responsible for implementing the project requests that come from the Technical Management department as well as for the economic management of maintenance investments. I then follow the entire so-called “bathtub” curve of the production lines, i.e. their service life, with the aim of ensuring maximum line efficiency and availability in the best food and work safety context.

What does “technology” mean in a food facility?

It means a lot and although I realise it is easier to grasp the technological aspect in markets like the automotive industry, I can assure you that an AIA food facility is every bit as technological. I am talking not only about robotic process automation and digitisation that are always ahead of the curve, but also about the customisations that we regularly implement on the lines thanks to the expertise developed and shared within the company. Suffice to say that we were among the first to introduce 6-axis robots on the pre-sliced cured meat lines in the Correggio facility in Reggio Emilia, or stacker cranes in the logistics cells in Vallese (Verona). Not to mention the incredible amount of data that we analyse to assess the efficiency of the production facility, the performance and optimisation of the maintenance work and to identify areas for improvement. This also means requesting technical feedback from the suppliers who we want to work “with us” rather than “for us”, thus adding value and reactivity, as well as technology, of course.

What is the secret of your business continuity?

There are a whole host of aspects that contribute towards ensuring it, including predictive analysis, but I would like to say a few words about one aspect that is particularly close to our hearts. To a certain extent, our Business Continuity stems from Training Continuity. Three hundred and fifty maintenance employees work on our food facilities. About half are implementers and the other half also carry out managerial activities. Our average restart time in the event of a facility stoppage is under thirty minutes in the most critical cases thanks to sensors that give us an early warning. It takes about five years to bring a maintenance technician up to our standard level which includes PLC (process automation) learning, licences and acquiring what we call “the AIA method”. This becomes eight to ten if we are talking about a medium responsibility profile. When I talk about the “AIA method”, I mean that everyone takes fully responsibility for ensuring both people and product safety. Every action, even the most routine, must be done with care and a judicious approach. For food-grade lubricants, for example, we have chosen to adopt different colours to distinguish NSF H1 products from NSF H3 products so that the difference is immediately visible. No formula is the same. The most important thing is to allow people to develop. My personal goal is to put people in a position where they can work well and become better at my job than me. This is the best way that I know to thank AIA for having invested in me. 

Let’s talk about food-grade lubricants. What philosophy do you adopt?

Obviously, lubricants are as strategic as they are complex for a food industry. In some cases, we choose to follow the recommendations of the facility constructors, especially for specific machines while, in other cases, we follow our own, often more stringent standard which we validate by interfacing with the lubricant supplier. Just as there can be a variation in the manufacture of the part to be lubricated, there can also be in the implementation of the type of lubricant, starting with specific food-grade products. We are firm believers in predictive analysis - we do it not only for lubrication, but also for a whole range of other activities. They affect the standard maintenance plan but are indispensable investments that make a difference in the medium and long term. The use of specific top-quality products is necessary to ensure that the best product, processed in the best facilities, arrives on our and your tables. Our founder, Apollinare Veronesi, whom I was lucky enough to meet as a young maintenance technician and who influenced my career in the company, was in the habit of dispensing proverbs and maxims. The one I would like, however, to share in closing is:


Invest all you can in people and technology, and you can’t go wrong!

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