UFI, com­mit­ted to re­search, in­no­va­tion and bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment over 20 years

Shanghai Daily - - CIIE -

Ital­ian auto fil­ter sup­plier UFI Fil­ters Group plans to strengthen its po­si­tion in the Chi­nese mar­ket with new high-qual­ity prod­ucts and im­proved re­search and devel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Just af­ter China opened its doors to for­eign in­vest­ment 40 years ago, Gior­gio Girondi, founder of UFI, came to the coun­try to ex­plore this new mar­ket. In 1983 he got the con­tract for a plant re­al­iza­tion with B.T.A.F; this was the very first ex­pe­ri­ence which al­lowed the com­pany to dis­trib­ute its know-how, li­censes and ma­chin­ery and was fol­lowed by other 7 turnkey plants in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of China. Since then, the lo­cal auto in­dus­try has un­der­gone tre­men­dous changes and UFI has grown along with it by set­ting up their first WFOE in 1996 (Sofima Shang­hai).

“Re­form and open­ing-up has been pos­i­tive for lo­cal com­pa­nies but also for for­eign ones like ours, who be­lieve in and in­vest in this coun­try,” said Ri­naldo Fac­chini, CEO of UFI, dur­ing an in­ter­view with Shang­hai Daily, “The re­forms keep on com­ing and we ex­pect them to give UFI the sup­port needed to com­pete in an ever-de­vel­op­ing mar­ket.”

UFI works with al­most all car man­u­fac­tur­ers not only in China but world­wide. The com­pany has 80 clients among Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEMs), all the ma­jor au­to­mo­tive brands in China. With China now the big­gest auto mar­ket in the world, the mar­ket gen­er­ates 50 per­cent of UFI rev­enues and is home to around half of the com­pany’s per­son­nel.

The China In­ter­na­tional Im­port Expo is a great ini­tia­tive that will give huge vis­i­bil­ity to all com­pa­nies in­vest­ing heav­ily in China. UFI strongly be­lieves in China and has re­cently in­vested over 100 mil­lion eu­ros (US$114 mil­lion) here and in­tends to dou­ble the in­vest­ment over the next five years. Dur­ing the CIIE, UFI will look for new part­ners or co­op­er­a­tion ar­range­ments that can widen the range of prod­ucts avail­able to the Chi­nese mar­ket.

“UFI came to China early know­ing that, with over 1 bil­lion of peo­ple, the coun­try would sooner or later be­come one of the world’s most im­por­tant au­to­mo­tive mar­kets. We chose Shang­hai as our Chi­nese base and opened our first fac­tory in Qingpu Dis­trict in 1996. We de­cided on Shang­hai be­cause since the 19th cen­tury the city has had a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the most im­por­tant com­mer­cial cities in the East,” said Girondi.

Lat­est in­vest­ments in­cluded UFI’s splen­did new Asia-Pa­cific head­quar­ters in Hongqiao, which opened in May this year. A new plant in Chongqing is sched­uled to open in the first quar­ter of next year. The Chongqing plant will pro­duce all kinds of fil­ters to meet the ris­ing de­mands of the mar­ket. Chongqing will also ex­port a num­ber of prod­ucts to the Rus­sian and Euro­pean mar­kets.

UFI’s Re­search & Devel­op­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties con­tinue to go from strength to strength. The com­pany es­tab­lished a Re­search & Devel­op­ment cen­ter in 2000 in Shang­hai and it cur­rently em­ploys over 80 peo­ple. In the past few years, the cen­ter has been work­ing on prod­ucts that re­duce emis­sions and pre­serve the en­vi­ron­ment.

The team has de­vel­oped some im­por­tant tech­nol­ogy for new-en­ergy ve­hi­cles, with key pri­or­i­ties on emis­sion re­duc­tion and per­for­mance im­prove­ment.

Luca Bi­agini, Asia Pa­cific COO, de­scribed a new Ex­cel­lence & In­no­va­tion cen­ter in Shang­hai for devel­op­ment of Ther­mal Man­age­ment sys­tems that will soon em­ploy an­other 20 tech­ni­cians and engi­neers. The cen­ter will be­come UFI’s lead­ing cen­ter for the new-en­ergy ve­hi­cle mar­ket and new-en­ergy ve­hi­cle OEMs.

“This move is the cre­ation of an en­tirely new spe­cial­ized group to study new-en­ergy ve­hi­cles in Shang­hai. The evo­lu­tion of tech­nol­ogy re­lated to newen­ergy ve­hi­cles in China is the best in the world,” Luca Bi­agini added.

UFI be­lieves that Shang­hai is the kind of city where devel­op­ment mo­men­tum never drops, with a full range of tech­nol­ogy, tal­ent, know-how, univer­si­ties and skills. The city is al­ways ac­cept­ing new ideas and trends and open to those will­ing to work with it.

“Shang­hai is de­vel­op­ing

and in­tro­duc­ing more poli­cies for the fis­cal, in­no­va­tion and im­port-ex­port mar­kets, which will al­low UFI to be even more com­pet­i­tive and con­trib­ute to the devel­op­ment of the Chi­nese and Shang­hai economies,” Ri­naldo Fac­chini added.

Founded in 1971, UFI is a global leader in fil­tra­tion tech­nol­ogy and in ther­mal man­age­ment. It serves a wide range of sec­tors — from au­to­mo­tive, aerospace and ma­rine to spe­cial­ized in­dus­trial and cus­tom­ized hy­draulic ap­pli­ca­tions. Renowned for its in­no­va­tion, UFI prod­ucts and know-how are to be found in all kinds of ve­hi­cles — from Fer­rari and other top F1 teams, to the Euro­pean Ex­oMars space­craft. Seven out of ten teams in F1 use UFI Fil­ters and at ev­ery GP over 100 of UFI’s prod­ucts are used dur­ing the race.

UFI sup­plies the full range of air, oil, fuel, cabin, hy­draulic and coolant fil­ters as well as ther­mal man­age­ment sys­tems to the au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, meet­ing the needs of nearly all car brands and mo­tor­cy­cles as well as com­mer­cial, heavy duty and agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles. In the Orig­i­nal Equip­ment mar­ket, UFI is a lead­ing fil­tra­tion provider.

One of the first Ital­ian com­pa­nies to iden­tify growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Far East, to­day UFI has 14 pro­duc­tion sites and em­ploys over 4,000 peo­ple in 16 coun­tries. It em­ploys 120 spe­cial­ized tech­ni­cians in its In­no­va­tion and Re­search Cen­ters and holds 167 patents. UFI achieved dou­ble digit sales growth rates (CAGR) from 2009 to 2017. As a re­search-driven com­pany, it rein­vests over 5 per­cent of its rev­enues in re­search & devel­op­ment.

UFI Fil­ters Group en­tered the Chi­nese mar­ket in 1983 pro­vid­ing turnkey plants to other com­pa­nies. In 1996 es­tab­lished its own wholly for­eign-owned en­ter­prise (WFOE): Sofima Shang­hai. Twenty years later it has 5 plants, 4 of which in Shang­hai and 1 in Changchun cov­er­ing over 100,000 square me­ters of fac­tory floor, over 2,200 em­ploy­ees and a daily pro­duc­tion of about 154,000 fil­ters. The 6th plant is due to open in the first quar­ter of 2019, in Chongqing.

UFI is a global leader in fil­tra­tion tech­nol­ogy and in ther­mal man­age­ment. It serves a wide range of sec­tors – from au­to­mo­tive, aerospace and ma­rine to spe­cial­ized in­dus­trial and cus­tom­ized hy­draulic ap­pli­ca­tions.

Ri­naldo Fac­chini, CEO of UFI

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