Autotrol Global Production Moves to Europe
Manufacture of one of Pentair’s most popular and reliable brands ramps up at Pisa European Centre of Excellence
Few would argue that the Pentair Autotrol valve range is one of the most popular on the global market. For decades it has been central to countless residential, commercial and industrial applications for water softening and filtration. Key to Autotrol’s popularity is its simplicity, quality and reliability – all delivered at a price point that represents great value for water treatment professionals around the world.
Historically, Autotrol production has been dispersed in Pentair factories across the USA, Europe and the Far East. So when, in 2022, the company decided to rationalise worldwide production at its Pisa plant in Italy, it triggered a major relocation project that would impact its manufacturing, sales operation, logistics and compliance teams.
Matteo Vivaldi, Plant Manager at Pisa, was involved at every step and reflects on a seamless transition and a success story for Pentair’s European Operations.
Investing in quality and reliability
“From an early stage we knew we would need to invest in the Pisa plant to make this a success,” says Matteo. “We were not only enlarging the portfolio of Autotrol valves we currently produced, but we needed to increase the overall output by around 80%. To maintain our European demand and guarantee unbroken supply to our Latin American, North American and Far Eastern markets we would need to build new production cells, recruit new staff and increase shifts. And all the while we were conscious that there could be no interruption on availability or compromise on quality.”
“Over time we have been renewing our hot-plate welding machines as the technology has moved on significantly in recent years,” continues Matteo. “New welding machines are faster, more accurate and more ergonomic for the operators. They also offer a high degree of automation which has become the essential ingredient for any manufacturer to remain competitive in today’s market. Those new machines are all in place and have transformed production.”
Confidence in European manufacturing
Since the start of 2023, the new manufacturing cells at Pisa have been fully operational, outputting 100% of Autotrol valves for the worldwide market. Productivity is at a high and overperforming in some areas, exceeding many expectations.
“For a bystander, the move to produce all Autotrol valves in Pisa may have looked straightforward,” concludes Matteo. “After all, weren’t we already producing a large percentage of the range for our local markets? But of course, life is never that simple! The programme presented many challenges and opportunities, all of which were successfully met with outstanding communications, teamwork and planning and I am indebted to all those who helped to make it happen so smoothly.”
“Above all it is a testament to the confidence Pentair shows in European manufacturing. It has entrusted global production of one of its most important brands to the heart of Europe and that speaks volumes on our ability to deliver.”