Tekspan is a member of the Sogimi Group, which was founded in 1979. Could you explain how Tekspan came into being and when it entered the aerospace sector?

The Sogimi Group was established in 1951 in Milan as a distributor for auxiliary materials. It expanded its operations to major Italian cities during the 1970s and arrived in Turin in 1979 with Tekspan. Tekspan has two main divisions: the first division includes plastic sheet conversion and distribution for industrial applications, building construction, and communication; the second division is focused on highly technical foams and expanded rubbers used in the building, packaging, industrial, and aerospace segments. Tekspan began its aerospace activities in 2009 with a collaboration with Thales, which marked the start of significant investment in the sector. Since then, they have supplied nine Cygnus cargo module flights to date.

How important is the aerospace industry to your overall operations, and could you tell us more about your customer base in this sector?

Currently, Tekspan is aiming for aerospace to constitute 10% of its turnover, and in two years, it hopes to double this figure. The company obtained the UNI EN 9100 certification three years ago and has now dedicated one piece of machinery exclusively to this sector. Tekspan is working on specific dimensions for pieces of machinery. Tekspan started working with Thales because of the company’s capabilities in converting materials into complex shapes. This led to the establishment of relationships with companies such as Piaggio Aerospace, and their finished foams are also flying on some of AgustaWestland’s helicopters.

As a member of TPA, what are some of the benefits of membership, and how are you involved with the technical cluster LISA?

Tekspan is the sole company within this cluster that has manufacturing capabilities, as the others are involved in design and engineering. Tekspan is trying to incorporate new technologies to increase its capabilities for the new projects it is undertaking. The new products that they can fabricate are the best available in the world market. LISA is an ongoing and interesting project that has the potential to combine Italian design with Italian capability to manage small, medium, and high production volumes. TPA presents companies such as Tekspan with the opportunity to meet with the big players and to work as a cluster to have greater competencies and capabilities available to them and their clients.

Where would you say the Italian aerospace industry is particularly strong, and what can we expect from this sector in the future?

The Italian aerospace industry is smaller than that of other European countries, but it is flexible and quick with its work, which gives it a competitive advantage. The capabilities within Italy are growing every year with the formation of clusters and a system of companies that can serve the market. France has Airbus and a vast network of aerospace players in the Toulouse area, while Germany is the most powerful economy in Europe and, therefore, has the capabilities to produce large volumes. However, when it comes to niche applications, Italy demonstrates interesting capabilities.

Tekspan will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2019. What is your future vision for the company by this milestone?

Tekspan hopes to grow within foam distribution and distribution of plastic sheets and is investing in its solutions in the aerospace business. The company aims to increase its distribution capabilities both organically and via acquisitions. The goal for Tekspan is to be able to present its clients with more options, so it will work towards increasing its product portfolio and is investing in machinery to achieve this. Tekspan is also going to add human resources and personnel once its turnover reaches a certain milestone.

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