COVER STORY

Fiorentini strengthens position in Middle East: Teams up with Biostrada

Alberto Negri, General Manager, Fiorentini Middle East, talks to Swaliha Shanavas about their new partnership with BioStrada to deliver road sweepers in the GCC market, business operations and strategies, as well as innovative solutions and services Fiorentini offers in this region.

Fiorentini and BioStrada have signed a partnership agreement as per which Fiorentini is now the official supplier of BioStrada road sweepers in the GCC market. The company will deliver these sweepers along with their own range of machines that are currently in operation with various customers in the GCC region, says Alberto Negri.

The agreement reflects the long term view of the companies in forming a partnership to position themselves strategically to tap into the technology opportunities this fast growing market presents. While there are other brands in the region, this joint collaborative effort would provide an additional choice, with an advanced sweeper with distinctive technical features and excellent performance, says Negri.

Tailor-made for different applications in the region

Fiorentini is now in a position to provide multifarious solutions, especially suitable for municipal applications. For instance, the GM says, their S150 is appropriate for city areas as it is highly manoeuvrable in tight spaces, while the BioStrada machines are suitable for wider areas. “The aim was to synergise the strengths of both companies to offer a comprehensive range of solutions to our customers and distributors. While our range has a hopper capacity of 1 m3, with BioStrada we have 5 m3 and 6 m3 as well,” he comments. In addition, the company can produce just the sweeper, which can be mounted on the truck of one’s choice, as it is compatible with different vehicles, Negri explains.

The machines offered by Fiorentini Middle East are manufactured in Italy and they can be customised as per client requirements in different sectors including industrial, professional, health, retails, food and logistics, among others, he says. Fiorentini’s S150 is already present in the region, having been delivered to some customers including a major client in Kuwait, apart from their machine that is successfully being operated in the Bahrain-Saudi highway project.

The road sweeper from the production line of Biostrada “is remarkably adaptable and suitable for use in both industrial and urban surroundings,” says Negri. This vehicle is particularly apt for cleaning areas that need heavy duty cleaning such as streets, markets, etc., as well as areas where the use of water is not always possible (e.g., cement factories, metal industry, etc). And due to the high capacity of the vehicle that can clean vast areas, it provides advanced ecological performance.

Further, the “mechanical supported by vacuum” collection system is based on brooms conveying the dirt towards the cleaning path in the central area of the machine, the GM notes. “The central cylindrical broom loads it on a mechanical vane elevator by rotating it in the opposite direction of the sweeper; the dirt is then unloaded inside the waste container. The total dust suppression is obtained through the combination of the above system with the depression inside the container generated by a powerful suction fan. This action ensures the maximum cleaning effect on the entire cleaning path.”

The side brooms aid in cleaning difficult surfaces, and due to its ergonomics and the long range of action of its arm, both on the right and left, the third broom can easily reach any difficult cleaning area, he explains. “This system allows the collection of bulky material at high sweeping speed, and the use of water on the brooms is minimised or eliminated completely.” The cabin is entirely soundproofed, pressurised against the dust and provides good visibility to the operator, while pneumatic adjustable seats provide comfort. The sweeper controls are on a single console panel featuring simple and user-friendly push buttons, also offering easy access to the operator.

Focus on distribution network, pre- and after-sales service

The GM says they prefer not to sell their products directly in the market, and that Fiorentini has a well-established, qualified distribution network with full after-sales responsibility in the region including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar.

In his view, the most important aspect in the business is the after-sales service, which he stresses as their strong point. Fiorentini provides on-the-ground after-sales support by not only training the representatives of the distributors, but by also conducting frequent visits to customers to take care of their requirements if need be.

“We have to provide maximum support to the distributors, and that is why we opened the Middle East office in 2014. So they get direct support from an office that knows the market trends. We keep important replacement parts and machines in stock at all times and have our best technicians in the region to provide the best after sales assistance as well as pre-sale assistance to our distributors,” Negri remarks, adding that soon they will also have distributors for BioStrada road sweepers.

Aspirik

Apart from the environment, Firorentini’s focus is on the final operator, says Negri, and the company is offering solutions to make their work easier and improve efficiency. For instance, an innovative product they are introducing in this market is the Aspirik. This lightweight walk-behind litter collection equipment can be powered by battery as well as petrol and boasts many benefits. The compact litter picker is fitted with a vacuum hose that enables one to collect everything from the streets and the litter goes directly into the waste tank. He says, “Asperik battery version with traction is the silenced vacuum, suitable for public hygiene in city centres and parks as well as cleaning in enclosed spaces such as underground car parks, factories, warehouses, etc.”

The machine collects plastic and glass bottles, helps cleans cobblestone interstices, under the benches and difficult to reach corners. Apart from helping reduce labour and improving productivity, it enhances safety as the operators do not have to manually pick up unsafe material like broken glass, etc., says the GM. “It is suitable for waste management operations in this region as a lot of street cleaners are regularly collecting litter from the streets manually,” he states. With this equipment, they can work in a safe and efficient manner as they can cover large areas quickly.

Rolling Pack – Liquid absorbent recycling pack

One other innovative solution Fiorentini is introducing in this market is the Rolling Pack – a liquid absorbent recycling pack, which helps deal effectively with spills. The equipment stores, distributes, absorbs and recycles the fibercan absorbent. The special powder used for cleaning is touted as an eco-friendly product that does not contain any chemicals or solvents. A natural cotton fibre-based absorbent material that is also bio-degradable is used for cleaning the oil spill, etc.

“If you use sand or other material to clean up the spill, you need to throw away the material. But our new product is efficient because it can absorb all the oil and most importantly one need not throw away everything in the garbage bin. The equipment filters this material and the powder can be used again,” Negri emphasises.

He enumerates various advantages of the Rolling Pack: The all-in-one system is ultra-mobile for emergency use; facilitates storage, distribution and recovery of Fibercan refill; it is highly efficient as the product can be used to 100% of its capacity due to the sifter; ensures instant absorption and leaves no oily film, which keeps the floor safe and dry; there is very little wastage as the product is renewable and biodegradable, and captures hydrocarbons and prevents infiltration into the ground; saturated lumps are retained on top of the sieve, and the recyclable powder falls back into the storage bin below for re-use.

CFC beach cleaning machine

A product that is very useful especially for municipal and hospitality applications is the beach cleaning machine, and Fiorentini has entered into a strategic tie-up with CFC – an Italian company that manufactures these machines. As per the contract, Negri says they are the official distributors of the machines that are also new to this market.

“This is an important partnership and we aim to promote this product in this market because it is a high quality machine and a very important solution for the municipalities, hotels, etc.,” he notes. A distinctive feature of this machine is that one can collect the debris and at the same time sanitise the area with the aid of a separate attachment, which is custom-made as per requirements.

Looking ahead

Fiorentini, which has mostly focused on the industrial sector, now aims to concentrate on municipality solutions as there is more emphasis on the environment and their products are suitable for these operations, the GM says. “We are looking to increase our market share in this segment and want to reach municipalities, other government agencies and so on. At present, we are participating in some important tenders for municipal projects across the GCC.”

They are constantly looking to introduce new, eco-friendly equipment and prefer suppliers who are willing to adopt ‘green’ technologies, says Negri. “In association with BioStrada, we aim to manufacture hybrid machines in the near future to reduce pollution and protect the environment,” he underscores, also indicating that they have plans for a partnership with a company that manufactures waste collection trucks.

“The Middle East is a key market for us and we intend to offer our customers road sweepers and other equipment with excellent build quality, superior performance, operator comfort and value for money,” Negri concludes.

 

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