Prologue by the author : My family was in a business of  producing stationery and selling under brand Weldon, founded by my father in 1939. During the start of 1980s, I wished to add ball pens to our range of products. Those days the Italian city Turin or Torino was one of the best and biggest ball pen manufacturing areas and the author used to visit Turin quite often. Because of that Italian connection, my company was a member of Indo Italian Chamber of commerce and Industry (IICCI). I had just ventured into the labels industry a few years back, by starting siliconizing operations. During the visit of an Italian business delegation which included industrialists from various industries, the IICCI was organizing one to one meetings of the Italians with Indians in similar field. I was called upon to be a part of Indian labels industry group as there was one Italian industrialist in that segment. Surprisingly, I was the only Indian from the Indian label industry to meet the Italian, Angelo Bartesaghi, owner of Omet Srl. Lecco Italy. I reproduce image of his card given to me 40 years ago as below;

We struck a cordial relationship from the word go and I took him around NCR Delhi, to visit label printing and machine manufacturing enterprises. All along the three days we spent together, he kept suggesting me to be his agent in India. I excused myself because as a silicone paper producer, label printers were customers of my immediate customers, and I did not want to be a supplier to my customers’ buyers. As life came full circle, in around 2007, Angelo’s son-in-law Marco Calcagni, Sales Director of Omet, carrying forward the legacy of Angelo Bartesaghi, decided to make my company Weldon Celloplast Ltd. as their exclusive agent in India. Today Omet has a wholly owned Indian subsidiary headed by my son Pawandeep Sahni as Managing Director.

I recently met Marco Calcagni and his wife Paola Bartesaghi, daughter of Angelo,  in Omet’s new facility in Lecco near Milan in Italy for an interview about Paola’s father and founder of OMET. :Harveer Sahni Author

Beginning: Angelo Bartesaghi’s father Antonio used to work in a company called Fiocchi in the machine building department, Angelo also joined the same company in 1949. Angello had a sharp mind for creativity and machine design, but he became highly unsatisfied with his boss as his ideas full of creativity and innovation, were not being recognized, the excellent work that Angelo delivered would be owned by his boss as if it were his and not that of Angelo. Not to accept the situation, Angelo at the age of 29 years, quit his job to start his own maiden venture OMET in 1963 where he was later joined in the venture by his father and uncle Franco Gattinoni as the only workers. The family is proud to mention some of the machines designed by Angelo for Fiocchi are still in production!

The full form of OMET: OFFICINA MECCANICA E TRANCERIA (Factory for mechanical and sheering)

A big customer Noli Giuseppe owner of Milan based LOCSA , manufacturers of disposable paper products for restaurants and household use, approached Angelo Bartesaghi for a tissue converting machine. He was shown a picture of the machine needed. Angelo managed to see the machine in operation and thereon in 1965 he designed and built it. It was the very first machine that he built but unfortunately the equipment did not work properly and did not meet the customer’s satisfaction. This rejection landed Angelo in deep financial trouble, but he was a man of strong commitment and did not give up. He looked around for finance possibilities.

His own banker not only refused to extend more finance but also withdrew the existing facilities. Other bankers also followed the same process of refusing to fund him. Persistently trying, he fortunately found a considerate and helpful banker who saw the potential in this man and funded him. He even encouraged Angelo to go and repay off his debt to other bankers, which brought a surprising change in them, they offered double the finance. He then worked hard on the machine and with his penchant for creativity and innovation, he perfected the machine, once that worked, he did not have to look back. That was his first machine for converting tissue. When the machine worked, an excited Angelo bought a bottle of wine and celebrated the success with his creation by pouring the wine on the machine! Angelo learnt a very important lesson about how to manage his relations with the world of business and finance and that is what helped him through his successful journey in business.

A local company Eurolabel established in 1965 came to Angelo requesting him to make a label press similar to their existing one but wanted the same with many improvements. That was the first Label press, a die cutting machine which Omet successfully delivered with their own label on the machine. The Italian company Euro label is still there as a successful label company. Later they perfected their first printing machine a letterpress printing for EDP  or computer labels  and the first or one of the first such equipment was sold to the leading German label stock manufacturer Jacstadt, a company that was later acquired by Avery Dennison. That machine was a 16-inch fanfold computer label manufacturing machine, they also had a 10-inch version.

In 1997 they made the first water-based ink, flexo label press following which they continued to be a front runner in the evolution of label printing equipment. They lead the industry in waste reduction  with short web path faster speeds by introducing new waste matrix handling system without breakages, automatic state of art registration system in both machine and cross directions and introducing a host of pioneering innovative label printing, drying and converting technologies. In between growing the label printing machine business Omet also set up a ball bearing  manufacturing unit.

 A high point of time in Angelo Bartesaghi’s lifetime was in 2010, the creation of a complex platform printing machine combining the mechanical and electronic technology, the “Varyflex Lottery” for a Hong Kong based multinational company to print tickets for the Chinese market. It was the most sophisticated press until that point of time, delivered with 22 printing stations 20 inch wide and capable of running at 150 meters per minute. The total length of the machine is 56 meters incorporating Flexo, offset and digital printing. 

The more complicated machines with complex capabilities are now in production with amazing configurations all employing the diverse and latest printing, drying, embellishing and converting technologies. A single press can have flexo, gravure, offset, screen and digital along with embellishments and multiple die-cutting with a very high level of automation reducing operator intervention. According to Marco Calcagni, “We try to do something different and that the others are presently not able to offer.” Omet now has supplied around 2000 machines worldwide, they now are building an average of 200 highly sophisticated  machines every year. Being local their biggest market is Italy. They are also very strong in Europe. Interesting complex and good markets for Omet are America, South America, North Africa and the Far-East. China used to be good a couple of years ago but is now very slow. Marco further states. “India is also looking up well. It is a very interesting market, but the time taken to decide an order is many months to a year or more, while in USA, decisions are made in a matter of a couple of weeks compared to a month or so in Europe.” 

Aerial view of the Omet assembly shopfloor:

Post covid there has been a big change in the market, and it gave the company an opportunity to rethink and develop innovative technologies expanding into related printing and packaging segments. To start with they built and moved into a new building to trigger rapid growth and developments to cater to an evolving market. The focus, while remaining active in the label printing and converting segment, they did not just move into, but additionally expanded into the state of art printing and packaging converting equipment manufacturing. Important large customers in packaging recognize OMET equipment for its quality, reliability and capability to deliver the best with ease of use. Omet management asserts that they are at a stage to grow exponentially, yet they  are not in competition to produce general products but offer innovative plants that will be able to produce innovations. 

An innovation center has been created for labels and flexible packaging where 2 or 3 machines are installed for demo runs, test runs for customers, and also to train their operators and staff in running and maintaining the Omet equipment. In these days when good operators are short in availability, Omet endeavors to help train their people not only in running the machine but also with information on prepress, inks, aniloxes, dies, etc. OMET supports testing of new materials and creation of new products for customers using facilities available at their Innovation center.

Sustainability: Omet has designed one machine for linerless built as a prototype in cooperation with Ritrama which is now with Fedrigoni. They do understand that it is a topic of importance, and many people are interested. Creativity and innovation have been an inherent part of Omet’s strategy and being strong in that area, now sustainability is also added to their focus. Effort is to try and reduce the cost of energy in label or package converting by investing in better LED UV applications. As for reducing wastage, Omet has been on the forefront of developing technology. Years ago, they pioneered the short web path and still their teams are working on faster changeover and setup time, targeting to achieve a near zero waste in job changeover. Avoiding silicone release papers in PSA labels is still tough, yet they are working towards this.

Family: Angelo Bartesaghi passed away on the 29th of November 2011 at the age of 78 years. His legacy is carried forward by his family. His second generation is now in charge while the third generation has also started to work for the company. Angelo Bartesaghi has three children, two daughters and a son. Paola Bartesaghi is the eldest and looks after the finance. She is the wife of Marco Calcagni who is the Sales Director of Omet. Marco joined Omet as an employee in 1987 and a year later fell in love with Angelo’s daughter Paola. After three years of courtship, they married in 1992. They have three children, two sons and a daughter. 

Their elder son Andrea is the third generation to join Omet and Luca the younger son is in school. Their daughter Sara is pursuing higher education and training in Switzerland. When Paola was asked about childhood memories of her father she says, “ he was a workaholic and we seldom got to see him at home, even when at home he was working!” 

Angelo’s son Antonio now heads the company as Managing director, he has three sons and a daughter all still in school. 

This picture is at the Omet’s 50 years celebrations when they released a book.

The youngest of the Bartesaghi siblings is Raffaella who looks after the group company OPAC where they manufacture Wet wipes and cosmetics. Raffaella has a school going son. When asked about the plans for the children in the family, Paola Bartesaghi said, “Though we do not force anyone, but I am sure all will eventually join Omet as it is a good and well managed family company.”

Present scale of operations: The new Omet factory which is dedicated to building the label and packaging machines is 20,000 square meters and the innovation park and technology  center setup is 4000 square meters, then they have around 4000 square meters factory near Malpensa where they assemble the printing units for label machines, plus there are two buildings for Tissue manufacturing unit admeasuring around 5000 square meters. Additionally, a 2000 square meters plant is there in Luca for making tissue converting machines. They have another unit in Imola to make some special packaging machines like case makers, cartons and palletisers.

Omet also have their ball bearing division titled “System in Motion” with one factory in Lecco 2000 square meters and another 2500 square meters in China. Omet also has a unit titled “OPAC” for manufacturing wet wipes and cosmetics. Omet’s present turnover is 110 million Euros. Total group turnover, including that of OPAC, is 150 million Euros and on the rise. Total number of employees in the group is 500. Omet sales force includes a total of 40 agents around the world with some of them covering more than one country. They have own offices other than those in Italy, in Spain, USA and India.

 After the day spent at Omet, the author and his wife spent an amazing evening with Marco Calcagni and his wife Paola Batesaghi

Written and compiled by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India in August 2023