During Italy’s economic boom in the mid 1960s, 18-year-old Rolando Lavelli was working in a rubber-processing company between the towns of Brescia and Bergamo, north Italy. Like many contemporary industries, rubber was going from strength to strength and it was this development, along with his intention to become professionally independent, that inspired Rolando to open a small rubber-gasket production business with his brother Roberto and their parents.
Over the years, LAV.EL. Gomma has moved premises a number of times. Its Paratico site opened for business in 1973, after which the company moved to nearby Viadanica in 1974. It moved to Credaro in 1980 and then to its current site in Cologne in 2003. Although its roots have remained in north Italy, it has always had its eyes set firmly on Europe. The turning-point for LAV.EL. Gomma came in 1980 with a change in policy, which saw it turn from a third-party manufacturer into a direct supplier of Europe’s major distributors and triple its number of employees.
When Roberto died unexpectedly in 2001, his son Cristian was appointed vice-president and Rolando’s son Gabriele joined the board of directors, moves that ensured the business would remain in the hands of the Lavelli family. The same year saw the completion of another decisive step. After LAV.EL. Gomma had been awarded quality certificates for an increasing range of materials and products, the company began to produce for end-users. From then on, businesses across the world were able to order LAV.EL. Gomma gaskets directly from the company.
Thanks to this change in policy, turnover has increased by an average of 15% each year since 2001. The family had always planned to expand the business and they did so by investing in two key resources in any hi-tech production industry: expert personnel, and research and development.