Italwinch continues its exhibition journey, and after participating in the main summer boat shows, will be at METS in Amsterdam from November 16-18 (Booth 01.478). The Monza-based company, which specializes in the production of winches and mechanical products for mooring, has over time acquired several brands linked to the nautical world, including Progetto Elica. And commercially, it distributes the Yacht Controller product through MZ Electronic. We met Alessandro Fossati, the group’s majority shareholder and sales manager. It was the perfect opportunity to take stock of the many expectations regarding a B2B show that is very important for the global marine accessories market. Expectations are high and also motivated by the eagerly awaited return of METS, which will start again after a break forced by the pandemic in 2020.
What do you expect from this year’s METS?
For us, METS is always a benchmark exhibition. This year we are afraid that it will be a bit subdued because we know that the organization has reduced the space. It will be a bit more “European” because not everyone will be able to come. However, for us it remains an important event and, among other things, this year we will be renewing the entire graphic design of the booth. We will also be bringing Progetto Elica with us and this will be an opportunity to push the news of the acquisition of this company by Italwinch at an international level.
What Progetto Elica-branded products will Italwinch be presenting at METS?
Both thrusters and rudders. In addition to the catalogue of submerged and standard thrusters that we produce, at METS we will be exhibiting the surface propeller for fast boats that we supplied to the Apuan Tecnomar shipyard for the Lamborghini 63, with which an excellent partnership has been established.
With MZ Electronic, are there integrations with the most popular platforms?
We will be presenting MZ Link which is a new system that is partly customizable and has compelling graphics, which is used to manage thrusters and winches and is integrated into chartplotters. By the way, we have finished the integration with Raymarine systems. We also did a demonstration in Genoa with Garmin displays. And we have also integrated the Furuno systems. We will soon have all our integrations on the main chartplotters with HTML 5 ‘publishing’.
What about the push button panels?
The range of push button panels will be there and it will be in a completely new form. The main control panel we are focusing on is the VHC 040, which allows the management of two thrusters, a counter-meter windlass, all via radio. And it is equipped with a contactless charging solution that is also compatible with smartphones.
What do you as Italwinch expect from METS?
We certainly expect an increase in direct relations with the shipbuilding industry at a certain level. And then, as with all boat shows, it will be an opportunity to meet our dealers.
How much are you betting on the superyacht market?
As far as superyachts are concerned, from the point of view of windlasses, with MZ Electronic we already cover yachts up to 70/80 metres. With thrusters, the target is currently lower, because the maximum diameter of the certified thrusters we produce is one and a half metres, so they are suitable for boats up to 40 metres. However, the Group’s current target is for boats of 15 to 20 metres. This does not detract from the fact that we aim to grow and obtain the relevant certifications for superyachts over 40 metres.
How do you deal with the shipyards and the engine builders for the propellers?
The shipyard gives us certain information, including the weight and centre of gravity of the yacht. On request, we also develop a study of the hydrodynamics of the boat. We work hand in hand with the shipyard to create an ad hoc product. Progetto Elica is not oriented towards industrial mass production, but rather has a tailor-made approach to fully satisfy the shipyard’s requests.
What about your future plans, Group development objectives and production figures?
Progetto Elica as a company will be physically transferred to a plant adjacent to MZ Electronic in spring 2022, it will be increasingly autonomous and able to meet the needs of the market. To date, Progetto Elica employs about ten people and has a turnover of about one million euros. In terms of the number of thrusters, we plan to increase production and grow further.