The company was founded in 1931 thanks to the entrepreneurship of Giuseppe Zanardi. From post-war period to 1931, Giuseppe Zanardi worked as foundry chief for Cooperative Meccaniche Legnaghesi, where he trained a good number of technicians, who were then employed in other Italian foundries. In 1931, Giuseppe and his oldest son, Danilo, started their own business by training the young children Giovanni, Bruno and Giacomo.
In 1936, after spending some time into a rented building, Zanardi Fonderie moved into a new headquarters on its own, where about 20 people were employed. The Second World War forced to suspend foundry activities. In September 1945, after the reconstruction of the buildings damaged by the bombing, foundry activity restarted.
In 1951, post-war business development offered the opportunity to build a new foundry plant, in an area of 7,000 square meters in Legnago.
The current plant in Minerbe, designed to produce ductile iron casting, was opened in 1963 following the economic boom and the growing interest about this competitive material.
The important financial investment that was necessary to open the new plant in Minerbe – while keeping open all the activities in the old Legnago plant – brought to a long economic crisis that lasted until 1994.
In those years, Zanardi Fonderie’s efforts were focused on reaching the financial breakeven. For this reason the investments were mostly oriented to melting process, sand plant and moulding line.
During those 27 years, the family company faced a lot of difficulties, including the 80s and the 90s economic crisis. But thanks to those difficulties, Zanardi Fonderie had the opportunity to reinforce social cohesion inside the plant, the trust between workers, labor union and management.
This internal cohesion permitted to obtain trust from customers and suppliers, that was essential for carrying on Zanardi Fonderie’s own business.
From 1981 to 1984 Danilo Zanardi – founder and business leader of the company – and his brothers Bruno and Giovanni – careful production managers (Giacomo died in a road accident in 1953) – left their operative roles but remained in the company as shareholders, maintaining a precious role of advisors.
Our story, work approach and philosophy are kept alive into our company every day. The knowledge continues to follow a “bottom-up” model, where daily working experiences are shared and integrated with company previous experiences. These experiences are then converted into working procedures and models to be followed by the company employees. At the end of 1972 Franco Zanardi, Danilo’s oldest son, was the first engineer to join the company. He was born in 1946.
Danilo Zanardi was proud of his engineer sons (Federico, born in 1956, is a Mechanical Engineer that joined the company ten years later), nevertheless, he tried to dissuade them to work in the foundry, due to the company’s problems.In 1983, Franco and Federico became Directors, performing synergic and complementary roles up to nowadays. Franco has been at the head of marketing and sales activities, production costs control, product design and process control, while Federico is still at the head of production and investments, paying attention to safety and environment. During the ‘80s, Zanardi Fonderie started to test the Austempered Ductile Iron technology. For twenty (20) years Zanardi Fonderie has been the only foundry owning the licence to use of Dr. Horst Mühlberger’s Germanite patent. Thanks this technology, Zanardi started to promote itself in the market as a producer of ADI (Austempered Ductile Iron) casting, machinable after heat treatment.In 1985 started the first supplies of ADI casts and in 1987 the development of research projects, mainly ADI oriented, financed by Italian funds. The improved performance on the market, the contribution of funds for research and also the inflexible and careful financial management, has not only permitted to reinforce financial situation and company assets but also to represent the bedrock for an important period of investments, from 1995 to 2008.
From 1995 to 2008, Zanardi Fonderie had invested 55 million Euros in Minerbe plant. In 2002 Fabio, Franco’s oldest son, joined the company after his graduation in Management Engineering and a working experience in a Germany foundry, initially operating in Quality and Sales. In 2011, Franco left is role of President and CEO of Zanardi Fonderie S.p.a; he took on the role of Honorary President of Zanardi Fonderie S.p.A. and sole director of G. Zanardi Srl that holds the 78% of Zanardi Fonderie S.p.A. shares. He is also the sole director of Danilo Zanardi Srl, that is the group holding company.
From 2011 to 2015, Zanardi Fonderie S.p.A. was managed by Federico Zanardi (President and CEO), Fabio Zanardi (Vice President), Bruna Emanuela Zanardi (board member). Since 2015, Fabio Zanardi is the new President and CEO, Federico Zanardi is the Vice President and Employer in charge of Safety & Environment management and Bruna Emanuela Zanardi is board member.