Ducati motorcycles are known for their domination of racing competitions and their characteristic roar as they speed down city streets. Atlas Copco plays an important contributing role in assembling these legendary vehicles.
An employee assembles a Ducati Multistrada using Atlas Copco tools.
Ducati motorcycles are known for their sleek Italian designs, supremacy in racing competitions and – perhaps most of all – for their distinctive roaring sound. The company itself describes the noise as “a symphony of internal combustion,” perhaps with good reason: Ducati Technical Director Andrea Forni told SuperBike magazine that he researched violin harmonics while working on the exhaust system of the Multistrada 1200 model.
Ducati motorcycle owners and fans all over the world are known as Ducatisti. This loyal group is growing rapidly worldwide, a prime example of ‘brand tribalism’ at its best (in which communities of fans perform much of the marketing work). Business Unit Assembly Manager Carlo Serpentino explains, “Ducatisti don’t just buy the quality of Ducati motorcycles, they invest in the entire brand image.”
This degree of loyalty and commitment, centered on both the technology and Ducati’s reputation, puts great pressure on the company to maintain the highest quality standards. At its plant in Borgo Panigale, Bologna, Italy, Ducati builds an average of 40 000 racing-inspired motorcycles each year.
The factory has used Atlas Copco tools in important assembly operations for years, such as the screwdrivers and nutrunners used to mount connecting rods on crankshafts. But Ducati sees Atlas Copco as more than just a provider of tools.
“We believe we get more from Atlas Copco than we would from other similar tool suppliers,” says Serpentino. “For us, Atlas Copco’s strength lies in its R&D activities. It’s not just the technical support we receive when we need it; their well-planned product development leads to integrated, optimized assembly processes. They support our operations by testing new assembly solutions, providing the innovations and the strategic answers we need.”
Atlas Copco supports sustainable productivity at Ducati, particularly regarding employee health and safety, environmental impact reduction and high product quality. Engineering Manager Franco Lanza says, “The tools we use must comply with strict requirements which are crucial to our end-product quality and environmental policies. We also give maximum consideration to the health and safety of our personnel.”
Indeed, the company has good reason to safeguard its employees: many count themselves among the Ducatisti, perhaps the brand’s most valuable resource.
The tools we use must comply with strict requirements which are crucial to our end-product quality and environmental policies.
Ducati competes in the World Superbike and MotoGP World Championships. In World Superbike, Ducati won both the 2008 Manufacturers’ and Riders’ titles, bringing the total to 15 (of the last 18) Manufacturers’ titles and 13 Riders’ titles. Competing in MotoGP since 2003, Ducati won both the Constructors’ and Riders’ world titles in 2007.
Written by Linas Alsenas