Exhibitor Spotlight: Enzo Mazzola, CEO of Sovema Group
Enzo Mazzola has been CEO of Sovema Group since April 2016. He has extensive experience in the field of battery manufacturing and has spent 30 years working for companies within the holding that controls Sovema Group.
From 1987 to 2001 Enzo was CFO of Uranio-United Energy, an industrial group manufacturing starter, industrial and stationary batteries. This company is now part of a large industrial group in the battery manufacturing business.
From 2002 to 2016 Enzo was CEO of the Varisco Group, headquartered in Padua, Italy, producing special pumps for industrial, construction and safety applications.
Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?
I joined Sovema (the company changed its name to Sovema Group only this year) in 2016 as CEO; I have also been a member of its Board of Directors since its foundation. Therefore, I have been dealing with Sovema and its activities for a number of years, from the time when Sovema was still a division of Uranio-United Energy. As the company’s CEO, I provide strategic guidance but I am also involved in several operational activities as I like to interact with all employees and get to know things and problems first-hand.
What inspired you to join/start this company?
As I said, I had the chance to know Sovema from its very start, and I have been dealing with it for a number of years in various capacities. Therefore, I had the opportunity to see it grow and prosper to the point of becoming one of the most important players in its niche market. That’s why, when I was offered the helm of the company last year, I was pleased to accept the appointment.
What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
Sovema Group has two unique characteristics that set it apart from its competitors. First, it is the only supplier of equipment for lead-acid battery manufacturing that can provide customers with all the pieces of equipment necessary to establish a battery manufacturing plant from scratch. Second, it is the only supplier in our industry that has developed a competence and reputation in an adjacent but very different sector: equipment for manufacturing lithium-ion cells and batteries. In fact, six years ago Sovema Group entered this business by establishing SoLith – Sovema Lithium, a product line that specifically caters to this customer segment.
What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?
Our business in lead-acid battery manufacturing equipment is being challenged by the need to be innovative and competitive across the board as we cover all the segments in the battery manufacturing process. On the one hand, this gives us an important edge with respect to our competitors but, on the other hand, it prods us into competing with segment specialists and constantly benchmarking with the best in class.
Our major opportunity is currently represented by our business in lithium-ion battery equipment manufacturing, where we have witnessed a rapid growth in demand during the last year. Here the challenge for us is to complete our product range in a short time, adding module and pack assembly lines to our current offer, which includes cell assembly and formation and ageing systems. We have already developed the concepts and we are currently finalising the design of these new lines with some prospective customers.
Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?
We are constantly working on innovative new solutions for our lead-acid product line. However, given the focus of The Battery Show, I’d rather talk about what’s happening in our lithium-ion business. With SoLith we started off six years ago by developing cell assembly pilot lines. These were meant for small production batches and low throughputs. Our earlier customers were mostly research institutions or labs, both in industry and in academia. Although we still have these kinds of customers, equipment requests now mostly come from large battery makers. Therefore, our current technological developments are aimed at scaling up our products and gearing them up to make them suitable for mass production.
What would you say most excites you about your role?
A lot is happening in the energy storage business these days, and change is occurring at a very fast pace. The fact that I am a part of it as the Chief Executive of Sovema Group is very exciting and I look forward to the challenges ahead.
How do you think the industry will develop within the next five years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?
Again, focusing on the lithium-ion side of our industry, I am confident that within the next five years the portion of our business associated with SoLith will overtake Sovema’s, our signature brand in lead-acid battery manufacturing equipment. We are receiving increasing numbers of enquiries from prospective customers from various corners of the world; several from Europe, where demand comes mostly from the automotive sector. These signals make us confident that electric vehicles will become more commonplace in the near future also at our latitudes.
What do you hope to achieve at the show next year, and what connections do you hope to make?
Sovema Group is one of the leading companies in lead-acid battery manufacturing equipment and has an excellent standing worldwide with its Sovema brand. By attending events such as The Battery Show, we want to give evidence of and propel our Solith product line and showcase our value proposition in lithium-ion cell/battery manufacturing, which encompasses everything in the production pipeline but electrode preparation. We’ll be present with our Bitrode product line as well, providing cell, module and pack testing capabilities to our prospective customers. Sovema Group is truly a one-stop-shop supplier in this industry.
Not only will The Battery Show give us the opportunity to meet and mingle with prospective customers, but it will also give us an idea of what’s cooking in this exciting industry and gain an updated outlook on it.
Sovema Group will be exhibiting on Stand 237 at The Battery Show Europe.