When FAE was founded in the village of Fondo, in the beautiful apple-producing valley of Val di Non in Northern Italy, its focus was forestry. “The first attachments that we made, and our core business for over 20 years, was mulchers for tractors and excavators. Based on that technology, we then developed a wide range of products,” explains sales director Davide Baratta. “More recently, we started making attachments for road construction, and our intention is to continue developing for the construction industry.”
The reasons FAE decided to increase its activity in the construction sector are two-fold, says Baratta. First, there was demand from customers, mainly in North America and Europe. Second, it was a good way for the company to expand and diversify while still deploying its decades of know-how in attachment technology. “Our company motto is ‘Make the Difference’, which applies to everything: the way we treat our customers; our products; our engineering; and the working environment for our people.”
The longest-standing FAE attachment for the road sector is the soil stabiliser for tractors, which it pioneered 20 years ago. Showcased at SaMoTer was an upgraded version of its STABI/H soil stabiliser. Changes to the head frame are designed to increase its durability and productivity with a new torsion bar connected to its moveable sides, which FAE says will allow operators to control the operating depth and alignment more precisely.
Following the stabilisers, the manufacturer added stone crushers and a multi-tool range which can be used for stabiliser or crusher. “The multi-tool is the most interesting because it allows you to do two jobs with the same attachments,” says Baratta. The multi-tools, which range from 1m to 2.5m in width, could be used in a road rehabilitation project, for example, stabilising the subbase and crushing the old asphalt for recycling.
Today FAE employs over 350 employees around the world. It has branches in Atlanta in the US, Edmonton in Canada, Lyon in France, Berlin in Germany, Naro-Forminsk in Russia, 60km from Moscow, and Melbourne in Australia. “The company has grown by 100% in the last three or four years,” says Baratta, who has worked at FAE for 20 years.
That growth continues with construction of a new 13,000m² plant close to Vincenza, where FAE will produce all its frames and rotors. “We already had a plant there, but we are investing a lot more money in it,” says Baratta.
There are also plans to expand the company’s footprint at its headquarters, creating production space for its tracked carriers which it currently manufactures at a plant around 10 minutes away. Designed for the forestry industry, the tracked carriers are wide-tracked vehicles designed to work in muddy conditions with remote-controlled versions that can operate on steep slopes. FAE also produces a remote-controlled de-mining carrier to remove antipersonnel and antitank mines.
As FAE grows, finding new people to join the company is one of its biggest challenges. It already employs hundreds of local people; Baratta remarks that the company gives many of its workers time off to pick the apples around apple harvesting time.
Now FAE wants to attract people from outside the area, and even from outside Italy, to work in the valley of apples and attachments, says Baratta, “We work all over the world, and they could come from anywhere. English is our second language and sometimes our first language.”