WOODSTOCK, Ill. — In this month’s Closer Look, which profiles manufacturers, distributors or other businesses that serve the drycleaning industry, American Drycleaner shines its spotlight on Firbimatic, a manufacturer of drycleaning machines.
Q: How long has your business been serving the drycleaning industry?
A: Our factory has been manufacturing machines since 1971. Our branch has been around since 1994.
Q: Tell our readers, generally, about your company’s current product and/or service offerings.
A: Firbimatic manufactures drycleaning machines that are for use with alternative solvents and perc. They are available in a wide range of sizes, from 22 pounds to 176 pounds. There are various configurations from petite to tank versions, including wide body chassis with two or three tanks, with or without distillation, and filters or no filters.
Q: Where are your company’s products made, and how are they sold/distributed to end-users?
A: Firbimatic machines are made in Bologna, Italy, and are sold throughout the world and exported to more than 130 countries. Firbimatic SPA works through distributors and factory-owned importers around the world. In the USA, we have a dealer network for sales and service support.
Q: What is the biggest news at your business right now?
A: We have had many newsworthy items. Dave Aklinski has come on board as a sales representative covering all western states. We have had tremendous leaps in technology with our new IConnect, which allows remote access to the machines via the Internet. This system can give you real-time readouts of machine operation, programs, and temps, in addition to fault storage for better fault diagnosis.
Q: Why is your company successful?
A: Firbimatic is successful due to the high quality of the machines and the advanced features available on the different models. Firbimatic is always looking ahead to advance and test new designs to work with the newest alternative solvents.
Q: What makes your business different from other businesses like it?
A: I feel our loyalty to our distributors sets us apart from other importers.
Q: Which is more important to your organization—mission, core values or vision—and why?
A: In Italy, it is vision: The ability to see future needs and changes in the industry and produce machines to accommodate. In the USA, mission. Due to the ever-increasing complexity of the drycleaning machines, it is more important than ever to support and train our distributors and customers.
Q: How does your company keep up with the industry to ensure it is offering the products and/or services that potential customers want or need?
A: Firbimatic employs a team of engineers that design and test drycleaning machines and are always looking to improve cleaning performance, drying performance, or overall machine quality.
Q: What is one thing that American Drycleaner readers would be surprised to learn about your company?
A: In addition to our standard drycleaning machines, we also manufacture large industrial machines and vapor degreasing machines. Due to limited manufacturing in the USA, most of these models are sold overseas, though we do have two 350-pound tandem hydrocarbon models, which are the first-ever in the world, in San Antonio, Texas, which are used to clean sheepskins. Firbimatic also just produced our 100th 350-pound tandem industrial drycleaning machine.
Q: How would you characterize the current state of the drycleaning industry?
A: The industry is in a state of rebuild after the recession. As is usually the case, we see areas and neighborhoods grow and change, and old cleaners go and new neighborhoods develop with new business opportunities. I feel this is the strongest market in 10 years for drycleaning machines.
Q: What do you think will change about the drycleaning industry in the next five years?
A: With the development of new cleaning solvents, I see a lot of trial and error to find the best cleaning available. And a great reduction of perc machines in operation.
Q: If there is one thing you could change about the drycleaning industry, what would it be?
A: I would have to say consistency. I travel the country and am able to visit a wide array of cleaners, and the cleaning and spotting from one to the next can vary greatly.
AT A GLANCE
Company name: Firbimatic
Location(s): 13802 Washington St., Ste. A
Woodstock, IL 60098
Owner(s): Gino Biagi
Number of employees (full-time and part-time, if applicable): 4
Type of business: Drycleaning machine importer
Products/services: Drycleaning machines
Area served (national, regional, etc.): USA and Caribbean
Company HQ address: Firbimatic SPA, via Turati 16, Sala Bolognese, Bologna, Italy
Phone number, local: 815-338-2355
Phone number, toll-free: 800-220-0630
Fax number: 815-338-2365
Corporate email address: [email protected]
Website URL: firbimaticusa.com
Social media addresses (Facebook, etc.): @firbimaticusa on Facebook