From logistics to light industry: a versatile space to grow
Our partnership with IMA, a global leader in automation, is an example of our commitment to become our customers' logistics real estate partner of choice. By understanding our partners' needs and growth requirements, we can improve our assets through reconfiguration, building major extensions or refurbishment to transform them.
To meet IMA's needs we have adapted and expanded a warehouse traditionally used for logistics purposes into a fully-fledged production facility, while retaining its original structure. Thanks to this new facility, IMA can better pursue their long-term growth plans.
The growth of an Italian global leader
IMA is one of the most recognisable brands within Italy’s industrial sector. Founded in 1961, it has become a global leader in the production of automated solutions for the packaging industry and is headquartered in Ozzano dell’Emilia, south-east of Bologna in an area known as ‘Packaging Valley’, which is home to over 300 companies in the packaging industry. IMA, one of the most iconic firms in the field, earned circa €1.5 billion in revenues in 2020, mostly from foreign clients. IMA has strong local roots but, at the same time, it is fully integrated within the global packaging value chain.
IMA Life, one of the company’s fastest-growing divisions in the pharmaceutical sector, provides specialist solutions for the packaging of pharmaceutical products, such as vials. The machines and systems used for these processes are often large and require long periods for their design, production and testing. Some of the largest global pharmaceutical companies are among IMA Life's clients.
The significant growth of the global pharmaceutical sector in recent years prompted IMA to plan the expansion of IMA Life's production capacity. Massimo Marchesini, IMA’s Vice President, Procurement and Production Systems, says: “In order to satisfy the growing demand for our products, it was essential for us to consolidate our production capacity within a single, large warehouse that could accommodate several hundred skilled workers and technicians, as well as machines that can be several meters in length.
“In order to satisfy the growing demand for our products, it was essential for us to consolidate our production capacity within a single, large warehouse that could accommodate several hundred skilled workers and technicians, as well as machines that can be several meters in length. It was also necessary for the warehouse to be in the vicinity of our headquarters in Ozzano dell’Emilia, where the majority of our IMA Life staff were already based.”
Massimo Marchesini, IMA’s Vice President, Procurement and Production Systems
“It was also necessary for the warehouse to be near our headquarters in Ozzano dell’Emilia, where the majority of our staff are already based.”
The warehouse located in Castel San Pietro met IMA’s fundamental requirements in terms of size and location. It is just over 10 kilometres from Ozzano dell’Emilia and benefits from a nearby link to the E45 motorway, an excellent position for logistics. In terms of size, the warehouse spans 32,600 square metres with an internal height of 10 metres and is one of our largest assets in the area. The high-quality warehouse is extremely versatile with flexible space and has a good sized external space and parking. The area also offers high-quality logistics services and within the property perimeter, there is a 22,600 square metre plot of land available for development.
However, IMA’s requirements for the new warehouse were not limited to size and location. Marchesini explains: “The pharmaceutical sector we operate in requires particular attention to the cleanliness and hygiene of the production environment. Furthermore, as a firm we strive to ensure the maximum comfort for our employees. The work environment must be well-lit and we must be able to control its temperature. Most importantly, IMA’s production process requires the intervention of many specialist technicians, who spend the majority of their time within an office environment rather than beside the assembly line.”
Our partnership with IMA, which was facilitated by Cushman & Wakefield, has generated an ambitious project aimed at refitting the warehouse and developing the adjacent area for office space. The preliminary tenancy contract was signed in April 2019, shortly after the exit of the previous tenant.
Bruno Bedeschi, General Services, Environment and Safety Manager at IMA, says: “The warehouses we lease rarely offer all of the features we need. We require a much higher standard in terms of quality and safety compared with the average warehouse user, which means we are used to refitting the warehouses we enter. The size of Logicor’s warehouse in Castel San Pietro fit our space needs and Logicor offered to develop the additional office space that we required. This eased our decision to invest in the project.”
Together with IMA, and due to the long-term nature of the agreement, we were able to plan a significant investment into the project. We delivered a cutting-edge warehouse, capable of housing a high-tech production line, and developed a modern two-storey office building that links directly to the warehouse. As a result, IMA has been able to centralise the activities of its Life division within the site, which employs approximately 150 skilled workers and 350 technicians.
The refitting of the warehouse consisted of the renovation of the concrete floor. Fabio Bosoni, Senior Technical Manager, says: “Initially, our contractor removed one centimetre of concrete and replaced it with epoxy resin, which has provided IMA with a higher-quality floor that is better suited to its production needs. We are very focused on positive sustainability steps and so we increased the amount of natural lighting to maximise the visual comfort of IMA’s employees.”
It's been verified that the warehouse’s floor provided a higher load capacity than traditional logistics warehouses. The floor load capacity is 20 tonnes per square metre, compared with the usual 5 tonnes per square meter. This gave IMA a key additional safety feature, essential for the size and weight of the machines it produces.
The construction of the office building, which began at the end of 2019, experienced an inevitable slowdown owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, which stopped work at the site during the lockdown of early March 2020. However, work resumed immediately at the end of the lockdown in May and was concluded on time, in full compliance with the safety and security measures required by the situation.
Meanwhile, IMA started its work to personalise the warehouse. The company had a number of bridge cranes installed for the movement of machine parts. It renovated the heating and air conditioning systems and installed ad-hoc systems for the circulation of water and other fluids, such as distilled water and hydrogen peroxide, which are needed for the production process. A number of sterile cleanrooms were created for testing machines and the lighting equipment was entirely renovated, installing new LED lamps.
“The warehouses we lease rarely offer all of the features we need. We require a much higher standard in terms of quality and safety compared with the average warehouse user, which means we are used to refitting the warehouses we enter. The size of Logicor’s warehouse in Castel San Pietro fit our space needs, and Logicor offered to develop the additional office space that we required. This eased our decision to invest in the project.”
Bruno Bedeschi, General Services, Environment and Safety Manager at IMA
In October 2020, IMA transferred their Life division staff to the warehouse to begin production, while construction work on the office was ongoing. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Logicor delivered the office block in November 2020 with the final work on the offices completed by IMA in the spring of 2021.
The office block was conceived and developed as a natural extension of the warehouse. The building was constructed in the shape of a letter E, creating four internal courts between the block and the warehouse to allow more even and natural lighting within the offices. The decorated and planted courts offer a particularly pleasant environment for employees. The E shape also allows for quick travel within the office block and offers direct access to the warehouse. This is crucial given the frequent exchanges and collaboration between the office-based and warehouse staff members.
Together with IMA we dedicated particular attention to the choice of materials and solutions that guarantee maximum energy efficiency and comfort to the user. The casing for the building was designed with attention towards thermal insulation. The triple-glass window frames have a 16-millimeter cavity filled with argon gas. Both the office block and the warehouse are fitted with solar panels on the roof. The office block alone has a capacity of 92 kilowatt.
The buildings’ energy consumption is monitored through an integrated building management system (BMS) and a number of energy-saving solutions, including a leakage monitoring system, have also been installed. The site benefits from a system for collecting and reusing rainwater to irrigate green areas. The parking lots offer EV charging stations and dedicated spaces for car sharing vehicles. The entire site will be managed according to modern environmental standards, also in terms of waste management. These features will contribute to our target of obtaining a BREEAM Very Good standard.
“The Castel San Pietro Terme warehouse was significantly transformed without changing the essential logistics nature of the building. Thanks to the building’s innate quality, the ambitious renovation project was delivered efficiently and ahead of schedule despite impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted the work for a number of weeks. The construction of the office block according to such high-quality standards demonstrates our flexibility, resourcefulness and capabilities as an ideal partner for even the most sophisticated clients, who care about the functionality, quality and sustainability of logistics warehouses.”
Graeme Hepburn, Country Manager for Italy at Logicor
Creating space to thrive: a high quality building and a long-term partnership
IMA’s Bedeschi explains: “Our expansion plans require a long-term horizon and, therefore, a significant investment not just in the production facilities, but also in the creation of an appropriate work environment.”
The long-term contract we have signed shows commitment by both parties and allows IMA to secure the expansion of its Life division.
Graeme Hepburn, our Country Manager for Italy at Logicor, explains: “The Castel San Pietro Terme warehouse was significantly transformed without changing the essential logistics nature of the building.
“Thanks to the building’s innate quality, the ambitious renovation project was delivered efficiently and ahead of schedule despite impact from the Covid-19 pandemic, which halted the work for a number of weeks. The construction of the office block to such high-quality standards demonstrates our flexibility and resourcefulness.
“With this project, we demonstrate our capabilities as an ideal partner for even the most sophisticated clients who care about the functionality, quality and sustainability of their warehouses.”
Recommended further reading
Polo di Castel San Pietro Terme: la sfida (vinta) di Logicor e IMA - Il...https://www.ilgiornaledellalogistica.it/news/aziende/polo-di-castel-san-pietro-terme-la-sfida-vinta-di-logicor-e-ima/