Andrea Cinerari is the Technical Director at ARMOFER, an Italian leader in the world of demolition. He is part of the second generation of this family business, his father Luigi being one of the three founding Cinerari brothers.
With the nature of their work involving buildings and the need for elevated access, Haulotte aerial work platforms play an important role in Armofer’s arsenal of equipment. Andrea guided us through the company’s history and provided us with a wealth of insights into the Italian demolition and decommissioning market.
Could you briefly introduce us to your company?
Armofer was founded 62 years ago in Pavia by the Cinerari brothers, Pietro, Luigi, and Angela. Today, we have about 180 employees and 35 million euros in turnover, yet despite our incredible growth, Armofer remains a family business, managed by the second generation with the same courage and values that started our story. Like my brother and my cousins, I share a great family passion. We all joined the company at a very young age, learning on the job, and following in the footsteps of our parents. Over time, each of us found our own path within the company.
What is your expertise?
We are a leading company in the world of demolition, reclamation and decommissioning. We provide all types of demolition services across Italy, and we also export our expertise, tackling construction sites abroad that require specialized knowledge and equipment. For example, we are one of the very few companies in Europe to own and operate a machine reaching 60 m in height. Our distinctive red fleet symbolizes quality, and we continue to make history in the world of demolition, one site at a time.
What is your role within the company and what are your main tasks?
I am the Technical Director of our family business, overseeing the selection of new machines and technologies for our fleet. My passion for machines began at a very young age when I first learned how to drive mechanical rope tractors. Over the years, I’ve stayed updated with the latest advancements in our industry, selecting and importing the most innovative technologies into Italy, making fleet updates a core strength of our company. I work directly with the most important demolition technologies, including demolition crawler excavators with heights exceeding 30m, some reaching up to 60m. My expertise also includes teaching how to safely operate demolition vehicles.
What are the main characteristics of the sector in which you operate?
Demolition is a highly specialized and professionally demanding sector, regardless of whether we’re dealing with extensive projects in the industrial sector, which can involve extremely complex situations, or operating within the civil sector in urban areas, where projects are very delicate due to the surrounding environment. Furthermore, environmental reclamation has become a primary concern since the 1990s and is necessary for the completion of any urban regeneration project, of which demolition is an integral part. This complex process demands a specific set of skills and expertise.
Can you tell us about the main characteristics of the demolition market in Italy?
Since the 1990s, with the closure of heavy industries, large cities have started a steadily accelerating process of decommissioning urban factories, with the aim of environmental reclamation and converting these areas for residential and recreational use with green spaces. Over the past decade, the most substantial and demanding projects have been concentrated in major cities, because converting industrial spaces into residential areas requires very high standards. Simultaneously, there have also been hundreds of smaller-scale interventions, which are not as extensive in size, but are equally complex and essential for recovering space and resources for the real estate market.
Armofer recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of its founding. What does this important milestone mean to you?
We are naturally proud of Armofer’s success and continued growth. Despite how much has changed in 60 years, we have kept our family passion and the values on which the previous generation built and started the business. The ability to adapt, being proactive, and maintaining great passion for our work are the values that allow us to stay on the market. For example, we recently launched DR Service (Decommissioning Red Service) within Armofer, focusing specifically on the rapidly growing decommissioning sector.
Which Haulotte machines do you use on site? Are these aerial platforms dedicated to a specific use?
We have several Haulotte machines. One of our latest additions, the HA41 RTJ PRO articulated boom model (as shown in the photos), is specifically dedicated to our decommissioning services. These aerial platforms allow us to transport operating personnel safely to large heights with the personnel basket for various jobs which include high-altitude cutting, wetting, hoisting, as well as observing and supervising procedures.
What was the most complicated job you had to work on?
The more complex jobs are those involving either significant operating heights or structures to be demolished that are declared unusable and unsafe, due to events such as fires. When these two conditions are present together on an industrial construction site, the situation becomes truly complex. Perhaps the best-known case in Europe was the safety measures taken a few years ago for a 100-meter-tall refinery plant that was rendered unsafe due to a fire. This situation was addressed entirely with aerial demolition and various lifting mechanisms.
How do you train your team for this particular job? And above all, what security issues do you have to face?
Our staff at all operational levels undergo continuous training, which is a tremendous tool for producing quality work.
On security, our company’s philosophy has always put this aspect first. While there are many laws today that guarantee a good level of safety, on-site safety relies heavily on cultivating a universal “culture of safety”, and compliance with regulations is not enough to ensure that this is embraced by everyone. Choosing safety must always be the easiest option, for example, PPE (personnel protection equipment) like overalls, goggles, gloves, earplugs, and helmets should always be readily available, with extra quantities, and conveniently accessible on site. The same goes for machines as it is now proven that operating comfort increases safety levels and must be added to high-performance machines for trained personnel.
One of our workers recently received an award and commendation from a major player in the construction market called Lendlease at the Milan Innovation District construction site, Italy’s largest urban regeneration project, for being an outstanding example in embracing and spreading the values of safety.