The factory floor is a city of tall hydraulic presses. Humming and chinking sounds bellow down aisle after aisle. Workers wearing light-blue gloves spray grease onto sheet-metal pieces, place them in a mold, and lower a press. In a single motion, a sheet instantly becomes a cutout shape or molded surface. If the curve of a surface is steep—as is the one on the 9090’s angular boiler body—it acquires its shape after a series of presses that slowly increase the incline. After four to five presses, the metal, having reached the limits of deformation without breaking, spends a night in the annealing furnace. Prolonged heat realigns the molecular structure to maintain ductility.
In a given day, bits of the 9090 in various stages of production are scattered around the factory in bins. “We don’t work in an assembly line,” explains Danilo Alliata, head of product development since 1980. “Our approach is more artisan. Every day the factory workers are doing different tasks.” Making a 9090 usually takes a month and about 85 pairs of hands.