Mr. Valenti: originator of Imola’s packaging valley district and tireless innovator

cover foto

An article by Slobodan Ocokoljic


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I have met Mr. Dante Valenti while working as interpreter for his company, the Tek in Pek from Imola. He needed to sale packaging machine to a foreign client and I have help them during the negotiation process.

I was amazed by the fact that with a portfolio of 20 patents, 40 years of experience, and truly global coverage with his inventions, Mr. Valenti is just a regular engineer that loves innovation and enjoy to solve problems. Therefore, I wanted to interview him here in order to understand in more details what is the innovation for entrepreneur that is the undercover hero of dynamical constant innovation. Also, I wanted to understand how a micro enterprise Tek in Pek manage the process of innovation that is responsible for some major breakthrough in the global packaging industry.

Small warehouse in Imola’s industrial area is a headquarter of inventor that has made this city famous. The valley of packaging as the local and global players in packaging industry know Imola was born in the head of this man. Quiet, polite, workaholic engineer, that enjoys to breath live into metal. After few minutes of conversation with Mr. Dante it is easy to understand why 40 years ago, as he told me, he took his pen and left IMA S.p.a. (one of the biggest local multinationals). This gentlemen do not like to argue, he is not into politics, and he is not just into making money, but making innovative and sustainable solutions. This man is an innovator at its best. So, he knew that the resources that counts (innovation ingenuity) are on his side and he started his own enterprise dedicated to constant innovation.

Mr. Dante Valenti - CEO and Engineer at Tek in Pek, Imola

During this 40 years of continuous innovation he created all kinds of machines for packaging, from corrugated cardboard to polypropylene. Presently Tek in Pak is world leader in design and production of machines for manufacturing of special die cutting dies for the hot stamping of die cut products with sealed flutes. 

Here are the Q&A from the interview we had with Mr. Dante Valenti earlier this week.

About the products

Q – What is the smart part (added value) of your products?

A – After I left the corrugated board packaging industry I have searched new materials for packaging and discovered polypropylene. Here the major innovation introduced was the system that I have invented for a hot air sealing of die cut products (so called Vame system). This was a major breakthrough for the industry and the product was welcomed with success in the international market. This system allows closing the sides of boards making the material sterilised and utilised in different steps during the pelletisation process e.g. bottle and jar separator. Moreover, polypropylene is highly resistant, depending on the thickness of material combined it can be much more resistant than wood or even metal.

The peculiarity of the sealing process of Tek in Pak machines is that no smoke is made because the sealing is not touching the cartonplast sheet and this way the thickness of the sheet at the edges on the whole perimeter is kept the same as the original sheet thickness.

Box pallets made of this material are easily folding if edging is correctly designed and this can lead to enormous savings in the transatlantic transportation industry because the palette our machines made are reusable, they do not have to be treated with protective paint for wood or metal and after the delivery they can be compressed to 6 time smaller size, which leaves a lot of space for other shipping to be made. In US they are using our machines to produce the protection from tornadoes which is replacing the wooden protection used until now.           

Tek in Pek Imola Packaging Machine_TF3

The products made of polypropylene are recyclable, environmentally friendly and ideal for industry because this material:   

Emits less CO2 emissions during production when compared with other materials  

Ensures the total recyclability at the end of the product life

Ensures high chemical resistance and high outdoor durability

Is sterilize and has natural water repellency

Is resistant to acid, alkaline and salt solutions, and as well bacteria, mold and algae resistant

Is lightweight and customisable: thickness, weight, color, etc..

Is printable: screen printing, digital and flexo printing

As well, we are searching a business partner that would work with us on commercialization of the highly resistant and lightweight polypropylene rucksack I have registered as utility patent in December 2016. This rucksack is entirely printable, it requires less material for production than other similar products because it uses  hot air sealing.

Ho anche progettato e brevettato una soluzione innovativa per eliminare rifiuti e inquinamento prodotto dalle attuali capsule utilizzate per le macchine da caffè. Inoltre questo prodotto permette al consumatore di elaborare personalmente la miscela di caffè.

– How did you get the idea?

– Innovative products are always born out of the strong research spirit and the capacity of realizing solutions.

– How did you get the funds for realization of your ideas

– By my opinion in Italy, financial instruments are reserved for Multinational Companies that are able to lobby to get the state and bank funds. I was never approved an application for product development and all of my products are realized with self-financing and loans.

– What were the key barriers (administrative, operational, technical, financial)

– Once I have finished the detailed prototype design of the machine or other products the biggest obstacle is finding a way to finance further development and application of the solution and to commercialize the idea. Therefore, we are still engineering design studio and the production process is left to other global companies.  

Tek in Pek Imola - Vame System - Hot air polipropilene sealing


– If any, how was the support from the development institutions/agencies (city/province/region/country/global)

We did not received any support whatsoever.

– Are you a part of/do you have plans to make public-private partnerships? (Universities, incubators, clusters)

– No.

Do you plan to apply/have you already applied for HORIZON 2020 entrepreneurship/innovation support programs?

– I am not planning to apply for such funds.


– Inhouse or outsourced business consultancy/grant application management?

– Our products are truly globally presented and we have our machines from US, Mexico, Japan, Bulgaria, Italy, Russia, France, Peru. We worked with some multinationals such as Procter & Gamble but we are only engineering design studio and all management and consultancy processes are done in-house.

– Are you planning to internationalize?

– 90% of our products is sold on the foreign markets, among which African countries, US, Japan, Asia, Europe, but we are not present in China and Balkans.

– Are you willing to pay for the market analysis?

– Yes I would, but in reality, since we are a microfirm and we do not have means for hiring consultancy firms I do market analysis by myself. The principle is next. I am doing my best to be present, alone or with firms that are producing my machines internationally, on biggest global fairs in this industry. There I have a chance to see the latest global trends and needs and to present my products.

In this way I am able to analyse the competition and to prepare machines that suits the need of the market.

Tek in Pek Imola - Lightweight polypropylene rucksack - Utility patent


– How would you define innovation?

– Innovation is driven by the spirit of research and experimentation and concertized with the capacity for implementation. When developing a new innovative product you must never forget costs and time it needs to be created.

– What technologies, business models, and trends will drive the biggest changes in your industry over the next two years?

– In partnership with one US company we are presently working on the  solution for innovative product made from folding polypropylene blocks and sealed with our hot air method. So, continuous implementation of our approach that have clear market value is our strategy for the future. We are also working on variety of solutions of box pallets for US market. However, I have noticed the trend that underdeveloped countries are those more focused on innovation because this gives them opportunity to catch up and maybe outrun developed countries. That is why I am currently negotiating to export some of my newest machines in Kenya and Ecuador.

– How has innovation become engrained in your organization’s culture, and how is it being optimized.

– The best way to make your company innovative is to be open for new solutions and to visit and discover other markets, in this way you can understand  market needs and consequently design a suitable solution for that needs.

– If you could hire few new people (to develop a product of your dreams what unconventional skills would they have?

– I do not know who I could need to develop the products of my dreams but in order to continue to work on present machines I need accountant, engineer and production facility.    

– What can your company offer for free that no one else does?

– We can offer young people, if they are interested to do internship with us, and to experience the pleasure of making something out of nothing, because that what engineering is, it is breathing life in what before was just a bunch of metal and having the pleasure of seeing it working and producing something useful.


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Američki patent za srpskog dizajnera – Nikola nije Tesla, ali jeste the next best thing

Heart Plate SMART_ A Design Award_Cover photo final

Fotografije Smart Heart Plate-a. Image by [Nikola Vučićević]

An article by Slobodan Ocokoljic


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Posle intervjua sa Nikolom napunite se pozitivnom energijom! Ovaj čovek ličnim primerom i postignućima daje motiv svima da istraju u ostvarenjima svojih snova i planova. Zbog toga verovatno na internetu već postoji toliko intervjua sa njim. Ja sam samo želeo da popričam sa Nikolom o njegovom “izumu”, posle saznanja da je registrovao patent, ali sam na kraju ipak rešio da priču sa njim preko skajpa pretočim u… storytelling.

Prvi aspekt razgovora odnosio se upravo na njegov patent – tanjir za srce (Heart Plate), gde sam želeo da iz prve ruke, od izumitelja, čujem objašnjenje celog koncepta. Drugi deo razgovora se odnosio na procedure registrovanja patenata u SAD i biće objavljen u jednom od narednih tekstova.

Dizajner, džentlmen i lider

Nikolu Vučićevića poznajem sa programa “1000 mladih lidera”. Upoznali smo se na radionicama na Paliću 2007. godine, i nedelju dana smo se družili i radili zajedno. Tada je moj prvi utisak o Nikoli, koji se i do danas zadržao, bio da je vrlo ambiciozan i posvećen čovek koji živi život punim plućima i koji istovremeno drži do precizno definisanih principa. Taj pristup životu je lepo uspeo da prevede i u brend svoje firme Dizajner i džentlmen. Dizajner po profesiji, džentlmen po manirima, lider po karakteru. Po jednom od izvoda sa njegovog sajta može se lako zaključiti da voli posao koji radi i da je ta ljubav ono što ga čini uspešnim.

“That is why I love my work and this industry. It allows you to play and enjoy while doing something serious. When I look back on my career, I have proven that I am able to do award-winning work and bring publicity to the client, I can produce financially stunning results and even strong social awareness.”

Elem, Nikola je 2013. godine otišao iz Srbije u Ameriku i zato o njemu i pišemo u rubrici Braindrain Powetrain. Otišao je, kako i sam kaže u jednom od intervjua, zato što:

“Na kraju, kad se podvuče crta, bilo je previše pokušaja i premalo realizovanih projekata. Malverzacije, namešteni konkursi, politička previranja.”

Nikola se sada ubraja u jednog od najuspešnijih svetskih i srpskih dizajnera. Ima 37 godina, a već se smatra dizajnerskom legendom, a na 24. je poziciji među najuspešnijim dizajnerama u Americi za 2015. godinu! No, do sada vam je valjda postalo jasno s kim imate posla. Sa nekim ko će uskoro postati prvi i ko je zasigurno lider u svome sektoru. Imajući to u vidu, bezmalo proročanski zvuči njegova izjava za jednu televiziju da Srbi prave najbolje karijere u inostranstvu.


Image by [Nikola Vučićević]

Na pitanje jednog od novinara magazina, koliko se razlikuje posao dizajnera u Srbiji u odnosu na posao dizajnera na američkom tržištu, Nikola odgovara:

Poslovi su isti, ali se razlikuje poslovna etika, produkcija ili budžeti i mnogo brže se posluje. U Americi poslovni svet brže odgovara na mail poštu, pitanja, koncizno se odgovara. Nemaju problem sa rečima “ne mogu”, jer svaki rizik svode na minimum. Reč “ne” u Americi je dragocena, jer štedi vreme u radu koji nema perspektivu. Zato, lično cenim odgovore “može” i “ne može”.

“Svako treba da ima svoj cilj, kakav – takav, bilo mali ili veliki svakoga dana. I tako iz dana u dan. Borba za bolje.”

Pobednicki rad_Nikola Vučićević_Design_Platinum_Award_2016

Image by [Nikola Vučićević]

Trudom i fokusom do patenta

Ipak, taman kada sam pomislio da me Nikolin fejsbuk profil više ne može iznenaditi nagradama i priznanjima, predavanjima na univerzitetima, jer je to već postalo očekivano od njega, nedavno je ipak uspeo da me iznenadi. Pregledajući vesti na Fejsbuku pročitao sam i sledeću poruku:

Nisam Tesla ali imam patent. 🙂

Moj projekat Heart Plate ulazi u novu fazu: trade mark je tu, kao i patent! Nakon više od godinu dana rada na papirima, dokumentaciji, tvrdnjama, tehničkim crtežima, prototipu, tehnologiji i taj korak je završen. Nastavite da sanjate velike snove, naporno radite ka cilju jer trud i fokus se uvek isplate. Bila je ovo dobra nedelja. Hvala svima! #beginning #heartplate #diet #obesity

Kognitivni nesklad između reči dizajner i patent me je naterao da potanko proučim sav materijal koji sam našao na linku. Zbog nepoznavanja različitih načina zaštite intelektualne svojine, mislio sam se patenti prijavljuju isključivo za mehaniku, fiziku, medicinu, tehnološke procese… Stranica se otvorila i preda mnom se pojavio heart plate. Bilo je to sve u jednom: i tehnologija, i medicina, i dizajn, i filantropija. Moram da priznam, pregledajući stranice Heart platea i sajt “Designer and gentleman” zaista sam dosta toga naučio.  

Heart plate: jedinstvo dizajna, dijete i (big) data

Nikolin proizvod, koji na originalan način kombinuje big data, dijetu i dizajn, nastao je kao odgovor na problem gojaznosti koji je vrlo rasprostranjen u SAD-u. Takođe, namenjen je jako profilisanom tržištu (na primer, ljudima na lečenju i oporavku, sportistima, ljudima koji se bave modelingom, javnim ličnostima, gerijatrijski centri), jednom rečju svima kojima je stalo do toga da jedu pametnije i žive zdravije.

Heart Plate SMART_Nikola Vučićević_patent

Image by [Nikola Vučićević]

Po Nikolinim rečima, u vremenu kada zahvaljujući tehnološkom napretku sve ide ka tome da bude smart i kada nam ukrštanje neviđene količine podataka i njihovih odnosa daje toliko novih uvida, moći i mogućnosti, zašto to sve ne upotrebiti i u cilju smanjenja gojaznosti, koji je jedan od gorućih problema u Americi. Zašto smart pristup u dizajnu posude iz koje jedemo ne upotrebiti i za zdraviju ishranu i zaštitu životne sredine.

“Obesity is as much a psychological as physical issue. Hear Plate will be a constant and gentle reminder to reduce your eating portions. On a cognitive level it might help you change your eating habits. Since we know that all big changes start with small steps. By making small changes in plate and portion sizes, you may be encouraged in a long run to make other more significant ones.”

Upravo zato heart plate product portfolio se sastoji iz tri sledeća distinktivna proizvoda:

Običan One Heart Plate sa mogućnošću ugradnje logotipa određenog klijenta koji bi imao promotivne svrhe. U planu je da proizvod bude izrađen od porcelana, a predviđena početna cena biće 14.99 ili 19.99 dolara

Biorazgradivi Bioplate Heart Plate koji bi bio napravljen od prirodno razgradivih materijala (pirinča, bambusa, itsl.) i koji je namenjen svima ljubiteljima prirode koji žele da svoju hranu konzumiraju u prirodnom okruženju i da budu uvereni da njihovi tanjiri, čak i ako ih bace van kanti za smeće, neće ni na koji način doprineti zagađenju planete i okruženja.

Smart Heart Plate sa senzorima za krvni pritisak i temperaturu jela koji je povezan sa pametnim telefonom i koji na osnovu datih podatka i ugrađenog softvera predlaže određenu dijetu ili šalje podatke klinikama i medicinskom osoblju. Početna cena ovog tanjira kreće se u rasponu od 100 do 200 dolara.  

Takođe, pogledajte nedavno objavljenu video prezentaciju kako biste upotpunili predstavu o inovacijama koje u ishranu i dijetu uvodi Smart Heart Plate.

Video by [Designer & Gentlemen]

Samo jedan od mnogih “naših” mozgova

U iščekivanju novih nagrada i budućih priznanja za Nikolin rad ostaje nam da vidimo koliko će se brzo tanjir za srce ući u svakodnevnu upotrebu. Do tada, možemo samo da mu se zahvalimo što nas svojom kreativnošću i pozitivnošću podstiče da se trudimo više i radimo bolje. Zato što to i jeste namera Braindrain Powertrain platforme:

Promovisati preduzimljivost, umrežiti talente i podsticati razvoj novih poslovnih projekata i društveno korisnih inicijativa.

Na kraju, moram da napišem nešto o još jednom nagrađivanom Nikolinom radu, koji je meni najdraži. Ova slika deo je marketinške kampanje za organizaciju Serbian Tennis Bridge i zaista govori hiljadu reči ciljnoj grupi kojoj je namenjena, a za stvaranje takvog marketinškog remek-dela zaista treba mnogo iskustva i znanja. Takođe, to je još jedan primer uspešnog projekta pokrenutog saradnjom “naših” ljudi koji žive i rade u inostranstvu, a koji je na najbolji način povezao domaće potencijale, stručnost i svetsku potražnju za izvrsnošću.

Nikola_Vučićević_Designer_&_Gentlemen _Serbian Tennis Bridge_campaign

Serbian Tennis Bridge marketing campaign. Image by [Nikola Vučićević]

Korisni linkovi:

Lektura teksta Jelena Veselinović


problem solving pulsar

Jelena Veselinovic – LANGUAGE SUPPORT (SR/EN) Professor of Serbian Language & Proofreader – Is a professor of Serbian language and literature. Got her degree on the Faculty of Philology University of Belgrade and later worked in the IPS Media publishing house and in the Diplomatic Fund Club in Belgrade. Presently working as top-notch proofreader. Loves to read and write about books.

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