Safilo introduces 100% ‘nickel free’ production processes at its Longarone facility, confirming its place at the forefront of technological innovation in terms of metal
surface treatments. Only two years after the first nickel-free laboratory experiments, Safilo developed nickel free and non-cyanide galvanic processes. These have already been tested and are currently in use across all the production lines, from high-end to middle-segment eyewear products.
Thanks to the new galvanic process technology – a first in the eyewear sector – metal frames currently manufactured at the Longarone facility boast the same features, in terms of sleekness, wear- and corrosion resistance as before, and are nickel-free. Through quality controls performed on a regular basis by the recently restored in-house lab, now equipped with the most cutting-edge technology, Safilo can apply more stringent and improved qualitative standards to coating processes than those imposed under applicable law.
Developing nickel-free decorative galvanic finishes was a top priority for Safilo to ensure the safety of workers and consumers alike. Nickel is a silvery-white metal traditionally employed in the galvanic treatment of eyewear for its sleek, gloss finish or used as a basecoat for other surface treatments. Although glasses come in direct contact with the skin only to a limited extent, they are among the accessories that may cause nickel allergies or allergic contact dermatitis, producing itchy skin rashes and eczema. It is estimated that nickel allergies affect 1% of men and 10% of women worldwide. Moreover, nickel salts used in galvanic baths are classified as carcinogens by inhalation and are, thus, subject to stringent preventive and protection measures during handling to protect workers from risks related to exposure to carcinogens.
Over the past two years, Safilo has invested 5 million euros in R&D and new technology, of which, almost 1 million was spent on metal surface galvanic treatments to ensure product excellence – developing and obtaining certification for, its innovative nickel-free production process – one of the most remarkable results recently achieved by the company. Safilo also implemented a series of sustainability, environmental impact and safety initiatives at the Longarone facility, including precious metal recycling, industrial water reuse – thus also reducing water usage and wastewater production – CO2 emission reduction, and the improvement of workers’ health and safety indexes. Safilo obtained the highest certifications in terms of quality, safety and corporate social responsibility – the most recent being the ISO 50001 energy management system certification which is currently underway. This was made possible thanks to various factors, such as energy efficiency, the use of sustainable, low-environmental-impact materials and the reduction of carbon emissions, which are constantly monitored by external parties on all the production methods and technologies used.
With approximately 1,000 workers, the Longarone facility is the largest of the four Safilo plants located in Veneto, Friuli and Lombardy. This state-of-the-art, end-to-end facility primarily focuses on the production of metal eyewear, covering the entire production cycle, and is at the forefront of technology. At Longarone, Safilo also continues to invest in vocational training to ensure that its staff are constantly up-to-date with the latest developments in craft production techniques since most of the products manufactured here are handcrafted based on Safilo’s 140-year-old tradition in eyewear manufacturing.
Today, Safilo’s goal is to continue to invest in its skill and labor-intensive craft production, staying committed to excellence and craftsmanship, yet, also implementing automation to increase productivity and cut costs, to ensure that not only its high-end eyewear, but also its premium/contemporary and mass cool segment products benefit from this unique traditional know-how.
Safilo is a worldwide leader in the design, manufacturing and distribution of sunglasses, optical frames, sports eyewear and products. Thanks to its great manufacturing expertise dating back to 1878, Safilo translates its design projects into high-quality products created according to Italian tradition. With wholly owned subsidiaries in 40 countries – in North and Latin America, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific and China – and a global network of over 50 partners, Safilo distributes its products in nearly 100,000 selected stores worldwide. Safilo’s portfolio encompasses its own core brands – Carrera, Polaroid, Smith, Safilo, Oxydo – and licensed brands – Dior, Dior Homme, Fendi, Banana Republic, Bobbi Brown, BOSS, Elie Saab, Fossil, Givenchy, havaianas, HUGO, Jack Spade, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture, kate spade new york, Liz Claiborne, Love Moschino, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara, Max&Co., Moschino, Pierre Cardin, rag&bone, Saks Fifth Avenue, Swatch and Tommy Hilfiger.