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Massimo Bercella, Bercella’s CEO

Bercella’s CEO Massimo Bercella illustrates the company’s commitment for Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus’ hypercar to race in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans. JEC Composites Magazine approached him to find out how the company is managing this new challenge.

Massimo Bercella, Bercella’s CEO
READING TIME

3 minutes, 50 secondes

JEC Composites Magazine: Could you please introduce the company and your main strengths?
Massimo Bercella: Bercella is a designer and producer of composite structures based in Varano de’ Melegari (Parma), in the heart of the Italian Motor Valley.
Set up in 1996 by Mr. Franco Bercella, we initially targeted the flourishing motorsport industry. Then, in the early 2000’s, we developed our know-how in two other fields of application: aerospace and defence.
About our main strengths: over time, we gradually evolved from a build-to-print model into a build to-spec player. Today, we specialize in large and complex structures for demanding industries that need tailored and high-performance systems.

JEC Composites Magazine: In which composites field(s) do you differentiate from your competitors?
Massimo Bercella:
Since the beginning, our main target has been to push the boundaries of innovation in composites processing, especially in prepreg/autoclave technology. Being one of the first small companies in Italy to use CNC cutting and trimming for 100% of the parts produced, our main innovation driver has always been automation and vertical integration of all manufacturing processes. After 25 years in the business, we can now support our customers with turnkey solutions encompassing structural design, industrialization, material testing, composites, CNC machining, painting and assembly. What we like to call a one-stop-shop: everything under the same roof, hassle free!

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus will race in Le Mans 2021 with the SCG 007, an entirely new prototype racer
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus will race in Le Mans 2021 with the SCG 007, an entirely new prototype racer

JEC Composites Magazine: What are your main fields of application?
Massimo Bercella:
While automotive and motorsport historically represented between 30 and 50% of our business, we started a penetration strategy in the space industry in 2015, which in 2020 accounted for almost 50% of the total. The defence industry sums up for approximately 25%, plus special projects in the marine, railway and other markets.

JEC Composites Magazine: How did you end up collaborating with Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus?
Massimo Bercella:
We have been following them since the beginning a few years ago, and bid for some components on the previous builds. During the first 2020 lockdown, we started discussing the project with Podium Advanced Engineering, a Turin-based company who manages the design and assembly of the car for SCG, and we immediately found an intense connection. For both of us, it is the first experience at Le Mans for such a complex car, and we are both thrilled by the challenge.

our main target has been to push the boundaries of innovation in composites processing, especially in prepreg/autoclave technology.
Bercella main target is to push the boundaries of innovation in composites processing, especially in prepreg/autoclave technology.

JEC Composites Magazine: What is your role exactly?
Massimo Bercella:
We are the manufacturing partner in charge of the industrialization of the SCG007 parts, of design adjustments to optimize production steps, and we design all the necessary tools as well. We produced tools and parts for the SCG007 monocoque, the front and rear impact absorbing structures.
The nicest but most challenging part of the project was the great collaboration with the Podium team, although the funny part is that due to COVID restrictions, we never had the chance to meet in person after the project started. I would say a new way of doing business, one more innovation.

JEC Composites Magazine: Did you ever participate in the 24h Le Mans before in one way or another or is this a premiere?
Massimo Bercella:
We did participate in the past by producing structures and bodyworks for several competitors (mainly Italian and French) in the LMP1, LMP2, and GT classes, but this is the first time we have such a comprehensive role.

Bercella commits to deliver the SCG007 chassis, FIAS (Front Impact Absorbing Structures) and RIAS (Rear Impact Absorbing Structures)
Bercella delivers the SCG007 chassis, FIAS (Front Impact Absorbing Structures) and RIAS (Rear Impact Absorbing Structures)

JEC Composites Magazine: What does this challenge represent for you?
Massimo Bercella:
Well, first of all, it is a redemption in a year full of turmoil. Being able to set up a successful collaboration with a new customer on a project that was a step up for all the parties, never having the chance to physically being in the same room, is worth the ticket by itself. Then of course, building a monocoque for one of the most competitive and historical races in the world is a balancing act between time, performance, and resources. Overall, I think SCG and Podium did a remarkable job, which also put us in a situation where we could do our best.
Last but not least, the new LMH technical regulation added an extra challenge to the project, as there was no benchmark. But we definitively love challenges, so we were able to successfully finalize the project.

JEC Composites Magazine: What are your next projects? Do you plan any investments for the near future?
Massimo Bercella:
As you know, today’s industry is not always keen to allow companies like ours to disclose ongoing activities. SCG instead showed an open approach, for which we are very grateful. With that in mind, you’ll hear from us very soon on new space projects. All our investments now are oriented towards an organic growth path: stress design capabilities, material testing, environmental sustainability and vertical integration.

Carbon fiber monocoque manufacturing
Carbon fiber monocoque manufacturing

About Bercella:
Bercella is a dynamic and innovative Italian company that has been driving the design and engineering of cutting-edge solutions using advanced composites and light alloys for 25 years. Bercella specializes in large and complex structures, providing critical industries with tailored, high-performance systems through a 360° service: from early design to engineering development to advanced manufacturing, all being vertically integrated in-house for final turnkey solutions enhancing process control, cost reduction and efficiency.

More information www.bercella.it