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Landini, 140 years in the name of innovation

Founded in 1884 in Fabbrico (Reggio Emilia) by Giovanni Landini, the Emilian based company is today one of the main market players. The consolidated leadership position thanks to specialisation, breadth of range and investments in R&D

by Giovanni M. Losavio
May - June 2024 | Back

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the foundation of Landini, the historic Italian brand created by Giovanni Landini in 1884 in Fabbrico, Reggio Emilia. At the time, however, the Landini brand was not yet associated with the production of tractors, but with the production of winemaking machinery and equipment, steam boilers, internal combustion engines and locomotives for driving threshers, pumps, mills and crushers. To admire the first agricultural tractor, preceded in 1915 by a 30 horsepower locomobile, we have to wait until 1925, when the historic 25/30 Hp Landini made its debut. A necessary premise for the launch of the locomobile first and the tractor then was an innovation developed by Landini himself dating back to a few years earlier: the fixed hot-bulb engine. The Landini "hot bulb", an endothermic injection engine, which operated partly at constant volume and partly at constant pressure, was the basis of the "mythical" Superlandini. Designed for large-scale reclamation works, the Superlandini – born in 1934 – took over from the Landini 40 horsepower, which two years earlier had marked the beginning of regular tractor production at the Fabbrico plant. The 1930s were not only marked by the great crisis of 1929, but also saw a progressive deterioration of the international political scenario that would lead to the events of the Second World War. Before Italy ended up being involved in the war, Landini managed to develop and launch two new models: 1935 saw the debut of the Vélite, designed for medium-sized farms, while in 1941 the 35/40 Hp Landini Bufalo saw the light of day. The Reggio Emilia-based company returned to the forefront after the Second World War, when reconstruction, the economic "miracle" and large-scale agricultural mechanisation made the tractor manufacturer of the "Bassa" an absolute protagonist of the Italian industrial world. In the Fabbrico production plant, innovations follow one another at a frenetic pace. Between 1950 and 1955, four models made their debut – L24, L45, L35, L55 – which paved the way for the Landinetta, a tractor specially designed for working in orchards, and the first Landini crawler, the C35. But the 1950s also saw an important corporate reorganisation that was completed in 1959 with the acquisition of Landini by the American manufacturer Massey Ferguson (now part of the AGCO Corporation group), which bought the entire shareholding. Under the guidance of the United States, the Reggio Emilia-based company developed important technological and range innovations. The decade between 1977 and 1988 saw the launch of the Large series, the first with power exceeding 100 horsepower, and the 60, 70 and 80 series, but above all the debut of the first vineyard line, in 1982, which was followed shortly after by that of the first orchard line. Control of the Fabbrico company remained overseas for more than thirty years, until the first half of the 1990s; that is, until the Morra family took over the majority of Landini shares through the Argo Group. This is an epochal step for the company. On the one hand, Argo Tractors aims to consolidate the company's leadership position in the field of high value-added crops and to gain market share in the utility segment, and on the other hand, it develops a policy of all-round innovation that contributes to making the Landini brand a symbol of global excellence. In 1998, Landini's first compact, the Mistral, was built, preceding by two years the complete renewal of all ranges with power between 50 and 100 horsepower. With the new millennium, Rex Frutteto, Rex Vigneto, Mythos, Ghibli, Atlantis and Trekker tractors went into production, followed shortly after by the Vision and Powermaster. The growth path undertaken with the new ownership was sealed in 2008 by the prestigious Tractor of the Year award for the Best of Specialised category, in which the Rex 85S stood out for its advanced technological content, particularly appreciated, and for its top-level performance. However, the coveted international recognition is not a point of arrival, but the beginning of a new path that sees the Emilian company multiply its investments in R&D activities. Between 2010 and 2015 came the new Rex range, the new 4, 6 and 7 Series, the 4 Series and the mid-power 6C range, which replaced the Powermondial. In 2021 it was the turn of the introduction of Stage V engines, followed a few months later by the REX4 Electra, equipped with an electrified front axle, which imposed itself as a "Technical Innovation" at EIMA International 2021. Just 12 months later, the Fabbrico-based manufacturer triumphed again on the stage of the Bologna event with its first full hybrid tractor, again a REX4 with 65 kW (peak power of the electric motor) coupled to the 50 kW of the endothermic engine which, according to the manufacturer, offers an autonomy of four hours in full electric mode. After EIMA 2022, Landini won another award, this time at Agritechnica where, in November 2023, it was awarded the Tractor of the Year, again in the Best of Specialised category, again with a model from the REX4 range. The REX 4-120GT Roboshift Dynamic won in Hanover thanks to the electro-actuated robotised gearbox on the three speeds under load and the four basic gears. “Passion and innovation are the main elements that have guided us in recent years and that have made us become witnesses of Made in Italy, proudly represented abroad, where we have strengthened our presence with the creation of new branches and consolidated our extensive sales network. The 140th anniversary is a historic milestone that – comments the Chairman of Argo Tractors, Knight of Labour Valerio Morra – places us among the longest-lived manufacturers, spurring us on to achieve new ambitious goals”. To celebrate its 140 years of activity, the Reggio Emilia-based manufacturer has organised several events on the occasion of important trade fairs such as Fieragricola, Vinitaly and Enovitis. Further initiatives are planned for the next edition of EIMA International, which already promises to be full of news for the Landini team.


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