Say Brugola and you think car 05 June 2024

By Marco A. Guerritore, editor in chief, Italian Fasteners Magazine

Over the years, everything has been said and written about Brugola OEB Industriale SpA. It’s not surprising, considering how significantly the company has contributed to raising the profile of Italian fasteners globally.

A distinguishing hallmark of Brugola OEB is its development of a special screw during its initial years, one that achieved legendary status – the iconic hexagon socket screw, famously named after its manufacturer and is still marketed as the ‘Brugola screw’. Today, Brugola OEB is a much more intricate and multifaceted entity than it was in the past, and it is constantly evolving due to forward thinking management strategies.

To better understand the evolution of this industrial business, it is necessary to carefully analyse the personalities of the owners and their management contributions. It all began in 1926 when Egidio Brugola founded OEB (Officine Egidio Brugola) to produce washers, special rings for engines and related components. Egidio had a deep passion for mechanics, exhibiting exceptional expertise and ingenious insights in the field.

The founder’s primary focus was to define and consolidate the product range. From 1964 the company’s management gradually fell into the hands of Giannantonio Brugola, then a mere 21 year old, who carried forward the founder’s legacy with an innovative spirit and in sync with the changing times. The company inherited by Giannantonio Brugola had an extensive range of products and went through a significant period of renewal, which laid the foundations for establishing a prominent presence in the automotive sector.

The definitive change in production at the business occurred in the 1980s when the emphasis shifted towards manufacturing special screws for the automotive industry. This strategic move enabled Brugola OEB to gradually solidify its position as a leading manufacturer of ‘critical’ screws for endothermic engines – seizing an opportunity offered by favourable circumstances and Giannantonio’s astute strategic vision.

The advent of robotics in automobile manufacturing heralded the ‘zero defect’ concept, which ushered in an era of ‘total quality’. As a result, there was a need to look for new methods and technologies that would ensure maximum safety in terms of ‘zero defect’. To solve this important and difficult problem, under Giannantonio Brugola’s guidance, the company conducted studies and research focused on sophisticated control technologies that would assess any alterations that might occur in a screw during the various manufacturing stages.

After Giannantonio passed away, his son Jody, who was still very young, took over the complete management of the family business. He was already familiar with the company because he had been working there for some time. Jody followed his father’s manufacturing approach, consolidating the position of Brugola OEB products in the global automotive industry and proudly maintaining their ‘Made in Italy’ distinction, among other achievements.

With great satisfaction, under the guidance of Jody, Brugola OEB surpassed the goal of €190 million in turnover in 2023 – with Jody having the aim to push the company towards a consolidated turnover of €200 million in the future. Jody’s accomplishments also include initiating two new areas of focus – the launch of an impactful sustainability campaign, and projects aimed at reducing CO2 emissions, and an expansion of the company’s production area through strategic hiring to strengthen the workforce.

Jody’s dedicated efforts, leading to significant achievements, have received broad public recognition. This is highlighted by his nomination as a ‘Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic’ at the remarkably young age of 38. 

An interview with Jody Brugola

Here Marco A. Guerritore chats to Jody Brugola, president of Brugola OEB, about the Italian fastener industry and what the company has planned regarding sustainability and 2024 in general.

President Brugola, how do you view the future of the Italian fastener industry in this rapidly changing world?

“A bright future lies ahead for the world of fasteners. Screws have been essential components of endothermic engines for decades and are now proving to be indispensable components of electric platforms – although this might require smaller and thinner fasteners for the new platforms. 

I believe fasteners will remain important regardless of the type of engine, whether electric, endothermic or hybrid. While I believe hybrid and endothermic engines will continue to be key players in the coming years, the hydrogen engine might emerge as a solution for the future of the automotive industry.

Having said that, I believe the endothermic engine will still be around in the next few years. While we will continue manufacturing critical screws, and have done for several years now, we have also been focusing on developing new special components for cars. This will enable us to expand our product range in order to meet evolving market demands.”

Will the current crisis in the German market negatively impact the Italian fastener industry?

“Germany is certainly an important market for the automotive industry and a downturn there could impact the entire supply chain, not just the fastener industry. 

At the moment, numbers and sales remain stable. We will monitor the evolution of the sales trend, which also includes electric platforms – the only ones currently that are not performing as well as expected are in Germany.”

Brugola OEB’s commitment to corporate sustainability and particularly the problem of CO2 pollution is commendable. What exactly is the ‘Forever Bambù’ project?

“The ‘Forever Bambù’ initiative piqued my interest right away due to bamboo’s remarkable carbon dioxide absorption capacity, which is 36 times greater than that of other plants. It can also be used as a raw material in a variety of industries. Hence, we have partnered with a European leader in the cultivation of giant bamboo to offset our company’s CO2 emissions. This activity aligns with our sustainability policies, aimed at decreasing our environmental footprint.”

What are the company’s goals for 2024? Will you be adopting an acquisition strategy in the future? 

“In 2023 we manufactured 45,300 tonnes of fasteners, which was equal to a turnover of more than €190 million. Our goal for 2024 is to achieve a 10% annual growth target by developing new products and expanding our customer base. That is why our target for 2024 is 51,700 tonnes. 

Regarding an acquisition strategy, while we are always open to future scenarios, at this time we are not considering acquisitions as a means of growth. Personally, I lean towards maintaining a family business model – since it allows us to make quick and flexible decisions.

Brugola OEB has grown significantly in recent years, partly due to the US subsidiary, and my goal is to maintain this growth trend, which requires ongoing commitment and significant investments.”

You plan on expanding your company’s workforce while implementing production automation. Do you foresee any conflicts between these two strategies?

“I believe that the human element will always play a fundamental role in the manufacturing of fasteners, even as we continue to strive for new forms of automation within our industry. I don’t believe they have to be at odds. On the contrary, automation and  new technology can help to improve  working conditions and increase resource efficiency.”  

Content Director

Will Lowry Content Director t: +44 (0) 1727 743 888


Will joined Fastener + Fixing Magazine in 2007 and over the last 15 years has experienced every facet of the fastener sector - interviewing key figures within the industry and visiting leading companies and exhibitions around the globe.

Will manages the content strategy across all platforms and is the guardian for the high editorial standards that the Magazine is renowned.