The origins of RCM S.p.a. (Raimondi Construzione Macchine), as it is called today, go back to the end of the last century and are closely linked to the Raimondi family. In 1899, in Parma, Ippolito Raimondi, the paternal grandfather of RCM's present owners, produced and marketed a complete range of 'modern bicycles' under the trademark of Cypselus. Some models, like the 'chainless bicycle' with universal cardan shaft transmission or the 'novelty holiday bicycle' with different sized wheels, show how production was intent on finding innovative technical solutions. At this time (1899) Ippolito was also representing the Ditta Societa Italiana Bernardi di Padova which manufactured some of the most revolutionary automobiles that were then available. Just think, Fiat was founded in the same year, 1899.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, Ippolito moved to Modena, to Carrozzeria Orlandi, which was also established in 1899, where he was put in charge of developing the design construction of an automobile. Bicycle production continued for a few more years under one of Ippolito's four sounds, Romeo. This went on until he too moved to Modena where he worked, first at the Gatti shell factory (1915-1918) and then for a short while in an automobile repair shop. In 1922 Romeo, with his partner Malagoli, set up the MR company to build motorcycles. In 1925 MR produced three versions of motorbikes with TRAIN motors: 98 and 123 cc with 'Raimondi type' gradual gears which, as the advertisement announced ' lets you start from stationary as efficiently as with the best clutch'. Between 1926 and 1928 about 100 motorcycles were produced.
In 1928 the company changed its name and the new Officina Meccanica Romeo Raimondi went into production of industrial motors. Initially these were two-stroke and then, in 1932, four stroke. In 1934 the RC Company of Raimondi and Caiumi was producing 13 types of pump motors for irrigation. Some of these used diesel engines of 6, 10 and 15 CV. 1935 saw the start of Seacraft Motors which were a main feature of the company until the mid-sixties. During this thirty-year period more than 20 models of diesel engines were built, from 10 to 100 CV, which were used in various kinds of military seacraft, recreation boats and, especially, fishing boats covering a market that went down the Adriatic coast and included all of Sicily.
In tandem with the production of marine motors, 37 different types of industrial motors were also developed from 8 to 80 CV, air or water-cooled, for various different uses. These included tractors, earth-moving machinery, internal transport, etc. After the war production of complete machines started and these were obviously equipped with RC motors. In 1946 the first Tractor was produced by using parts from the war which had 40 CV motors.
In the 1950's many of the components were produced in-house: pistons, bushings etc. and already, since before the war, RC had been among the first diesel engine constructors. At the beginning of the fifties, RC developed advanced technology (motors with head valves) and was competing successfully with production from the giant Fiat.
The Leprotto with its 4 CV diesel engine was used for material handling in furnaces during this period. In 1952/1953 production of the company's battle horse the Bruco began. It was entirely constructed at the company. This was a very imaginative machine featuring four drive wheels and tires that could become tracks, but with no differential. Over twenty years it was produced in four versions the 40, 45, 50 and 80 CV. Then, in 1956, the production of the R4 (35 CV) was started. This was also a four wheel model with tires that could become tracks and was marketed by F.lli Rossi of Bologna. Three versions were produced the 15, 25 and 35 CV. Besides this, which was their main production, RC continued with their creative spirit producing a series of specialized machines, including 50 and 80 CV motorized snowploughs which were used initially by ANAS at the 1956 Cortina Winter Olympics. One of these machines is still used at RCM S.p.a. during especially heavy snowfalls. The P2 Loader was built following the Bruco concept for use on building sites and in iron mines. The L2 Motor Grader (1964) with 60 CV T 360 diesel engine was also based on the Bruco designed with four wheel drive.
The Beginning of RCM
In 1967 the Company moved to Casinalbo near Modena where the main factory and head office still operate under the name of RCM snc. The Company, faced with overwhelming competition from national and foreign giants, became unable to compete adequately in terms of its production of marine motors and industrial motors and machines. So in 1967 after experiencing the problem first hand of how to sweep the Casinalbo factory quickly and efficiently, the idea for a new specific machine was sparked off. Following research into sweepers already on the market, the idea came up to produce an inexpensive model, a sweeper that was small enough to suit most Italian companies yet with high performance to handle heavy industrial debris. Thus the first RCM motor sweeper came into being, the R700 model, being a variation of a German design.
Shortly after this first design came the definitive technical features that are still valid today:
- rear loading hopper for heavy debris as well as dust
- reduction of bulk to a minimum
- cellulose filters
- excellent filtering and vacuum capacity.
So, in 1970, RCM created the R500 which was an absolutely new concept in size and construction. The first R500 sweepers (one of which is still in perfect working order and is kept at the via Tiraboschi site) were delivered in 1971. In the same way as Fiat Topolino made the car widely popular in Italy in the forties and fifties, so on a different scale, but in a similar way, the compact new RCM motorized sweeper made thousands of companies realize how useful mechanized cleaning could be. The R500 was produced until 1991, totaling over 50,000 units, and made a fundamental contribution to the creation of a previously non-existent market, and benefiting the whole industrial cleaning sector. Along with the small R500 there was development in the early seventies of two more extremely important models, and these, along with all other RCM powered sweepers from that moment on had rear hoppers. During this time RCM, cushioned by the success of the first pedestrian-controlled powered sweeper, was already aware of the need for larger machines which could meet the specific demands made by the ceramic tile industry which is common in this area. So the 'eternal' R850 came into being. This powerful sweeper features the greatest sturdiness, handing and is extremely economic. The R850 is still in very high demand, and it has survived to this day basically unchanged in its general design.
The growth of the Company has been steady. Now that RCM feels confident in offering a line of well-tested machines (R500, R701, R850), it is expanding out of its local area and into the European market, broadening its range of products even more. Initially this is with the R702, the first 70 cm ride-on sweeper and later with the larger R900 and R1250 models. From the beginning of the eighties, RCM appears on the market as a well-established European company. The creative spirit inherited from Romeo Raimondi is a constant feature in production. In 1981, at the first PULIRE Exhibition (a renowned Italian Exhibition in this sector) organized by AFIDAMP, RCM introduces the R581. After a decade of intense production of the R500 model and all the replicas which had invaded the market, RCM recognized the need to review its strategic section of the market.
The introduction of revolutionary panel filters, mechanization of the controls and an angled platform (wedge line) to increase the hopper capacity, marked a turning point in the appearance of pedestrian controlled machines. This highly valuable concept was the start of a revolution which lead to the Brava range, the star of the nineties. The R581, like the R500, once again set an example that competitors copied, even down to the color.
In 1983 with the RCM range already consisting of seven different models, with main brushes from 50 to 1250 cm wide, the Modenese company was already aiming at an ambitious project - the construction of a sweeper to clean pedestrian walkways. This was not to be an adaptation of an existing machine but an entirely new concept in design for urban working conditions. After three prototype designs the RX 918 Swinger was presented at the 1986 INTERCLEAN Exhibition and aroused much interest due to its innovative applied technology and revolutionary design.
Directly descended from the original R500 and daughter of the R581, in 1991 the Brava revolutionized a sector of the market which was in its final stage due to competition devoid of technical substance. The idea was simple and sprang from a desire to apply to sweepers the basic industrial production concept of keeping costs low while maintaining quality standards. What sets the Brava apart from other sweepers is the so-called shell structure of the ABS hopper, a single component with a dual function, being a refuse container and a cover for the filter compartment. The simplification of the construction also made it much easier to produce industrially, for example by making the body section from formed sheets. However, the Brava project did not limit itself to one model, the same construction techniques were extended to the Brava 600, Brava 700 and Fyonda. The Brava 600 and Brava 700 were based on the Brava which allowed maximum use of common parts which differed only in size. The Fyonda, a new ride-on sweeper with manual dump, was also part of the Brava series with an entirely new tubular frame capable of holding the entire vacuum/brush unit of the Brava 700 model.
Meanwhile, during 1992, RCM had introduced two more very important models, the R703 and R855. These are both ride-on sweepers, the first with manual dump the second with hydraulic high dump, which develop the traditional concepts of visibility and performance while paying extra attention to safety and confining noise levels.
During the same period RCM introduced onto the market a unique sweeper that set a new standard in cleaning quality and dust control, the R703 SACK, the first and only machine that puts all the debris and dust swept up directly into a standard plastic sack, eliminating dust raised during the emptying of the hopper. An innovation that upgraded no only the sweepers level of cleaning but also helped the environment and protected the health of workers.
Designing and engineering are important to enable companies to compete in the global market and are usually only afforded by larger companies. For this reason in 1995 RCM bought an important share in Ecologica Spa, a young company working in the industrial and municipal markets with new sweepers that complete the RCM produce range.
In the year 2000, from knowledge gained in the municipal sector with the RX 918, City and Coro 140, the Ronda was born. A new sweeper designed for sidewalks and urban areas with an exclusive cleaning system which is dust free and silent. At ISSA Interclean 2000, RCM presented a new range of ride-on sweepers with hydraulic dump, Boxer, Mille and Duemila, which showed that standardization of production can be successfully applied to the larger units while still maintaining high quality and performance.
Following the same strategy and construction philosophy of the sweepers, RCM took a new step in its development by introducing at the ISSA Interclean a complete new range of scrubber driers. High investment on both the financial and designing side will ensure RCM a higher level of competitiveness in the market.
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