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SNIA Viscosa

Varedo (Italy)

2002 - 2012

The impressive SNIA's Varedo chemical fibers factory was the major of its kind in Italy, and among the largest and most advanced in Europe as well. Originally established in 1922 as a little viscose factory by Seta Artificiale Varedo, it developed significantly only after the takeover by SNIA Viscosa group in 1931. The site's incredible expansion started in 1936 with the introduction of Sniafiocco, the 'autarchic' viscose staple fiber replacing cotton, and proceeded after the Second World War with the pioneering continuous spinning plant opened in 1949 in cooperation with the American Industrial Rayon Corporation. After a start-up phase, nylon 6 (Lilion) began to be produced too, soon followed by other synthetic fibers such as nylon 11 (Rilsan) and polyester (Wistel). Three power stations, a carbon disulfide plant and a sulfuric acid plant completed an industrial complex which had, in late 1960s, an output of 60k tons/year of fibers and 6000 employees. In the following decade, however, the global sector crisis and SNIA's diversification strategy led to the gradual dismissal of Varedo’s viscose facilities, closed down for good in 1982. The production of nylon 6 continued with ups and downs through SNIA Fibre and Nylstar ownerships until 2004. Since then, the site's outstanding functionalist architectures keeps waiting, silently but proudly, for a new light to come. 

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