In September 1945, Jaume Victori and Lluís Oliva began to set up a small workshop located on the ground floor of number fifty five, Pujada del Castell, in the heart of the city of Manresa.
The workshop would be focused on the repair of machinery and tool manufacturing, as well as the maintenance of textile factories and construction of tanks, boilers and steam pipes. In 1952, the increase in activity meant the company had to relocate to a new workshop on Calvo Sotelo Street, a short distance from the previous location.
In the summer of 1969, Sebastià Catllà, Lluís Oliva's nephew, succeeded Jaume Victori, taking over his part of the business and entering into partnership with his uncle. Together they created the company name Lluís Oliva. Shortly afterwards, Francesc Solé, who was related to the Catllà family, joined the company. With his addition as a shareholder, in January 1972 the company was registered as the public limited company that remains to this day: L. Oliva Torras, S.A. In 1969, the company moved its installations to the ground floor of number eleven, Torruella Street, outside the town centre. In 1973 the company purchased 4,000 m2 of land on Camí de Rajadell, where it would move in 1974 and where its headquarters still remain to this day.
At that time, the company was still devoted to the textile industry, although it was beginning to diversify its activity through the ceramics and auxiliary automotive industries. This diversification enabled it to overcome the unfavourable economic cycles of the '70s. In charge of what had become a large team of metal professionals, they established lasting relationships with big companies and industries in Catalonia for whom they produced components, units, moulds, dies and all kinds of machinery, a growing activity that took them away from boilermaking work.
The incorporation of the third generation was accompanied by a revolution: the arrival of CNC technology and computerization. Ramon Mandaña, Francesc Solé's son-in-law, and Sebastià and Jordi Catllà, Sebastià Catllà's sons, took on the challenge of modernizing the factory by turning it into an advanced engineering and manufacturing centre for metal components and furniture, one of the leaders in Spain.
Collaboration with large multinationals from various sectors would provide knowledge and experience that would become the cornerstones of Oliva Torras' future. Following the boom in subcontracting, the company continued building new premises and consistently invested in new technologies in order to obtain more precise and faster computer-controlled cutting, punching and folding machinery.
In 1985, Oliva Torras, in association with Mecos and the national distributor of this Italian manufacturer, established Mecos Ibérica, S.A. With this alliance, Oliva Torras began to manufacture its own products such as universal sets for transforming folding machines and metal shears into numerical control machines, stacking and packaging systems adaptable to any type of shear, machines for removing burrs and automated sheet metal warehouses.
Meanwhile, the company began to focus on the production of small and medium series of metal components. It also built machinery, often one-off pieces, for various industrial sectors. The manufacturing of all types of metal furniture with a variety of applications meant that they were mainly producing for sectors such as security, energy, refrigerated transport, parking management, gaming machines and the railway industry, among others.
With the arrival of the 21st century came the transformation of the company into what is now known as Oliva Torras Grup, a successful business model made up of independent, industry-leading companies and divisions. The new business units would take over from the large subcontracting customers.
In 2005 the change in strategy became apparent with the organization of Oliva Torras into three industrial divisions: Oliva Torras Metal, which was responsible for all the projects linked to subcontracting, Oliva Torras Energy, which was starting out in the unknown world of renewable energies, and Oliva Torras Mount & Drive Kits, which was to become renowned for the manufacturing of supports to mount compressors on refrigerated vehicles.
In April 2007, Oliva Torras participated in the establishment of SMI 2000, a new company based in Sant Cugat del Vallès dedicated, on the one hand, to the design and manufacture of video bingo and AWP furniture for the main players in the leisure sector in the national market, and on the other hand, to developing its own technology and products which it commercialized through other manufacturers and distributors.
In 2011, following on from what they started in 2008, Oliva Torras acquired the totality of Meypar’s shares, a company that develops and distributes management systems for parking facilities and controlled parking zones on public roads.
At the Innotrans trade fair in 2012, Oliva Torras presented the new Railway division, which would specialize in the provision of integral interior design projects, not only manufacturing the metal components, but also developing the whole engineering process and managing the entire supply chain to deliver turnkey projects.
The internationalization of the group, with activities in countries throughout the world, has been consolidated over the past few years with the establishment of its own companies in Mexico, the United States and Peru.
With such a diverse business model, together with highly personalized and technological products and sustained growth, the transformation of the factory and the organization has accelerated in recent years. Firstly, by quickly incorporating all the necessary technology to develop and manufacture advanced products. Secondly, by consistently optimizing the location of the different departments as well as the organization of processes, adapting them to the manufacture of small and medium series of highly personalized products. And lastly, by investing in human capital, nurturing their growth and consolidating a management team made up of people with extensive experience at Oliva Torras.
Today, Oliva Torras Grup brings together more than five hundred people of different nationalities, cultures, origins and interests, all united by a common mission and values. This mission will change in line with technology, progress and society. And the company will continue to adapt to the times. But the values, forged in 1945, will remain unchanged and will continue to be enriched. They define a way of doing things inspired by that of the company’s founders, their successors and everyone who has been a part of its history. And these are the values that have brought the company to celebrate an impressive 75 years of progress.