A Sharper Future

9 November 2018

Fabio Paron is justly proud of the company which he founded 37 years ago, in July 1981. From small beginnings, his ‘baby’, Globus srl, is now part of a major group of machinery suppliers and is continuing to innovate. Mike Botting visited his company in Galliate

With a small amount of money in capital funding – from his own pocket – Fabio Paron set up his fledgling company in Galliate, not far from Milan in northern Italy and close to his own home, on July 16th, 1981. He called his company Globus and began by offering a service to panel manufacturers, repairing and refurbishing their size-reduction machinery, made by other companies.

Mr Paron is an engineer to the core and he soon changed his business from repair and servicing of other manufacturers’ equipment to building his own-design wood size-reduction machinery. He has since developed many new solutions for the important process of breaking wood down into chips and flakes that can be used in panel production.

For Globus srl to continue to grow its sales internationally, Mr Paron required more than his ingenious engineering ability: he required an international sales set-up and more funding for research and development of his innovations.

In 2013, Globus joined the Imal-Pal group, a well-known and large Italian group of suppliers to the panel industry.

Fabio Paron continues to head up his company and to operate the business independently, while taking advantage of being a part of the Imal-Pal group. If you are wondering what’s in the deal for Imal-Pal, it was all part of developing that group into a supplier of complete lines. In Imal you have a supplier of electronic machinery for gluing and blending, laboratory testing equipment (smartlab, etc) and the DynaSteam press, which injects steam into the mat before the hot press. In Pal, you have a highly-experienced company in the field of handling recycled wood cleaning and processing.

With the addition of Globus’ range of drum chippers and flakers, Imal-Pal could then offer the complete front end – and the continuous press – for particleboard, MDF and OSB plants.

By the end of this year, Globus will supply its first DSG Disc Strander to produce OSB strands with a 30 knife size and with a particular solution which enables the production of a constant strand thickness. Together with the RSG, Globus offers a knife ring flaker with a particular knife setting, where it’s possible to produce microstrands for the core layer of OSB. “Using this kind of set-up gives the possibility for the customer to use second quality logs or chips, which means in Europe they can save up to €40-50/ton of wood used. This is a tremendous saving for OSB manufacturers,” said Salvatore Valvola of Globus’ service department.

When I visited Mr Paron at his factory in June, he was proud to tell me that a YouTube video of his Globus Drum Chipper had received 302,761 views.

One of Globus’ latest product launches was the Sharpening Room (WBPI April/ May 2018, p49). Briefly, this collection of machines automatically removes, sharpens and replaces the blades of a knife ring flaker in one hour. At the heart of that process is a six-axis robot which handles the blades. It also has a stacker for the blades, which in the latest version is revolving rather than static, giving increased blade storage capacity.

Also new on this ‘Evo2’ of the Sharpening Room is the ability to add a second robot to increase the capacity for an extra knife ring flaker, without buying another complete Sharpening Room. “I intend to take a Sharpening Room to the Ligna exhibition in May 2019 and show it on the Imal-Pal-Globus group stand there in Hannover, Germany,” said Mr Paron.

The first Sharpening Room went to Poland, with another going to Australia.

Worthy of particular mention are the wear shoes, said Mr Paron. “When the wear shoes in a knife ring flaker need changing, it is normally a heavy and difficult job, and companies tend to postpone it as long as possible,” he explained. “But it is a disaster if a wear shoe breaks, costing a minimum of €100,000.

“With the Sharpening Room, wear shoes are automatically checked after every eight hours of operation and when they approach the limit of wear, there is a flashing alarm system to say ‘change the wear plates’. At this point the robot will ‘go to sleep’ until it is done. The wear shoes do still have to be changed manually.”

Mr Paron went on to explain that the Sharpening Room can be adapted to any thickness of flakes required for different thicknesses of panels.

“The most stupid, banal, work of any sharpening room is the knife changing and sharpening,” advised Mr Paron. “The most important part of our Sharpening Room is the process control: you have total control, from start to finish, of the sharpening process.”

When we toured the Galliate factory floor, there was an Evo2 Sharpening Room under construction, together with six knife ring flakers.

“At present, we make one flaker every 10 days, but we are aiming for one per week,” said Mr Paron.

“Our biggest market is currently China and we recently had a delegation of 30 visitors from the Chinese Panel Association.” The future for Globus is looking promising, with the company continuing to grow. At the time of my visit in June, Globus was building a new milling hall (it already has three milling machine lines) and in 2019 will buy an adjacent, empty, factory for further expansion. That will at least get rid of the 13m shipping containers currently being used in the yard for storage.

Fabio Paron’s ‘baby’ has certainly grown up – and is obviously continuing to grow.

RSG micro strand mill
A Globus Sharpening Room with robot
The Globus Flaker