Much of the expertise and experience gained by Bison still exists within Binos and the company is still owned by the same branch of the Greten family – Tom Greten is the managing director.
The Binos company specialises in building and upgrading plants for the production of MDF/HDF, particleboard, OSB/OPB (oriented particleboard) and cement and gypsum bonded particleboard. Technology, engineering, automation and manufacturing, as well as installation, commissioning and training of personnel are all part of the service, says Binos.
However, there is more to the company than that, explained Tom Greten when we met at his headquarters in late September.
“We are promoting ourselves as a solution provider – ‘come to us with your production problems and we will create solutions for them’,he said.
“The first point, though, is often to get the panel manufacturer to admit that he has a problem – then we can help. Maybe they have ignored the problem for some time and don’t want to admit it, or, while they were selling all the panels they could produce they didn’t have time to fix the problems. It is a matter of communication from both sides.”
Mr Greten feels that the current market is actually playing in his company’s favour. With sales volumes severely down for the panel makers, there is more incentive to address costs and efficiencies in areas such as energy conservation, raw material consumption and maintenance costs.
“Once the customer’s problem is identified, we can produce tailor-made solutions and these can involve our machines or a mix of ours and other manufacturers’ machinery,continued Mr Greten. “This does not necessarily involve a high level of investment as we point out ways to gain improvements economically.
“We also offer a service element and advice. For instance, a blower fan in an air forming head may be blowing much harder than is necessary. Summer and winter [ambient] air have different humidities and we can adjust the dryer air flow accordingly, thus saving energy.
“This could be part of a complete service package, offering a general analysis of the whole factory process.”
A major part of Binos’ business is in the MDF sector and forming is an area of particular attention for the company, having as it does such an influence on final panel quality – and cost.
One instance of Binos combining its own technology with that of other suppliers is in its use of the Dieffensor machine made by GreCon of Alfeld, which is also owned by another branch of the Greten family (Gerd and Ernst Greten).
Originally launched as a detector for foreign bodies in MDF mats to protect the stainless steel belts of a continuous press, Dieffensor now has a much more wide-ranging roll in controlling the forming line, when combined with Binos’ lifting elements. The result is what Binos calls Active Density Control.
The Dieffensor provides an accurate measure of the mat weight and density distribution and feeds this information electronically to the Binos lifting elements under the forming belt. These elements lift and lower the mat and, in conjunction with the scalper, control the complete mass flow of the mat, with two effects: First the control and optimisation of the cross-profile; and second, a more precise and constant production of the length profile. “This system is much more accurate than belt scales,said Mr Greten.
The objective is more even forming, a better end-product, and a saving in valuable wood fibre.
There are three main business areas for Binos in manufactured machinery: MDF/HDF; mineral bonded boards; and particleboard (including OPB). A fourth business area is in refurbishment and spare parts (related to the Bison history of the company).
For MDF, the company is focused on thin boards, employing the Mende-type (calender) roller press in which the company has considerable experience. It modifies older presses with new rollers of different size, or new frames, and produces output capacities of 50,000 to 120,000m3 of MDF per year.
For fibreboard forming, Binos offers its spike roll sifters and formers. “The sifter and former are key pieces of machinery for producing MDF of less than one millimetre thickness,said Mr Greten. “The homogeneity of fine fibres in this former is far greater than in conventional mechanical forming heads as the spike roll disintegrates the fibre balls into single fibres before forming the mat. It also incorporates a vacuum steam injection system which gives increased production. The sifter has adjustable air and spike roll speed and also sifts out latex lumps, for example.”
Binos is currently supplying a modified version of its spike roll former to a company called Borisov Drev in Belarus, together with a calender press with a 3.2m drum, and a guarantee that the line will produce 2mm thick board, with the inbuilt potential to produce 1mm thickness.
This is a turnkey project for Binos, which is supplying all the equipment for the line, including spike roll sifter and forming, pre-press, press and blowline blending.
“This project demonstrates that we are a serious supplier to the wood based panels market and this is our biggest project to date,said the managing director. “We are a strong supplier in MDF lines where product quality is more important than pure capacity. This kind of plant will be well-suited to the world, post-economic crisis.”
Binos claims to be the only supplier of complete plants for mineral bonded boards (gypsum and cement) with capacities of up to 50,000m3/year. It also modifies older lines, particularly in Russia/eastern Europe.
“Our projects range from €850,000 to €4million for modifications and we are currently commissioning a Bison gypsum line in Russia that was originally supplied in 1992 but not installed until now for financial reasons,said Mr Greten.
In particleboard, Binos offers a way to improve profitability for those companies with older production lines which are no longer competitive in that market.
It does this by offering upgrades to the lines to produce an OSB product called oriented particleboard (OPB) – a product with smaller and thinner flakes than traditional OSB. The mills can then compete with OSB in certain markets for an investment of €2 to 4 million, claims Binos.
“The owners can choose to dismantle and try to sell their old particleboard plant or give it a new life and a better-priced product using the same press and just a new front-end to the line,said Mr Greten.
Glue kitchens and resin blending equipment are part of the scope of supply for both MDF and particleboard lines. It is the engineering workshop at Springe that enables Binos to carry out repairs, refurbishment and upgrades to a range of older machinery, being equipped with large lathes capable of machining large rollers, for example.
“We have a history of prototyping and this stands us in good stead to analyse situations and provide solutions for our customers,said the managing director.
This also means Binos has an extensive research and development (R&D) facility with a lot of paid-for R&D activities under way, for companies both within and without the panel making industry. This includes areas such as visualisation, programming and plant control systems.
There are three departments within Binos GmbH: Binos Technology, Binos Machinery and Binos Automation, whose titles speak for themselves.
Tom Greten freely admits that his company is not trying to compete with the big oem suppliers such as Siempelkamp and Dieffenbacher; it does not supply high-capacity lines as they do. Rather, Binos is in the market of smaller capacity lines producing niche products where quality is more important to the mill than quantity, he says.
With this fact in mind, Mr Greten and his team see the current economic difficulties facing the global panel industry as an opportunity for Binos rather than a threat.