Having been partly owned by Siempelkamp for some years, CMC Texpan of Colzate, near Bergamo, just outside Milan, has been fully-owned by that complete line supplier since January 2013.

"In 2012/13, we saw some slowing-down in our business so we used the period of reduced workload in our factory to invest in new machines," said Paolo Gattesco, managing director of CMC Texpan, which prides itself on its flexibility to fabricate a great variety of machinery for the panel producing industry. "Now, we have orders taking us up to April 2015.

"We also developed a new gluing machine for the core layer of particleboard, called the ecoResinator P and, after many trials, this machine has produced a very impressive glue distribution," said Mr Gattesco. "It is a completely new concept without the mechanical blending used in the traditional systems: it uses ‘soft’ mixing and fine glue droplets to avoid accumulation of resin in the system. It offers an 8% reduction in resin consumption and installed power is reduced to a maximum of 60% of that required before. The cooling requirement is also reduced by 40%.

"We have already sold three of these machines to complete new line projects in Germany, Brazil and Bangladesh and we have seven retrofits under negotiation for projects around the world."

For the surface layer of particleboard, last year Texpan developed, with Siempelkamp, the ecoFormer SL.

"We have carried out a lot of trials in our own workshops and have supplied one unit to Uvadrev, a particleboard producer in Russia. We also have an ecoFormer on order for a new particleboard line in Germany," said Mr Gattesco.

While the vast majority of CMC Texpan’s business comes through its parent, Siempelkamp, the company does also have some projects of its own for specific machines and for retrofits. It also has projects outside the panel industry, such as in the petrochemical sector.

Sometimes there is a requirement for Texpan’s expertise in manufacturing components for the Siempelkamp group as a whole, which is involved in a variety of non-wood-related sectors.

The machines for which CMC Texpan is perhaps most famous, globally, are its forming lines and these still comprise about 50% of the company’s total turnover. Oscillating screens, dosing bins and silo extractors are also well-known products made by this Italian company.

CMC Texpan doesn’t just manufacture the machines, but also has technologists who are responsible for commissioning and start-up of the equipment on site.

"We also have an active research and development [R&D] department, developing new ideas, as well as solutions to improve existing machines and save costs for our customers," said Mr Gattesco.

Although CMC Texpan is principally involved in machinery for the particleboard industry, it also makes components for Siempelkamp MDF forming lines and machines for the OSB manufacturing industry.

"We supplied our first equipment for OSB in 2011, when we produced disc screens, oscillating screens and belt scales for the project in Kalevala, Russia" said the managing director. "We have also made a number of important quotations to other companies in the OSB sector."

New solutions for panel makers producing combination boards have also exercised the R&D department at Colzate, with OSB/ particleboard and OSB/MDF combination board projects.

"We have two such projects that require long forming lines specifically to allow for more forming heads. One is in western Europe and the other in the east," said Mr Gattesco. "Currently, the customer is still studying the market for such a board."

CMC Texpan’s turnover in 2013 amounted to €20m and it is forecasting €22m for this year.

"South America was a busy market for us, but some projects are now being delayed," said the managing director. "However, we do have a lot of contracts in Turkey. We also see the market moving to Iran and Bangladesh, for example. These are not big projects, but there are several of them. I think people in these regions are moving away from Chinese machinery suppliers as they want European quality. However, prices are of course under pressure in those regions.