Since its foundation in 1978, PAL srl of Ponte di Piave, Treviso, in the north east of Italy, has dedicated itself to the area of wood preparation for the particleboard industry.
The company’s wide range of equipment covers crushing, extraction, screening, cleaning, refining, sifting, de-sanding and weighing and metering of the chips used in panel production.
Italy is a country with a very poor forest resource and, as a result, has in a sense been forced to become expert in the use of recycled wood. For instance, the largest Italian panel maker, the Mauro Saviola Group, uses 100% recycled, or urban, wood supply to make well over a million m3 of particleboard panels annually.
The use of such raw material presents particular challenges, as it must be thoroughly cleaned to remove anything from sand to bullets to avoid damage to the panel maker’s production machinery – or to the saws and moulders of his customers during subsequent processing.
Thus PAL was ideally placed to adapt its technology to this task and has developed machines which cover the spectrum of cleaning and sorting of chips; and exported that technology all over the world.
Until now, PAL has only dealt with the products of chippers supplied by other companies, but that is about to change.
The company has formed an alliance with fellow Italian company Globus of Galliate, west of Milan, close to Novara.
“We have joined forces to strengthen the position of both companies on the market,explains Romeo Paladin, founder and president of PAL. “The target of the alliance is to become stronger on the market, which is increasingly selecting its individual suppliers. We are engaged in global solutions for wood preparation where there are chipping and flaking operations. Globus is a specialist with a very new patented solution for flaking to improve the quality of the flakes, to increase the capacity of its knife ring flakers and to drastically reduce the wear inside the machine.”
Fabio Paron is the managing director of Globus and he explains the innovations on his flakers: “The problem with a flaker is always to spread the chips throughout the flaker and this leads to localised wear and to uneven-sized flakes. Our idea is to install a spreader inside the machine which is oval and runs eccentrically – it is called a wobble spreader – and which is separately driven and acts as a real spreader.
“Flakers generally haven’t changed for about 10 years, until now. This new flaker is also the largest on the market, giving increased capacity with constant quality.”
Mr Paron claims the spreading effect enables an increase from a maximum blade size of 500mm to 700mm, or plus 40%.
The new flaker is known as the Knife Ring Flaker SRC 1400-AR. This patented Globus system has already been supplied to customers in South Africa, South America, Italy, Greece and Indonesia.
Globus has been on the market in debarkers, chippers and flakers for over 20 years. In its earlier days, it repaired and reconditioned machines made by other manufacturers before moving into the manufacture of its own machines, using the experience gained to improve and modify the concepts.
“A second innovation of Globus is a type of rollscreen, debuted as a prototype at this year’s Ligna exhibition in Hannover, Germany,says Mr Paron. “It is known as a ‘lobe screen’ [due to the shape of the screen components] and it will be integrated into PAL’s range of Dynascreen and Quadradyn screens to complete the ‘roll screen family’.
“The lobe screen makes the material jump, thus helping to increase separation of pollutants, fines, wet fines and so on; jumping is much more efficient, especially for ‘sticky’ fines.”
Mr Paladin takes over the story: “To complete our solution for the wood preparation area, there were two machines missing from PAL’s portfolio: chipping and flaking. Now they are part of our offering to the market. We are working together in the alliance, shortening the communication line between supplier and customer. The lobe screen will be integrated with the Dynascreen to provide the most appropriate solution.”
The innovations were presented at Ligna under two banners: Globus Pal Screening Alliance and Flaking Alliance.
Meanwhile, PAL has been experiencing considerable success in its traditional market, as marketing and sales manager Fabio Chiara points out: “We have received orders for all the recent particleboard plants in Turkey and for a new sawdust sifting system at Kaindl’s plant in Salzburg, Austria. Also the upgrading of preparation areas at the Kronospan pant in Scharja in Russia.”
In April, PAL also received the order for preparation areas for Kronospan’s Osmoloda and Kharkov plants in the Ukraine.
North America has been a good source of orders for the company as well, especially for the Quadradyn screen.
The first of these screens, specifically designed for screening the strands used in OSB production, started operation in April 2004 at the Huber Broken Bow 504,000m3 per year OSB mill in Oklahoma, US.
“We have sold 16 Quadradyn primary screens, together with several secondary screening machines since then and completed assembly of a plant in Jihlava in the Czech Republic for Kronospan in early April.We are also installing three Quadradyn screens at the Canfor/Louisiana-Pacific mill in Fort St John, BC, Canada.That mill will employ the  largest multi-daylight press in the world, supplied by Siempelkamp, to produce over 725,000m3 a year of OSB and is due to start up later this year.
Martco in Louisiana has also signed up for three Quadradyn systems for its new OSB line, while Grant Forest Products has bought six. “Quadradyn is the only OSB screening system with proven results, by which I mean installations up and running, and every new OSB mill built worldwide in the last year – since Huber proved the worth of the system – has specified the Quadradyn,says Mr Chiara proudly.
Research and development (R&D) has always played an important role in the development of PAL’s business and Mr Paladin is proud of this fact.
“We have moved our R&D department to a new location in a new building here at our headquarters with much improved facilities,he says. “We are continually expanding this department because it is very important to be able to test customers’ materials and to be able to verify our methods. The new laboratory also has a 3ft x 16ft 6in Quadradyn screen, which is an industrial, not a laboratory size, and we are continually testing many pounds of materials from our US customers and others.”
Since it entered into cooperation with IMAL srl of Damaso, Italy, in which the latter took on responsibility for marketing glue systems and quality testing equipment in 1998 – an area in which the two companies previously competed – PAL has been able to concentrate that R&D effort solely on the area of wood preparation. Thus the company already had a considerable track record in the area of cleaning and screening. What it couldn’t offer directly to the customer was the machinery to produce the chips and flakes.