It is only a few kilometres to the ski slopes of the Alps to the north and the historic and beautiful town of Bergamo to the south, and the sides of the valley rise steeply on either side of the river Serio, which runs alongside the headquarters of CMC Texpan in Colzate.
But in spite of its scenic beauty, this is still an industrial area, famous for textiles and the machinery used in their manufacture, although that business is struggling against the competition from the Far East.
However, CMC Texpan is one company here which isn’t struggling – it has a healthy order book for its traditional products for forming lines for MDF, particleboard and OSB  lines and has recently added components for short-cycle press lines – for its part-owner Siempelkamp GmbH of Krefeld Germany – to its portfolio.
The CMC Texpan company was originally founded as CMC by Mario Zoppetti in 1962. His son Dario cooperated with the Texpan company in the 1970s and the company name became CMC Texpan in 1997 when the two companies merged.
Meanwhile, in the mid-1980s, complete panel production plant supplier Siempelkamp took a 25% share in CMC Texpan, and in February this year, it bought another 15%, leaving Dr Dario Zoppetti as the major shareholder, with 60%.
“The target of this was to increase the presence of Siempelkamp in the company in order to increase the range of products made here and the cooperation between our two companies,explained Dr Zoppetti.
CMC Texpan has for some years been the supplier of the forming lines used in virtually all Siempelkamp-supplied particleboard and MDF production lines. Today, the company’s order books contain quite a high proportion of projects to upgrade older lines and increase their quality and capacity with the latest forming technology, as well as supplying to new projects.
“We are continually working on refreshing our lines – increasing the quality and characteristics of existing lines as well as making new products,said Dr Zoppetti. “In fact, about 50% of our turnover is in upgrades and 50% in new plants these days. Usually they are our original lines but sometimes we replace other suppliers’ lines.
“For the foreseeable future, I think there will be more upgrades because there are many plants with older machinery which is often OK but needs to be more productive.”
Recent contracts for upgrading include Depalor’s particleboard forming line in France, completed in August 2004. The two mechanical heads were upgraded to improve cross-weight distribution and thus the properties of the panel.
Kaindl of Salzburg also took delivery of two upgraded mechanical forming heads, and a balanced pressure roller after the final mechanical head, this May.
Other upgrades include Ernst Kaindl’s Osmoloda factory in Russia which, requiring a number of modifications, took the opportunity of planned down-time to implement CMC Texpan’s mat width adjustment system.
Besides upgrading the mechanical forming heads to the latest system, engineers from Colzate removed the disc separators between the dosing bin and the wind chamber for the surface layer, inserting glue lump extraction screens. They also eliminated the disc separators between the dosing bin and the underlying mechanical head and then installed a new separator above the dosing bin. The width adjustment system with chip recycling devices now produces a mat with variable width from 2,490mm to 2,070mm.
Following such modifications, Osmoloda will reach a production capacity of  approximately 1,200m3/22hr, based on 16 mm-thick panels. The agreement between the two companies was signed last January and the modification should be delivered, installed and commissioned during this summer.
In Thailand, Metro ordered a press extension from Siempelkamp to increase its ContiRoll from 23.8 to 30.4m, requiring the addition of a fourth forming station as a second mechanical core former. Capacity there is planned to increase from 750m3/22hr to around 1,100m3/22hr on a 16mm basis.
Pfleiderer’s Russian particleboard plant also received modifications to its forming line, as did Egger’s particleboard line at  Rambervillers in France.
In OSB, CMC Texpan is to supply the mat forming station for the Slocan project in Canada as part of the complete line supplied by Siempelkamp and currently under erection. This is a six-head forming station with a 3,860mm forming width.
Designed for particleboard production with variable width and thickness, the Kastamonu plant in Turkey has wind mat formers for surface layers and oversized mechanical machines for the core layer. The forming station has a width adjustment system for panel widths from 1,830mm to 2,150mm. The plant will have a production capacity between 1,200 and 1,500m3/22.8hr, 18 mm basis.
China is also on the project list. CMC Texpan is supplying  mechanical-head mat formers for both surface and core layers, with width adjustment from 2,550mm to 2,110mm, to Dare’s mill in Sanming – another Siempelkamp main contract.
“Forming is normally part of the press line package for new or upgraded plants, so being part of Siempelkamp is certainly an advantage, but of course we still have to fight on price!said Dr Zoppetti.
“It is a partnership with Siempelkamp and we work together, sharing our knowledge on start-ups and so on. For example, at the Slubice project in Poland, we suggested larger storage bins for wet and dry flakes and cooperated with Siempelkamp to get the best efficiency from the line.
 “We have produced bins and bunkers for MDF and particleboard many times before, but not for OSB, so we are delivering a new, cheaper kind of bunker, which we have tested together with Siempelkamp, for the Slubice OSB line.”
Parts of the bunkers are being made by a local company in Romania, to CMC Texpan’s drawings and under its supervision.
A new development by CMC Texpan is a weighing system, or mat scale, to go after the former and in the former, with the dosing system regulated by the mat scale within the former.
CMC Texpan also cooperated on a Crown Former forming machine for particleboard, jointly with Siempelkamp, in 2002 for those who prefer mechanical forming.
In 2003, it launched the Star Former for MDF, designed by Siempelkamp’s R&D department in Krefeld to reduce the cost and increase the quality of the former. This machine is made by CMC Texpan.
Talking of reducing costs – as everybody is these days – CMC Texpan is looking at the manufacture of some components for its equipment in China for the Chinese and other Asian markets.
“We did a similar exercise in Romania and made many parts for dryers and other machinery locally in a commercial arrangement with a manufacturer in Cluj Napoca in Transylvania,said Dr Zoppetti. “The quality is acceptable and the costs are lower.”
 Such far-flung places as Romania, Russia, China, Thailand and North America seem even further away as you look out of the windows of Dr Zoppetti’s three-year-old head office building in CMC Texpan’s mountain valley home.