For the first time ever, the Imal-Pal group will exceed sales of €110m in 2011, a figure which, in proportion to the number of employees, is probably one of the highest in the wood based panel sector, says the company.

Such an achievement is the product of ongoing commitment, hard work and capacity to innovate and produce new designs where priorities are to reduce manufacturing costs and increase production, says Imal-Pal.

As has been the firm’s custom since its very first Ligna show back in 1977, Imal says it will be showcasing its most significant innovations at this year’s fair as well.

One of these is the DynaSteam, a system much like a small pre-press installed at the infeed to any continuous press, which injects a known quantity of dry and saturated steam into the mat. Several of these units are already up and running and nine more are currently being produced.

The installation of the DynaSteam has an immediate impact on production, says Imal, as it is possible to increase production rates by a minimum of 15 to over 30%, depending on board thickness, and to achieve a significant improvement in density profile in the case of MDF production. So far, the DynaSteam units have been installed on MDF lines but are also due for installation on a particleboard line and an OSB line later this year.

Imal says other design innovations have been made to OSB, particleboard and MDF resination systems with the application of a special blender and high-pressure injection technology, and with which the company says it is possible to achieve significant reductions in resin consumption.

Such a system has been installed on an OSB line in Germany, where they have managed to reduce resin consumption by over 20%. In OSB plants, the resin is normally applied by motorised discs which spin rapidly inside huge rotating drums. Since these drums are dusty, enclosed environments, with electric motors mounted inside, they are classified as a high risk Atex 21 (explosion) zone. There have in fact been numerous cases of fires breaking out inside these drums, points out Imal.

The new OSB resination system which the company has designed and patented is claimed to eliminate this problem. The blender is much smaller, those large drums are no longer used and the resin is applied at high pressure. The results speak for themselves, says the supplier: there is no fire risk because the injector nozzles don’t rotate and are not electrically operated; reduction in MDI and melamine resin consumption of over 20%; and all drum cleaning issues have been eliminated.

The Imal blender stays clean and there is no need for long production stops for cleaning purposes. Similar results have also been achieved with the application of the high pressure resination system in both MDF and particleboard production, says Imal.

Aware of the necessity for manufacturers to produce top quality boards, it says it has invented the post-press delaminated board control system.

The blistered board control systems typically in use today normally mount, for example, 20 ultrasonic sensors to control an 8ft wide panel, each of which has an approximate coverage of 25mm, says Imal. This means that only 500mm (25 x 20mm) of a 2500mm-wide panel will actually be checked for blisters, which is barely 20%.

Imal says it has redesigned the system to achieve 100% coverage over the entire width of the panel, ie “total panel control”.

New laboratory equipment includes the Lab Formaldehyde tester recently launched on the market with two or four testing chambers to analyse board samples to the European 717-2 standard, and an economical LTE lab X-ray density profiler is now available as well as an automatic glue Gel Timer.

Imal-Pal claims it has great flexibility amply demonstrated by its capability to supply equipment that can range from a few thousand euros to a complete MDF, particleboard, OSB or even a pallet block line. New branches have been set up in north America and China, called IMPA Inc and IMPA-China, respectively. The group is now aiming at supplying complete plants with continuous presses that are partly fabricated in China and partly in Europe.