Pal, Family Firm and Group

The Imal-Pal group is renowned for its panel line engineering; but Pal keeps its own identity and special skills

Imal and Pal have been familiar names in the wood based panel industry for over 45 years. Both are family firms; both are based in northern Italy.

Separated geographically by some 200 km – Imal is based in Modena near Bologna, Pal in Ponte di Piave, Treviso, about 40km from Venice – the two companies found that their individual expertise was complementary: Imal made press-lines, gluing systems and quality control electronic equipment for wood based panels, Pal made machinery to prepare new and recycled wood for such lines and glue blenders for particleboard.

They first worked together, then joined forces to become the Imal-Pal Group. Between them, and with others in the group, they have become renowned worldwide for covering every aspect of wood based panel manufacture. There is hardly a particleboard, MDF or OSB line in the world, they say, that does not have systems from Imal-Pal within it.

Unified as a group, the component companies nevertheless retain healthy separate identities. Each member of the group has kept its family founders, its specialities and its own family ‘feel’. It may be that this gives the best of all possible worlds: large capabilities with the personal contacts and flexibilities that go with small family-led businesses. It was the Pal end of the operation that WBPI visited this June.“We were established in 1978 as a company concentrating on wood recycling” says Dr Eng Andrea dal Ben, Pal’s director and quality manager and son of one of its founders, Antonio dal Ben. “Our focus is not the press but the preparation of the raw material before the press; now we are the market leader and most competent in that field. As the world’s biggest player we can give customers many different solutions. All our machines are made by us, or by our sister company Imal. That gives us good control of costs and quality – we are sure of what we are doing.

“At the end of the 1990s we became close to Imal; Imal and Pal exchanged shares in 1996.” In 2006 they became Imal- Pal and the merger became effectively complete. “We were family businesses and we still are, only now there are three families – two for Imal, one for Pal. We are like a married couple now.”

It is an open marriage; there are other companies in the group, notably Globus in Milan, whose excellence is in feeding and milling technology, and PSP in Verona, specialised in pellet presses.

The results achieved from the insertion of these new firms are, says Andrea dal Ben, “incredible”, with turnover increasing year by year and machines placed everywhere; innovation is common to them all, with the new Globus ‘Sharpening Room’, a fully automatic robotised centre for sharpening mill knives, and PSP’s pellet press developed especially for wood with the capability to achieve a capacity of 12 t/h with just one press.

There are 350 employees in the group, 130 of them in Pal. “It is a lot of family to give food to,” he says. “It is nonsense for one small company to develop everything in sight.” “Better to form close relationships with companies that have the expertises that you yourself do not. Now, between us, we have everything.”

“The reasons for the closeness between Imal and Pal are in the main technical, not economic or financial. At Pal we do the machinery that prepares the wood; Imal’s expertise is in the machines for gluing, resination and pressing, and the specialised control systems; so joining up made sense.”

The result is a group that can handle every element of lines for wood based panel manufacture. Global turnover for the group is in excess of €100m . “Turnover was up 10% in 2015; for 2016 we hope for similar results or better. We have a good portfolio of more than €30m in orders for 2017, only considering Pal.”

Pal, as we have said, has long experience in wood particle preparation, for both fresh and recycled wood, and in cleaning and screening of particle flows.

An example of its innovation is the cleaning tower. Chips from recycled timber are fed into the top and fall through different stages that remove, in turn, ferrous metals, sand, non-ferrous metals, heavy pollutants, and light pollutant such as plastics, foils, papers and paint. Using gravity to replace horizontal movement through different phases saves both energy and space – so you have a complete cleaning system in one unit.

Technological developments include the ‘Cyclope’ optical sourcer, a selector which works with a video camera to identify and remove pollutants such as plastic from wood chip streams with a high-pressure jet of air. “One machine has been in operation for three months now; it is running well,” says Mr dal Ben. There is a new air selector, called ‘Eolo’, after the god of wind: it removes unwanted particles from an incoming stream.

“It is very flexible machinery, easy to install. The results from everything we have seen are very good.” The system has been sold in Italy and in Korea.

And Pal has been investing, not only in machinery: in a new unified computer system for the company – a more-thanyear- long project, now completed for Pal, in which Imal will follow. There have been new offices, warehouse investment, and an increase in the number of machine tools, with more to come this year and next.

Current and new orders include a €20m particleboard plant for Poland for which start-up is scheduled for next year. “We have been working a lot in China, where it has been very calm for six months; now we have quotes and orders, especially for particleboard machinery. Imal also has big projects for gluing in China,” says Andrea dal Ben.

“A big new continuous press line in Vietnam, with the press supplied by our group, started production three months ago and is running well. ”

Pal is also working outside the wood industry. “Why limit the applications of our machinery? We have good systems that can work well in other materials.”

Thus it has applied its expertise in screening wood chips also to screening machinery for sand, salt, rubber, and even garden compost. Pal’s patented self-cleaning ‘Stepper Screen’ has horizontal mesh grids that move in a step-wise fashion to separate different sizes of particle; this strong machine has shown very good results in plants which treat organic waste or particles from car recycling.

Nevertheless, wood remains and will remain Pal’s priority – which its customers in the wood based panel industry will be pleased to hear.

Imal – High-Tech Solutions

The Imal side of Imal-Pal moves to optics in its latest technological advance.

The Imal side of the Imal-Pal partnership began its life in 1970. Getting on for half a century later it continues its advances in press-lines and the high technology that has become integral to such lines. Sales for Imal, as for the group as a whole, continue to increase.

Hot off the press, so to speak, for Imal is the company’s optical fibre screen. Its purpose is to measure, accurately and in real time, the dimensions of fibres entering the press line – the percentages and variations in lengths and diameters. They call it a ‘slenderness test’.

At its heart is the on-line Fibercam, which collects and rapidly analyses the samples of fibre. The optical technology permits an accurate measurement of the dimensions using a dry process. Repeatability, says Imal, is high – with a less than 1% error, and the user can check this by overlaying graphs from several tests one onto the other, using the software supplied with the system.

Response times are rapid – less than two minutes – and, being an optical system, the fibres themselves are left untouched, in contrast with existing water-based analyses.

The analysing software, in conjunction with the huge number of images taken (about 1,000,000 pictures per minute) calculates the actual length (extension) and width of the fibre even in cases where the fibres are laid one over the other. Denser lumps, on the other hand, are not analysed.

The software is able to exclude compact masses of fibres that would not give a true readout of the fibre dimensions. The result of each test is stored in the local database and may be consulted over the company network. Any number of sieves can be simulated.

The data gives practical savings. The test results can be used to ensure that the Refiner is operating at optimum settings, to permit a constant fibre production and quality with the lowest possible electric power requirements.

The savings are not only in power consumption. Imal claims also that the Fibercam can help the Refiner disks last longer by carrying out the corrective actions that the quality of incoming fibres require.

“More and more customers want to try out the machines on a large scale,” he points out. Innovative machinery makes possible innovative applications. One such is pressed wooden pallets, that together wth pallet blocks and insulation board are now under the Imal-Pal group. We are all familiar with the wooden pallets used to store and move everything from bricks to bone china; Imal-Pal now makes presses to form them from any type of wood based raw material.

“Companies need efficiency, and flexibility is possible only with efficiency and quality in design,” claims the company.

More than 30 people work in Pal’s design office and their expertise shows no sign of flagging; and Imal-Pal shows no sign of losing its dominant position in making machinery for the wood based panel industry.

Longoni: Feel The Quality

Longoni links user with maker – and develops touchy-feely knowhow

Longoni Roberto e figli s.r.l., more commonly known as Longoni, is a supplier of materials, machinery and know-how in the lamination industry. “We don’t manufacture machinery, but we provide specifications and properties that machinery must have” says Ludovico Longoni, the sales manager. “And we check the installation and testing of machinery, and follow up as lines go into production.” Or, to put it another way: “We make a join between user and manufacturer.”

As recently demonstrated for a panel plant in Russia: “We set up the factory, a complete plant. We provided recipes, production cycles, finishing lines. We acted as general contractor from engineering to final commissioning of the machinery.”

Some of their customers are experienced in the industry. Others may have no knowledge at all of wood based panel production. “We supplied an impregantion line to Thailand, to a big group, skilled in impregnating. We also did the first HPL press in Iran, to clients who were completely new to the industry.” 99% of Longoni’s business is outside Europe, supplying know-how for the production of high pressure laminates (HPL), low pressure laminates (LPL), particleboard and continuous pressure laminates (CPL).

Surface treatments are a speciality: “Supplying impregnation lines and presses, aluminium foils and print papers is our core business.”

For Longoni, 2015 was a positive year, as was the first quarter of 2016. “We have an impregantion line for the South American market maturing very soon” says Ludovico. “We are working on an HPL plant in Saudi Arabia, which is three to four months from production. An impregnation line in Bangladesh is another project.”

We have said that Longoni is not a manufacturer per se; but since the 1990s the company has developed a very close relationship with some selected manufacturers in China, where machinery is made under its strict supervision.

But Longoni is moving in another direction. No longer confined to advising and selling know-how, the company is working on altogether new areas in surfacing. It is developing radical new technology to address problems – and that will perhaps create new desires – in the wood based panel industry. They describe it as “introducing new ideas into the agenda.”

Applying décor papers in register with embossed surfaces has been a recent development in the industry. The aim is to achieve panels that, for example, not only look like ridged natural wood but feel like it as well.

“Haptic” is the word that describes the science and technology of touch, and achieving a haptic as well as a visual effect on panels presents technological problems. Ensuring that the paper with the visual design stays in register with the embossed ridges is not easy.

As Ludovico explains it, “The end product has to “feel” right. On a panel with a surface pressed to resemble wood grain and knots, a décor paper that has an image to match has to be kept very precisely in register, to a tolerance of 1mm, to give an effect that both looks right for the customer and that feels right when he runs his fingers over it.”

Decor papers inevitably stretch and deform during the impregnation process. When they are being pressed onto an embossed surface, this deformation puts the paper out of register.

Everything from the humidity or dryness of the weather to the tension in the rollers will affect how much the paper deforms. “When you wet the paper with resin it expands; as it dries, it shrinks. Over a two metre wide platen the paper can deform by 2-3cm. And with 40 or 50 metres of wet paper pulled from a roll, the deformation is even greater.” Even the different base papers used for the same décor pattern can give different deformations.

The press plate will also expand and contract with temperature – and of course we are talking hot-plate presses here.

“There are hand- or camera- based systems to register paper with panel; both are vulnerable to paper and press deformation.” Keeping the design in register with the embossed pattern on the panel is therefore both vital and problematic. Longoni’s solution, which has been patented, allows, it says, large-scale and accurate registration even on the largest-scale presses.

Details of how it works have not yet been made public, but they will say that it involves a totally different process of impregnation. The system has been two to three years in development so far. Lab tests and small-scale trials have been in progress this year. They are expecting an industrial-scale product to be ready by September, and extensive demonstrations in the first half of 2017. They will be setting up their own full-scale implementation line for these demonstrations. And the end product will be affordable: “Expect the final cost of paper for it to be in the same range as standard impregnated paper – so there will be no increase in the cost of the raw material”.

This move towards a specialised product of its own is new to Longoni. “We could have looked for an industrial plant to work with us on it, but times are hard for many companies – not so hard as they were, but still not brilliant – so that was not a readily-available solution. So we decided to develop the industrial product for ourselves, to present to the industry at a more advanced stage. The whole test-line is ours.

Having a full-scale line of our own is really a first for us. Nevertheless, we are not a production company. The purpose is not to develop our own industrial complex but to demonstrate the technology on a full industrial scale..”

The idea originates from a pair of Italian freelance inventors, Pietro Cassaghi and Maurizio Nassati. The partnership has another new development for wood based panels near to production-ready. It is a deep mat décor surface on which fingers leave no mark. Smears and finger-prints simply do not show. (Whether this will affect traditional Sherlock Holmesstyle crime detection I do not know.) Again, the technology is not yet revealed, but the sample which Longoni showed to WBPI was impressive.

“There are rivals, but they are expensive,” says Ludovico. “This comes out at the same cost as standard laminate, and cheap enough for widescale use.” Applications, from kitchen surfaces to display cases, would surely be legion. “It is unwise to sell the bear skin before you have caught the bear” he says, cautioning against over-optimism on these innovations.

But if these technologies live up to their promise Longoni may have big bearskins to sell. winneron their hands.

Orma and Optimism

A child of the sixties branches out

‘We were a child of the sixties’ says Maurizio Bonassi of Ormamacchine S.p.A. Orma was founded at the beginning of that decade, initially as dealer in woodworking machinery.

The company rapidly changed its focus and for more than 50 years now has been dealing in hydraulic presses for the wood based panel industry. “We made some presses; then we specialized in presses; today we are among the five top press makers worldwide.” They span the range: cold and hot presses, shortcycle presses, presses for flat or formed product, membrane presses, frame presses, edge-gluing presses and presses for all kinds of embossing. “We can satisfy all needs in wood based panel making, for furniture makers or architects.”

Based in Torre Boldone, about 50 km from Milan, they are one more example of the North Italian concentration of engineering expertise, and of exporting expertise as well.

For good reason. The financial and eurozone debt crises that began in 2007 hit the company hard, as it hit all Italian companies. “We are very export oriented, as are most firms in Italy. Those that do not export do not survive” says Mr Bonassi.

Today Orma has around 100 employees. “It was significantly more before the crisis.” Nevertheless, Bonassi believes that the current number of employees is not far from the optimum for a family-owned company: big enough to allow world-beating products, small enough for flexibility. “Most such companies have around 70-80 employees.” Orma’s production capacity is about 900 plants a year, in five production units, all of them situated in Italy.

Italy’s economy has shrunk by around 10% since 2007 (source: Marketwatch: www., there has been a tripledip recession and output has fallen to levels not seen in more than a decade. Domestic consumption and investment are both weak.

Smaller enterprises — the country’s backbone — are suffering from low sales, declining profitability, and lack of financing, and banking problems have made the situation worse.

Nevertheless, some firms – Orma is one – are optimistic. It is the industrialized north, typically producing high-end goods, and home to advanced manufacturing, such as the companies we feature in this focus article, which has weathered this storm better than the south, the so-called Mezzogiorno, where more basic manufacturing is the norm and which competes with emerging economies in price-sensitive sectors. North-Italian-based panel producers have been both export- oriented and, at last, are beginning to see signs of domestic recovery.

Orma illustrates all this in microcosm. “Turnover now is 12 – 15 million euros annually. In our best year it was 20 – 23 million euros. But demand is good this year. During the crisis, the local market was very bad but the rest of the world was OK for us. Last year, like everyone, we lost Russia, (which is already recovering this year) but we have tried to balance that loss. In Western Europe France and the UK are good markets; Poland is our best in Eastern Europe. In the rest of the world North America is very good, South America is dead. North Africa was traditionally good for us; it is dead now. In the Middle East we do very well, and traditionally in Turkey also, though that is currently calm.” Remarkably, given recent history, there is a bright spot: “One of our best markets, surprisingly, is Italy, which has grown unexpectedly this year.”

Orma illustrates also the move towards unique products embodying high technology.

‘The small, traditional hot press used to be our mainstay. It no longer sells as in the past, for two reasons. First, it used to be a general tool within a company used for occasional odd jobs as required. Now companies are much more focussed and it is no longer economic for them to spend money on or give space to a machine that is not used every day. It is a problem of specialisation. Secondly, cheaper general-purpose machines are available from abroad, especially from China – although it is true that Chinese machines are becoming more expensive while the quality is still poor.

The specifications of the steel, the paintwork and so on leave much to be desired; quality control in China is weak. What matters is the technical level of what is being sold. Cars, for example, embody far more technology than does basic woodworking; in high technology engineering the Chinese are far behind us.” So specialized machinery and technological advances are the road for a flourishing company like Orma.

Such thinking has led Orma to diversify its range. It has branched out into composites, polyurethane panel and solid surface presses. It has even collaborated with Milan Polytechnic on pressing plants for new and sustainable materials for ship-building.

These developments flow naturally from the philosophy that produced the innovative and specialized presses it has been making for the wood based panels industry for the past two decades, that it will continue making, and that will remain the company’s main production sector. It would seem a recipe for success.

Older than Italy

High pressure at home and abroad

The speciality of Pagnoni is high pressure presses, for which they are renowned worldwide. It is a company that was founded in 1848, and is therefore older than Italy itself. (The kingdom of Italy was proclaimed in 1861.) No fewer than six generations of the same family have been in charge at Pagnoni; the current incumbents are Aldo and Giorgio Pagnoni, with Dr Barbara Pagnoni in charge of sales. Their headquarters and factory are in Monza, some 30 kilometres from Milan.

Despite this impressive Italian pedigree (and despite being situated in the Lombardy region, which can be considered the home of Italian engineering) Pagnoni had not sold in Italy for 20 years. Last year, however, they ended this drought by selling three presses in their home country – for short cycle laminates, for plywood, and for registered decorative embossing. It is a sign of the revival of the Italian market. “Italians are investing because their current machines are aging now” says Dr Pagnoni. ‘Demand is going up slowly, but there is an increase” – an increase that is not confined to Italy but is reflected world-wide.

Pagnoni’s technological knowledge and competences encompass presses and complete pressing lines for particleboards, MDF, short cycle lamination lines and high pressure lines for plywood and multi-layer engineered parquet and in many other fields.

A particular speciality is high pressure and short cycle laminate lines, with specific types for composites and for thick laminates. Their so-called “Jumbo presses” are huge, with 10 openings, specific pressures to 100 kg/cm², and platen size up to 2200 mm x 6350 mm to produce laminates up to 2.10 x 6.12 m: these presses lead worldwide for capacity and dimensions. Plates can weigh 3 tonnes apiece, so this is no small-scale engineering.

‘Farline’ is a pressing line with multi-opening press, fully automatic with high production capacity for HPL, post-forming and Compact. It comes in standard or tailor-made formats; as with their other products each lay-out can be customized. ‘Quickline’ is the multi-opening pressing line with a new concept that simplifies the operations of books building / stripping dedicated to Compact, with very fast cycle time.

‘Onelight’ has a single opening press, suitable for the classical postforming certified HPL and Compact, with Embossed In Register technology or particle boards and MDF laminated with decorative melamine impregnated paper. In plywood Pagnoni can boast unique experience, having been in the field since the 19th century. Over the years they have build almost 300 presses of many different characteristics and sizes. Their current solutions are distinguished by cold pre-presses, and single and multi-openings hot presses with up to 40 openings. Products cover the whole range on the market: ureic and phenolic bonded plywood and specialty technical plywood, as well as 3 or 5 layer blockboard with one or more cores.

For particleboard, MDF and OSB Pagnoni has lines with single, double and multi-opening presses, with output capacities ranging from 50 up to 1,000 m3/day, to satisfy customers’ differing requirements of size, thickness and product quality. Technical innovations introduced by Pagnoni are electronic space bars to automatically control board thickness, new hydraulic circuits to minimize dead times and to regulate pressing according to board size, and a powerful and sophisticated continuous pre-compressor.

In MDF production Pagnoni has expertise in designing presses of gigantic dimensions with massive capacity, of up to 500 m3/day.

The constant growth of world markets demands new technologies to increase and improve production. In veneering, furniture tops and engineered parquet, the press can be the bottleneck of the whole process: “Conventional multi daylight presses are too slow and high frequency presses have too often proved frustrating” says Dr Pagnoni. The company’s new ‘Easylam’ continuous press is the solution to overcome the bottleneck. It is an endless double steel belt press for veneered panels, furniture tops and multi-layer parquet, designed for fast production, quality and flexibility.

It has four independent thermal regulation circuits, a maximum mechanical speed of 40 m/min (130 ft/minute), specific press regulation up to 80 N/ cm2 (116 PSI) and electronic opening regulation control. It is available in different standard sizes with width varying from 350 mm to 2300 mm and length from 1900 mm to 8200 mm. This flexibility in size allows the combination of widths and lengths to fit all customers’ technical and commercial requirements.

“Continuous presses give flexibility, which is the key” says Dr Pagnoni. “They are easy to operate, with low investment cost, and can produce many different products. With these we are giving the customer something more, but cheaper.”

It is easy to add bells and whistles to a product at extra cost; this is the reverse. “We are not offering cheaper and less, but cheaper and more, because we work on the technology.”

Innovation is continuous. Pagnoni have no standard product or line but make incremental changes with almost every press.

For this reason to they pre-install each press and line at their factory to test for efficiency and a complete check and cold-start before final installation at the customers site. This save money and time for the customer and reduces the start-up time for commercial production.

“Every line is different because every customer has different requirements, or we find something new from our suppliers in electronics, hydraulics or mechanics. For example, there have been many changes recently in seals for pistons and cylinders.” (On their shop floor is a cylinder nearly a metre across, for 315 bar pressure, being readied for installation in a press. This is engineerng on no small scale. )

Around 25 people work on-site, all highly skilled operators. Pagnoni intentionally keeps this number low, believing it allows personal control of all phases of the construction process combined with the ability to give customers state of the art technology combined with "old world" craftsmanship.

“We outsource the basics, and keep onsite the specific tooling and expert knowledge for our job” says Dr Pagnoni.

As, for example, in machining: they have achieved precision deep drilling of heating ducts through steel pressure plates of up to 8 metres. “We like to concentrate on our strengths, in knowledge and in engineering and in technology.”

As well as supplying and installing new presses or lines Pagnoni will refit existing machinery and installations. From order to delivery is about 8 to 10 months, shorter if the line is nearly standard; but as with all Italian – and probably as with all worldwide

  • companies, supply of raw materials can be a constraint. For economic reasons suppliers no longer keep large stockpiles
  • the equivalent of sitting on unused cash – so there can be a 3 months wait for deliveries of the specialised steels they need.

Outside the factory stands an impressive reminder of its past. Foursquare by the gates towers a cast-iron behemoth some 20 feet tall, part of a massive hydraulic press for Masonite constructed in 1948. A plaque informs visitors that it had 20 openings, with a pressure plate 1420 x 4650 mm. Big presses are nothing new to Pagnoni, and their current expertise bodes well for their future.

North Italy in Tocchio’s Blood

Fine-tuning saves costs and the environment

Tocchio, based in Vigevano some 40km from Milan, is a world leader specialising in making machinery for impregnating papers for surface treatments in the wood based panel industry. As with the other companies featured here, the northern Italian base is engrained in their ethos and their way of working. “The area around Milan is one of the most industrialised regions of Europe” says Giacomo Rossi, Tocchio’s commercial director.

Rossi, recently appointed to Tocchio, is new to the wood based world; his background is the machine tools industry.

But the methods that Tocchio is using are of universal relevance. They could be summarised as extremely accurate monitoring of – and control of – all the inputs in the production process: temperatures, pressures and everything else are measured and quantified as the papers and resins pass down the production line. It is essentially fine-tuning of settings carried to a new degree of accuracy, all the way from source material to finished product.

All the company’s products are designed, manufactured and assembled at the company’s 18,000 m2 Vigevano facility; all the elements of their supplier network can be found nearby. “That means we can check each step of the supply chain to give our products accuracy and constant reliability. This is the base for the design of all our machines; and it is one that our customers appreciate. ”

Tocchio supply complete impregnation and coating lines. Every impregnation plant is tailor made to the customer’s requirements. Paper can be impregnated with melamine, urea, acrylic and phenolic resins; rolls run through their machines at up to 300 metres a minute. The resulting décor papers are pressed by customers onto particleboard, plywood, MDF, HDF or other panels for end uses such as furniture, flooring or edge banding. The firm can supply support for technology transfer such as resin recipes that include special additives for high abrasion, high gloss, and scratch and wear resistance.

In recent years Tocchio have applied innovative solutions to existing projects, many of which have become standard offerings. Many of these can also be installed as retrofits on existing working lines.

“Those days, our technicians are installing world-wide quite interesting devices for our customers. One is the Register Control Camera System which gives strict control of embossing throughout the pressing process.

The paper temperature in each dryer section is a particular focus. Rossi is particularly passionate – and eloquent – about the company’s Environment Protection Energy Saving System (EPESS).

The benefits it brings are legion: it not only reduces energy consumption, but it improves environmental protection and the quality of the product – and even speed of production – while it does so.

The most evident result is a direct saving in energy costs for the customer; “but it is the basis also for achieving reductions in formaldehyde emissions to the new European limits” says Rossi. The system is based on an “automatic setting” principle.

The user sets initial specific parameters for the different types of product he requires; the plant controlling station automatically adjusts the air extraction process according to the product. Providing a set of optimum dryer parameters and conditions brings a direct energy saving in paper drying. “Which means a cash saving and full respect for the environment” says Rossi.

Due to the controlled ambient conditions in the dryers the quality of the paper remains consistent and independent of external conditions such as temperature or humidity; this can allow an increase in speed. It can be installed on any impregnation plant, and it is possible to customize the solution to the existing line configuration of the customer.

The energy (and cost) saving will vary with product type and local environmental conditions, but feedback from Tocchio customers indicates that an annual energy saving up to 30% is achievable.

“All these devices are developed in response to our customers’ needs.” One such need is for smaller production runs, frequently changing designs to meet the market demand for personalised décor paper products. Tocchio’s EPESS, and its philosophy generally of keeping all the parameters under control and allowing the line operator to fine tune the overall process, are designed to achieve this end.

“Our main goal is to reinforce the presence of Tocchio in the impregnating market worldwide” says Annalisa Tocchio, the company’s CEO. “We have more than 40 years’ experience as a global player in the wood based panel sector. That has given us the expertise to develop innovative solutions, and we want to spread them and make them universal.”

Tocchio has projects all over the globe from the Far East to the Americas, taking in the whole of Europe en route. They are expanding into other market sectors, applying their skills in chemical processes to areas such as special coating treatments, masking tapes and filter papers.

“But our core business will remain with wood” says Rossi. He echoes, unconsciously, the words of other manufacturers in Northern Italy. Panel makers will be happy to hear that the region will continue to serve them with all its long-matured skills and expertise.