Mexico, Peru and Korea feature among the latest orders for surface lamination industry supplier Longoni Roberto e Figli srl.

For Monza-based Longoni, supplying to developing markets around the world has been the historical basis of its business, which involves know-how, machinery and materials for the production of coated wood panels (LPL), high pressure laminates (HPL), particleboards, MDF, continuous laminates (CPL) and melamine faced flooring.

A scan of its reference projects during its 18-year history reveals projects in Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Columbia, Egypt, Venezuela, Lebanon, Bangladesh, Brazil and Argentina.

Projects range from delivering a complete factory for HPL manufacture, to supply of presses, impregnation lines, resin plants, cutting and drying technology, steel belts and press plates, as well the ability to supply second-hand and reconditioned equipment. New machinery supplied by Longoni is manufactured by its partners in China and India.

The company, which has offices in China and Brazil, is also the South American agent for Sandvik Surface Solutions and is involved in the supply of printed paper, raw paper and foils (agent for Germany’s Aluminium Feron in India).

When WBPI caught up with Longoni recently, sales manager Ludovico Longoni was enthused about new projects, including the company’s first two lines in Korea which are being shipped within the coming months. These will be two-step impregnation lines using urea and melamine resins.

Longoni is also supplying a new veneer press line to a Mexican company this August, utilising press technology from Ormamacchine Spa, while the new Peru contract involves two new short-cycle presses and two refurbished presses.

A further contract in the Middle East involves a one-step phenolic resin impregnation line for HPL manufacture.

A joint venture with existing Chinese impregnation plant manufacturer NTST was launched in October last year and focuses on technology transfer, specifically on the development of higher speed and improved quality impregnation lines.

"Our target is to reach the production capacities and quality of lines that are made in Europe," said Mr Longoni.

For phenolic resin impregnation, the aim is to speed up production to 100m/min.

The joint venture is a response to very strong demand for fast, high capacity impregnation machines, which are also cost-effective.

"With our new design in impregnation lines, we hope also to see some interest in developed countries, like Europe. This depends on the European market, as there is already such a high production capacity in Europe."

Mr Longoni said the joint venture was already producing these faster impregnation lines, with three existing lines in China – in Foshan, Lin’an and Beijing – already having absorbed the technology. The Korean contract will represent the joint venture’s first exported lines.

"This will be a big step forward for Longoni."

The company has been working with Nantong-based NTST since 2003 and has a minority share in the firm.

Another area yielding results is Longoni’s technical expertise in helping customers optimise the use of resin in impregnating lines for improved quality, environmental benefits, cost-effectiveness and operational efficiency.

"There are a lot of low-speed impregnating lines with poor efficiency," added Mr Longoni.

Longoni has achieved interesting results with special urea resin recipes.

"These days you can achieve good results without using phenol," added Mr Longoni. Longoni’s package of technology and skills offers special urea recipes for production of HPL and CPL, tailored to customer needs such as production of different grades and using different materials.

With no major new advances in HPL processing, this focus on optimised resin use meets customer requirements for a more cost-effective production operation while avoiding use of expensive phenolic resin.

Other Longoni contracts involve revamping old plants, including providing new control and programming equipment, updating hydraulic units and increasing specific pressure of short cycle presses.

It is the company’s engineering and technical background of the whole production process and of raw materials, coupled with knowledge of market requirements which, Longoni believes, is its unique selling point.

In the future, Longoni expects regions like South America and the Middle East to continue to offer growth potential.

"The Chinese domestic market is developing every day in terms of the market and number of machines," added Mr Longoni.

Next up for Longoni is the ForMóbile international suppliers fair for the wood and furniture industry in Brazil, held on July 29-August 1, where it will represent Sandvik Surface Solutions.