When Roberto Longoni started his private company in 1997, he acted as an export agent for timber. However, Mr Longoni soon moved into the fields of exporting
secondhand particleboard plants and supplying laminate raw materials.
Prior to that he had worked as an engineer in the HPL industry since 1972, subsequently gaining experience in production, plant erection and management.
It is the laminating side of the Longoni business which has become its mainstay and this has moved on from simply supplying laminate raw materials of all kinds to also being the sole international agent for NTST of China, which makes impregnation lines.
Based in Nantong, 250km south of Shanghai, NTST manufactures smaller-capacity impregnation lines for decorative and surfacing papers and since the cooperation began in 2003, Longoni has supplied more than 15 NTST lines worldwide.
Destinations include Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Peru and India. In Argentina, Italian resin producer Sadepan, sister company to panel maker Saviola, has a particleboard plant called Sadepan Latinoamericana producing decorative-surfaced boards and that factory has an impregnation line supplied by Longoni.
In Ethiopia, the Maichew particleboard line, supplied secondhand and refurbished by Modul Systeme of Germany, also purchased an impregnation line through Longoni, which also supplies the technologists to set up and help run-in these lines.
The company has also upgraded and refurbished some lines supplied by others, to increase their efficiency.
“These lines are suited to customers who do not require the highest throughput speed, but a reliable and economically-priced line to do what they require it to do – ‘horses for courses’, so to speak,said Roberto Longoni’s son Ludovico, who joined the company in 1999 after graduating from university in physics. “Our lines are guaranteed to run at speeds of at least 30m per minute.
“Over the years, NTST’s technology has developed and it received CE certification for its lines in 2007. We are getting serious enquiries from some big panel making concerns; these days, smaller capacities are required and smaller investment cost is important.”
Impregnation and lacquering lines for finish foil are also offered by NTST, as are single- and two-stage impregnation with urea and melamine; lines for producing phenol Kraft paper for shuttering; and one-step Kraft impregnation for continuous pressure laminate (CPL) production.
“We offer a lot of experience in the impregnation business,said Mr Longoni.
Longoni also sources resin plants through NTST, and other suppliers, to complement the impregnation lines.
The company’s expertise in high pressure laminates (HPL) has enabled it also to offer the technology for its customers to make high-gloss HPL, as well as HPL which does not use phenolic resin in its construction but a special urea recipe.
“Essentially, we operate in three main areas,said Mr Longoni. “The supply of machinery; know-how and technology; and raw material supply.”
The Longoni company is also a major shareholder in two other companies in China: Shanghai Top Style Furniture Materials Co Ltd makes semi-finished products for furniture; Beijing Ludo Food Tech Co Ltd, together with Shanghai Ludo Cold Food Co Ltd, makes and markets ice cream.
For the decor paper business, Longoni has its own representative office in Shanghai and the company markets Chinese-made paper products in its
own name.
Sandvik Surface Solutions is represented by Longoni in all of South America for its press plates for the HPL, CPL and short-cycle press market – a relationship which began with Hindrichs-Auffermann.
In India, Longoni also represents the Aluminium Feron Company, a manufacturer of metal foil.
Machinery supplied worldwide encompasses not just impregnation, but everything from chippers to short-cycle press lines to complete particleboard plants.
“We represent a variety of suppliers in a variety of markets by selecting suppliers of the right quality for our clients, in order to reach the required performance at the best price,concluded Mr Longoni.