When Antonio Di Nunzio founded Mapco Engineering srl in 1978, he and his staff brought something new to the manufacturing of resins in the panel industry and something which Mr di Nunzio feels was the "best solution".

"That is because I, and others in this company, came from the oil and gas industry and we transferred our experience of design and construction of those heavy-duty industries to a chemical plant for formaldehyde and resins," he explained.

"In the oil and gas industry, they expect a long-lasting plant; the life of that plant has to be designed for 40 or 50 years because the capital investment is important.

"Up to now, particularly in recentlyindustrialised countries, most wood based panel resin plants have had a much shorter service life – just a few years – so we have transferred the technology from the oil and gas industry to the panel industry and we also offer improved safety and low maintenance at the right price. We provide automatic controls, so that a few personnel – and/or remote controls – can run the plant."

Mapco also applies the same principles, codes and standards from the petrochemical industry in terms of its scope of supply.

"We can design and supply the whole system, from start to finish, as a turnkey contract," said Mr Di Nunzio. "That includes liquid and solid, steam production, storage facilities, electrical distribution, warehouses, cooling towers, fire detection and fighting equipment and lighting.

"We are different to our competitors because we are also an engineering company which is flexible and we have our own technologies," added his son, technical director Bruno Di Nunzio.

"A panel factory can have the best pressing equipment and so on in its production line, but most of the raw material cost is at the beginning of the process. Methanol is expensive, resin is expensive and choosing the right supplier for the formaldehyde and resin plants is very important. It can be a big investment – more than the continuous press for example – so design of the site and plant, and management of the project, is very important.

"As Mapco, we can be responsible for the design of the whole factory – and for the supply and installation of all components of that factory, using our trusted subcontractors to manufacture the components," said Bruno Di Nunzio. "And our equipment complies with all the most advanced and strict safety norms in the developed world. We even develop the engineering activities with the most innovative and sophisticated design software, focusing on safety and personal health, cost, constructability, operational ability, environmental impact, pollution regulations and noise and vibration prevention – that is where the difference between a five- or 10-year life and a 40-year life of the plant comes in."

Mapco has supplied formaldehyde and resin plants to many parts of Europe, Africa and South America. Now it wants to initiate activity in China, the Far East, India and Japan.

To that end, in June, the company employed Giorgio Bartoli to develop its business in that region. Mr Bartoli brings to Mapco his 15 years’ experience in China.

"One of our main worries was that, although we have the best solutions for how to produce formaldehyde and resins, we are practically unknown in that [eastern] market," said Antonio Di Nunzio. "That is why Giorgio has joined us."