This is where Pal’s almost 30 years of specialisation comes into its own. "We are still targeting the wood recycling market where I believe we are way ahead of the rest of the industry because of the number of installations we have worldwide – 194 to date," said sales manager Fabio Chiara. "We are also focusing on the wood recycling market, not only for panel production, but also for ‘green energy’ production. For instance, we have a big project in hand for Electrabel of Belgium, which uses recycled wood of all kinds for energy production." In fact, Pal’s expertise in this area is no longer confined to wood treatment. Other materials can also be burnt to produce energy and so far in the past year of Pal’s involvement, these have included olive stones and a wide variety of other residues which give a high energy output. Like wood recycling, these projects require expertise in crushing/refining, cleaning and screening. But Pal’s involvement in these projects is only as a result of its firm grounding in the panel industry, pointed out Mr Chiara.
To illustrate his point he referred to some of the recent contracts where Pal has supplied recycled wood cleaning equipment. One such project was carried out for Talsa’s particleboard mill in Spain. In Brazil, Eucatex and Berneck have both employed Pal to supply the equipment for their particleboard mills, while in South Korea, Sunchang particleboard and Dong Wha’s Dae Sung mill have both started up new Pal lines this year. In Japan, Seihoku and Iwakura have also received Pal cleaning and screening lines for their particleboard mills. It is worth noting that while neither South Korea nor Japan have shown much activity in new mill building, Pal can often benefit from a change in raw material use from ‘clean’ to recycled wood raw material. Sonae UK in Knowsley, Liverpool, is another example of a mill which has increased its use of recycled wood to 100% of its raw material and employed Pal to supply the additional equipment it required.
Meanwhile, Kronospan in Chirk, UK, has also increased its recycled wood consumption, processing it with Pal equipment. As the use of recycled wood grows, so does the number of specialist contractors which process the raw recycled material into a usable raw material for both energy generators and panel mills. These companies offer another market opportunity for Pal. North America is a new market for recycled wood cleaning for the company, with a project for a particleboard line there. Meanwhile, ATC Panels in Moncure, North Carolina has purchased a complete new dry area from Pal, including screens and sifters for particleboard production. "Today, about 40% of our business is for recycled wood and this proportion is rising, with demand from particleboard mills and those general contractors," said Mr Chiara. On new panel mill projects, PG Bison of South Africa, Green River in Thailand, Egger in the UK and Romania, and Kronospan in Poland and Russia have all placed substantial orders with Pal, mainly using fresh rather than recycled wood. "In fact, we are involved in most current panel mill projects worldwide," said the sales manager.
"More and more companies are asking for dry cleaning systems for MDF chips instead of chip washers because of environmental issues surrounding chip washing water disposal," said Mr Chiara. "Here, we offer a combination of existing machines for dry cleaning particleboard chips, together with our centrifugal cleaner. The chips need to be very clean for MDF because of refiner segment life issues." In OSB, the Quadradyn screening system has recorded 31 machines sold since the first project in April 2004. As announced during the Xylexpo exhibition, Romeo Paladin, joint founder of Pal, has sold his shares in the company. The majority went to Imal, while some also went to the Dal Ben family, who were already co-owners of the business. Antonio Dal Ben remains as managing director, while Loris Zanasi of Imal has become president of the company. Mr Paladin will remain involved with the business for some years yet and the change of share ownership is unlikely to be noticed by the customers, according to Mr Dal Ben: "The ownership may have changed, but we will still be focusing on our priorities of high-quality components and machines. And with our greatly expanded research and development department [in 2004], with its industrial scale machines, we will continue to offer our customers a proven system for their needs."