PMT today consolidates its market position

When Beloit Corporation collapsed in 2000, the Pinerolo works in Italy faced a very uncertain future. Since then, PMT Italia has arisen with a new owner and much of the former staff in place. Here’s a look at who PMT Italia is and what’s new in Pinerolo.

Perini Journal

PMT Italia is a very new company with a very old history. It is very new since it was officially formed and launched as a company less than four years ago in November 2000. However, it has a very long history due to the fact that it has been the site of papermaking equipment manufacture since the early 1900s and from 1957 until 2000 it had been Beloit Italia. Beloit Corporation, of course, was one of the oldest and most respected suppliers of papermaking equipment until it ran into financial difficulties and collapsed under a mountain of debt in 2000. And Beloit Italia had been one of its most important international divisions, leading many of the Beloit projects that were undertaken in Europe and around the world.

Following the troubles at Beloit, an Italian entrepreneur named Romano Nugo made a successful bid to take over the Italian operations. Nugo had a long experience in the mechanical workshop business, owning a modern workshop in northern Italy that manufactures components and machines for several industries, notably the power generation and gas turbine sector. His company had also for many years worked as a subcontractor to Beloit Italia and he therefore knew paper machinery and Beloit very well.

STEP BY STEP APPROACH. Nugo took over the operations, located in Pinerolo, Italy, just south of Turin, in late 2000 and relaunched the company under the name PMT Italia. PMT simply stands for Paper Machinery Technology. The company now comprises a staff of more than 300 employees engaged in design, manufacture, sales and service of paper machinery.

General manager Massimo Silveri explains some of the details of the birth of the company. “After we launched PMT Italia, we needed to take a step by step approach to get established on firm footing again. Customers gave us rebuild orders at first, which have now turned into much bigger orders, such as new complete machines, as time has progressed.”As part of the effort, the Pinerolo facilities have been upgraded with numerous improvements such as new offices, rebuilt and modernized workshops, new machine tools for better production efficiency, new tools for engineering including new Auto CAD 2004 software and 3D drawing stations for project engineering.

CLOSE RELATION WITH MITSUBISHI. PMT established a strategic alliance with the Japanese supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Under the agreement, PMT is the exclusive agent for MHI in Europe. The alliance was made in early 2001, soon after PMT was launched.

During the Beloit days, Pinerolo had a good working relation with MHI due to the close business relation between Beloit Corp. and MHI. “The relations we had with MHI normally concerned specific technical areas,” says sales director Valter Canelli. “For example, in coating and recycled fiber technology, the Japanese market was much closer to the European market than the US market, so we were naturally working closer with MHI than our colleagues at Beloit USA.”

This alliance has produced tangible benefits to both companies and the most recent success was the order for a new fluting and test liner machine for Hamburger Spremberg in Germany. The PM has a wire width of 6 meters and a design speed of 1,400 meters per minute which will be started up in early 2005.

KARTOGROUP IN LEUNA IS BIG REFERENCE. In the field of tissue machines, PMT has been involved in several projects, both large and small. The first tissue machine that it delivered was the new machine at Tunisie Ouate which is covered in more detail in another article in this issue of Perini Journal.

At the present time PMT is delivering a new machine to the greenfield tissue mill that Italy’s Kartogroup is constructing in Leuna, Germany, just west of Leipzig. Kartogroup Leuna is a very big project for PMT as they will not only be supplying the paper machine but also the stock prep equipment, the winder and the combining line. It is a turnkey project with PMT also doing the detailed engineering work, except for the civil engineering.

Giovanni Riccio, sales manager for the tissue lines, comments: “The Kartogroup project in Leuna was wholly realized by PMT Italia of Pinerolo, on the basis of the experience and research developed by our technicians, with the aim of improving system management and optimizing final product quality. The machine, which will begin production in the course of this year, has a sheet size of 5450 mm and a working speed of 2000 mpm.

TECHNOLOGY CENTER MOVING. As far as technical and R&D resources that PMT has, the relation with MHI allows it to carry out pilot plant work on MHI’s machine in Japan. It also has access to the MHI R&D center for other tests and trials.

However, for the longer term, PMT aims to build its own technical R&D center in Pinerolo. The first step in this process is already underway as PMT has purchased the equipment from the former Beloit R&D center in Bolton, UK, and has transported it to Italy. The center has not yet been built but the plan is eventually to install the equipment to give PMT a top level facility from which to carry out R&D and process improvements.

NOVEL MINI SHOE PRESS LAUNCHED. PMT has already had one technical success to its credit with the development of a patented mini shoe press, specifically designed for smaller machines that can get benefit from a shoe press without the difficulty of installing a full size unit. Trade named the SMARNIP® press, the unit is a lightweight version which is designed for nip pressures in the range of 200 kN/m, versus pressures of 500-1,500 kN/m used on standard shoe presses.

“Essentially,” says Valter Canelli, “we re-engineered the concept of a shoe press for a specific application range, with some mechanical details that are very different. We are aiming for a line pressure of 200 kN/m and using a short nip of 80-100 mm.

We have found that in the majority of cases, you can get most of the benefit of a shoe press at this lower nip pressure. For example, at the Papeterie de Clairefontaine fine paper mill in France, the unit was installed in place of a crown control roll, resulting in a production increase of 15% on some grades at the same paper quality. On other grades it gives higher bulk at the same production levels.” Among the other advantages of the mini shoe press is the fact that it is lighter and smaller than other units meaning it is interchangeable with other rolls and does not need any special, heavy duty mating rolls.

Also it can line up directly with the mating roll, avoiding possible interference with the bearing housings. As proof of the success of the SMARNIP®, PMT points out that Papeterie de Clairefontaine has recently ordered two more SMARNIP®‚ presses for installation on their machine number 6 that is operating at a 1,000 mpm speed level.

Besides fine paper, says Canelli, the press can also used on a wide variety of other grades including tissue.

POISED FOR THE FUTURE. The future now looks better for the Pinerolo works. With the difficult times of a few years ago behind it, PMT Italia seems set to grow based on increasing customer confidence, witnessed by the larger projects it is landing.

All the pieces of the puzzle appear to be falling together to allow this new supplier with a very long history to continue to prosper. •

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