A “map of innovations”: the perfect compass to orient your way through the market!

Innovation today no longer represents just an idea, but a veritable must.

In a mature field, saturated in terms of consumption such as the tissue one is, innovation represents the anchor for maintaining and consolidating a company’s share in a market that is worth about 40,000 million US dollars (source Euromonitor Int.) with a total production of 24,796,000 tons of tissue per year, of which 1,409,000 tons are produced in Italy (estimated production data for 2005, source Paperloop). Proposing an innovative, well-made product is fundamental in order to face the challenges of a very competitive and differentiated market.

Perini Journal

The strategies to increase the value of the finished product undertaken by companies operating in the tissue field reflect on the companies which, in turn, supply production systems. As a consequence, these systems become the focal point of long-term strategies. But price weighs like Damocles’ sword on these systems. Reduction in profit margins and the consequent reorganization of the converting industry have led converters to redesign their investment plans, shifting the needle of the scale towards cost cutting. The price/quality binomial has always characterized strategic investment decisions, and in some cases, the price variable wins over the element of performance. These choices are capable of guaranteeing financial benefits in the short term, but they are risky in the long term. Among the causes that have favored the widening of the gap in the price/quality choice, we can cite the need to recover the profit levels eroded by cost increases, in turn generated by strong increments in the price of raw materials. For this reason, tissue producers, too, need to adopt a cost reduction policy, maximizing profit and researching the “best offer” typical of commodity sectors.

FURTHERMORE, THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL COMPANIES CAPABLE OF SUPPLYING DURABLE GOODS AT A LOWER PRICE OR, TO USE A TECHNICAL TERM, “BELOW COST”, has contributed to polluting the market, allowing the possibility of hope for an ephemeral margin recovery. The enhanced proposal of machinery guaranteeing high production performance at an unusual price below market levels has turned into a destabilizing obstacle in management investment, creating confusion in the offer. Hence, innovating also means calculating the actual return-on-investment (ROI) in terms of tangible benefits, capable of bringing a direct return on the product, and an indirect one on investment. Understanding what the metallurgical industry offers today is essential in order to transform investments into profitable capital. Supplying industrial goods is not the only mission of companies producing machinery; rather, it is a consolidated and indispensable aspect where the technology offer goes hand in hand with avant-garde solutions capable of combining the material aspect (the durable good) with the intangible aspect (consultancy, support, service, competence).

BESIDES THE COMMON TRAITS CHARACTERIZING MACHINERY DEDICATED TO CONVERTING, there is also the need to innovate, meant as the renewal of the hardware and software side so as to obtain a complete result, durable and effective. Fabio Perini SpA has always had an avant-garde position in the production of machinery dedicated to tissue converting. Present on the market for forty years, the company has become a veritable reference for the field. Its belonging to the Tissue Division of the Körber PaperLink Group (KPL) has allowed it to enhance its technologies, creating solutions capable of anticipating the requests of a market eager for modernization but needing change. From this consideration, the company has moved in three fundamental directions (cost reduction for converters with maximization of the overall efficiency of the systems, product diversification and implementation of the winding system) in order to give converters a concrete result and face the challenges of the market. Three guidelines that represent the coordinates of the technological Map proposed by Fabio Perini SpA: a sort of compass for orientation in a competitive and fierce market. The increasing competition determines the need for innovative solutions, and the company’s know-how and expertise represent a valid aid for the entire field. In these pages, we would like to propose a virtual voyage through this Map, finalized at helping you meet the “flying”, long-term targets for your business.

AS WITH EVERY VOYAGE, WHETHER IT BE VIRTUAL OR ACTUAL, WE MUST START WITH A BASE THAT IN THIS CASE IS REPRESENTED BY THE ORIGIN OF THE CONVERTING PROCESS: THE UNWIND BACKSTANDS. These machines guide the web for the start of the production process. The time needed for reel change, a handicap detected and underscored by operators, always searching for production maximization, represents a strong limit to the overall efficiency of the production cycle, where the need to guarantee continuous production represents a key aspect in decreeing the efficiency of the entire system. From this consideration, the new unwind backstand model 375 is born. Completely automatic and designed to carry out reel change while the machine is running at the speed of 150 mpm, the model 375 is designed and studied according to the “non-stop” concept, finalized at eliminating the downtimes necessary for reel change, ensuring a fluent process without wastes, thus maximizing the efficiency of the entire converting system. Reel change time for a manual unwinder is around 5 minutes, while that for an automatic one (with non-stop system) is reduced to 30 seconds, thus resulting in a 90% time savings at each shift. This is an important figure that effects the productivity of the entire line. Indeed, the model 375 ensures constant and continuous feeding to the rewinder. The work of the operators is also facilitated, in that no manual intervention is necessary.

PRODUCT DIVERSIFICATION IS THE SECOND ASPECT THAT HAS BEEN CONSIDERED BY THE LUCCA MANUFACTURER IN THE DESIGN OF EMBOSSERS, object of the second stage of our trip. The new rubber/steel embosser model 471C is a modular model, easy to operate, versatile, capable of attaining the speed of 700 mpm. The possibility of replacing every roll (20 minutes for each one), together with the possibility of easily and quickly changing the type of production from points inside to points outside on every single station, confer maximum flexibility in pattern change. Flexibility and efficiency are also the main features of the embossing-laminator model 477C, conceived for the production of toilet rolls and kitchen towels. It is a multi-functional and innovative model (it separately embosses two plies, uniting them through a light application of glue) capable of attaining the speed of 700 mpm with glue and up to 800 mpm without glue. In this case, too, flexibility in pattern change and quick embossing rolls change: about 20 minutes. Sleeve change in record time – less than 10 minutes (without the use of tools) – and the patented Deco DESL decoration system (used for kitchen towel products) are the main characteristics of the embosser-laminator model 478B, capable of attaining the lamination speed of 700 mpm, optimized for deco-embossed products. For these models, too, the concept of ROI is clear: the possibility of reducing pattern change times and also roll change times allows to gain time in the production cycle, thus increasing the productivity of the system.

THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE WINDING SYSTEM CONSTITUTES THE THIRD KEY REFERENCE POINT IN THE DESIGN OF EFFICIENT AND HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS. Indeed, the “operational” center of the line is constituted by the rewinder, the third stop on our Map. As the heart of the converting line, the rewinder represents the hub of the systems’ productivity. The new TIME700 model is a rewinder having flexibility and efficiency as its main features. Born from the TIME generation of machines, which followed the proven Sincro winding system, this rewinder guarantees winding quality and a speed of up to 700 mpm for formats of 2700 mm and the production of 45 logs/min with the use of punzoncini and 60 logs/min without the punzoncini. The new roll geometry and the introduction of the log growth system with punzoncini guarantee perfect log control during winding.

SURFACE OR CENTRAL WINDING FOR YOUR NEW CONVERTING LINE? A question which finds its answer in the TIME model that guarantees both types of production: high, medium and low density rolls at high speeds.

Softness, different densities and winding stability are just some of its characteristics. Thanks to an ample operation window, the TIME technology allows the production of toilet rolls having a greater diameter and the same sheet count, or rolls having the same diameter and a reduced sheet count. This is flexibility at its best, which offers a direct return on the product (greater production flexibility) and an indirect ROI, given by the system’s high speeds. This production flexibility, together with a higher line speed, makes for a reduced capital invested per ton of product made, ensuring a more remunerative result also thanks to a reduction in production wastes.

THE SYNERGIC ASPECT OF THE MACHINE’S COMPONENTS DETERMINES A SYNCHRONIZATION OF ALL THE LINE ELEMENTS, so an enhancement of the rewinder’s performance in terms of speed is reflected on all the units comprising the line, as well as on the corewinder, which parallelly follows the converting phase and is strictly connected to the speed of the rewinder. Every machine concurs towards the attainment of overall efficiency through a harmonious and synergic activity, capable of guaranteeing the best results in a perfect chain of production. For this reason, corewinders also take on a key role in the converting process. They have the not-so-simple task of creating a perfect core. The model 282, proposed on the market some months ago, is a corewinder with a vertical former and fixed mandrel, that produces cardboard cores in a length of up to 5,500 mm with a variable diameter between 36 mm and 50 mm, at the maximum speed of 165 mpm. Every working phase of this machine is electronically adjusted and synchronized. Three are the units comprising it: forming unit, cutting unit and core discharge unit. Conceived to answer to the needs of converters in terms of production capacity, the new corewinder guarantees greater stability of the core forming and gluing processes, thanks to the forming unit control with double motorization, making the system more sensitive to load changes typical of different production speeds. And the new, sturdier structure guarantees stability to the production process at high speeds. The new technical updates brought to the machine facilitate tuning by the operator, and the result is greater efficiency of the entire production system.

IT IS NOT EASY TO ORIENT ONESELF IN THE TISSUE MARKET, but, on the other hand, defining reference points to understand the market’s coordinates through a sort of “compass” is not so difficult. These coordinates are dictated by the laws of consumption, by the increasing competition, the economic situation, the increase in the price of raw materials. All these factors find the same direction in innovations made by following quality criteria, not just in the reduction of price. Creating added value to the brand and proposing new rolls on the market facilitates new businesses and consolidates existing ones. Innovating means offering avant-garde solutions, capable of enhancing product use by final consumers and also implementing company strategies in order not to lose market share.

Innovation is surely a key driver for development and growth. Therefore, we must always orient ourselves towards the objective of creating a real advantage for the final consumer, obtainable only, in turn, through a technology that is oriented towards avant-garde solutions. •

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