Fomat: technology for the paper industry

Founded in 1973 under the present leadership of Bruno Giannelli, Fomat, Fomat Aerothermic and Fomat Automation are today three leading brands in the paper industry for the production of systems and accessories for paper mills.

Born on a local level, mainly at the service of the paper industry of Lucca, thanks to the creation of a competent and close-knit working team, these three Italian companies represent today a true national and international reality.

Perini Journal

The entrance of Mauro Della Santa in October 2005 at the head of the Commercial Management of Fomat has contributed to increasing the spheres of competence of the company thanks to his market know-how, matured in the course of his 25 years of work with companies manufacturing systems for paper mills, mainly in the tissue sector.

Perini Journal (PJL): How were your companies born, how did they evolve and what services and functions do they carry out?

Mauro Della Santa (MDS): Our story begins in 1973 with the foundation of Fomat S.r.l., at that time dedicated to the design and manufacture of steam systems for paper machines and cardboard corrugating machines. In 1988, Fomat Aerothermic is born, representing the union of the expertise of Bruno Giannelli with that of Luigi Mazzoli, designer and technician coming from Flakt, with a strong experience in the field of hoods and aerothermic systems. A joint venture of expertise and know-how that has yielded innovative products, from the development of the first closed hoods for multi-dryers machines, to the introduction on the market of High Performance (AR) hoods for tissue machines. In 1992, Fomat Automation was founded, a company dedicated to Quality Control Systems (QCS) and to Distributed Control Systems (DCS) appropriate for any type of papermaking machine and system. Besides the steam systems, the product range offered today by Fomat S.r.l. includes “Cleaning systems for felts and wires”, “Oscillators for showers”, “Automatic cleaning systems for showers”, “Basis Weight valves”, “Coating systems for tissue machines”, “Rotary joints and siphons for tissue machines and multi-dryers machines”.

Fomat Automation, born to operate in a highly specialized field that is mainly dominated by multinational companies, has allowed us to complete the range of products offered to companies in the realm of drying control on papermaking machines. Today, we are capable of supplying all the elements (except the presses and drying and Yankee cylinders) that see to the drying process and to its control, such as: the steam system, the hood and its aerothermic system, and the measuring instruments (humidity, grammage, profiles, etc.). Our structure allows to follow all the phases internally – from the design to the customer assistance service – of the industrial manufacturing process of our products.

PJL: Which factors have allowed you to become a leading brand in the field?

MDS: Of great importance in reaching and consolidating our present market position is constant technological development, together with the construction quality of our products. Technology, performance and quality represent the strongholds of our company philosophy. To these, we must also add the special attention we place on customers’ needs, starting with the very first phases of the project. To complete the winning formula is the establishment of partnership relations with qualified suppliers.

PJL: What is your vision of the tissue market today and how important is this market for you?

MDS: To answer your question, I will limit myself to considering some macro-economic factors, leaving a detailed analysis of the worldwide market to people who are much more expert in the realm than myself. In 2005, worldwide tissue production reached a peak of 25 million tons. An interesting figure that makes us think about the phenomenon of overcapacity but, at the same time, invites us to analyze the distribution of the per capita annual consumption on a worldwide level. We go from the 27 Kg/yr of the American consumer, to the 12-15 Kg/yr of the Western European one, and then to the few hundred grams for consumers living in developing areas such as the Far East or Africa. These data are a prelude for a differentiation in growth of the different countries that finds its roots in two different prospects for development. On one hand, we are witnessing increasing demand by today’s developing countries, and therefore an increase in the number of new production systems. But on the other, there will also be a substantial decline in the growth rate of new installations, until growth zero is reached in some areas where per capita consumption is already high. Our objective will therefore be to satisfy requirements thanks to product diversification, and to optimize production costs in order to face the strong increase in energy costs.

PJL: What do you think about globalization? What are your objectives and expectations?

MDS: Obviously, we look at this phenomenon with great attention and interest, because it can be at the same time a source of professional and technological enrichment and a vehicle for new business possibilities. Our commercial policy aims at never neglecting any opportunity, both market-wise as well as in terms of synergies and collaborations with professional figures and organizations that are already operating in the tissue field. The over 130 tissue machine hoods installed throughout the world bear witness to this fact. Together with the other products manufactured by our companies, these constitute a solid base for future developments.

PJL: Fomat has always invested lots of energy in Research & Development to manufacture avant-garde products. What are the results obtained?

MDS: Research and technological development together with manufacturing quality have had a fundamental role in the growth of our companies; they are therefore considered the lifeblood for further development of our business in a market that is becoming increasingly more demanding and competitive. The constitution of an R&D team, under the guidance and support of our founder, Mr. Bruno Giannelli, comprised of engineers having long-standing experience and possessing the most modern instruments available, has allowed us to obtain excellent results, as demonstrated by the development of the latest-generation AR hood. The newborn AHT BI-HOT Wet&Dry® with a working temperature of 650°C on both semi-hoods (already in operation at several production plants) represents the optimal result of this R&D activity.

PJL: The AHT BI-HOT hood represents an innovation in the realm of tissue drying; What was the marketing concept behind this project?

MDS: The marketing concept at the basis of this product was the desire to once more underscore our capability to innovate, something that has always distinguished us and places us among the leading builders of high-level tissue machine hoods. The AHT BI-HOT hood allows to obtain a softer and bulkier product, incrementing drying capacity as well as the machine’s productivity. The study was carried out starting from the efficiency optimization aspect, focussing attention on the specific needs of paper mills in terms of quality and production costs. •

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