Leading converters outline their priorities in business strategy towards producing a better roll more efficiently. A TWM report.
TWM/1: What events in 2017 have had the biggest impact on your business and how are you dealing with them?
Oswaldo Cruz, chief executive, Fabio Perini: “There were two events that had the biggest impact for us. The first was the beginning of Digital Tissue, our digital strategy started in response to the Industry 4.0 concept and digital transformation. The fourth industrial revolution is now expected in the tissue industry; concepts like Smart manufacturing systems, Big Data analytics, product smartification are very central in the debate. “We are taking advantage of this opportunity in terms of our R&D. New processes and new technology have to be considered. Transforming Industry 4.0 into a real revolution will only be possible if the change starts with the basics: machines need to be intrinsically designed so that they’re capable of providing the necessary information. The second event was the acquisition by our group of MTC, Porcari, Italy, which established the Körber Tissue Business Area.
“With the addition of “folding” technology, we have now reinforced our position as a producer of complete converting and packaging lines due to Digital Tissue, and are now offering our customers the possibility of making intelligent factories that are interconnected worldwide.”
Giovacchino Giurlani, business technical director, Futura: “In mature markets tissue producers are looking closely at process optimisation and cost savings to be more effective and increase their competitiveness. At Futura, we see our relationship with tissue producers as “Partners in Performance” which is about supporting them in the daily challenges they face. The development of new solutions which we undertake at FuturaLab remains a core activity as it provides appropriate and cuttingedge technologies in terms of efficiency, safety and process control. But at the same time, we are working hard to provide the best technical support through our new Customer Care division which is taking a more proactive approach than ever.”
Devrim Deniz, director, ICM Makina: “The biggest impact on our business during the last year was a substantial increase in orders due to high demand as well as our expansion into new markets. As a result, we are doubling our factory space and have hired new assembly workers and installation workers. We are also forming new agency contracts in the Far East and planning to open an office in Latin America for sales and service.”
Simone Torrini, area sales manager for Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula, Maflex: “The trust confirmed by our customers has been one of the most important inputs. 2017 ended with a solid confirmation of our constant growth.
“Customers who already own our machines have come back for further investments; outstanding results have also been achieved with new clients, who have chosen our lines for the first time.
“The quality and number of our references have been growing steadily over the years, so we think we can attribute our growth to the totality of the work done in 20 years of Maflex history, rather than focusing on some key events of last year.
“In some countries characterised by political instability, it is clear and understandable that projects are progressing slowly, but despite the most complex situations, several companies are still investing to be ready when the socio-economic situation will improve. Many countries in Latin America are in this situation, yet still we’re witnessing a growing interest from these markets. These signals make us feel the situation is undergoing a change and we are expecting a trend reversal in many nations as early as 2018.”
Pablo de La Fuente, commercial director, MTorres: “2017 showed really good signs of economic recovery almost worldwide. We have been involved in several new concrete projects and, luckily, in several cases, we got the trust of our customer to respond to their growing necessities in terms of additional finished product.”
Marco Calcagni, sales and marketing manager, Omet: “Tissue World Milan, which was the biggest event last year for the industry. Also Miac 2017 was a good show for us.”
TWM/2: What technical advancements are you focusing on in 2018 and 2019?
Cruz: “We will concentrate on developing digital technologies to help our customers increase production efficiencies and enable them to vertically integrate with their processes and their own value chain. The challenge our group faces is to
complete its existing portfolio of offers with digital elements, integrating them into the new Industry 4.0 environment with the aim of increasing customers’ performance. Performance improvements will create benefits directly for the companies, and indirectly for the entire environment, which will benefit from the competitiveness of its players. In order to do so, integration between data analysis and production systems is fundamental to build an efficient organisation.
“Efficiency and performance of the entire production line are also obtained due to our smart services that are tools used to implement a new and more effective and efficient approach towards machine maintenance and process improvement; our newer conception of service consists of a bigger involvement of customers, who we provide the best solution for. Services such as our customer portal, weareable and expert online are just three examples today used by our customers to maintain the highest efficiency of their assets.”
Giurlani: “Futura sees its role in the market as pushing the technological boundaries for all applications and markets.
“A snapshot of innovations to be presented at It’s Tissue in June this year includes: a unique automatic jumbo reel handling system which is safer, more effective and less dependent on manpower; a new embossing configuration for extreme
definition to preserve and emphasise bulk; dust control which minimises downtime and therefore maximises overall equipment effectiveness (OEE); rewinding which breaks new ground; and leadership in Industry 4.0 integration.”
Deniz: “We will be designing and building custom-made machines according to customer requests. We will be focusing on designing machines with a single or no-operator, and applying Industry 4.0 concepts to our machines and business model.”
Torrini: “The new hybrid Hermes line can produce both domestic and AfH rolls, allowing to use cores with a diameter from 22 up to 90mm and logs with external diameters from 90 up to 350mm. The universal electronic clamp of our log saws, due to which we can change products by simply pressing a button, is one of the elements that characterises us most in the market: in addition to the Ladon (industrial log saw) and the Hesperia 4C (4-channel domestic log saw), which already feature this device, from this year also the Hesperia 2C (2-channel domestic log saw) will include the universal electronic clamp, allowing in this case a cutting range from 90 up to 200mm. Starting from 2018 we will also provide our customers with the new embosser Heracle featuring automatic fast change of the steel embossing rolls. This applied solution allows having an infinite number of available embossing roll patterns. These are our main innovations for 2018.”
De La Fuente: “Our aim is to keep on developing our two main concepts: high productivity and high flexibility. Both challenges have to be developed always keeping in mind that line’s management has to be as easy as possible. Easy solutions for complex problems.”
Calcagni: “Several innovations and developments on folding machines both for napkins and interfolded products will be introduced as a preview at the next It’s Tissue event in 2018.”
TWM/3: What geographical areas are seeing an increase in demand for tissue products and so converting lines?
Cruz: “There are possibilities for development in many emerging countries, both in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. But there are also opportunities in mature markets where per capita tissue consumption has seen a flat growth for years.
“We see opportunities for growth in terms of upgrading production performance, in the adoption of solutions and processes that go towards digitisation, and therefore the analysis of data of individual machines, lines and factories to increase efficiencies and therefore competitiveness in the market.”
Giurlani: “After the crisis things are getting better and better almost worldwide. North, Central and South American markets are growing (both consumer and AfH), with the start-up of big, challenging projects. In Europe, both mature and emerging markets are showing good results and new projects are arising. China is still growing in terms of volume and new product development.
“Oceania is restarting its investment programme for production capacity improvement. The Middle and Far East are changing their approach in terms of technology – they are favouring middle/high-end machines.”
Deniz: “We have seen an increase in demand for tissue products in Latin America as well as Russia.”
Torrini: “Currently, the US and Europe are the biggest tissue consumers, so they’re definitely the continents where our business is growing more. At the same time, Latin American consumers are looking more and more for products of ever-increasing quality, therefore across this region an interest is being renewed towards new converting lines allowing greater flexibility.”
De La Fuente: “The growth of tissue demand, with the due differences, is touching almost every geographical area and in the case of mature markets (such as Europe) new products require a continuous re-modernisation of existing converting lines.”
Calcagni: “We are present in all markets worldwide and every market has its peculiarities and growing areas. For what we have detected Europe and South America are the best areas for our business.”
TWM/4: What latest automation features are improving production efficiency?}
Cruz: “We have always offered our customers innovative technologies to improve production efficiency: for example, Sincro and Constellation. We launch at least one new technology every year due to the daily exchanges with our customers, and our interpretation of the dynamics of the market and its evolution.
“Following our research last year, in October we launched an upgraded log saw that allows customers to change the blade without an operator. This offers two unprecedented benefits: safety in the shop floor, and a 90% reduction in changeover time, thus increasing the production efficiency of the whole line. We also launched a packaging solution for pack format change, which is also completely automatic and reduces changeover time by 80%. The Smart Application All In One was also recently launched and is part of our Digital Tissue, and results in an increased production efficiency of complete converting and packaging lines by automatically managing the parent reel and polyethylene roll changeovers without any production downtime.”
Giurlani: “An important part of Futura’s innovation activity is the development of converting solutions which are part of an integrated, Industry 4.0 tissue production process. The ambition remains to produce a better roll more efficiently. What is changing is that to achieve this depends not only on all the adjustments and refinements possible on a converting line, but on gathering data and using that in a smart way to optimise the line.”
Deniz: “New models of Servo motors and drives, as well as faster E-Cam applications are improving production efficiency. Remote control systems increase efficiency of the lines by faster troubleshooting solutions for customers.”
Torrini: “We have been designing increased finished product specification ranges with our push-button/tool-less change overs. This allows our customers to save time when making large scale changeovers. It also permits the operators to change the machines over quickly, without the need for maintenance and changeover crews. The close relationship and the continuous exchange of views on production efficiency we have with our customers is our number one playing card.”
De La Fuente: “To mention a couple of key points that are becoming increasingly critical in term of production efficiency, it’s the necessity of not stopping the line as a parent reel change occurs (flying splice solutions) and the need of an extremely flexible and automated embosser that has to face the challenge of providing different embossing patterns, and embossing configurations all to be done within the same line.”
Calcagni: “Our new No Stop Unwinder, which allows napkins production 24/7. One of our customers, Le Nappage in France, after installating a first No Stop Unwinder is considering investing in more. Another example of automation features is inkjet digital printing on our Chameleon printing unit. A case history is CGMP in France, which installed the unit on a TV503 Line in 2017.”
TWM/5: Identify one or two areas of technology in which your converting systems really stand out?
Cruz: “Our Constellation line has changed the way to rewind tissue, offering new opportunities for our customers, and is also one of the main technological areas that best represents our nature as a trendsetter.
“This has been confirmed by the success that Constellation has had with our customers, which has led to over 80 lines sold in less than two years since its launch in the market in June 2015. Now our goal is to help our customers increase production efficiencies and accompany them in the adoption of digital technologies that will be the basis of their intelligent factory and that will make them even stronger thanks to digital tissue.”
Giurlani: “We could identify many areas of technology, but recent innovations would include our jumbo reel management system and rewinder developments which have a positive impact on the overall production process. Important overall
themes for our technology which stand out include waste minimisation, Automation/Integration (according to Industry 4.0 pillars) and outstanding safety standards.”
Deniz: “We have the technology and ability to produce complete towel roll production lines, complete folded towel production lines and napkin production lines. Our towel folding lines can run over 200m per minute with auto transfer systems, and up to 12 logs per minute. Our roll rewinder lines can transfer up to 25 logs per minute.”
Torrini: “Easy and fast product-change, reliability of production at all working speeds: these two characteristics distinguish our machinery without any doubt.”
De La Fuente: “Looking to a full converting line as a matter of fact, we stand out in terms of increased productivity, flexibility with no compromises, and easiness of use. Any single unit composing an MTorres Tissue line is thought and engineered keeping in mind three key factors.”
Calcagni: “Efficiency in the production of napkins and digital printing for napkins.”