Experience and ability to interpret requirements arising from new industry are the weapons for competing on international markets, especially where the competition points to price alone. A producer, born in the Italian province and grown up in the world, explains his own strategy for the paper industry, developed from technology and know how.
More than thirty years of experience and development which has gone at the same speed as that of the paper industry and processing. The story of Milltex www.milltex.it is one of experience which started in the Italian province and reached the world market. The company began, in fact, in 1987, in Italy, near Parma, in the Ronco Campo Canneto district, where it still has its headquarters today and where all the phases of construction, from planning to the final assembly of plant and machinery are carried out. It is about technology for converting paper and cardboardapplicable both to paper mills and to processing centres, namely, roll to sheet cutting machines, sheeters, slitter rewinders, embossers for packaging, packing machines and solutions for transporting and handling paper rolls.
Small batches and new formats
The strength of this business has been to know how to develop its own skills, interpreting the industry’s possible requirements over time. Firstly, they explain at Milltex, it is moving in an already advanced reference framework, «the Italian market – like, in general, the European one – is a mature market which is modelled on the basis of evolution born of specific requirements. The principal specific feature is the presence of cutting centres which, over time, have brought paper mills alongside them in order to meet the needs in relation to production which is quantitatively limited» explains Lorenzo Alba, sales manager of the company. «This characteristic, with which our business was confronted right from its start, has allowed us to develop great flexibility which, today, is an important requirement for foreign markets, and also for large groups and large paper mills».
From a technical point of view, the company, therefore, has configured its own solutions to some distinguishing features of today’s market. In particular, it meets the new requirements of the paper industry, thanks to the «versatility of machinery and plant solutions which must be able to produce various types of formats in medium and small batches and, therefore, quickly change the settings. This latter is a requirement which is found more and more frequently». In addition, «in recent times» new demands are being made, continues Alba in relation to this, «the increase in requests for formats for digital printing has aroused the interest of many customers. Our advantage has been to believe in advance in this type of application and this has enabled us to be amongst the first to develop machines to meet such demands».
New technologies and industry 4.0
It is precisely the structure of the request linked to the formats required to working with new generation printers that is one of the main consequences that the digital impact, with the automation of industrial processes, has had on the world of machinery for paper manufacturing. But not only that, new technologies have enabled an improvement in maintenance and assistance services. «Digitalisationhas given us the opportunity to offer a better support service» explains the manager, «in fact, all machines now have equipment which can be connected to the internet in order to provide a remote diagnostic service and support. We have networked the machinery with the company management and we can supply production data and receive information on the machine settings directly from management. In addition, along with the certification requirements of the industry 4.0, the data that we take from the cut product and from the barcode of the reel being processed, which is then sent to management, are inspected using cross-checking systems to make them secure, reliable and ensure maximum traceability of the finished product. In confirmation of which, we have already got certificates for two pieces of machinery, whilst we have others about to be certified».
Know how and listening
All these features enable Italian technology to reach a consensus, even outside its national borders. «Made in Italy is recognised worldwide as synonymous with superior quality», asserts Alba, and stresses that this is one of the reasons for the appreciation of products made by Milltex. «In particular, the ability to guarantee precision and reliability in terms of performance is a great advantage compared with Asian competition which aims only for the lowest prices, not managing to reach the quality standards of European and North American producers». In addition to this, «another feature of our situation, like many Italian small and medium-sized businesses, is the ability to design specific, customised solutions, based on the requirements of the paper mill or the processing centre». Everything begins with a close collaboration between supplier and customer; «you must start from an exchange of precise and detailed information thanks to which it is possible to structure the solution depending on the requirements of the company which has approached us. Almost always, in fact, we modify and re-examine the proposal based on both the specificity of the site and manufacturing and on knowledge and experience acquired over the years, until the definition of the desired product is reached. These characteristics have enabled us to carry out various projects with some of the largest names in the world, amongst whom International Paper and Chenming Paper».
The secret of the Italian success, therefore, is not only in technical knowledge, but also in continuous dialogue with the companies who are their customers. In practice, an advanced technology which is based on the study of paper mill manufacturing cycles and transformers and collaboration between them.