Nordmeccanica presents its first installation for producing metallized films in high vacuum. Called PowerMet, it adopts low environmental impact technologies that reduce costs and energy consumption, reaching a speed of 1,000 m/minute.
On July 8th, 2015, Nordmeccanica SpA held an open house at its general headquarters in Piacena, inviting converters from around the world, who feasted on technology and good food from the Emilia region and Naples – like the Cerciello family that owns and runs the group. The heart of the event was a live demonstration of a machine that officially marks the arrival in the metallization sector of a company that is already a leader in spreading and lamination – with a market share of 65% – and has ambitious plans for this new outlet as well. The metallizer in question is PowerMet, the first installation completely designed and built by Nordmeccanica, in a specially designed facility unveiled in Piacenza last summer.
The company’s president Antonio Cerciello proudly declares «This is the fastest high vacuum metallizer on the market. It reaches a real operational speed of 1,000 meters per minute, with reels up to 2.9 meters wide». In other words, PowerMet makes 50 km of film in a cycle that lasts little over an hour; at the same time, it significantly reduces the environmental impact of the process, generating economies in raw material, energy and costs.
A testimonial for the live demo was given by the Undersecretary to the Ministry of Economy Paola De Micheli, an outspoken fan of the business culture of the Piacenza-based concern, which has always interpreted its roots in the region as a factor for success; but also the first user of PowerMet, Manucor of Sessa Aurunca (CE), represented by its president Carlo Ranucci, which is investing in metallization as part of a determined reorientation toward specialties.
PowerMet metallizers have thus been designed to meet the growing demand – expressed by flexible packaging converters, both Italian and international – for higher productivity with lower energy consumption, less waste and fewer machine stops for cleaning and maintenance. The new machines also enable monitoring the process in real time, correcting any defects during the process and without interrupting the work.
Nordmeccanica has equipped the systems with cutting-edge features in order to take over the growing market for metallized films, which currently represent 10% of packaging films worldwide, used in the food sector and to produce safety holograms and labels. Indeed, their appeal and barrier function makes them an alternative to aluminium foil that is hundreds of times thinner. They are made by depositing a very thin layer of metal onto a plastic or paper substrate in a 1500 °C vacuum chamber.
«This investment in metallization processes has enabled us to extend our offer to the entire packaging supply chain», states Antonio Cerciello. «We started just 18 months ago, with the acquisition of the Galileo Vacuum System, and today we are on the market with a totally innovative product that guarantees us a clear competitive advantage over major international competitors.».
Innovation and service to stay on top
For Nordmeccanica the opening of the new business line is part of a growth project that follows a clear and consistent strategy: «To competently lead our target sector, without giving in to “generalist” temptations and looking to gain the largest possible market share; maintain the organizational structure within manageable dimensions; continue to innovate in order to remain a global leader».
The concern’s stated objectives are a minimum turnover of 30 million euro in metallization (starting with the management of the Galileo installation of approximately 400 machines, to which 12-15 units should be added each year) and further growth in lamination, in which this year Nordmeccanica expects to grow from 2,700 to 3,000 units sold, with a target horizon, in value, of 150 million over the next few years.
The Piacenza group’s main weapon, the president repeated emphatically, has been and continues to be quality: «We build state-of-the-art machines and continue to improve them, in order to make thinner and thinner materials (the saving in raw materials reaches as much as 25%), at greater and greater speeds and with less and less waste. And next year we plan to present a new laminator that will set new performance and efficiency standards in that segment as well».
Nordmeccanica invests 5-7% of its annual turnover in R&D and works closely with other packaging industry operators – such as Siemens in process automation, or the chemical giant Dow Chemical, with which it is engaged in jointly developing “zero impact” technologies. «Partners like these, and customers of the same caliber (Amcor, to name one) also stimulate our capacity for service, which we guarantee anywhere, 24 hours per day, all year round».
Growing with exports
Nordmeccanica SpA was founded in 1978 in Piacenza with a focus on laminating and spreading machines. Antonio Cerciello took it over in 1998, starting up its international expansion, along with his sons Vincenzo, technical director and head of R&D, and Alfredo, financial director and President of Nordmeccanica China.
Neapolitan by birth, trained as a mechanical engineer, Antonio Cerciello began working in Alfa Romeo, but soon built up extensive skills and knowhow in the packaging field, where he has been working for close on fifty years now. His big thing is foreign markets: «I have travelled all over the world, aboveall in India and in Iran, and also in South America where, in 1983, I founded my engineering company. With a funding partner and a staff of Italian engineers, we created turnkey works, scaled and equipped according to the customer’s plans, for the packaging of all the big food firms throughout Latin America».
The buy-up of Nordmeccanica, which Cerciello represented in South America, occurred when the technological excellence of its machines no longer matched the company’s financial solidity. «Hence I took over the company, with the intention of having it grow on the markets I knew best – Cerciello told us – but soon we were exploring new ways and today we operate with 280 employees in five works (3 in Italy, 1 in China, and 1 in the USA), two direct branches in India and Argentina, and a sales network that covers 87 countries around the world».