Technology with an Italian flair

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The 18th edition of Italy’s Plast show, which took place at the Fiera Milano fairgrounds in Rho-Pero from 29 May to 1 June 2018, was a success, according to organising associations Amaplast and Promaplast. This year, it was packaged as four shows (IPACK-IMA, MEATTECH, PRINT4ALL, INTRALOGISTICA ITALIA), and known as The Innovation Alliance, making it the country’s second largest trade show after the furnishing/design show Salone del Mobile.

The Plast show was 20% larger than the previous

Plast 2018 had 1,500 exhibitors over 55,000 sq m of exhibition space, a growth of 20% compared to the previous show held three years ago, with a significant expansion of Chinese and Iranian exhibitors, said Amaplast. It also had over 63,000 visitors, with foreign visitors making up 27.5% of the total from 117 countries, with Spain, France, and Germany being the most represented.

The core of the exhibition was machinery, equipment and moulds for plastics and rubber processing, with over 3,500 displays. Industry 4.0 technology was also well represented, and the topic of discussions in the many conferences augmenting the programme of the trade fair.

Italian materials firms spell out strategies

Sustainability and the circular economy are increasingly a core part of most companies, especially with Europeans determined to play a key role. In this context, the petrochemical arm of Eni, Versalis, presented its new strategy at the show that spells out a new business model capable of responding “effectively to the needs of circularity and resource efficiency.”

Versalis’s eco-pallet

Among the pillars of Versalis’s circular economy strategy are “the life cycle perspective and eco-design”, whereby the sustainability of products and projects under development are assessed over their entire life cycle. The Milan-based company also said it will work towards diversifying raw materials through the development of chemical platforms from renewable sources, in synergy with traditional production cycles.

The company said it will also develop technologies to recycle polymers, with the aim of improving collection rates and recycled material quality. It gave an example of its Eco-pallet project, a pallet made of plastic recovered from industrial waste from paper mills and designed for transporting PE bags.

Meanwhile, nylon materials maker RadiciGroup said it has been tough going in the engineering plastics market. “The polyamide market, in particular, is going through a very turbulent stage due to structural shortcomings in the supply chain,” pointed out Cesare Clausi, Global Sales Director.


However, he pointed out that “demand is steadily increasing, even in mature markets like Europe”. He added, “In the last two years, Italy has started to grow again, maintaining its key position in Europe, second only to Germany.”

He also said that Radici is also embarking on a further expansion in production capacity, set to be completed by this summer and primarily involving its plants in Italy.

Machine companies showcase new advancements

German machinery company Arburg presented its newly designed hybrid Allrounder 820H with a clamping force of 4,000 kN for the first time outside Germany. According to Arburg, sales of the machine will start after the Fakuma show in October this year.


The Allrounder 820H comes on the heels of the Allrounder 1120H (6,500 kN), which was launched at the Fakuma show last year, and 920H (5,000 kN) machine, becoming the third one in the portfolio to feature a “new look”, which is being done in progressive strides. The exhibit was shown producing a 300-g bucket (9 l) in PP in a cycle time of 11 seconds. Handling and assembly of the part was performed by a Multilift V40 linear robotic system with a loadbearing capacity of 40 kg.

It was also equipped with the company’s new intuitive Gestica control system that looks like a smart mobile. With the Easyslider control element, movements can be simply and precisely controlled and displayed via variable-colour LED technology during set-up. Acceleration and deceleration can be controlled with a “swipe of the finger” along a bar at the edge of the screen.

According to Arburg, in the future, all the familiar Selogica functionalities will be integrated into the Gestica control system step-by-step. The Allrounder 1120H comes with the Gestica control system as standard. All the further machine types converted to the new design, currently the size 920H and 820H machines, can optionally be equipped with the Gestica control system. Furthermore, the choice of control system – Selogica or Gestica -- has no effect on the performance of the machine, as the only difference is the “Human Machine Interface” (HMI), which, in the case of the Gestica, is modelled on the look and feel of smart mobile devices.

Italy’s Negri Bossi launched its Nova range of machines that replace the Vector range of machines and are available in 700, 850 and 1,150 tonnes, with injection capacities ranging from 2010 to 6107 cu cm. The range was launched in two versions, servo hydraulic (Nova s) and hybrid (Nova i). To complete the line-up, is a full electric machine (Nova e) offered in the range of 50-350 tonnes.

Negri Bossi launched its Nova range

One of the key features is a new X-design toggle system that provides increased strokes, tie bar distances and platen speeds in a compact footprint. The range is also equipped with a new automatic filtered lubrication system in a closed loop, hydraulic control. The machines are driven by latest generation servo motor and pumps, providing higher modularity and offering greater flexibility across the range, said the Milan-based company.

The range is also equipped with a brand-new controller, Motus, which will be available across the full range of Negri Bossi machines.

Machine makers boast good growth

Meanwhile, Japanese-German manufacturer of machines Sumitomo (SHI)Demag has had good turnover in Europe, said Gerd Liebig, CEO, adding that in 2016, turnover was EUR235 and it increased to EUR261 million in 2017, with expectations of EUR300 million in 2018.

Piovan technology

The company is also riding on its parent firm Sumitomo’s extent in all-electric machines and expects a leadership in this position. At Plast, it showcased the new second-generation IntElect S (Speed).

It also used the show to announce that it has selected Italian auxiliary maker Piovan as the preferred supplier of peripheral technology and auxiliary equipment. Both companies will continue to operate as independent suppliers, catering to different markets, with Piovan supplying its downstream technology and Aquatech cooling systems to other machine manufacturers.

As part of this decision, Sumitomo Demag will offer a variety of Piovan downstream solutions from all product ranges. This way, sales outlets and representations will be able to provide machines and downstream equipment from one source. In addition to this, both partners will join forces in their efforts to accommodate target segments such as the packaging industry, particularly injection moulding applications such as thinwall products and closures. The cooperation will initially cater to European markets and will then be gradually stepped up to accommodate other global regions, said the companies. At Plast Milan, Piovan technology was running on Sumitomo Demag’s machinery displays.

At the press conference, the company also officially announced the opening of its new Italian subsidiary in Turin, which is headed by Roberto Sallemi, the former Owner/Managing Director of Macam, which represented Sumitomo Demag machines in Italy.

Another company that boasted high sales growth is Italian auxiliary equipment firm Moretto, which said its turnover rose 22% in 2017, compared to the previous period, adding that the “Italian market is in very good shape”. Present with offices/facilities in eight countries (Germany, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Brazil, US, Russia, India and China), and by the distribution network, which covers 74 countries, the Paduaheadquartered firm also said that its exports are “increasingly growing and represent 75% of the business.”

Moretto showcased its Moisture Meter

The company also has five plants and over 75,000 sq m of production in Padua, plus is adding on 20,000 sq m, which should be ready by 2019 and will house Moretto’s new 4.0 company, a training room and permanent showroom.

At Plast, Moretto showcased its Moisture Meter, which it claims is the only system in the world able to measure precisely and in-line the exactly residual moisture of a polymer in ppm and even to manage automatically the drying process.


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