PAL on WBPI - Wood Based Panels International magazine, issue n.4-2013 (Agust-September).
PAL’s article about “Focus on Italy”.
Mike Botting reports.
As one half of the Imal-Pal group, Pal srl has been investing in new products, new offices and product developments to meet the increasingly frequent demands of the panel industry for its machines.
Pal srl has, like its sister company Imal, been experiencing a dramatic increase in turnover, and therefore staff numbers, in recent years and that meant that work was underway at the time of my visit in June to extend the company’s offices in Ponte di Piave, Treviso. The new facilities opened in August.
“We have also made a lot of improvements to our machines and developed new machines, as well as finding a very interesting market in biomass,” said Antonio Dal Ben, who co-founded Pal in 1978.
“For 2013, we are looking at two major areas of our business: New products in our traditional markets of supplying machinery for wood preparation in wood based panel mills; and further increasing our turnover by moving into other markets, such as biomass. For instance we developed a system to feed sawdust into the biomass burners for lime kilns.”
A main component of that first approach is the new version of Pal’s established Cleaning Tower. This is based on two main concepts. One is separation of wood and ‘pollutant’ materials by air and the other is based on optical separation, explained Mr Dal Ben.
“The optical separation involves the use of near-infra-red, or NIR, technology,” said Andrea Dal Ben, son of Antonio and a director of the company. “With this technology, we are able to remove all the pollutants in the wood flow, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metal, heavy and light pollutants, plastics foils and papers, plastic and rubber, etc. In fact, we can guarantee the efficiency of separation of the pollutants at 90-95%.”
Pal also says that the footprint of the latest Cleaning Tower is smaller and that absorbed power is around 10 kW/ton/hour.
The Tower also separates clean fines, extra-fines, clean macro- and micro-chips and over-size. In fact, the chip flow is screened into six fractions in the Dynasifter/Dynascreen system, each of which is cleaned separately by dedicated machines.
On the air separation side of the Tower, Pal says it has developed some new machines for this area which are lower cost and simpler for the customer to operate.
“The customer can pre-set the system for wet, dry or medium material and adjust the air selection without manual intervention,” continued Andrea Dal Ben.
At the end of 2012, Imal-Pal supplied a complete chip cleaning system to Kronospan’s mill in Sandebeck, Germany and in 2013, supplied systems to four panel plants in China.
In South America, Cuyoplacas of Argentina started up a complete wood preparation line at its particleboard factory there.
Another important development for Pal is in the area of forming stations – the ‘Dynaformers’ – which it has developed considerably over the last five or so years and the company now has installations in particleboard, MDF/HDF and OSB plants.
For particleboard, Pal offers up to six forming heads, if required, using a mixture of mechanical and air operated systems.
For MDF/HDF the forming head is mechanical, followed by a scalper.
For OSB/OSL, specific mechanical formers are again offered, in three, four, five or six-head configurations.
“So we can offer a complete solution,” said Antonio Dal Ben. “Wood preparation and gluing systems are well-established for us and now there is forming.
“We have also made our own debarker since 2009 and, like all our machinery, it is totally made in our own factory and that applies across the Imal-Pal group.”
In addition to all its machinery, Pal offers all the feeding systems in the wood preparation area; and silos from small units to 25m diameter ones.
Since 2011, Imal-Pal has also been able to offer a range of wood size-reduction equipment, such as hammermills and chippers, because that was when machinery maker Globus srl joined its ranks.
“Globus joining us was very important because we now have the full range of machinery for a panel production line – and all from Italian companies,” said Antonio Dal Ben.
Developing products for new markets is an ongoing theme with Imal-Pal, with considerable investment in R&D and it now has a line for the manufacture of insulation board ready for the market.
Meanwhile, established products continue to receive investment in development and the latest version of the well-known Quadradyn screening system for OSB has recently been installed in two Kronospan plants in Russia.