Location: Padova, Italy
Sales: $189 million
Description: Key Personnel
Maurizio Peruzzo, president and owner; Bogdan Kowalik, general manager; Ezio Bertoncello, sales and marketing director
Pove Del Grappa (VI), Italy; Bellizzi (SA), Italy; Meledo di Sarego (VI), Italy; Carmignano di Brenta (Padua), Italy; Grantorto (Padua), Italy; Fontaniva (Padua), Italy; Misinto (Milan), Italy; Timisoara, Romania; Swidnica, Poland; Plock Poland; Carmignano di Brenta, Italy
Spunbond, spunlaced, thermal bonding, resin bonding, needlepunching, calendering, carding
Valsystem, Valproof, Valthree, Valfort, Vellotex, Valcomfort, Valtherm and Valthech
Roofing, automotive, furniture, synthetic leather, apparel, geotextiles, air filter media, engineering, insulation footwear, outdoor fabrics
Maurizio Peruzzo Industries (IMP), Padova, Italy, had a successful and busy 2001. Initiatives undertaken by this roll goods producer last year included new staple fiber and needlepunch lines, a new recycling factory and two new products targeting markets as diverse as geotextiles and warm-up uniforms.
Amidst all of this activity, IMP continues to remain a market leader on top of the latest trends and technologies in the nonwovens industry. Because five of IMP’s 14 total companies specialize in manufacturing nonwovens for different end use markets, each company remains focused on one specific area. Whether the concentration is geotextiles, highloft nonwovens, staple fibers, waddings or recycling polyester bottles, each IMP company offers specific innovations and market know-how to consumers.
One such company is Tessilbrenata, Pove Del Grappa, Italy, which targets the geotextiles market with needlepunched nonwovens. In 2001, Tessilbrenata added an eight-meter wide needlepunch line to boost its total output to 8000 tons per year.
“This line has allowed us to produce new and more technologically advanced nonwovens and to increase the quality of the old products,” said Bogdan Kowalik, IMP’s general manager. “This way, Tessilbrenata can reach a leadership position in new business market areas.”
While Tessilbrenata targets geotextiles, Valpadana Sud Sa, Bellizzi, Italy, specializes in highloft nonwovens for furniture applications, and IMP Romania, Timisora, Romania, and Comfort Poland, based in Swidnica and Plock, Poland, produce waddings for the clothing and furniture markets.
Additionally, Valplastic SpA, Carmignano di Brenta, Italy, the youngest of IMP’s companies—established in 2001—houses a new recycling factory for recycling polyester bottles into fibers. Valplastic SpA specializes in the production of polyethylene flakes.
“This company stands out for the ecological value of its production for recycling polyethylene bottles, obtained from urban waste, in separate collection dumps,” said sales and marketing director Ezio Bertoncello. “It uses innovative technology to maintain product quality and will satisfy customers’ specific requests and requirements.”
In addition to focusing on specific markets and products, IMP is making headway in spunlaced technology. The company entered the spunlace market four years ago to specifically target the Italian shoe market with high weight material for leather substrates, instead of focusing on more traditional spunlace applications, such as wipes, hygiene items and medical products. IMP currently produces 7000 tons of 100% PET viscose spunlaced fabric.
IMP’s core business is nonwovens, representing nearly 70% of the company’s total sales, with nine end use markets. The company’s largest end product market is roofing, representing 26% of its total roll goods sales, followed by furniture (23%), automotives (12%), coated substrates (14%), apparel (10%), geotextiles (4%), air filtration (5%) and thermal/acoustical insulation (2%). Various niche markets generate the remaining 4% of sales.
IMP produces approximately 90,000 tons of nonwoven fabric annually on 50 production lines at its 13 production sites in Italy, Romania and Poland. The company specializes in technologies ranging from spunbond, spunlaced and thermal bonding to resin bonding, needlepunching calendering and carding.
In 1999, the company moved into the raw material market and began producing its own fiber. IMP currently produces approximately 50 tons of staple fibers daily for use in nonwovens targeting the clothing, furniture and insulation markets. While 50 tons of fiber a day is not enough to make IMP self sufficient, it does allow the company to be versatile, according to Mr. Bertoncello. IMP’s second fiber line, producing 6.6 staple fibers, came onstream at the Fontaniva plant in 2001 and utilizes a short spinning technique. According to executives, the technique is ecologically significant, because the recycled polyethylene does not require any chemical treatments during the process. “The technique offers advantages by using alternative raw materials and has proven ideal for converting polyethylene from used bottles into high quality fibers,” said Mr. Bertoncello. “This is an intelligent, alternative way of recovering non-biodegradable waste and has been made simpler and more economical. The process results in polyester fiber suitable for all production in the nonwoven fabrics sector—a huge market that always offers potential.”
On the new product front, at the end of 2001 IMP introduced the Heating Textile Sandwich, which is made up of two needlepunched layers enclosing a woven carbon substrate. The carbon substrate is designed to retain heat to create a product similar to a heating pad but with a considerably lower voltage. The risk of incurring an accident is kept to a minimum because the carbon substrate can generate and retain heat with a low voltage, ensuring greater safety to the user. The Heating Textile Sandwich can be found in the Warm Up Bermuda uniforms used by the Austrian ski team. The Warm Up Bermuda is similar to a pair of “over trousers” worn by the athletes to keep their leg muscles warm during training and before races. Strips of the Heating Textile Sandwich are placed inside the Bermuda and are connected to portable batteries, allowing the athlete to keep warm for approximately two hours. The same technology used for the Bermuda is applicable to many types of clothing and other sportswear items, such as diving wet suits, motorcycle jackets and track suits. The Heating Textile Sandwich also finds application in the medical field in heating pads and blankets, according to Mr. Bertoncello.
Another new product from IMP is Edilfiber, a thermal bonded polyester panel, produced with staple fiber from recycled polyethylene flakes, designed for sound insulation. This material is an ideal replacement for rockwall, used in building applications, because it is environmentally friendly and does not involve any health risks, according to Mr. Bertoncello noting that Edilfiber has been well received in Italy, Switzerland, the U.K. and Germany where it finds applications in such areas as sound retaining walls in trains. The product can also be used as sound insulation in buildings and theaters.
With these new products and markets, IMP seems to have found the right ingredients for its success. Looking ahead, Mr. Bertoncello said he would be pleased if IMP were able to achieve as satisfactory results this year as it did last year in spite of the sluggish economy. “We all hope and are certain that next year will be a good year because the economy already shows signs of recovery,” he said.