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RadiciGroup, founded in 1941 as Tessiture Pietro Radici SpA (TPR), is based in Bergamo, Italy. TPR’s business got its start producing carded yarn from bales of wool waste blended with white and black cotton and rayon. The raw material was spun and handed over to “copertini,” local loom artisans who would weave it into fabric.
Through its commitment and determination, the group has become an international industrial enterprise that has progressively diversified into sectors such as chemicals, plastics, synthetic fibers, nonwovens and textile machinery.
Since the late 1980s, TPR has produced nonwovens that are specifically designed and developed for the needs of applications such as roofing/building, furniture, automotive, protective wear, coated and laminated membranes, agriculture, medical, hygiene, filtration, packaging and new technical applications.
RadiciGroup entered the spunbond business in the mid-1990s to integrate the production of stitchbonded nonwovens, which it made for mattress ticking. Later, Enrico Buriani, CEO of TPR, says the company began following the developments of spunbond in the building industry, especially for roofing applications. Beginning in the early 2000s, the use of non-bituminous membranes was increasing rapidly.
In 2004, RadiciGroup halted its production of stitchbonded nonwovens opting instead to make only spunbond polypropylene nonwovens. According to Buriani, the markets Radici serves are growing at different paces, but roofing and automotive are certainly growing at the fastest pace. “These two markets are also very demanding in terms of quality requirements,” he adds.
To keep up with the demands of its growing markets, the group recently invested in a new bicomponent spunbond line from Faré SpA, featuring core/sheath technology, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2017. The new line will increase the company’s total throughput by roughly 50%, Buriani says. “We decided to invest in bico technology in order to develop products with a wider range of technical features.”
He adds that Radici’s customers are always looking for solutions that make them stand out from the competition, and the company continuously strives to succeed in developing nonwovens with particular features. “This is possible because our production technology is mainly characterized by a high degree of flexibility in terms of operations,” he continues.
Buriani is optimistic about the industry, especially in the industrial sector. “In general, the usage of nonwovens in the industrial sector is fast growing because this range of products is able to provide a good balance between costs and performances,” he says. “A brilliant example of that concept is the automotive industry where the need of designing vehicles with a lower and lower environmental impact leads to an increased usage of textiles—and in particular nonwovens—in the car manufacturing for weight reduction of interior components.”