Innovation in production processes, like product innovation, plays a central role in the Sofidel Group’s sustainable growth strategy. It is in fact implementation of the most modern technologies for tissue production, combined with the expert skills of management and technical staff and its historic vocation for manufacturing premium quality products that allows the Group to introduce innovative processes and offer increasingly high performance products using lower amounts of natural capital. Thus enabling Sofidel to respond in a responsible manner to the growing demand for efficiency, functionality and sustainability from customers, consumers and society in general.
Starting in 2016, and continuing in 2017, this process of looking to the future has translated into large-scale renewal of the company’s technological assets, involving both the paper mill and converting phases.
With regard to the first stage of the production cycle, paper production, Sofidel has purchased new paper mill machines with NTT (Advantage New Tissue Technology) from Valmet, which, in addition to allowing production of both conventional tissue and textured paper, also enable better levels of efficiency to be achieved in terms of energy and raw material use.
Between the end of 2017 and 2018, four examples of this model entered production in three of the Group’s plants: Circleville, in the United States, Ciechanów, in Poland, and Buñuel, in Spain. With regard to the second production stage, from paper to the finished product, one of the salient actions is the progressive activation of new Constellation converting lines, produced by Fabio Perini, innovative technology which offers improved winding quality, preserving the softness of the product and guaranteeing uniform strips from the start to the end of the roll.
Logistics automation is another frontier of Sofidel innovation. By applying techniques borrowed from the food & beverage sector to the paper industry, in the Swedish plant in Kisa and in the US plant in Circleville, systems have been developed for the automatic transfer of reels between the paper mill and converting phases, using laser guided vehicles, and the complete automation of finished product management, based on the Smart Store automatic warehouse (see the “Product innovation” section).