Applying innovation

The Fameccanica Group is diversifying its activities and focussing on the liquid filling industry, using a 4.0 approach to technological solutions and services. An example of what can be done by combining the knowhow and the organization of a large industrial concern with the determination and the skills of a small and close-knit group of specialists. Stefano Lavorini

particolare-grafico_APE_web.jpg350 million in turnover, nearly 1,000 employed, four production sites ... This is  Fameccanica in a nutshell, set up 1975 in Sambuceto San Giovanni Teatino, and benchmark at world level for the design and manufacture of automatic lines producing disposable hygiene products (children’s and adult diapers and ladies’ sanitary towels).

Fameccanica is 100% controlled by the company Fater (911 million euros in turnover, Italian leader in the personal absorbent products and European bleach market), which has quite a few peculiar features, most notably that of being the result of a joint venture between Procter & Gamble and the Angelini Group.

  OPEN GATES
To introduce the new Liquid Primary Packing Business Unit, Fameccanica organized, on 23 and 24 March, an open house, with a repeat scheduled 11 and 12 May. The encounter, which was held in a friendly and informal atmosphere, was attended by representatives of the world of users and technology providers. The presentations were detailed without being tedious, stimulating the exchange between the actors in the chain called upon to cooperate in order to innovate. The company’s potential was demonstrated by a vivid demo live of the LPP3.
The machine shown operational ran at a rate of 350 pieces/min, of a 400 ml  personal care format . Onlookers were struck by the Easylife application, which anticipates developments in the world of automation under Industry 4.0.

With all this behind them, it’s no wonder that Fameccanica has decided to establish itself in the world of liquid product filling machines covering the personal care and household detergents sectors: an ambitious goal, considering that the sector is heavily presided over by long-established businesses of proven ability.

For this purpose, the Liquid Primary Packing Division was set up, headed by Rocco Amicone, electronic engineer, who joined the company in 1987 and who has been an important figure since ‘95; a cordial person, of proven experience, and capable of a contagious enthusiasm. With him works a group of enthusiastic, skilled young engineers and technicians that combine a down-to-earth approach with spirit of innovation; these include Giuseppe Giallombardo, commercial manager, Mario Di Donna, operations manager, Barbara De Dominicis, product manager, Mauro Tocco, sales engineer.

All people, who on meeting them give the immediate impression of authentically wanting to do their job.
Yet no one and nothing escapes the merciless judgment of the facts, nor can be said to lie beyond the cramped perimeter of measurability. But from this point of view, things at Fameccanica are starting to add up: in a short time the Group has sold 8 high- and medium-to-high-speed lines, and 18 bottle orienters.

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LPP: HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
The Liquid Primary Packing Business Unit was founded on the basis of innovative ideas, and seems to echo the beginnings of Fameccanica, that can be put down to an “aspirant entrepreneur”, Carlo Bianco, and a group of technicians at the the company Fater, dedicated to the maintenance of production lines, who managed to turn their plans to build their own diaper making machines (up to that time made in Sweden) into a going concern.

Amicone told me that «the Liquid Primary Packing unit responds to the need of having within Fameccanica (over 1,000 diaper making lines established worldwide), an agile and streamlined structure, with a dedicated and motivated staff».

The quest for efficiency led to all the sales, marketing, design, purchasing, process engineering and production functions being combined into the Business Unit, with two managers, one technical and one commercial, who share the responsibility for operations.

In short, a company within the company, which benefits from having production sites in Italy, China, in the US and Brazil: a model enables them to serve multinational companies with the same technology anywhere in the world.

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Rocco Amicone (middle); Giuseppe Giallombardo (left) e Mario Di Donna (right).             

A GLOBAL MARKET
Amicone continues: «Our history shows that, in the field of diaper machines, we do our job well and that we have the solidity, the professionalism, the organization needed to serve multinational clients. Regarding liquid filling machines it’s the same story, because we have every interest in operating on a free market. This is also borne witness to by a recent confidentiality agreement with one of the major global player in the personal care field: it was no easy matter, but we have managed to get ourselves endorsed as suppliers with them».

The programs for the future are ambitious but within their capabilities, as Giallombardo confessed to me: «When we explain to a prospective client what we do and how we manage the business, they immediately get interested because our solutions fully respond to the innovation needs of the final manufacturer, needs that as yet are not satisfied by traditional players».

STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
By choice and necessity the people in Fameccanica  are aware that the way to carve out a space for oneself is to be innovative, this even including the reshaping of the value chain.
Amicone is clear in this regard:«With our partners we wish to inaugurate a different way of working, that goes in the direction of sharing skills and opportunities. It is important therefore to have a network of collaborations that includes suppliers and customers».

On the one hand, hence, the people at LPP aim to build a network of preferred partners, specialists in building what they don’t do inhouse: labeling heads, cap and dispenser feed and orientation systems, but also secondary packaging machines.

The preferential partners need to have Fameccanica’s DNA, or that is be able to offer a technology that ensures energy saving, noise reduction, flexibility, a ready format change and ease of use.
On the other hand, the project is to share not only engineering but also product development with customers, removing the traditional barriers in order to give new added value to the business. «Customers today, more than requiring a machine supplier, are in search of an all-round partnership (product, market, technology, services), of a consultant - Giallombardo adds - and of an exchange that goes beyond simple customer-supplier relations».

MARGINAL NOTE
Taking a closer look, Fameccanica appears, in all respects, as a technology cornerstone or that is offering that kind of rationality that has the sole purpose of achieving the maximum goals.
Yet, looking around, talking to people, one gets a very human angle and senses a healthy enthusiasm.
A by no means negligible aspect.  

LIQUID PRIMARY PACKING
Fameccanica created its first liquid filling line in 2012, at the request of a leading multinational company looking for a partner that would enable it to achieve a technological breakthrough. The result of this operation is the BVG technology that combines the skills and experience gained in the construction of diaper as well as dosing and packaging machines.

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According to the specific requests of the multinational, the line had to have a higher production speed, a greater degree of flexibility, occupy less space, integrating the bottle unscrambler, the label maker, the filler and the capper in one “superblock”; it had to cost less and allow for a 50% cut in format change time.
«We signed the supply contract, and managed, right from the construction of the first line, to fulfil all the demands, reducing the customer’s total cost of ownership», recalls Rocco Amicone.

                                                                                                                            Continues...

04/11/2017

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