Located in one of the areas most affected by Covid-19 emergency, Nordmeccanica, after having put in place all the safety procedures imposed by government decrees, has never stopped, falling under the Ateco codes authorized to continue its activities, to support food and pharmaceutical packaging sector. A period that is certainly complicated, but that can certainly offer new opportunities to those who will be able to interpret the new needs of market and consumers
The company, always attentive to the needs of its collaborators, has exploited smart working for all those clerical tasks that could be carried out from home, obviously using a corporate network to be able to have access to all data and tools essential to be able to carry on daily activities of the Group that operates worldwide. In the workshop and in the testing departments, once the collaborators were equipped with individual protection devices, and the measures of social distancing were put in place, the activities continued without problems.
Industry 4.0, of which Nordmeccanica is undoubtedly an example of best practice, has facilitated customer support activities, always available 24/7, with full availability of support and spare parts, from the headquarters in Piacenza and all the Group’s offices located throughout the world. “We are supporting our customers as much as possible, which until now is guaranteeing the supply of packaging for food and pharmaceutical products, and we are fully aware of the strategic importance of our role”, says Vincenzo Cerciello vice president of Nordmeccanica, with whom we spoke about some aspects that we report in the following interview.
FACE TO FACE WITH VINCENZO CERCIELLO VICE PRESIDENT OF NORDMECCANICA
May and June were the months of Interpack and Drupa, two important events for you. What are the news that you should have presented?
“We had prepared these two international trade fairs with a series of innovative technological solutions, to respond to requests for sustainability with simpler but safer food packaging proposals, for example by reducing the number of layers of material and preferring some types of coating. Given the situation, we are organizing seminars or presentations via web, which allow us a dialogue
with our customers, to keep their level of curiosity, attention and interest high until 2021, when then we can finally meet at fairs to touch really the technologies”.
You recently presented a model of laminator specially developed for digital printing. Can you tell something about it?
“Nordmeccanica has always been committed to the development of solvent-free technology, a sector in which we believe and invest a lot. To also serve the world of digital printing, a sector that we think can have a great future in the world of flexible packaging too, we have developed a solvent-free machine, compact in size but not in production performance, capable of managing and laminating digital printed staff. Another key element to help digital print operators was to offer them a very simple interface, with all the machine parameters digitized, so as to guarantee uninterrupted process continuity, from printing machine to laminating. Together with HP we approached this sector, managing to fully understand its needs.
When approaching digital printing companies, compared to traditional printers and converters, the small size of the production spaces is surprising, comparable more to offices than to real production companies. To serve the digital world, technology suppliers must abandon the standards we are used to, listen to customers and personally visit their spaces. This is a machine that we are marketing with satisfaction and in the coming months we have a series of projects to be carried out with customers from the narrow web market, who is increasingly interested in laminating. And when it comes to food, solvent-free process is now a standard”.
The emergency has de facto moved the headlight away from the plastic problem: how can we avoid demonizing the material again, correctly addressing the issue, which perhaps even consumers today have understood not to be plastic itself?
“When a few years ago the problem of plastic abandoned in the environment emerged, there was a rush of many companies in the sector as if to justify why this material was used in the various industrial sectors, without instead emphasizing the positive aspects that this material brings to our daily life. I also put myself in first person, and I say that from the beginning it was necessary to work on training, information, culture in order to communicate correctly pros and cons, explaining the benefits brought to people with the use of plastic, certainly one of the most precious allies in the fight against food waste. Unfortunately, some messages, if they are not lived and touched by hand, seem distant from reality. Just like what happened with the coronavirus, which as long as it was seen on TV as a problem that concerned only China, did not worry us much, but when we then perceived it a few kilometers from us, then the situation changed deeply.
Packaging food products today, with the right structures, guaranteeing suitable protections to be transported from one place to another in the world, keeping properties unchanged and indeed extending their shelf-life, could appear useless in a ‘perfect’ world, while in a modern, industrialized world, where we move quickly from one part of the globe to another with continuous relationships, all this must be considered essential, and above all obscuring the thesis of the uselessness of the products packaged in favor of loose products at km 0. The results of the studies carried out over the years on food waste, which in the last period had fallen by the wayside, today made it clear that these must be a strong point for us in the packaging sector to always offer more and more efficient and sustainable packaging. With this I do not want to hide the waste problem, which is and will be present, but which requires interventions by the institutions because in a while we could have, as from photos that have already appeared on social networks, the same problem with masks surgery abandoned on the street. And the solution is not to tax the production of these goods, but to hit the uncivilized behavior of those who abandon plastic, masks or any object in the environment”.
What is your market forecast for the coming months?
“Great difficulties always precede great opportunities. In the face of a change in habits and lifestyles in the near future, strong development potential will arise for the packaging sector. We manufacturers will have to be able to interpret the new consumer trends in order to find ourselves ready for new needs. Obviously all this requires that the health emergency is behind us, an essential element to think about the future with positivity, even if we will have to live with it for a long time and all of this will certainly have an impact on our supply chain. We must be therefore even more dynamic and flexible to manage these sudden changes”.