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Brazilian machine maker shutting down Italian plants

By: Bob Moser
PLASTICS NEWS

May 21, 2013

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — The maker of Romi and Sandretto machines is in the process of closing its manufacturing plants in Italy and focusing all of its manufacturing in Brazil.

The company, Indústrias Romi SA, is exhibiting new products at the Feiplastic trade show this week in São Paulo.

Romi, based in Santa Bárbara d'Oeste, Brazil, bought Italy's Sandretto Industrie srl in 2008, with an eye toward expanding in Europe. Sandretto had been under government control for two years.

The process of liquidating the Italian operations began in April. The two plants, in Grugliasco and Pont-Canavese, employ about 150, down from 300 when they were purchased in 2008.

Sandretto workers have long feared that the Italian plants would close. Last year, at the Plast 2012 trade show in Milan, Italy, around 20 Italian employees occupied Romi's exhibit to protest the company's restructuring plan.

At the time, Romi confirmed that it planned to downsize the Italian operations, but officials would not confirm plans to close the Italian plants.

Romi's net operating revenue from its plastic machinery division in the first quarter of this year was 18.88 million Brazilian real ($9.27 million), down 19 percent from the same period a year ago. The company attributed the drop to the liquidation of Romi Italia.

The company expects to realize net savings from the Italian closure by year's end.

Romi sales of plastics machinery in the first quarter totaled 50 units, up 13.6 percent from the first quarter of 2012. Business sectors showing the highest demand in Brazil were automotive, packaging, services and domestic appliances.

Romi maintains a leading market share of 20 percent in Brazil, but that has been reduced over the past decade from 30-plus percent by low-cost imports from Asia.

The new models introduced at Feiplastic will be pushed for sale in the European market by Romi's five sales subsidiaries there, where demand for energy savings across all industries is far greater at the moment than in Latin America, said William dos Reis, director of plastic processing machines.

With a focus on boosting energy efficiency across its portfolio, Romi introduced three new injection press models and one new blow molder at the Feiplastic trade show in São Paulo.

Within its EN series of horizontal injection molding machines, Romi debuted new model EN 380 PVC, offering greater precision and less energy consumption than competing hydraulic models, serving small- and mid-sized PVC applications of up to 380 metric tons.

"We targeted PVC in particular, because its typical long cycles offer an opportunity for great energy savings with this new model," Reis said.

The new EN 450 model also offers advanced precision and energy features, and can produce small- and mid-sized pieces for applications up to 450 tons.

In its EL series of fully electric injection machines, Romi launched the new EL 75, featuring 75 tons of clamping force, high precision that results in up to 25 percent shorter cycle times, minimal waste and noise, and energy savings of up to 60 percent over comparable hydraulic models.

The company's Compacta line of blow molders was also updated with the launch of model C 5TS, featuring up to 512 programming points, a new concept of heads with multiple heat zones and optimized flow, and reduced time needed for color changes. The machine features closing force of 14 tons, and the best energy savings rates yet within the line.