LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire sustainable challenge kick-off meeting in Bologna
On Wednesday, 29 October, the kick-off meeting for the LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire project was held at the Officine Maccaferri SpA headquarters in Bologna. The project stems from a partnership between two major Italian multinationals: Maccaferri Industrial Group (through its companies Officine Maccaferri SpA and SAMP SpA) and RadiciGroup (through Radici Novacips SpA).
The LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire project sustainable challenge: to design an innovative process with a lower environmental impact for producing extruded steel wire to be used in metal net protection and containment structures.
Enthusiasm is the word to describe the kick-off meeting for LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire, an all-Italian pilot project – stemming from a partnership between two major Italian industrial multinationals, Maccaferri Industrial Group and RadiciGroup – which was awarded financial support by the European Commission’s LIFE+ programme, the European Union’s environment fund.
The moderator of the kick-off meeting, which was held at the historic Officine Maccaferri headquarters in Bologna, was Piero Tatafiore, corporate communication manager of the Maccaferri Industrial Group. Among the speakers at the meeting were Ruggero Targhetta, sole administrator of EURIS European Research Investments Services, and Stefania Biasuzzi, EURIS project manager (“Opportunities and Development in the European LIFE Programme”); Francesco Ferraiolo, corporate technical director of Officine Maccaferri (“Officine Maccaferri’s Role in the LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire Project”); Claudio Colibri, corporate R&D manager of Officine Maccaferri (“The LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire Project”); Cesare Clausi, Europe business manager of the RadiciGroup Plastics Business Area, and Erico Spini, marketing & application development director of the RadiciGroup Plastics Business Area (“RadiciGroup’s Role in the Project”); and Roberto Bazzani, sales and marketing VP of SAMP (“SAMP’s Role in the Project”).
Objective of LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire … To design an innovative process with lower environmental impact for producing extruded steel wire to be used in making metal net protection and containment structures. The sustainability aspect of the project is the use of polyamide 6 (PA6 engineering plastics) as a viable alternative to PVC for coating the steel wire. Tests will be conducted not only on conventional PA6 but also on PA6.10 engineering plastics produced using 64% biopolymer manufactured from sebacic acid.
The traditional process for producing extruded steel wire, in which steel wire is plated with a very thick zinc coating layer and then PVC coated, is an energy hog. Hence, the idea put forth by Officine Maccaferri – world leader in the research, design and manufacture of advanced environmental civil engineering solutions – to develop a new and innovative production process in which the zinc coating process is minimised. Polyamide 6 plays a central role in this project, because, compared to PVC, it ensures better technical and environmental performance.
“We expect many benefits from this project,” stressed Claudio Colibri, corporate R&D manager of Officine Maccaferri, in his presentation, “from the development of a replicable methodology for the eco-sustainable production of steel wire coated with polymeric material using new materials and new processes, to the set-up of a demonstration production line to show the savings in materials and energy by properly documenting process yield and product performance. But that is not all. We also expect to contribute to the application of the experimental PEF methodology for the environmental evaluation of processes and products, to promote wider acceptance of the environmental factor as a parameter in public bidding for road construction and maintenance and, last but not least, to raise awareness of the advantages of embarking on an environmental sustainable path in industrial production through an effective communication strategy.”
The technical aspects of RadiciGroup’s contribution to the Life-Inno.Pro.Wire project were illustrated by Erico Spini, marketing & application development director of the RadiciGroup Plastics Business Area. “Polyamide is a viable lower environmental impact alternative to PVC as material for use in extruded steel wire coating. The excellent technical characteristics of this material has allowed us to set ambitious objectives for the LIFE-Inno.Pro.Wire challenge, such as a 20% reduction in wire coating thickness and a 30-50% increase in the service life of the final product, the metal gabion. Among the advantages of using polyamide are a reduction of about 20% in wire weight for a coating of equal thickness and improved resistance to mechanical damage during the installation and servicing of the gabions.”
The figures for the Life+ 2013 programme, the European Union’s environment fund.
The number of applications for co-funding received by the EU Commission from the 28 EU member states was 1,468, of which 225 proposals were selected by the Commission for co-funding through the programme’s three components:
- LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity: 92 projects from the 342 proposals received were selected for co-funding.
- LIFE+ Environment Policy and Governance: 125 projects from the 961 proposals received were selected for co-funding. Of these, 35 were Italian.
- LIFE+ Information and Communication: 8 projects from the 165 proposals received were selected for co-funding. Total investment: EUR 589.3 million, including EU funds of about EUR 282.6 million (www.ec.europa.eu/life). Among the EU member states, Italy was one of the top beneficiaries of LIFE+ co-funding. Emilia Romagna and Lombardy were the Italian regions with the highest number of co-funded projects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LIFE+: www.ec.europa.eu/life
Founded in 1879 and today headed by Alessandro Maccaferri, Officine Maccaferri is a leader in environmental engineering – a pocket-size multinational with 2013 sales revenues of EUR 474 million, 32 plants on 4 different continents, about 3,000 employees and sales units in over 100 countries. Officine Maccaferri, the ancestral company of the Maccaferri Industrial Group, provides advanced engineering solutions for a variety of applications, from coastal protection to soil reinforcement structures, rockfall protection netting and complete systems for tunnelling. www.maccaferri.com
The SAMP Group was founded in 1936 in Bologna, Italy, and is engaged in the mechanical engineering sector. It comprises three divisions – Sampsistemi, Samputensili and Sampingranaggi and has about 800 employees. SAMP specializes in the design and manufacture of systems for the production of wire and cable for telecommunications and low, medium and high voltage lines; tools for gear machining and grinding gears, screws and rotors; and gears and reduction gears for high precision applications. SAMP is present in Europe, Asia and North America. The president of SAMP, a sub-holding of the Maccaferri Industrial Group, is Antonio Maccaferri. The company closed the year 2013 with sales revenues of EUR 122 million. www.sampspa.com
2013 sales revenues of EUR 1,045 million. Production and sales sites in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Diversified businesses focusing on chemicals, plastics, synthetic fibres and nonwovens. Know-how. Vertically integrated nylon production. Constant commitment to guaranteeing its customers quality, sustainable innovation and reliability. All this is RadiciGroup, a leader in nylon chemicals. RadiciGroup products are used in applications such as: APPAREL – FURNISHINGS – AUTOMOTIVE – CONSUMER GOODS – CONSTRUCTION – ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONICS – HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES – SPORT. RadiciGroup, with its Chemicals, Plastics, Synthetic Fibres and Nonwovens Business Areas, is part of a larger industrial group that also includes textile machinery and energy businesses. www.radicigroup.com
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