“You will only do a project like this once”, says John van Bladel about the testline for the sanitary paper industry his company is building this year. With Siemens’ help Profinet is applied for the very first time.
Rolco Europe is a relatively small company with 15 employees. Yet it provides special projects for major customers. “We develop, build and revise machines for the sanitary paper industry”, says Director-owner Van Bladel, who already was working in this industry before Rolco. In the 90’s he was project manager at a section of the SCA-group, producer of paper-products and products for personal care. “I got the chance to take over Rolco in 1996. That’s how I got into building machines. When we started, SCA was our only client, but with time we had more customers, also multinationals like Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark.” Van Bladel sees his company as a “projectbureau” which is active in this market at high levels. “We’re unique in the Netherlands; our competitors are mainly located elsewhere. Those are big machine-builders who focus on building new, big product-lines. They do not focus on retrofitting existing machines, which is one of Rolco’s specialities.”
More orders came since 2007, when Rolco moved from Tilburg to Nieuwkuijk and established in a new building. “At our new location we started revising big production-lines. We still get more assignments for revision-projects. We upgrade existing machines so that they meet the current state of technique and state of safety. We also adjust those machines so that they can produce new products.” Van Bladel already worked with Siemens when he was a project manager at SCA. He buys all PLC-components, Servo controllers and motors, cables and other components. “The products Siemens delivers are good and we always receive technical support, even with projects elsewhere.
Even projects where Rolco is working on nowadays contain a lot of Siemens-technique. For example: Rolco is working on an existing production line, adjusting it so it will become a testline which can be experimented with by SCA. The line has five separate attached modules where the paper can be printed and provided with a profile. Every module has its own Siemens-engine. “A project like this happens only once”, says the proud Van Bladel. “SCA can test a lot of new products when we’re done. With every project we involve the customers themselves so that they can contact us directly. That’s the advantage of a small company, you’re close to your customers and they are close to you.
The tissue industry is ‘quite traditional’ according to Van Bladel, though everything will be modernized by time. The testline for SCA is the first project which contains profinet. “The modules from this line must be flexible, because we want to be able to move the line. Profinet is safe and flexible which is exactly the combination that we need. Siemens supports us intensively with this first Profinet-project.” Rolco lifts its activities in Europe to a higher level with this choice for Profinet. That is an important goal for the next couple of years. “We want to professionalize more without growing too much. We want to lay emphasis on making productlines safer, according new machine guidelines. As long there is a need for that, we need profinet.”