A wide range of products, applications and operations. When you meet Start Power, you find a company that covers a wide spectrum of “skills”, from industrial power electronic equipment to special equipment. “Our extensive portfolio also includes high frequency generators, an ace in the hole of our company. High frequency is a technology that allows to heat or dry glue rapidly via an electromagnetic field”. High frequency generators were the key topic of our interview with Carlo Andreone, managing director at Interlem, business partner and sales manager of the high frequency/wood, composite and wood-based material division of the Biella-based company.
“A generator is a complex mechanism – Andreone explained – requiring specific calibration and settings that change according to the operation to be carried out. Operating this equipment can be difficult if you don’t have the required knowledge. For this reason, we focused on ease of use to make the system more intuitive. This is a major improvement that we are sure has been appreciated by our customers.
We are not stopping here. In the current complicated energy scenario, we have decided to invest and find new solutions to reduce energy consumption, consequently optimizing costs that cannot be underestimated for energy-intensive companies and operations. If everything goes as planned – Andreone said – we will soon introduce new solutions designed to offer the same efficiency with much lower energy consumption, possibly between the end of 2023 and the beginning of 2024”.
“What we are doing – he continued – is collaborate with other companies, enable them to work better, more efficiently, proposing a range of solutions designed to improve press operations through the application of high frequency generators that interface with the presses to deliver excellent results.
We have recently introduced several upgrades, including a touchscreen control panel that allows to store customer-specific operating parameters. We have also implemented additional features, such as automatic power adjustment systems”.
Which are the most “complex” technologies?
“Definitely the generators to form and dry glulam profiles, as high frequency allows to go deeper into the material, to speed up the process, and most of the times the power levels involved are much higher. For glulam beam presses, power requirements can reach up to 100-200 kW.
For glulam beams or glulam components for windows, the conventional system of cold gluing is really time-consuming, taking from two to 12-24 hours. A high frequency press uses a different technology: the longer beams are processed in different steps with smaller presses, the beam flows through the press with a stop-and-go process, so you handle one beam at a time and you can process a 15-meter-long beam in three-four cycles. Each cycle can take 10 to 15 minutes, so the entire process lasts about one hour and you need glues with long open time”.
Are there further margins for improvement?
“Yes, definitely. We believe this technology has not been fully leveraged, yet, we still have margins for improvement, and the areas of application can be expanded to other sectors beyond woodworking, from food to textiles. But right now, we have decided to move step-by-step and delay this expansion.
The market requires the ability to face the challenge with an all-round approach, working on the complete cycle from the generator to the drying tunnel. For the time being, we think it’s better to wait and focus on a sector that, in recent years, has always been considered a “niche” application, so to say, using technologies that were not so easy to understand for many years. We had to face skepticism, but now the situation is changing”.
What’s Start Power today?
“Today, Start Power is a company that keeps growing, founded in 2009 and currently employing some twenty people with approximately three-million-euro revenues as a group. It’s a solid business, rich of ideas, with a strong impact on the Italian market. In recent years, we have been working well also on the international markets, but we still have wide margins to expand our export.
Our key customers – he continued – are Italian press manufacturers, as well as end users, basically for two applications: curved wood (both glulam and solid wood) and solid wood gluing for the production of blockboard, glulam components for windows and so on…”
“As I mentioned before, Start Power’s production is not limited to high frequency generators, as we have several divisions: besides the wood divisions, which deals with generators, we have a division for the design and production of power supplies for testing applications (resulting from the acquisition of a small business, Dana, in 2020), a railway division created after the acquisition of a business unit from Power Equipments in 2018, and then power supply units and rectifiers for electroplating.
So, we operate in multiple sectors to keep expanding our business. We have never stopped and we are not going to stop now”.
by Francesco Inverso
Founded in 2009, Start Power is an Italian company specializing in the design and production of electrical and electronic equipment for industrial applications. Start Power was born from an idea of Mauro Canazza and Doriano Perin, with more than 40 years of experience in the sectors of industrial machinery, energy conversion and power control.
“With the aim of expanding our offer and acquiring new skills, we have recently invested in new projects: in 2018, we acquired Power Equipments (formerly PEIRS), an Italian company producing converters and semiconductors for the industrial and railway sector, while in 2020 we started to design and produce linear power supplies, power amplifiers and electronic loads branded Dana and Cea”.