The Marche-based company that produces compounds for the footwear industry is constantly evolving: new plants, bio-based products and environmental certifications.
Despite the fact that the last few years have been very difficult for any industrial activity, Fainplast has not stopped and has continued to develop its commitment to an increasingly efficient and, above all, environmentally conscious production. Vladimiro Fratini, sales manager and technical director of Fainplast, tells us about this: “As far as the footwear sector is concerned, we are further investing in the EVAtech product. In fact, we will install 2 new EVA-based compound for molding lines by 2022, with a total investment of about 3 million euros. In addition, we are investing in facilities that will enable us to expand production capacity also for the renewable energy sector with the manufacture of compounds for the production of cables for photovoltaic systems, a sector that is booming, as is evident. This news is not of interest to the footwear world, but it shows the dynamism of Fainplast and its propensity to invest and innovate.”
Speaking of renewable energy, it comes naturally to think of sustainability issues. How are you moving in that direction?
“Just during the recent Simac Tanning Tech we presented our new compounds for reducing environmental impact.
These are EVA-based materials of BIO origin instead of traditional EVA of fossil origin. Also in collaboration with Bloom, we made more innovative compounds with natural ingredients. BLOOM, in fact, produces ‘sustainable’ materials through the use of microalgae products. Algae that proliferate in excess in rivers are transformed by BLOOM into biomaterials that FAINPLAST uses in a new line of compounds with reduced environmental impact. These materials, thanks to the natural plasticity of algae, retain the main characteristics of EVAtech compounds. It can be estimated that one kilogram of EVAtech compound made with 15 percent of bio-materials produced by BLOOM allows the restoration of the ‘environmental health’ of 337.8 liters of water and the capture of 255.4 grams of carbon dioxide.”
When talking about sustainability, one cannot leave out the topic of certifications?
“This is the second new feature presented at the fair. Fainplast has obtained ISCC PLUS certification. An international-level certification scheme that enhances companies’ commitment to environmental protection, which is embodied in the use of ‘sustainable’ products.
This certification is based on a crucial concept: the sustainability of a product must be attested throughout the production chain. In fact, it allows each actor in the supply chain to source a sustainable product from suppliers holding a valid certificate for that product.
The main objective of the scheme is to provide sustainability solutions for supply chains that are fully traceable and not involved in deforestation processes.
On a practical level, the ISCC Plus scheme proves to be a key tool for managing natural resources sustainably; demonstrating respect for human rights and working conditions; demonstrating ethical behavior toward stakeholders; demonstrating actions directed toward reducing the environmental impacts of agro-industrial activities; demonstrating efficient use of water resources; and enabling carbon footprint reporting systems with reduction targets.”
How do you assess the current market situation?
“We are noticing a slowdown in orders after last year’s resounding boom due to demand so strong that it sometimes put companies in crisis, given the shortage of raw materials. A tough year to manage, then, but also very satisfying from the point of view of numbers, both quantitative and qualitative.
Of concern, however, is the current stagnation and the winds of recession blowing through the economy. This is a concern that accompanies every positive figure that is noted at this time. If the SIMAC trade show, as well as other events, has returned to pre-covid levels, and if, at the European level, it appears that the path to normalcy is underway, geo-political events can only cool the enthusiasm. Concern in the markets generates ups and downs in demand that are very difficult to manage.
With regard to commodities, on the one hand we can say that the problems that have arisen in the past months are stabilizing, both in terms of procurement and prices. On the other hand, the worrying factor now is that related to energy costs.”