interview with Gustavo Lascurain, Managing Director of pasaban

Pasaban S.A.
Gustavo Lascurain
Managing Director

” Pasaban’s product values are based on precision, quality, reliability and profitability. Offering customized and comprehensive solutions if needed we can solve the most difficult challenges. “

1. Pasaban is contributing to the growth of Pulp and Paper industry. Give brief overview about Pasaban?

Pasaban SA, based in Tolosa in Spain, we are a family-owned business founded in 1928 and have established ourselves as a leading equipment designers and manufacturers to paper mills, the cardboard industry and converters with high quality customised solutions.

The company employs around 120 direct employees, we have a global presence of over 500 customers and currently have more than 700 machine installations in 45 countries. The product range includes paper sheeters, winders, wrapping equipment, pulp cutters, hot foil stamping and laser punching machines.

Pasaban’s product values are based on precision, quality, reliability and profitability. Offering customized and comprehensive solutions if needed we can solve the most difficult challenges.

2. Are there any other plans to move further into manufacturing high-tech machinery by increasing production capacity?

Yes, even though we are currently focused on higher added value projects because we believe that is where Pasaban really exceeds, we are now involved in the expansion of our manufacturing plant together with Pasaban’s headquarters for further increasing our production capacity.

In the current year, we are mainly focused on optimising production activities. By applying Lean principles, the work is oriented toward increasing efficiency through analysing and standardising processes, redesigning the layout and improving the internal logistics and assembly flows. We expect that the system will be operational at the beginning of 2018, a year in which increased activity is expected.

3. Pasaban advances in the transformation strategy of its entire sales and production structure? Can you elucidate this?

We have been working quite hard in the company’s transformation strategy for the last couple of years. Now, we believe it is time we take it to the next level by investing all the required resources on making it real.

The transformation basically seeks to create a more efficient industrial structure to strength the direct contact with our customers and to configure a more technologically advanced portfolio with greater added value.

To reach these objectives, we have reconfigured the sales and industrial model, implemented new R&D plans and deployed an investment plan for extending and making improvements to corporate facilities.

4. Pasaban industrializes the application of level 1 security features in security papers and banknotes. What are the future developments including in these?

Pasaban has been working for paper mills for decades but since the early 80’s we have also been present with our machinery at currency paper mills for which we have designed and developed machines for the application of level 1 security features to any substrate.

Interestingly enough, to be able to detect counterfeit banknotes, population demands stronger end user orientation banknotes from both a design and a security perspective as well as a better integration of several security levels into single elements. This means deploying fewer, but high quality security features which stand out in extremely eye-catching ways and so easily understandable by the general public.

Our mission is to develop high technology and precision machines for applying these security features to any substrate.

I cannot give you much information about our current projects since they are still in the early stages but to give you an example, we are currently working on UV lamp solution for applying security features in register to high security documents.

5. What is your general view of the business of pulp and papermaking in the Spain region and what do you think the future holds both in the short term and the long term?

I would say that the Spanish region has stabilised since Paper and board production is not greatly increasing. In 2016 it stayed stable at about 6.2 mill tonnes whereas the Pulp production was 2.5 mill tonnes.

If we look at the data it is fair to assume that in the short term the production will not rise significantly. Additionally, it seems that paper mills are not eager to compete in production capacity but to go toward a higher added value products such as coated and specialty papers in the long term.

On the other hand, taking into account that case materials in Spain represent the 49% of the total production, there is not much room for other papers such as coated, FBB or sanitary with an 7%, 6% and 12% respectively.

6. Pasaban provided ITC with the Upgrades service. Did Pasaban satisfy their requirements?

Indeed, Pasaban does about 5-10 upgrades per year all over the world. Some of the times we are requested to do partial reforms or a more complex ones. In the ITC case in just a 3 weeks we successfully managed to do a complete upgrade of the electrical cabinet of the sheeter.

The machine now is in an optimal operating condition. Under our experience from similar projects, the machine should operate without any problems for about 1-2 years at least.

7. How else do you expect the market to change over the next couple of years? What role companies like yours play in the pulp and paper industry today?

I think Spanish market evolution will highly depend on how the EU market evolves. In that regard, the big manufacturer groups are playing an essential role in continuously studying the final consumer behavior in order to be able to change and adapt their paper converting requirements. Consumer behavior changes are highly visible for example in the newsprint consumption which has been sharply decreasing and in the printing and writing paper which is slowly decreasing.

Interestingly enough, what we also have been noticing is that the number of pulp and papermaking factories is decreasing while its production stays stable. Certainly meaning that some of the manufacturing groups are concentrating their production into some sites and closing other small ones. That is something that we see in the current scene and we believe we will continue to see that in the near future.

Talking about the role companies like Pasaban play, we manufacture paper converting equipment to the papermaking and converting companies. The machines have to be reliable and customizable in order to continuously adapt to the changing market.

From what I have seen, the papermaking and converting companies are increasingly demanding a much more customizable machines and solutions. In that sense Pasaban is well positioned but nevertheless, our mission is to continue improving on further fulfilling our customer requirements.

8. Everyone talks about effective customer service, ensuring Customer Delight. How do you ensure this at your company? What areas of R&D is Pasaban working on?

Customer service is always something you have to bear in mind to keep your customers satisfied. That is why from Pasaban we are committed to serve our customers as fast and efficiently as we can. To ensure that, we currently offer a series of upgrades for our machines and we also offer an online support to our customers.

At present, the online support is Pasaban’s most demanded after-sales service for companies that use Pasaban machines and require a quick response to any issues that may arise.

As for the R&D, in order to avoids unnecessary downtime and further reduce maintenance costs, we are currently working on a new concept based on augmented reality. The main idea behind this concept is to ease the maintenance job by helping our customers with an easy and real time user-friendly solution.

It is time to be more innovative than ever applying the last available technology to the after-sales service.

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