Prior to the 68th ATIP “the Paper Industry Technical Association” convention 24-26 November – GRENOBLE

INTERVIEW with Franck RETTMEYER, Chairman & CEO of the group ALLIMAND, designer and manufacturer of paper machines (Rives-38)

The upcoming Paper Union meetings bringing together paper makers, suppliers, technical centres and engineering schools (68th ATIP “the Paper Industry Technical Association” convention) will be held in Grenoble from the 24th to the 26th November. In this framework one of the themes which will be discussed is “the industry of the future in view of the 4th industrial revolution: can we access digital progress? Myth or reality?”.

Interview with Franck RETTMEYER, chairman & CEO of the group ALLIMAND, French designer and manufacturer of paper machines in Rives (38) and President of SYMOP, Paper Group.

Today we are going through a transitional period particularly with regards to energy, digital technology, ecology, organization and society in general. It is having an impact on all industrial production activities. As the Chairman of SYMOP, paper machine group, can you tell us what the paper making industry context data is today? What is the demand? What are the challenges?

As a representative of manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers of the paper making industry (Chairman of SYMOP – paper group), what interests us is to participate in the modernization of the industrial tool for our paper making customers in France, Europe, America, Asia and the rest of the World. An incredible world market where our companies can sell anything, where they want and to who they want. The only restriction being limited geographical areas or local conflicts, wars but also embargoes, a weapon used more and more by the Americans for example. An incredible market is at our, manufacturers and suppliers, disposition owing to the globalization of the market.

This future development will bring with it the following consequences:

  • The development of industrial internet and online objects creating a permanent dialogue between customers, manufacturers and suppliers,
  • The means of design which are offered to our companies,
  • The means of real time control and analysis with therefore improved traceability,
  • The management of flows and the balance between production and customer needs,
  • Automated production and the development of robots in our factories to carry out part of the production, production storage with autonomous AGVs, the associated software. In 10 years time, 40% of jobs will be carried out by robots instead of humans! A real issue in our society which will have an impact mainly on tertiary jobs such as banks and administrative type public sector jobs,
  • Manufacturing using 3D printers, an astonishing tool soon to be within everyone’s reach,
  • Maintenance by remote and predictive maintenance systems.

How does the ALLIMAND group position itself? What are the main objectives to be followed in priority? Optimisation of your competitiveness, accessing new markets, new processes…? What is your main objective and allocated budget?

ALLIMAND’s priority is the geographical presence of the group and the development of new products. The budget set aside for these two priorities is between 5 and 10% of our annual turnover depending on the years, which is a lot.

What working method have you put in place concerning the future industrial development plan at ALLIMAND?

Firstly, observation to understand this major change. Secondly, we need to put the necessary measures in place to revolutionise our organisation and order processing capabilities. Our action plan will be developed over a long term period.

What message do you want to send out about the industry of the future? What do you think are the key success factors?

An incredible technological offer is at our companies’ disposition, the most extraordinary lever being hyper connection and robots. The drawback being the evolution of jobs not qualified with hyper automation and connection, a societal problem that could be resolved by a universal subsistence income (a basic allowance given with no conditions) like in Finland. Is society ready to go in this direction, and in particular, France? That’s the question.


25th November:

4pm – 5.45pm: GRENOBLE / ALPEXPO: : Round-table conference held by Jérôme BONALDI: “Industry of the future in view of the 4th industrial revolution”. Can we access digital progress? Myth or reality? Nine perspectives to be explored to push the limits of our industry: doubts or hopes?

7.45pm: RIVES / ALLIMAND: :Official ATIP gala evening with the presence of 250 actors of the French and European papermaking profession and local political representatives.