HYGI PANEL: made in Belgium
For some companies, it may be advantageous to relocate their production activities abroad in light of a greater availability of manpower or a better supply of raw materials. However, this does not apply to HYGI PANEL, a company specialised in the production and installation of professional wall and ceiling panelling in environments where hygiene is important. The company not only aims to keep its production activities in Belgium, but also has the ambition to develop them further by investing in a new industrial production centre.
What are the advantages of producing in Belgium?
The HYGI PANEL panels are still manufactured artisanally for the time being. Machines are used, but human intervention is required. Every day, a team of four people works in a double shift system.
Towards an industrialisation of production
What are the advantages of industrialising the production of hygienic panels?
- Increase of the production capacity and enhancement of the production processes
“In the past 18 months, we have tripled our production volume – without taking into account the impact of Covid-19 which resulted in deceleration during one quarter. This year, we will certainly reach the milestone of 40,000 m²/year, and it is our objective to produce more than 100,000 m²/year within 3 to 5 years,” Lorenzo Bongiovanni explains.
- Optimisation of a high value-added product
HYGI PANEL wall cladding has a wide range of special characteristics, most importantly its multi-layered production process. The application of a gel-coat layer on the front side facilitates cleaning and general maintenance.
The chopped strand mat (CSM) reinforcement on the rear side results in a highly shock-resistant coating which simultaneously offers a certain degree of flexibility, especially in case of curved walls. Micro-movements will not affect the material. Since manual installation of the panelling impacts the lead time, some professionals opt for cheaper alternatives such as fibreglass coating, which does not provide the same mechanical strength as chopped strand mats.
Industrialisation will optimise the product’s intrinsic qualities as well as its uniformity.
- Sustainable enterprise
State-of-the-art production systems will make the product more sustainable throughout its life cycle. “From an entrepreneurial point of view, it would be irresponsible not to have a sustainable production system. It’s a long-term investment,” Lorenzo Bongiovanni adds.
- Promotion of local economic development
Investing in industrialisation will enable HYGI PANEL to increases its competitiveness and compete internationally. “We are proud to do our bit to support the region’s economic development,” Lorenzo Bongiovanni says.
“Industry of the future” programme by Digital Wallonia
This year, HYGI PANEL has initiated its transformation process within the scope of the “Industry of the future” programme developed by Digital Wallonia and Agoria. The programme’s goal is to “boost the competitiveness of production companies by making use of advanced digital technologies” (Digital Wallonia).
“Seven essential transformations have been envisaged. We are currently in the ‘product prototyping’ stage. This summer we will commence the machine prototyping process. By the end of 2022, our proposal for industrialisation will be ready,” Lorenzo Bongiovanni states.
HYGI Panel’s workforce has increased from six people two years ago to fifteen Belgian and French employees now, without taking into account the network of installers. The industrialisation of the production process will allow the company to step up a gear and improve its competitive position in the market.