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16 Nov 2018

An international Corporate meeting was organized by Cannon on October 22-24: a three-day event which involved about 60 people of the Cannon Group, coming from 13 different countries.

During the meeting, hosted in Cannon Cranberry (Pa – USA) factory, the Group celebrated 40th anniversary of activity in USA and the extension of the American factory: this one, in fact, has been necessary as a consequence of a growing activity.

Cannon manufactures in the USA since 1978 metering machines, mold carriers and mold carrying systems for Polyurethanes and Composites, supplying the leading producers of domestic refrigerators, foamed parts for automotive and furniture, panels for thermal insulation, technical articles and hundreds of other applications.

The new 2,500 msq extension is a consequence of a growing activity and is provided with an high overhead crane, allowing for the assembly of larger equipment. Designed according to the latest eco-compatible standards, the new building is intended for manufacturing and spare parts.

The Corporate meeting has been, therefore, an occasion to analyse the present and the great potential of the future.

Presentations, round tables and group works allowed participants to better understand the Group philosophy, Cannon USA technological capability, developments and resources, the local market dynamics, and to strengthen synergistic bonds among the Group’s companies.

Details of the round table:

Moderated by Simon Robinson – Chief Editor of Urethanes Technology International magazine and of the web portal – the panel of nine experts started the discussion inspired by the presentation of Chris Allison on “The U.S. Economy: Prospects and Problems”. Chris was formerly the Chairman and CEO of several telecommunications listed companies  and currently is a business consultant and investor, teaching at the Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa, as Entrepreneur-in-residence for the Economics Dept. He highlighted the economic indicators of the nation. The main message deriving from these indexes tells that the growth, although clear and steady, will not bring the U.S. in the short period at the levels of 2004. If and when these highs will be reached, it is not impossible that this will happen through another period of recession, followed by a recovery. As a positive sign he mentioned the unemployment rate in the U.S., currently very low, that witnesses the capacity of the nation to face and fight critical moments.

Carla Lucente, the Italian Honorary Consul for Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, illustrated the past and present importance of the Italian entrepreneurial activity in the region, highlighting the contribution given by these companies to the U.S. market in terms of innovation, ethics and international business culture.
Carla is a professor of modern language and literature – and an Associate Director of Center for International Relations – at Duquesne’s University in Pittsburgh. She is also the first woman to be elected President of the American Association for Italian Studies, an international group of more than 800 university professors and independent scholars on five continents.

Lee Salamone, a Senior Director of the American Chemistry Council Center for the Polyurethane Industry, presented the figures supporting the importance of the Polyurethane industry for the U.S. market: sales of $27.9 bn in 2017, generated by 55,600 employed, earning salaries of $3.3bn. It supported a further 214,500 jobs through supply chain and payroll induced impacts. The PU industry generated $2.1 bn in federal tax revenue, and a further $1.6 bn in state taxes. Lee, a graduate of Georgetown University and of The George Washington University, has spent over 25 years managing a variety of chemical security, human health, environment, science policy and general business issues for the chemical, energy and food industries.

John Olari,  the Technical Manager of Automotive and Flexible Foam  Business for Huntsman Polyurethanes, illustrated the current situation and the outlook for Polyurethane flexible foams, that represent about 45% of total PU consumption in the U.S. John, who holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University, has over 32 years of experience in automotive Polyurethanes industry.
His interesting vision on the future of transportation – currently focused on the development of electric and self-driven vehicles – showed which new plastic parts will be required for tomorrow’s travellers. Lighter and tougher components will be needed to allow for the efficient transportation of passengers on road- and air-driven vehicles. Polyurethane and Composite parts will play a fundamental role in this new – and wholly yet undefined – game, where the performances and the behavior of electric batteries will overturn the technical rules currently dictated to the car makers by conventional thermal engines.

Michael J. Krupa, the U.S. Technical Manager for Consumer Business of BASF Corporation, is a specialist in every application of Polyurethane rigid foams, a field in which he is involved since 1989 with technical service and system formulation responsibilities. He holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Michigan Technological University and is member of ASHRAE (Structural Insulated Panels Association) and of the technical committee for the Centre for the Polyurethane Industry.
His contribution to the panel discussion focused on the development of new Cold Chain products, more thermally efficient and functional.  Reminding that Construction and Building account for 38% and Domestic Refrigeration market for about 5% of the total amount of Polyurethane in the U.S. , the discussion focused on the future needs related with these products. New, tougher energy efficiency regulations are called by the Department of Energy – but the choice of a new fridge is mostly influenced by the style of interiors or the functionality of its accessories! The digital world will play an important role in the design and construction of the future refrigerators, with large LED TV screens mounted on the door to entertain the users in the kitchen and – possibly – with a video camera connected to Internet allowing for an automatic shopping online to re-supply the missing items. All these new gadgets will have an impact on the design and manufacture of refrigerators and freezers with Polyurethane foams, one of Cannon’s main activities.

Edward Friedman, attorney at law based in Pittsburgh, holds four decades of practice litigating complex civil and commercial cases – at both the trial and appellate levels in state and federal courts – including corporate law, real estate, employment discrimination, trademark litigation and construction disputes.
His contribution to the roundtable consisted in explaining to the audience the main differences between the U.S. and the European approach to commercial litigation in cases involving the trade of industrial equipment and machinery. Cultural, legal and procedure aspects to be considered when starting an activity in the U.S. and recommendations for a trouble-free activity in America were illustrated and commented by Edward.

Bruce Mazzoni, a Chemical Engineer graduated at University of Pittsburgh, is a former Cannon USA employee that climbed the whole corporate ladder from Tech Service to VP Sales & Marketing in the years 1984-2005. He is currently active pro-bono as Cranberry Twp Supervisor for the past 13 years and is very involved in the development of the community.
He illustrated to the audience how Cranberry evolved in the past two decades both in population and business, and how Cannon USA developed its business in the same period.

Paolo Spinelli bears 36 years of experience within the Cannon Group. Hired at Cannon Afros in Italy in 1982 – immediately after having obtained his master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy – Paolo  grew an invaluable experience in Polyurethane equipment marketing and operations serving first as Sales Manager Automotive for Afros, then as General Director of Cannon France in Paris and as Managing Director of Cannon Viking in Manchester, UK, until 2003, when he became President of Cannon USA. Paolo explained to the international audience all the practical, cultural and ethical aspects of running a machines manufacturing business in the USA. His interaction with the other panelists brought their visions and forecasts towards a practical interpretation for the future activities of Cannon in the U.S.

Discover more about the event: read the article on Plastic News!