To keep up with the evolving times of the business world, Inkmaker founded IMGROUP. Incorporating this change the group truly distinguishes its global direction of delivering technologically advanced, “total-process engineering” turnkey solutions guided by its credo “The Colour of Trust”; to provide a trusted service to the industries it serves while strengthening its commitment to total safety and responsibility.
IM GROUP’s trustworthy, reliable, and precise leadership has constantly put their heart into their efforts, making the company one of the Top 10 Chemical Tech Companies building a better tomorrow.
Insights Success recognizes the sheer excellence of IM GROUP that has consistently evolved on many fronts. Internally; from its smart-4.0-equipped factories, systems and processes, its software, the AI technology it uses and how it uses it, to its global teams around the world.
Most significantly externally too. After making significant investments on the acquisitions of several companies, businesses, and brands—since 2019—combining expertise, intel, technology, and hardware. IM Group implemented the strategy to consolidate all its brands under a single holding group brand with a clear and autonomous identity, to better compete in the marketplace as a Total-Solutions Provider.
IM GROUP (formerly Inkmaker Group)—rebranded on world earth day (22 April 2021) and is now the holding brand of Inkmaker, Rexson, Vale-tech, Swesa, Teko, Tecnopails, and as of late IEC+. With its combined strength, IM GROUP now offers total process-engineering solutions within the industries of paint, coatings, ink, specialty-chemicals, adhesives, corrugated packaging, flexo-packaging, pharma, food, cosmetic, textiles, and more, and operates with its own staff and offices in over 15 countries across five continents. It also has its proprietary software developed in-house, these include; the industry-leading IMAESTRO, IMPRIMO, IMAGO, and IMTECNO.
On 18 June 2021, the group was recognized as one of the “Top 10 chemical tech solution providers in Europe 2021”by Manufacturing Technology Insights, which was reported in over 30 of the world’s most prominent industry media.
On 18 October 2021, Global Business Leaders Magazine named Christophe Rizzo, IM GROUP’s CEO for Americas and EMEA, one of the 20 influential leaders everyone should know in 2021.
Most recently, on 28 October 2021, just 6-months after IM GROUP’s rebranding, IEC+—a specialist in the design and manufacture of Dispersing, Grinding, and Mixing equipment through to Engineering Studies and Turnkey Solutions—joined the group. This announcement launched the next stage of the group’s strategy and evolution; “Advanced” Engineering Solutions.
IM GROUP’s “advanced stage” saw the immediate announcement of the group’s latest innovation by its dedicated filling division, Tecnopails, who on 9 December 2021 unveiled the “LAVELLI A21,”; the world’s first automated system for coupling lids with latches and a world-first for liquid paints.
The Best of the Best
The entrance of IEC+ into IM GROUP presents a unique opportunity for the group’s evolution. IEC+, with its renowned technical know-how gained from over 20 years of its team’s experience, offers the group ‘advanced engineering’. This means that their design, projection, and management services are extended to all the production processes, site management, and software interface. As Gianluca Incerti, Global Commercial Director of IMGROUP, explains, “This starts from preliminary engineering studies through to complete project implementation and delivery—as such this will use the specializations from all our brands.”
The driving strategy behind IM GROUP’s acquisitions is aligned directly to the group’s vision. To evolve its technology to expand in its fields and adapt the advantages of its products to new markets and to create a reliable, complete supply chain—serving predominantly, but not IM GROUP offers Total Process Engineering through its brands: Inkmaker, Rexson, Vale-tech, Swesa, Teko, Tecnopails and IEC+.Top 10 Chemical Tech Companies Building a Better Tomorrow only the ink, paint, and coatings industry—that will sustain its core businesses.
This meant structuring each of IM GROUP’s brands into various specialties yet enabling the group to work as one strong force. “In this way, each brand continues to work individually with its existing clients, competing in its markets, yet when required, share their expertise—offering Total Solutions—for example, on large turnkey plant engineering projects,” explains Christophe Rizzo, CEO of EMEA/Americas, IM GROUP, “This guarantees an efficient optimization of resources and high flexibility to manage projects of all sizes and was one of the key reasons for forming the holding brand, IM GROUP.”
With the restructure of IM GROUP’s brands
- Inkmaker will focus on ink dispensing and software design.
- Rexson will be predominantly for paint dispensing as well as liquid ink.
- Vale-Tech will focus on narrow-web and paste-ink dispensing—so UV flexo ink and offset inks.
- Swesa will be mainly for; food, pharmaceutical, corrugated packaging, cosmetics, and more.
- Teko will remain in POS (Point of Sale) Tinting and R&D Training.
- Tecnopails will continue to focus on Filling Solutions.
- IEC+ will spearhead all the brands offering dispersing grinding, and mixing equipment through to engineering studies and turnkey solutions.
The Thriving Pursuit
As Roberto Guerra, CEO Asia Pacific, IM GROUP, points out, “One of the top USPs that defines IM GROUP as a leader amongst its competitors is our software, because of this, it plays a significant role in the operational execution of IM GROUP’s global strategy.”
IM GROUP’s software is the brain behind its technology’s reliability and consistency, and the group has introduced an advanced software, “IMAESTRO,” to the market. Designed exclusively by the group’s cutting-edge R&D department based in Turin, Italy, and available in 28 languages, this user-friendly software is equally effective for paint, coatings, specialty chemicals, ink applications, and more. It operates from small compact units to complex industrial systems and is easily expandable and customizable; the software offers unlimited application fields and integrates all leading management applications.
IM GROUP currently has four software: IMAESTRO, IMPRIMO, IMAGO, and IMTECNO.
Key features and benefits of IM GROUP’s software include:
- Management of users, factories, formulae, and work orders instantly, easily, and by remote
- Viewable stock information at a glance
- Generating reports on production; statistics on demand
- Dispensing of parameters with automatic adjustment
- Viewing of graphic components stock display
- Traceability management
- Management of raw material and formulations
- Password protected multi-user accessibility
- Stock auditing and batch cost evaluation
- Over 100 reports for KPI assessment
- Optimized recycle-management
- Spectrophotometer connections
- ISO compliance traceability
- Production planningŸInventory control
- VOC reporting
Another major salient point is the strength of IM GROUP’s partnerships. The latest of these, currently being announced, is Inkmaker Shanghai—IM GROUP’s manufacturer of integrated dispensing systems in China—which has partnered with Fast & Fluid Management Asia (FFM Asia), becoming its new certified channel partner for China. “This will further strengthen the existing long-term relationship between IM GROUP and FFM and will inevitably benefit both parties’ customers tremendously,” says Lau Kar SengGeneral Manager of Inkmaker Shanghai and Member of the Board.
To optimize IM GROUP resources to the max and to manage projects of all sizes, the group consolidated its brands into specific “Areas of Excellence.”
IM GROUP’s technical team studied the various machines of the group’s brands, their capabilities and performances, and their related market positionings. To meet this—market-segment distribution—several machines were removed, others were re-designed, and technology was shared amongst the brands to meet higher standards of mass customization, reliability, and performance and to give wider and broader solutions to its customers’ needs. This reorganization broadened the group’s product range, ensuring the sustainability of its growth for the next 10 to 15 years.
As Enrico Mattiazzi, Global Director of Engineering, Production and Supply Chain, IMGROUP, explains, “The most important feature of this re-engineered and integrated range of machines is the synergy of our technology, in particular of our IMAESTRO software that will greatly benefit our clients.”
“A significant investment has been made in the Software & Automation division purposely to ensure not just a smooth transition with the new brands within our family, but also to increase the level of our technological capabilities. Inkmaker’s software is the essence of our systems by incorporating them into our newly acquired brands’ machines. We elevate the productivity and performance, of those brands, to a much higher and more energy-efficient level,” outlines Francesco Nesti, Global Director of Software & Automation, IM GROUP.
IM GROUP has since expanded the range of its equipment options available and today offers virtually any type, size, and capacity of dosing system to customers.Among the main models of dosing equipment available for liquid products are:
- P32 / P48 / P72 / P96
And for paste products:
On a customer service level, earlier in 2021, the Software & Automation team launched a new training program for customers called ASIST—Advanced Software Intelligence Systems Training. It combines IIoT automation and artificial intelligence with the skills of IM GROUP’s experts to boost the training level of its systems.
The program consists of four certifications, known as C, M, Y and K. It covers many new features from the group’s basic machine structures to in-depth workings of its software and offers techniques to improve efficiency, reduce costs and shorten response time to market demands.
Finally, IM GROUP is maximizing its logistics globally; to serve its clients more efficiently from a network of new offices and factories, which has increased due to its acquisitions.
The Work Culture Significance
IM GROUP holds its roots close to its values. As Valentina Cigna, Global Director of HR and President, IM GROUP, explains, “The name “IM,” has a historical meaning for us. The ‘I’ and the ‘M’ are acronyms deriving from the name “Inkmaker”—the founder of the group, and it meant a lot to us to remember those who, in 1987, founded Inkmaker; Carlo Musso, Luciano Longobardi and—especially for me—my father, Giuliano Cigna.”
Fundamentally IM GROUP is based on the following brand values, as Silvio Cimenti, Global Director of Branding, Marketing and Communications, IM Group explains.
Below the logo, in steel grey, is the Group’s credo and positioning line; “The Colour of Trust,” a result of its core values of being Truthful, Responsible, Understanding, Safe, and Tailormade to ultimately position the group as the leader you can T R U S T.” These values sit at the core of its brand DNA— “Reliability” and is what IM GROUP stands for.
The logo is made up of a symbol and a logotype.
The symbol is a face created from a series of triangles (inspired by the Inkmaker logo) in blue to convey trust, confidence, and high technology. Like the many brands and skills of the Group, the triangles converge to form a strong whole—a distinct ‘human identity’—depicting a technological engineering leader with a ‘human touch.’
The face is embellished with a crown, representing the Group’s determination to maintain its leading position in the industries it serves.
The symbol is flanked by the words “IM GROUP” in a custom-designed font to communicate the Group’s various fields of business such as paint, coatings, ink, specialty chemicals, adhesives, and many more.
Paramount in IM GROUP’s core values are responsibility, how its products impact the environment, and the carbon footprint it leaves. For this reason, the group chose to launch the rebranding of IM GROUP on “World Earth day”; to make a global statement of its commitment to further its social responsibility and sustainable practices. To action this, IM GROUP is partnering with international consultants to create a roadmap to reduce its eco impact. So, it too can do its part in reducing environmental pollution to align its ethical principles for a safe work environment with those of the United Nations’ Global Compact.
The Anticipated Moves
Projects that were initially suspended or postponed in the last two years are being reassessed in 2022. IM GROUPexpects to see some new projects being implemented. The current supply chain challenges and logistics situation will make the market adapt to this new reality, which includes the industrial equipment market (both producers and users of equipment). Therefore, the trend will be towards how to resume these projects, but with adjustments to systems and specifications.
The company foresees the trend towards deep-learning Artificial Intelligence and automation—to improve augmented decision making, increase production, accuracy, and safety, and inevitably reduce costs and increase profit margins. It will continue to accelerate towards developing a smarter IoT and IIoT, beyond what it is already accustomed to; data retrieval, image and speech recognition, language processing, localization, etc. In search of even smarter factories and smarter logistical and transportation solutions that will competently counter the current challenges being faced by industries today.
IM GROUP will continue investing heavily in R&D, software, automation, and human capital initiatives such as advanced IIoT training to further its existing teams’ industry 4.0 experience and skills.
Helping Hand to the Community
IM GROUP is forming, an IM GROUP FOUNDATION which will be followed by IM GROUP’s goodwill ambassador, Alice Chang Guerra, as foundation chair. It will have two scopes:
- To bring social activities to members of the local communities, where IM GROUP operates and
- To offer career development, and growth opportunities, to the youth in those communities.
On a private level, IM GROUP has always been active in this field, especially in Southeast Asia, working closely with children with special needs through workshops and activities to bring this activity to the next level and into IM GROUP.
IM GROUP Foundation is embarking on a series of CSR projects to commence in 2022 that will be repeated year on year involving different nations where IM GROUP has premises. As Alice Chang Guerra explains, “The first of these projects for 2022 is targeted at artists with autism and will be called IM MORE. To highlight that people with autism not only can contribute to our society but, due to their condition, have something “more” to add to our society as they have an uncommon ability to see things differently.”
The first event to kick start project IM MORE will be “The Tigers of Malaysia,”; an event that will bring ten winners from the recently IM GROUP organized ‘Anak Syurga’ international autistic arts competition from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to exhibit their art at a gallery in Turin, Italy. Plans are being worked on to develop the project into an exchange program where, in the following year, ten artists will come from Turin to exhibit their works in Kuala Lumpur.
Over the Horizon
IM GROUP’s aspirations are outlined clearly in its vision: to evolve its technology to expand in its fields and adapt the advantages of its products to new markets and to create a reliable, complete supply chain—serving predominantly, but not only the ink, paint, and coatings industry—that will sustain its core businesses.
Externally, the group sees itself acquiring more businesses with a specialty or good market share in a segment /country, where it plans to expand, that can deepen the group’s knowledge and broaden its product range.
Internally, the Group invests in technology that can evolve its manufacturing capabilities. Such as industry 4.0 and IIoT; further its design solutions; invest in human capital and structured processing systems (e.g., ERP); incorporate its software into its new acquisitions’ products, elevating its brands’ offerings. Share R&D such as skills and knowledge to deliver more competitive services and products; and to continue to employ a shared leadership strategy across two CEOs to guarantee the group’s standards.
IM GROUP will be present at Eurocoat 22 in Paris, Porte de Versailles from 29 to 31 March 2022.