Sonae – Indústria de Revestimentos, S.A. (SIR) is a company headquartered in Maia, whose share capital is 100% owned by Sonae Indústria, SGPS, S.A. Its origin goes back to 1959, when Sonae – Sociedade Nacional de Estratificados, S.A. was founded, in order to set up the production of decorative panels.

SIR dedicates its activity to the production and commercialization of thermo-laminated and compact high pressure laminates (HPL). This product is developed from the use of a set of sheets of paper impregnated with thermosetting resins and subjected to a high pressure and high temperature pressing process. As explained by Cláudia Costa, research and development manager at SIR, “at the base of the HPL there are sheets of kraft paper (these are the ones that most determine the thickness and technical characteristics of the HPL), on which one or more sheets of Decorative paper are bound “. This kind of article has a high added value and can be applied on horizontal or vertical surfaces that require high physical-mechanical and chemical resistance.

The Sustainability Policy
“Identifying clearly and fully satisfying the needs and expectations of customers in relation to products and services” is SIR’s great commitment, according to Cláudia Costa. However, in order to satisfy the needs of the customers, it is necessary to create good relations with all stakeholders, to motivate all employees and, above all, to protect the environment and to implement sustainable practices.

In this sense, the company’s main objectives are to develop a culture of quality, environment, safety and health at work, either in SIR or in its surroundings, encouraging the clarification and training of employees, so that they carry out the activities in an engaged and responsible manner; to establish a sharing and trustworthy relationship with its suppliers, and apply the best available techniques to minimize the environmental impacts associated with its processes and prevent pollution. SIR also cares about reducing and controlling risks in order to prevent occupational incidents and diseases, fulfilling, this way, the Declaration of the International Labor Organization’s Fundamental Principles and Rights.

As a matter of fact, SIR complies with all legal, regulatory requirements, also developing communication activities as a way to improve the capacity to create value and to implement and maintain the Chain of Accountability requirements in accordance with PEFC and FSC standards applicable to the organization, amimg for the sustainable use of woods’ raw materials. “Responsibility chain certification is essential for SIR, which seeks to access environmentally and socially responsible markets, as well as to demonstrate conformity with public or private purchase policies that demand the requisite of providing environmentally responsible materials. This certification also allows the labelling of products so that consumers can identify and elect the ones that enfold a responsible forest management model. This certification assures the consumers that the woods where the products they are acquiring came from have been conscientiously managed, carrying out environmentally decent practices,” says Cláudia Costa.

A company is only truly sustainable if it is guided by principles of sustainability in the economic, social and environmental vectors.

SIR is convinced that, in a context of increasingly globalized competition, with players from other geographies where regulatory and legal restrictions are not so widespread, consumers tend to reward manufacturers who have in mind those principles and values.

Cláudia Costa believes that “a company is only truly sustainable if it is guided by principles of sustainability in the economic, social and environmental vectors.” In this context, the Company will only be sustainable if it is, from the outset, economically and financially viable. For such a purpose, SIR has been implementing the best operational practices and has been diligently striving for making the costs with its structure as reasonable and effective as possible. That has allowed adding value to shareholders and their clients. On the other hand, SIR is also guided by a socially responsible performance, recognizing the merits of all its employees as well as the other internal or external stakeholders, such as its suppliers, clients, and the community to which it belongs. At last, and as Cláudia Costa points out, “the strict compliance with current environmental legislation and the implementation of the most accepted environmental practices are the key-issue to ensuring our sustainability in the medium and long term.”

Strategic partnerships
SIR owns a department dedicated to the research, development and design of new products, as well as to determine and settle or clear up problems and to implement improving performance actions as far as existing products or industrial processes are concerned, based on principles of innovation, industrial efficiency, differentiation, environmental responsibility and competitiveness. In this sense, and in order to develop a solid and scientifically and technologically based pattern, seeking every day a bigger contact with the outside, SIR has been establishing partnerships with several stakeholders in the product design and development process as well as with accredited entities in areas of fundamental and applied research of particular interest to the business.

“These partnerships are intended to strengthen the company’s strategic options in order to place itself in innovative and more attractive market segments that will fortify its capacity to incorporate new solutions into its products. Thereby, SIR intends to answer to two different issues: developing its business by improving the current offer, and opening out the business by getting hold of new markets and customers “, emphasizes Cláudia Costa.

The partnership with the Fibrenamics platform of the University of Minho has come together to join efforts, since both entities have a common opened innovation strategy and a very interesting complementarity: “SIR has all the conditions to guarantee the industrialization and commercialization of some innovations which Fibrenamics has recently been working in”, says Cláudia Costa.

Fibrenamics and its avant-garde vision
The understanding and development of polymer composite materials inherent to Fibrenamics’s activity allows it to be a SIR’s very important partner, complementing the decades-long knowledge in the midst of SIR, adding to the technical knowledge a deeper scientific one, introducing an avant-garde vision of the state-of-the-art composites and polymers subject-matter inside several target-markets, different from those where SIR has been developing its business.

In this context, SIR has just submitted an individual project in the Portugal 2020’s sphere of action, “which has the support of the University of Minho to develop a variant of its compacts which should be forwarded to other sectors of activity different from the current ones, thus allowing expanding our competitive horizon,” says Cláudia Costa. The strategy presented by SIR for this project aims, therefore, to satisfy the organization external and internal needs.

SIR has defined its internal strategy considering that, in order to face up the market needs, it would have to develop alternative products with high added value which wouldn’t change its production process or its business model withal. Thus, according to Cláudia Costa, “SIR looks forward to expanding its target markets at the same time as creating a dragging effect into other business areas.”

In a short term, if the PT2020 project is approved, what is expected from this partnership is the development and the future commercialization of a variant of SIR compacts, which should be directed to some sectors of activity different from the existing ones, thus allowing broadening its competitive horizon. In the long run, Cláudia Costa assumes that “SIR expects to go on with the collaboration of Fibrenamics platform of the University of Minho on further product developments, in order to answer to the continuous need for improvement and innovation of the company.”

Date: November/2016
Enterviewed: Cláudia Costa, Research and Development Manager - Sonae Indústria
Note: Sonae Indústria de Revestimentos officially changed its name to SURFORMA on 2 November 2020


Fibrenamics uses cookies to improve your browsing experience and for statistical purposes. Continued use of this website and services implies acceptance of the use of cookies. Política de cookies.