Australian flooring company Style has developed a ‘transportable factory’ that will help it expand its production base to other locations around the world.
The company currently has a manufacturing base in the Zhejiang province in China and sales offices in US, China, Australia and South Africa.
The ‘transportable factory’ model was developed as part of a 12-month research program undertaken by the Melbourne-based company in partnership with Flinders University’s Molecular Technologies Research Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. The research program was part funded by the Federal Government.
The mobile strand woven factory was designed be installed into existing wood finishing factories in any location round the world for the manufacture of woven products using locally available soft wood pieces, such as poplar in the U.S.A. and blue gum in Australia.
Until now, strand woven products have only been manufactured in China. This is because the manufacturing process has not been able to be replicated outside of China due to raw material sourcing and manufacturing cost issues.
According to Style CEO Peter Torreele, the ‘transportable factory’ model provide for an exportable and economically viable manufacturing cell to produce strand woven products outside of China by designing an international block factory design has a similar cost base to China through advanced automation technologies.
The ‘transportable factory’ model has been designed to be an “add-on-module” to existing wood flooring finishing factories anywhere in the world, Torreele said.
This new technology sees the company again a greater footing in the strand woven flooring market, which is expected to grow steadily over the next few years as cost of exotic hardwood continues to increase due to scarcity and restrictions on logging and deforestation.
The company is currently engaged in discussions with wood flooring manufacturers to form strategic partnerships to license the patented technology.
If successful, these partnerships would provide a new revenue stream for the company, according to Torreele.
A leader in the “green” strand woven technology space, Style was the first company in the world to introduce strand woven flooring products in 2004.
The Australian-listed company was founded in 2004 and specialises in R&D, manufacturing and marketing of “green” flooring products based on its strand woven technologies.
The company’s original strand woven technology used Chinese Moso Bamboo, which is considered to be low in value and fast growing, as its “green” input material to produce a solid floor that provides the same strength and durability of exotic hardwood. The technology was developed to reduce the destruction of tropical forests and landing clearing for construction of native hardwood plantations.
Image: Tasmanian blue gum
Image courtesy of Tree Species.