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EGGER commences production of lightweight boards

Eurolight at a glance:

· First large-scale industrial production of lightweight boards

· Production started earlier than planned in August

· Daily capacity: 1000 m3

· Available as a raw board or with a decorative surface

· Frames allow post and soft forming solutions

· Development of Innofix worktop connectors

· Fitting manufacturers are currently at work on innovative solutions

Huge interest in Eurolight within the furniture industry

Europe's leading wood-based panels manufacturer, Egger has commenced large-scale production of its first Eurolight lightweight boards ahead of schedule.

Based on an innovative construction method, the Eurolight boards open up fresh dimensions for furniture construction and the interior fittings markets.

Combining a lightweight honeycomb centre, sandwiched between slim high-density boards, the Eurolight panels offer a low weight yet stable product solution which frees designers from the restrictions associated with traditional panels.

Production began in August and following a further optimisation stage, full acceptance testing has now been carried out.

Michael Egger said: “With major investments in both time and money, we have delivered the world's first large-scale industrial production plant for lightweight building boards ahead of schedule at the company's St. Johann site in Austria.

“The technical challenges posed by the pioneering construction methods were overcome in record time and we believe the large-scale production of light-weight board will transform the use of products within both the furniture and fittings markets.”

Mr Egger believes a new era has dawned for the furniture industry in the market for wood-based products: “We have clearly established ourselves as a top innovator. Eurolight is a major boost for the market, and it will have a profound impact on the world of furniture construction in the years to come.”

Not only will Eurolight open the opportunities for new, thicker, chunkier styles but also, because of the rising prices of energy and raw materials, this lightweight board will meet the needs of furniture manufacturers, logistics partners and consumers alike.

Development of the new Eurolight production line

The plant components, which were subjected to preliminary acceptance tests at their respective manufacturers' sites in June, were installed at the Austrian Tyrol site during July and August. The test operation has been underway since mid-August.

With the press supplied by SHS Siempelkamp and frames inserted by Homag Machinery, the plant's daily capacity for the production of large-scale lightweight building boards (5610 x 2070 mm) is more than 1000 m3. Frameless boards for further processing can be produced in thicknesses of between 15 and 100 mm.

The Egger Eurolight project was first presented to the industry at the ZOW 2006 trade fair in Bad Salzuflen, Germany. Since the fair, numerous manufacturers from all sectors of the furniture industry have expressed an interest in this development, thus ensuring that the capacity of the impressive new plant will be well utilised right from the very first shift. Various feedback activities gathered from companies in the market give further indication that EGGER's newly-created capacity will achieve full utilisation in the short term.

Eurolight in a decor combination with a melamine-faced outer layer of just 4 mm

Eurolight is a sandwich construction with outer layers of very rigid Eurospan 2000 thin chipboard, or Formline 2000 or Formline 3000 thin MDF board, and a middle layer of cardboard honeycomb. Eurolight can be used for shop and exhibition fittings, internal doors, tables, shelves, variable office furnishings, contemporary living concepts and, last but not least, kitchens and worktops.

Eurolight is available as a raw board to which the furniture industry can then add the necessary finish – laminate, foil, lacquer or veneer. But EGGER also offers Eurolight as a completely new product in decor combinations with melamine faced boards with an outer layer thickness of just 4 mm. This gives the furniture industry maximum design flexibility. Eurolight is perfect for use in decor and texture combinations with the whole of the melamine faced Eurodekor range; there are laminates as well as melamine and security (ABS) edgings available to match.

Processing with or without a frame

The new production plant in St. Johann allows frames to be inserted into the boards, thereby making traditional furniture designs, fitting attachments and joining solutions possible. In the first production step, a full-size board of dimensions 5610 x 2070 mm and a thickness of between 15 and 100 mm is produced. The guaranteed plant capacity of 30,000 m² per day means that every day approx. 1000 m3 of 30 mm board can be produced. In the second production step, frame materials are inserted using a postframe process: depending on how the board is to be later processed and used. Egger use standard frame thicknesses of either 10, 38 or 65 mm.

When using the 10mm frame, all conventional types of decor edge can be easily applied to the edge of the frame. If a 38 mm frame is inserted then the boards can also be postformed – up to a board thickness of 80 mm, depending on the profile. The process also allows security (ABS) edging of the same decor, or contrasting edges, to be applied to the long sides using PU bonding, up to a board thickness of 80 mm. Solutions of this kind involving straight edging are increasingly popular in modern kitchens.

EGGER sees itself as a partner to the furniture industry in terms of adding value to its products, and thus can also carry out further processing of its lightweight products to produce prefabricated furniture components in milled, drilled or free-formed designs in thicknesses up to 60 mm.

Solutions for the lightweight worktop; Innofix system

Following the presentation of an initial prototype at the ZOW in Bad Salzuflen, in February 2006, EGGER has now completed development of its new INNOFIX worktop connector in cooperation with Merkt.
Extensive market testing together with fabricators and representatives of the furniture industry has led to optimisations allowing even quicker assembly and better precision levelling, meaning that the Innofix worktop connectors will be available for 38, 50 and 60 mm lightweight and chipboard core worktops from September 2006.
A new patented T-shaped profile has been developed for cut-outs for sinks and hobs. This means that Eurolight worktops guarantee stability in the cut-out area and offer reliable protection against expansion. The plastic T-shaped profile, which is tailored to Egger's Eurolight worktop range, comes in thicknesses of 38, 50 and 60 mm and allows quick and flexible assembly.

Network for frameless lightweight boards

The fact that the development of lightweight boards is still in its initial stages is reflected in the efforts that manufacturers of fittings, edgings, adhesives and machinery are currently investing in, to find the appropriate system solutions. EGGER is working closely in this area with the market leaders and top innovators in the industry, striving to develop complete solutions for the furniture industry in cooperation with its network of partners. Lively debate and knowledge transfer are currently underway. The aim is to be able to introduce frameless lightweight boards as a “standard product” in the furniture industry

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