Jun 05 2019

3 questions for Furwa’s Roland Reigbert

Furwa is the oldest manufacturer of veneer edging in continuous rolls. Even today, the company produces all of the usual edge types at a location in Walkertshofen, such as real veneer edges, fine-line edges, thick veneer edges and sheathing veneer. We spoke with Roland Reigbert, Managing Director of Furwa Furnierkanten, about his latest highlight, the flame-resistant veneer edge, which was presented for the first time to the public at interzum 2019

A flame-resistant veneer edge – how is that technically possible? Veneer, a natural raw material, burns. How was the material further developed in such a way as to result in a technical innovation?

The List and Proman Interior companies joined forces to develop a process with which veneers can be impregnated with a corresponding fire retardant, in order for the List company to use it in aircraft interiors.

Of decisive importance here was that the optics, but also the texture and the feel of the veneer should not be altered. Furwa had already developed a flame-resistant support edge, although not of veneer, for aircraft interiors. This was also then registered for patent and is today used as a roll product.

From this time, or production for Koelnmesse chronologically prior to this, with a veneer composite for decoration purposes, we knew that fire resistance would be called for again and again for the most varied application cases with veneer as a visible surface.

Which is why we immediately perked up our ears when we heard of this flame-resistant veneer, which did not convey the salt crystals of the impregnation into the surface or present other problems, such as discolouration. We then also immediately included the development and testing of the use of Limartec veneer in edge production.

The flame-resistant veneer and thick veneer edge or even the sheathing edge has now been completely developed and can be delivered by Furwa. However, as new products, neither has been launched in series production.

Duly noted; to be used in the usual processing procedures and for the most varied applications, but without a guarantee from Furwa, as we don't even know the possible range of applications ourselves.

The innovation on the part of Furwa here is to to reach a step in the processing chain, similar as with normal veneer and the continuous edge, the sheathing veneer or even the 3D veneer.

You are working on the product together with the Austrian Interior PROMAN. How did this cooperation come about? What hurdles did you have to overcome together to finally create such an innovative, marketable product?

At a veneer acceptance (viewing and procurement) in a veneer factory, I saw apparatus that was unfamiliar to me and asked what it was about. "Secret", or something similar was the answer.

However, I am familiar with many processes in the processing and finishing of veneer. When I kept on asking, I was finally given a contact person. It was finally Interior Proman that responded with clear statements. Then things got going in rapid steps, as a plate without an edge often does not function.

Because we have the complete production depth for veneer edges on the premises, and Interior Proman quickly produced veneer in the Limartec process for us, all production steps were tested and the necessary parameters defined.

After the edges had then been produced in small series without any problems, these were tested in subsequent processing and further tested by an adhesives manufacturer for quality of adhesion.

We achieved values in all areas comparable with our veneer, thick veneer edges and sheathing veneers. However, the preconditions were of course also in-depth testing of fire behaviour.

I like to remember our head-shaking employees from production, who attempted with disbelief to ignite the veneer and edges in the courtyard. Here you have to know that our veneer waste is taken home by practically every employee of our company as ideal "kindling". We shall see if that's so easy in future.

What are the future areas in which flame-resistant veneer edges will be used? Are there already enquiries from industries that have been waiting for such a product?

The customer that we want to reach immediately is of course Interior Proman. Because there they are pursuing the goal of being able to offer a completely certified system with veneer, and thus a real wood surface as an interiors material.

And this happens to also include the veneer edge in all technical versions, in addition to the plate with veneer as the surface, and this workable in a conventional, industrial framework.

As described, veneer composites as decorative ceiling design, as already once created for interzum, would today be possible in a flame-resistant version with guarantee. Something like this also already exists, although not flame-resistant, as an undulating ceiling with veneer strips from Furwa in the Hellabrunn Zoo. The visitor area of the orangutan house there is designed accordingly.

However, many public buildings also require general fire control, which, with veneer, which involves thin wood, of course always presents difficulties.

However, for me, from an ecological perspective, veneer is the cleanest natural surface material and, to put it bluntly, even vegan. This leads to the fact that architects and designers, in addition to the seen and felt "warm" effect, also want cruise ships or hotels with real wood, and thus with veneer.

Because veneer is real wood, pure nature and unique – the so-called filet of the tree. With the Limartec fire control technology, it offers the corresponding safety. This is thus possible and realisable for anyone involved in realising interiors. However, Furwa is only the edge supplier here. Everything else must be discussed with Interior Proman.

Contact person
Portrait of Roland Reigbert
Roland Reigbert standard.toggle-bookmark Senior Management
Furwa Furnierkanten GmbH
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