Today, worktop panels and desktops as well as kitchen furniture, bathroom furniture and wall cabinets are only rarely manufactured from solid wood: the base material is typically chipboard surfaced with trendy decorative surfaces. But the main raw material, i.e. 90 percent of these chipboard panels, is wood - a renewable natural resource – at least if they come from the factories of the EGGER Group.
The Austrian family owned company is a complete supplier for the furniture construction and internal construction, for structural timberwork as well as for wood based flooring with 18 production sites throughout the globe. The materials offered by EGGER for the furniture construction and internal construction are, amongst other things, miscellaneous wood substrates which are surfaced with decorative paper impregnated with melamine resin. In addition to chipboard panels, also MDF panels, OSB Combiline or lightweight panels can serve as a substrate. Moreover, the product range includes worktops and compact panels, finished furniture components, composite panels in very different designs, lightweight construction boards, windowsills and edgings. Decorative surfaces, such as the Feelwood series, make the wood materials look like real wood, and touching them also feels like touching real wood.
The basis of most surfaced panels – and of course also part of the Egger portfolio – is raw chipboard with a core layer consisting of relatively coarse wood chips and a facing consisting of fine wood chips. These chipboard panels are the most commonly used substrates with numerous applications in all fields. Their three-layer structure makes them ideal for applying the most different surfaces.
The production of the chipboard panels starts with the hogging of the wood. In this process, EGGER uses industrial roundwood, spin-off products from the sawing process and recycled wood. These chips are then dried using heat from the company’s biomass boiler system. The boiler is heated in a sustainable manner with biogenic waste that can no longer be used in production as well as with biomass. At the EGGER head office in St. Johann in Tyrol, the waste heat of the system is in turn used for long-distance heating - as part of a particularly sustainable production process along the entire value-adding chain. With this production system, EGGER is a pioneer in the wood industry.
In the next step, the dried chips are first sorted by size. The dry chips – sorted according to size i.e. facing and core layer - are then mixed with glue, hardener and paraffin emulsion and subsequently fed to the so-called ContiRoll press by controlled spreading. In this continuously operating roller press, this mixture is then compressed under high pressure and at high temperatures to form an endless chipboard panel of the required thickness. After the endless panel has left the press, it is trimmed on both sides and cut to length i.e. sized by a diagonal saw. The last step of the chipboard panel production is the sanding of the panel. Six to ten sanding heads smooth the upper face and underside face of the panel and hence calibrate the thickness. After the panels have cooled down, they are stored on large stacks until they are delivered or processed in downstream processes.
EGGER surfaces almost every chipboard panel to produce a melamine-surfaced component.
To do so the company uses decorative paper which needs to be impregnated in a first step: in this process, the dry paper passes several times from the roll through resin baths before it dried, cut to the desired length and stored on a transfer carriage. Both the selected impregnated decorative surface and the chipboard panel to be surfaced are then fed to a short-cycle press. This is done using transfer carriages and automatically. First, brushes remove all undesired particles from the raw panel in order to guarantee a good surface quality of the end product. Then the press stratifies the layers of impregnated paper, raw panel and impregnated paper one above the other, like a sandwich. In this process, the number of paper layers in the two facings depends to a great extent on the final decorative surface of the panel: the more the final surface shall be structural, the greater is the number of paper layers required. Gloss, material or depth effects on the panel surface are created by hot galvanized or chromed steel matrices placed in the press. They impart their structure to the paper. Subsequently the sandwiches made of raw panel and structural paper are compressed at temperatures of more than 170 °C. 20 seconds are enough for the resin to be softened and polymerized and in this way allow for adhesion between the individual layers.
The panel edges coming out of the press are freed from the overhanging paper and subjected to a final visual check. For some orders, the panels are cut to the desired sizes before they are dispatched. The final steps are stacking, packing, labelling and storage of the finished products. In this process, panels with specific structures or very sensitive surfaces are additionally fitted with a removable protective foil. The finished panels are then transported to the customers in the kitchen, bathroom and office furniture industry, to wood stores or to the EGGER furniture component production.
In many parts of its panel production, EGGER relies on technology of the IMA Schelling Group, amongst other things in the field of paper and raw panel order picking as well as in the field of conveyor systems and logistics components operating in the environment of high-rise storage systems. Panel cutting cells as well packing lines for standard component sizes and furniture with fixed dimensions also come from Schwarzach. And also for its furniture components production in the factories of Bünde (Germany) and St. Johann, the EGGER Group counts on machinery from the IMA Schelling Group. For example, the panel cutting is performed in two large panel cutting cells of the AHS type and on two fh 6 panel saws. For the edge processing operations, four edge processing lines consisting of double-side Combimas for batch production as well as two single-side Novimat machines are used. Moreover, a BIMA Px80 machining centre for free-form parts has been ordered already.
The EGGER Group with its head office in St. Johann in Tyrol belongs to the leading companies in the woodworking industry on an international scale. The family owned and operated company, which was founded in 1961, today has 18 production sites throughout the globe with a total of 9600 employees approximately. EGGER is a complete supplier for the furniture construction and internal construction, for structural timberwork as well as for wood based floors (laminate, cork and design flooring). EGGER products are purchased by the furniture manufacturing industry, specialist wood shops as well as DIY stores and construction markets. In the fiscal year 2017-18, the Group achieved a consolidated turnover of approx. 2.68 billion euros.
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