Monthly Archives: March 2013

Manufacturing Laminate Flooring Long Boards

Manufacturing Laminate Flooring Long Boards

If you are Australian and are in the flooring business, you???ll know that Spotted Gum and Blackbutt laminate flooring long boards are big sellers in Australia.

Australian long boards generally come in 1800, 2200 and 2400mm lengths. This makes the product really stand out from the crowd when you sit it next to a more common length of laminate flooring such as 1218mm.

Wastage

Long board laminate flooring manufacturers don???t like to produce long boards in 1800mm because there is a lot of wastage from the raw HDF board which generally comes in lengths of 2445mm. So keep this in mind if you really want 1800mm long boards because they???ll be expensive to manufacture.

The wider the better

Sunspeed Flooring Quality Control Checking 195mm Longboard Width

Not only are Australian long boards long, they are also pretty wide. They can be anything from 195 to 295mm wide. Just take a look at Australia???s hardwood sector and you???ll see that Australians love their flooring wide too.

The narrowest a professional Chinese long board manufacturer can produce is 159mm wide with a Unilin click. Any narrower than that is not recommended and would likely compromise quality.

Perhaps we are a bit biased, but we think 2200x195x12mm is the best size because that???s the size we currently manufacture for our Australian clients.

Can they handle it?

Sunspeed Flooring Quality Control Checking Newly Produced 2200mm Longboard Lengths

There aren???t many Chinese manufacturers that can produce long boards any longer than 1800mm. In fact, they are few and far between. This is simply because the majority of factories??? machines can???t handle the extra length.

Those Chinese laminate flooring manufacturers that can produce or 2200mm or 2400mm long boards are in a good position to succeed in Australia’s laminate flooring market because they???ll have barely any competition from competing suppliers.

Banana bend

Another issue with manufacturing long boards is avoiding the ???banana bend??? effect ??? because the boards are so long if not manufactured correctly they can bend like a banana. This is of course a major concern for Australians seeking long boards from a Chinese manufacturer.

The important thing here is using the right core board and giving the flooring suitable acclimation time. That way the ???banana bend??? effect can be totally avoided.

Quality in check

Taber Test For AC3 Long Boards

We know of only three reputable factories in China that can produce Australian long boards and we work with one of them.

If you want long boards manufactured then get in touch with Sunspeed Flooring. Sunspeed have experience in producing 2200x195x12mm and have onsite quality control to inspect every stage of the manufacturing process (from raw materials to packaged product).

Sunspeed Flooring are currently the only laminate flooring suppliers in China that actually implement a quality control system. Despite other manufacturers saying they have quality control, this is just hearsay. Even the biggest names in the business don???t have proper quality control systems, we know this because we visit their factories often.

Packaging

Another thing you must confirm when choosing a long board manufacturer in China is that they can supply the flooring in long (one-piece) cartons. If you do not clearly specify this then manufacturers will more than likely supply two-piece cartons that join in the middle. This saves them money and the resulting carton looks cheap and unattractive.

Conclusion

Because laminate flooring long boards are such a special product it is vital you choose a laminate flooring manufacturer with experience in producing it. Make sure you are very picky when choosing a long board manufacturer and ask for proof and details of their experience of long board production in the past.

We hope this article was insightful. If you have any questions about laminate flooring long boards please post them in the comments section below and we???ll get back to you.

by Richard Marriott

The Legality of Laminate Flooring Click Systems

Unilin Click SystemAmong the greatest innovations in the laminate flooring sector was, without a doubt, the??glue-less click system, which improved the ease of installation, increasing the product appeal to the end-user. The pioneers of the new technology were Unilin and Valinge. For the past twenty years, their competition has been the major topic in the industry as the patent-related war span over a decade before settling in 2007. The world market is still split between the two companies and a much needed change is not likely to appear on the horizon. Both boast huge R&D budgets, countless patents and top law firms on their side, hence their estimated annual 1bn USD of loyalty fees is not a big surprise

The current status quo works to disadvantage of manufacturers and customers. Moreover, it leaves plenty of unanswered questions about the way click systems are, and ought to be, manufactured. That is precisely the aim of this small-scale investigation, and exploring answer to the questions that follow should satisfy curiosity of those present in the flooring business. In reality and on paper, what is the factories??? compliance rate with patents? What are the most commonly used tricks to escape or avoid the law? What are the viable alternatives to the persistent duopoly? How can one determine whether or not a particular product is patented? And most importantly, what is the future going to look like?

The Chinese mindset

Any laminate flooring factory can manufacture goods with the Uniclic (Unilin???s trademark), Valinge, or unlicensed click system, the last possibly leading to facing a fine. It is relatively astonishing that for so many years there has not been anybody to propose a new choice. This is directly linked to the above mentioned global giants, each with a portfolio of hundreds of patents in all key regions around the world. Furthermore, locking system innovation is fairly limited simply due to the lack of technical sophistication. A more pragmatic view of the problem would dictate that it is relatively hard to convince retailers, distributors and end-customers to any new system. The complicated, and long patent application process and its later protection is expensive and demands expertise. Fortunately, there are promising exceptions to the rule, and among the recent innovators is Yekalon, a producer that previously fought a legal dispute with Unilin and has since developed its own Tap&Go system that is not licensed to third parties.

Laminate Flooring Click System Grooving Machine

A grooving machine in a Shandong laminate flooring factory

A vast majority of manufacturers are left with Uniclic/Valinge click systems, which translates into applying for a license, going through a brief inspection and then paying royalties per sqm of their output. There is an estimated 250-300 official licensees of the two systems around the world, yet there are thousands of producers in the industry, thus ??it does not take much effort to doubt the legality of their operations.

Patent licenses

Our recent trip to the Chinese hub of laminate flooring, Changzhou, in Jiangsu Province, resolved those doubts, as the common practice is to collectively use patent licenses. In practice it means that

  1. an unlicensed company collaborates with licensed manufacturers, or
  2. an unlicensed manufacturer sets up a separate entity for the sole reason of obtaining a license.

In the latter case, both enterprises are effectively owned by the same investor, but registered under different ???shareholders???. This way, the manufacturer can still continue their exports to countries with poor patent protection without paying their patent fees, while exports to more developed countries can be engaged through the company with the license, whose goods will be closely scrutinised.

In order to make it more clear, let us consider an example. An unlicensed company A might start company B, which would then get a Uniclic license. B then shares A???s production line. The difference between the two is that A can produce and sell both licensed and unlicensed click systems, whereas B can only the former one.

This approach is on the verge of law, yet Unilin, which has been shutting down booths of unlicensed brands at trade shows and frequently fined producers, cannot alter the situation in Changzhou. That is mainly because the enforcement of patent rights is much more strict in developed markets than in the developing ones, and thus the main aim of licensors is to convince as many companies to become licensees. Those who are purchasers can rest assured that their getting licensed products, as not complying poses a risk facing a fine of about 100k US dollars for infringing a patent.

The future

Laminate flooring manufacturers in Changzhou are looking forward to the next year as they await Uniclic???s patent to expire in 2014. Let us see how will that impact production volumes, amounts of orders, and the level of prices by the end of 2013 and in the beginning of 2014. Most importantly, however, everybody should be hoping for increased innovation through greater competition in the flooring industry, most probably leading to better and more efficient products as well as lower prices in the long-term.

Welcome to the Laminate Flooring Manufacturers Blog!

happy birthday laminate flooring manufacturersTo celebrate LaminateFlooringManufacturers.com‘s one year birthday we’ve decided to launch a brand new blog for 2013 to give our readers the most dedicated insider guide to China’s laminate flooring industry on the worldwide web!

Because we are laminate flooring manufacturers ourselves, we’ve got plenty of experience and insider information about how things work and are developing in China. We’ve been producing laminate flooring for over a decade now and have cooperated with manufacturers in both Changzhou and Shandong.

It is quite remarkable how scarce the amount of sound information about laminate flooring on the internet truly is!

We’ve tried to find blogs or sources devoted to the subject, but have come back with absolutely nothing. So hopefully there is something we can do to change this.

We will share our knowledge about the laminate flooring industry and aim to educate those interested in how it works. We would greatly encourage a platform for discussion on this vital topic as laminate flooring is gaining momentum around the globe.

Here are some topics we intend to cover in the blog:

  • laminate flooring production
  • industry related stories
  • exhibition visit reviews
  • innovation in the industry
  • market insights and trends
  • China’s growing domestic market

We would like to stress there is plenty of room for cooperation here at the Laminate Flooring Manufacturers Blog??and would be more than happy to investigate anything industry related our readers may find interesting.

If you’d like us to write about something in particular please feel free to post your suggestions in the comments section.