Australian flooring company Style Limited has announced plans to expand its production base to other parts of the world with a unique transportable factory that mirrors its China manufacturing base.
The “mobile” manufacturing breakthrough follows a 12-month research program undertaken by Style in partnership with Flinders University’s Molecular Technologies Research Centre in Adelaide, South Australia and partly funded by the Australian Federal Government.
The result is the development of a “transportable strand woven factory” that can be installed to existing wood finishing factories anywhere in the world to manufacture strand woven products using locally available soft wood species such as Poplar in the United States or Blue Gum in Australia, according to the company.
Style CEO Peter Torreele said the partnership with Flinders University has now developed a model for an exportable and economically viable manufacturing cell to produce strand woven products outside of China, by designing an international block factory with a similar cost base to China due to advanced automation.
“The model has been designed to be an add-on module to existing wood flooring finishing factories anywhere in the world and we are in discussions with wood flooring manufacturers to form strategic partnerships for licensing of this patented technology, thereby creating a new revenue stream for the company,” he said.
Until now, strand woven products have only been manufactured in China because the existing manufacturing process – which is extremely labor intensive - has not been able to be replicated outside China due to raw material sourcing and manufacturing cost issues, Style noted.
Style’s highly automated international block factory will use locally available wood species anywhere in the world as input material, which will enable to manufacture and bring to market an entire new range of strand woven wood products, the company added.