Välinge Innovation UK is introducing the Välinge Flooring Brand to the market this year – and says it’s rewriting the rules on hardwood flooring in the process.
The company’s range of hardened wood products features the technologies of Woodura and 5G Dry, representing the next generation of highly innovative engineered wood floors. Woodura is a patented surface technology which gives outstanding durability and is also highly sustainable. 5G Dry is a premium water-resistant fold-down system which the company says is unique among hardened wood flooring products on account of its ease of installation and its water resistance.
These new products are getting an enthusiastic reception from UK buyers, who welcome the way in which the new products from Välinge Flooring combine the beauty and feel of a real wood floor with exceptional water-resistance, durability, and sustainability.
To meet increasing demand for its new products in all markets where they are active including the UK and Ireland , Välinge is now ramping up its capacity, both at its headquarters in Viken (Sweden) and also by setting up a new ‘mega factory’ in Ogulin (Croatia).
The company is taking this step to protect its supplies in a situation where a raw materials crisis was already strongly affecting the wood flooring industry, and this has been greatly exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Together Ukraine and Russia account for about 25% of all oak top layers produced for the European market and the shortage of oak in general and parquet floors in particular is now having an impact on the market, jeopardising many construction projects, which now face the risk of major delays due to cancelled deliveries of traditional wood flooring products.
Välinge is therefore increasing its capacity at its Viken factory, while Välinge Innovation Sweden AB has acquired the site for a factory which is currently under construction in Croatia, close to where the timber itself is sourced, and drawn from companies already within the group also in Croatia .
The first phase is scheduled to be operational in 2023 and the factory will be completed by 2027. The massive new complex will include a warehouse, press hall, process hall, powder production, energy station, and offices. The two factories together will eventually have a production capacity in excess of 20 million square metres annually.
Given that the Woodura surface technology maximises the amount of product that can be manufactured from every log, the company claims its capacity in the future is going to be truly impressive. Ten times more flooring can be produced from the same amount of timber, compared to traditional engineered wood flooring and 30 times more flooring compared to solid wood flooring. The surface created also provides outstanding impact and wear resistance, making hardened wood floors truly worry-free.
The patented Woodura technology involves the fusing of a thin sheet of real wood with a wood fibre core through a powder mix layer. Compared to traditional wood flooring, the durability of the wood wear layer is massively increased.
In the UK, Välinge Innovation is headed up by general manager Simon Darbyshire and national key account manager for UK and Ireland, Richard Banham.
Simon brings 30 years’ international management experience in the wood-based panels sector to the business, including 14 years as MD of the UK subsidiary of the multinational manufacturing corporation Pfleiderer, specialising in branded wood-based panels.
‘We are now once again able to offer something very new to the market with our latest range of finished hardened wood flooring products in XL and XXL sizes,’ he says.
The new hardened wood floors are made with oak, ash, and walnut from sustainable timber sources of timber with FSC certification. The Woodura technology makes the manufacturing process much more efficient and environmentally friendly in terms of timber usage than traditional processes.
The use of patented 5G Dry, Välinge’s fold-down locking technology, prevents water from penetrating through the joints between the panels. The company says no other engineered wood flooring has the overall capabilities and product specifications offered by this new range, which makes it unique on the market.
‘High durability, water resistance, XL, and XXL sizes, ease and speed of installation, all combined with environmental benefits, mean that these new products are already receiving a great reception in the market,’ says Simon Darbyshire. ‘The ‘Made in Sweden’ label is also seen as highly positive here in the UK, in view of the country’s longstanding reputation for environmental sustainability and product quality,’ he adds.
These are also the messages that Richard Banham is finding are resonating well with the national accounts that he is speaking to. ‘There is a massive market opportunity for Välinge in the UK,’ he says. ‘We are selling much more than just a product, but all the technology that supports it.
Sustainability, quality, innovation, durability – these are just some of the key messages associated with Välinge hardened wood flooring products that I am really looking forward to bringing to the most forward-thinking distributors and retailers in the UK and Ireland.’
Richard is known to many in the industry on account of his 16 years’ experience with Headlam Group, where he was latterly BMK commercial manager, responsible for the hard flooring business, since 2019. His knowledge of the industry, makes him particularly excited about the challenge of bringing the next generation of highly innovative engineered hardened wood floors to the UK and Irish markets.