Changzhou Kingfisher Decorative Material Co., Ltd. is the latest licensee for Välinge Innovation’s new Liteback® sustainable core technology. 5G® licensee since April 2019, Kingfisher has now extended its collaboration with Välinge to include Liteback for their SPC products.
“Välinge’s Liteback technology is a perfect match for Kingfisher and our customers. Reducing weight while keeping the same performance is much appreciated, especially today due to increasing fright costs and increasing efforts towards a more sustainable lifestyle” says Mr Lucas Zhu, General Manager of Kingfisher.
Liteback® innovatively reduces the product’s weight, by up to 20% by removing a portion of the core material from the back of resilient flooring with a grooving unit machine. The product becomes lighter which means fewer transportations will be needed, as more square meters of flooring can be squeezed into each shipping container – lowering CO2 emissions in the process. A lighter product will also be a benefit in the installation process, both when it is performed by a professional installer or Do-It-Yourself. Also with the increasing trend in online buying, a lighter product can enable “one man delivery”. The removed material can be recycled in the next production process, reducing material consumption by up to 20%, thus improving raw material efficiency and saving production costs.
“The whole process from the factory to end-user installation becomes much more efficient, sustainable and easier. Liteback® opens up for using a higher degree of pre-consumer waste than in traditional resilient flooring production” says Per Josefsson, Director Business Unit Plastic Floor Technology at Välinge.
Apart from the benefits Liteback® brings in sustainability, Liteback is also a very helpful add-on in the new tariff-landscape. Flooring companies importing from China to the US have seen large cost increases since USA imposed 25% tariffs on some products that were previously on the exemption list.
“We believe Liteback® will, to some degree, offset the impact the new tariff situation has brought upon the flooring business as well as the increased freight costs influenced by the pandemic. Using Liteback is one way to lower and transportation costs, evening out the uncertainties and increased costs caused by the new tariffs” Per Josefsson says.
Launched in commercially available products earlier in 2020, the Liteback technology has been very well received by the market. Liteback enables material to be removed from the core of resilient floorings, thereby reducing the weight of the final product with up to 20%. All handling of the product thus becomes easier and more efficient: from reduced raw material use, to delivery out of the production unit, to the time of purchase and during installation by the final user. The production process involves the use of a grooving unit to mill grooves on the backside of the floorboard. The material that is removed in the process is recycled back into the production process, thereby reducing material consumption with up to 20%. Typically, the same savings can be done in transportation with up to 20% less impact in freights and corresponding CO2 savings.