Innovations in the Flooring Industry
Hasko is Part of a Strategic Alliance That Consists of Three Groups:
Designs and builds machinery and systems for solid and engineered wood flooring plants. Hasko offers single machines and systems but more importantly complete turnkey solutions including plant layout, design, system and machine integration and implementation.
Develops and provides wood scanning systems for defect cutting and rip optimization and grade optimization for solid and engineered wood flooring.
Is the leading supplier of automated material handling systems for the solid and engineered wood flooring industry
Hasko is the recognized leading supplier of machines and systems for the wood flooring industry and is committed to continuous improvement of core machines and system utilized in the production of wood flooring.
This includes machines and solutions for ripping lumber, defecting blank strips, Side Matching (moulding) tongue and groove flooring, and end matching wood flooring.
Recent Innovations Include:
- Hasko has developed a patent pending automatic chop saw that uniquely utilizes two saw units in one machine enabling simultaneous and separate cutting, feeding, and waste discharge operations. This machine is 15%-40% faster and more efficient that typical single saw completion. See the Hasko Extra Chopsaw
- Hasko has developed a patent pending shifting gang ripsaw for ripping flooring blanks in solid wood flooring plants. This system offers more flexibility for plants to produce the expanded mix of widths and species demanded by their customers while increasing raw material utilization by increasing board yield. See the Hasko MPEM Gang Ripsaw.
- Hasko has developed a multistage process that improves sanding operations in solid and engineered prefinished lines. This system increases production while decreasing in-process- defects while reducing finish line labor. See Hasko/Mekanka Hinish Line Automation
Innovation in the Wood Flooring Industry
- Hasko has developed a panel separation system for finish lines that will precisely separate engaged panels to promote better finishing and particularly better paint finish coverage of beveled edges. See the Hasko Panel Separator
- Hasko has introduced the MPEM Wood Flooring End Matcher. This is an improved machine for applying the tongue and groove profiles on the ends of random length solid and engineered flooring. This new machine offers improved dust extraction and a more compact design and smaller footprint in the flooring plant, but most importantly requires no operators when integrated with associated plant automation. See the Hasko MPEM End Matcher.
- Haskan Technologies’ core offering is UltraScan, a wood scanning system that been in developmental stages for the past 6 years. This unique technology utilizes a combination of camera and laser vision systems in conjunction with non-contact ultra-sonic analysis. This combination of technologies is unique in that it identifies both external and internal defects and general characteristics in wood as required for defecting blank flooring strips and grade optimization of the finished product. See the Hasko Ultra Scanner.
- Mekanika – Is continually developing innovative automated material handling systems for the solid and engineered wood flooring industry. Of recent importance is a system for measuring, sorting by grade and nesting for boxing or strapping. This development offers a major labor reduction for both solid and engineered flooring manufacturers.
Why were these innovations developed? What problems/issues/challenges do they address?
- First, the simple answer is that these innovations were developed to improve the quality and value of the flooring purchased by the end user.
- Second, innovate to remain competitive with manufactures in other countries with cheap labor pools.
- Third, the flooring manufacturer must constantly strive to improve quality while reducing cost via increased material yield and reduced labor. The raw material cost for wood flooring is typically 65%-75% of the total cost of the product. A 1% to 3% improvement in material and/or grade yield will often facilitate a quick payback on investments in machinery and technology.
However, flooring manufacturers are finding it increasingly more difficult to fill the spots in their plants with dependable help; but payback on labor reducing technology is challenging.
Today’s flooring manufacture typically uses $30,000 per year per worker for pay and benefits. A five year payback on a $1,000,000 investment would normally require the elimination of 6-8 worker/shifts.
One major challenge the manufacture faces today is that the cost for technology required for the elimination of labor can typically strain the desired payback term.
As worker’s comp and health insurance costs continue to escalate, plant and worker’s safety and ergonomics are also driving investments in labor reducing innovations.
How do these innovations impact the end product?
- See above. These innovations were developed to improve the quality and value of the flooring purchased by the end user.
- Machinery and technology often provides a more consistent manufacturing solution than labor and this will have a positive impact to the end quality.
What does the retailer or specifiers need to understand about these innovations?
- Wood flooring is made from a natural product.
- Hardwood harvested in the northeast is different from hardwood harvested in the southeast.
- Flooring manufacturers around the continent all face their own unique challenges.
Those that design machinery and systems for the wood flooring industry face unique challenges as well.
Research and development can cost in the millions for scanning technologies, vision systems, manufacturing processes and machinery. And yet the flooring industry is small. There are only a few handfuls of potential buyers in which the machinery manufacturer can spread his R&D burden. Implementation of new technology can be risky for machinery and flooring manufacturers alike.
What will the next generation of this technology look like?
Will the next generation of flooring manufacturers run their mills from a remote control consoles akin to the flight deck of the Star Ship Enterprise? Will they direct robots and automated systems on the plant floor without any human intervention in the manufacturing process?
No, but if one can maintain course, the flooring industry will remain in the state of constant and continual technological improvement and will remain an important and viable industry.